Tosca Lee is the critically-acclaimed author of Demon: A Memoir–Christy Award finalist and ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Silver Award winner–and Havah: The Story of Eve, which received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and 4.5 stars from Romantic Times.
Forbidden, the first book in her new series with New York Times Bestseller Ted Dekker, releases September 2011. Iscariot, Tosca’s highly-anticipated novel about the infamous betrayer of Christ, releases January of 2012.
A former first runner-up to Mrs. United States, Tosca received her B.A. from Smith College in Massachusetts. She also studied at Oxford University. For more info, visit her website.
Let the conversation begin!
What initially drew you to writing?
I’ve actually been writing since grade school–articles, poems, short stories. I wrote my first novel in college. So I don’t know for sure what drew me to it, only that I love reading the work of others (in grade school it was Shel Silverstein!) and wanted to write things others would enjoy.
Do you let anyone read your work-in-progress? Or do you keep it a secret?
I let a few close author/editor friends read it, and some of my source experts. But other than that, I tend to keep it close to the vest. New projects feel very fragile to me. They need to be protected like fledglings–one harsh word can really kill so much.
If there is one genre you’d never write, what is it?
Hmm. Probably not mysteries–I read the the least. But then again, I never say never!
Would you rather publish a string of mainstream books or one classic?
How about a string of mainstream books with a classic or two among them?
Do you write with music?
I can’t seem to write to music, though I keep trying because all my friends do. Grr.
If you could only write one more book, what would it be about?
After the Judas book? Oh, wow. I don’t know. It’d have to be epic.
Is there a genre you avoid?
Not really–just genres I like better than others.
Do you begin with character or plot?
Character, usually, though in the Books of Mortals series, which I’m writing with Ted Dekker, we began with a theme.
How many words do you write each day?
Anywhere from 0 to 17,000. I aim for about 3000-4000 a day when I’m really writing.
Are you an outliner or a seat-of-the-pants writer?
I’m a loose outliner. I tend to write best in a mad panic the night before deadline.
What do you do to recharge your creative batteries?
Watch TV shows, movies, read, and travel. Ahh, the thought makes me happy.
What book was the easiest to write? Hardest?
Demon was the easiest. Iscariot is proving to be hardest.
Was it easier to write before or after you were published?
It’s completely different–beforehand, there were no pressures. That is one thing that you never quite get back after beginning to publish, and so you have to find a way to psyche yourself out into thinking that you’re noodling around and no one will ever read it. It’s very important to not overthink things when you write.
Are your characters completely fictional?
Or do you base them off real people? Most are fictional.
What advice would you give young writers?
Read a lot. Write a lot. Experiment much. There are no rules.
Tell us about the book you’re working on.
Iscariot is the first person account of Judas, the infamous betrayer of Christ.
Describe your dream vacation.
Out in a yurt in Mongolia. Or hanging in a casita in the Southwest. Or Bora Bora–my favorite place on earth.