Book Country Member Q&A
“I like finishing a book on a smile, because I don’t feel we can do it enough.” –Tabetha Waite
Tabetha Waite is a romance writer and Midwestern gal from Cairo, Missouri. Her historical romance The Lustful Spy has garnered many badges on Book Country, and with good reason. It’s a riveting romp through the streets of Victorian London, in which a spinster and a duke are swept into an opium conspiracy…and fall for each other, of course. In addition to being a writer and an avid reader (some of her favorite writers include Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, and modern authors such as Sabrina Jeffries, Candace Camp, Lisa Kleypas and Andrea Kane), Tabetha is into doll collecting and antiquing, which doesn’t surprise me considering her love of historicals!
In Tabetha’s words, she’s “just a simple person with a normal life, who likes to live her adventures through her keyboard.”
Nevena: I’m so glad you were able to join us, Tabetha. Let’s begin with the basics: when did you start writing?
Tabetha: I was nine years old. I remember this because my fourth grade teacher said she liked reading my stories and I thought, “Hey, there might be something to this!” After that, I knew the only thing I wanted to do was become an author. I started out just by putting pen to paper, then moved on to an ancient typewriter from the ‘30s, to a word processor, then finally, my computer!
Nevena: So how do you fit writing into your life?
Tabetha: I wrote a lot when I was younger. I was shy and bullied at school; that gave lots of fuel to my imagination. I took a brief break in my later teens, but then picked it up again in my mid-twenties. I really buckled down in my thirties in order to try and fulfill my goal of being published. Being a stay-at-home mom is a big plus. When the kids go to school, I have plenty of uninterrupted time to stare at the screen.
Nevena: What draws you to romance as a reader and a writer?
Tabetha: Oh, a happy ending, of course! Honestly, that’s the key to it for me. I like finishing a book on a smile, because I don’t feel we can do it enough. 🙂
Nevena: I love that. In The Lustful Spy, your big project at the moment, there’s both intrigue and love, all against the backdrop of The Opium Wars. Tell us more about the novel!
Tabetha: Most of my favorite romance novels have an air of mystery, and if one of the characters is a spy, or has a secret identity, it grabs me every time, so that’s kind of what I was shooting for with The Lustful Spy. I wanted to catch the reader’s attention with something unique, and I hadn’t come across many stories about this particular area of history.
Nevena: So why historical romance? What’s the allure of Victorian England for you?
Tabetha: The first romance novels I ever read were Harlequins in high school. I enjoyed how the main characters overcame personal obstacles to be with the one they loved. As a fan of history, I started checking out books that dealt with the Revolutionary and Civil Wars before coming acrossMidnight Bride by Kathleen Drymon. Still one of my favorite books, it takes place in America, but the main hero is an English Lord. From there, I started reading stories that took place in London and found the aristocracy, with their rigid rules and society flair, rather fascinating. I enjoy the Regency time period as well, but there is just something about Queen Victoria and her own love story with Albert that draws me to that era.
Nevena: I understand your fascination: I’m a big Victorian gal myself! What kind of research do you do to infuse a sense of historical accuracy in your work?
Tabetha: The Internet is a wonderful resource that wasn’t available to me when I first started writing. It’s great to be able to double check a particular fact when I’m in the middle of a chapter, without having to put the manuscript on pause and drive to the local library, though I have been known to haunt it on occasion! If I find a non-fiction book that looks like it might have some good information, I usually grab it. I also like watching documentaries or period movies, because of certain historical tidbits that have come in handy.
Nevena: What’s your biggest personal writing challenge? And what keeps you going?
Tabetha: My biggest challenge used to be finishing a book, but after completing four manuscripts to date—The Lustful Spy included—I’ve found that now it’s just the hope of standing out and being given a chance to be heard. I stay motivated, because I feel I’ve grown in my writing and keep improving, and after all this time I’ve invested, why quit now?
Nevena: You go, girl! What’s your dream as a writer?
Tabetha: I would like to say that I hope to be as big as Stephen King or Nora Roberts someday, but that wouldn’t have to happen! Sure, it would be great to have a movie made from one of my novels, but I would feel I’ve accomplished my goals just to see my name in print, even if it ends up on the clearance rack!
Nevena: I can’t help but ask, why are you a Book Country member?
Tabetha: The Book Country community has been an extremely beneficial resource for me, and I will be forever grateful for it. Until your site came along, I was too scared to show my work to anyone, fearing that what I had longed to achieve wasn’t really within my reach. I needed that self-confidence boost to gain the proper amount of courage to say, “You know what? I CAN do this—and I WILL.” Without the critiques and comments, I would never have made it this far. So, thank you!
Nevena: You’re so sweet! Thank YOU for being part of the community. Is there anything else you want to share with our members?
Tabetha: I can’t read OR write without some sort of music on to set the mood for a particular scene. Also, I’d like to branch out and write a children’s series someday, and perhaps work in another romance genre. I’ve actually been working on a book called The Secrets of Shadows, which is my attempt at a gothic/paranormal romance, so we’ll see how it goes. But my first love will always be the historicals!
Nevena: Thanks for joining me, Tabetha! I hope you get your happy ending soon :).
Connect with Tabetha on Book Country and befriend her on Facebook.