Saturday, November 27, 2010

AUTHOR SUNDAY: Q and A with Tina Welling, author of COWBOYS NEVER CRY

Tina talks about her gorgeous covers, why she doesn’t outline and her top tip for writing dialogue.

Q. You mention on your web site that Cowboys Never Cry  is a great choice for book clubs. What's it about and what issues lend themselves to discussion?

A. COWBOYS NEVER CRY is written with humor, though it’s a story about two wounded characters who manage to heal each other through love. Robbin became a star of western movies as a child and followed that career to world fame, which eventually led to excess in every area of his life. Cassie, as the story opens, lost her husband three years earlier to a mountain climbing accident. The novel explores fame and grief, and how they similarly affect a life. The setting is a ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and a side story addresses ranching issues versus land conservation. So there are a lot of subjects to discuss.

Q. Who are your literary influences?

A. I am influenced by beautiful language wherever I find it. I can study a paragraph for half an hour, marveling over a metaphor or trying to figure out why the placement of the commas were so effective.

Q. This cycle we are talking about the writer's journey. What brought you to writing?

A. I discovered as a young woman that I understood myself and my life better when I asked a question and then began writing about it in hope of stumbling upon an answer. Always clarity about the issue arose. From there I found it really satisfying to be able to put words to puzzling issues for others. And if I could make them laugh while doing it, we both – reader and writer - had extra fun.

Q. You have beautiful covers, Do you have any stories about how they came about?

A. Mary E. O’Boyle at Penguin Group is responsible for all three of my book covers. I especially like the cover of COWBOYS NEVER CRY. There is something pensive with a touch of the wild that’s depicted with the woman and the outdoors. She feels content with her solitude, connected to the land and kind of sexual all at once.

Q. I see you write nonfiction writing as well. What topics do you gravitate to?

A. Lately I’ve kept to working with the novel form, it’s deliciously consuming. But when I do write non-fiction, I enjoy writing about covert feelings like longing, the healing power of the natural world, and creativity – hidden energies that affect us far more than we credit them as doing. I really enjoy leading writing workshops that pull in these topics.

Q. Saturday we all gave tips for writing dialogue. Do you have a tip to share?

A. Writing dialogue is one of my favorite parts of working on a novel. Usually I begin with a feeling I want to engender between two characters. If I can convey this information in dialogue with humor or a special tone of tenderness, I depend on that to touch a reader. My tip: rewrite and reread out loud, over and over and over. If I am still smiling after that, I figure I’m on to something.

Q. Do you outline or write organically?

A. I love that you used that term “organically.” I never had a word for it before and now I suddenly feel smarter. See? That’s what is fun about writing, being able to make a reader feel better because a writer found words to explain them to themselves. That’s what you just did. So the answer is: organically. I do not resonate to outlines and before now felt inadequate about that. I love to just begin writing and trust the process.

 Vist Tina at

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