Interview with Tina Hogan Grant, Author of Reckless Beginnings
Getting published and then promoting my debut novel has brought me into contact with writers that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. One example is my friend, Tina Hogan Grant. Tina emailed me, and we developed an online relationship.
Author, Tina Hogan Grant
My novel about drugs intrigued her because the father of her child was a heroin addict. In her debut novel, Reckless Beginnings, she shows what it is like to live with an addict and the tragic repercussions. When I read her book, I couldn’t put it down.
Intrigued by Tina’s story, I thought you might enjoy it, too, and decided to interview her.
Tina’s debut novel, Reckless Beginnings
1. Is your novel autobiographical?
It’s Women’s Fiction based on actual events. I wanted it to read like a story and not a memoir. I changed a few names, places, and facts about some circumstances. However, the main character, “Tammy Mellows,” is me.
2. What motivated you to write the story?
I began keeping journals at the young age of fourteen when my sister disappeared, and I felt helpless. Writing my thoughts and frustrations was my way of doing something.
A few years later, and with my sister still missing, chaos erupted in my life. I was on a path of making hideous choices and in denial because I wanted the white picket fence, the perfect American family life, and ignored any signs that may disrupt that vision.
Instead, I allowed a heroin addict, the father of my child, to dictate my life. Believing that his needs were more important than mine, I got swallowed up, and lost my sense of direction, courage, and identity. Throughout the chaos, I continued writing in my journals.
During that time, I hunted for books written by other women that found themselves in the same predicament but came up short. There were “How To” books, but they were not the advice I needed. I wanted to know how others coped? What did they do? I wondered what their lives were like.
I had many questions, and that was when the seed was planted for my novel. But it didn’t happen right away. I tucked it away and continued struggling.
When my father died, I had a battle with cancer and those two events motivated me to get serious about the book. Twenty years later, it’s finally released. (Does a happy dance.)
3. I know your father is a famous author. What books did he write? What was your favorite and why?
My father – James P. Hogan – wrote hard science-fiction. His published works consist of thirty-six titles, including, Inherit the Stars, Giants’ Star, The Gentle Giants of Ganymede, Code of the Lifemaker, Bug Park, Two Faces of Tomorrow and many others.
MK: Wow. Thirty-six titles are impressive. Do you have a favorite?
I would have to say my favorite is a toss-up between his first novel, Inherit the Stars and Bug Park.
Inherit the Stars will always be close to my heart. When he began writing, I admired his dedication. After working all day at Honeywell, he’d return home and spend the rest of the evening writing. Seeing his first book in print was a proud moment for the entire family.
When my father researched Bug Park, I was a commercial fisherwoman and lived on a boat with my husband and son. Part of my dad’s story takes place on a mega yacht, and he was stumped about where to do his research. Since we knew about boats and people that could potentially help him, he called us. A few weeks later he flew out from Florida, and we hooked him up with the captain of a mega yacht, who was also a friend. The trip was a huge success and Dad was able to complete his research. Knowing the background makes this book a personal favorite.
4. Did your father’s writing influence you?
Absolutely! My father will always be my inspiration. Growing up, he never allowed a TV in the house, and my passion for reading and writing developed early.
MK: Oh my, no TV?! I’d certainly get more reading done.
5. You do an excellent job of character development. While writing, did you feel a desire to reconnect with anyone?
The only person I had to reconnect with was myself. I relieved my thoughts, emotions, and experiences where I’d slammed the door so many years ago. At times, it was painful to allow them to resurface, but I needed to show all the feelings in my writing.
6. What is your favorite part of the story?
Without giving too much away, my favorite part was the first conversation Tammy has with Judy (her friend) about their significant others. What she discovers is a turning point, and the reader begins to see Tammy change. It was the first time she’d spoken to anyone about Steven (the addict) and the secrets she was hiding. It was a huge step for her and a life-changing moment.
7. What was the most difficult part to write?
Hmm, that’s a tough question. Each obstacle, set back, disappointment, and frustration that Tammy experienced was painful because I had to reopen old wounds. But the hardest part, and the one that caused me to cry while writing, was the fight between Tammy and Steven in the trailer, where she first learns about his addiction.
As I reflected on his previous actions and the suspicions I’d harbored, this was a significant turning point. Everything made sense, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. My worst fears had been validated; I never looked at him the same way again. For the first time, I saw the addiction take over, and no matter what I did or say, I couldn’t get through to him. From that day forward, I realized I didn’t know this person, and in fact, I never had. Reliving that time was extremely painful.
8. Are you working on another novel? If so, what’s it about, and when do you think it’ll be available?
I’m currently working on a sequel titled Better Endings, which continues with Tammy’s journey after her ordeals in Reckless Beginnings. It’s also fiction based on real events. After a hiccup at the beginning of the book, the reader will soon find a stronger, more confident Tammy who surprisingly becomes a commercial fisherwoman; but because of her issues with Steven, she has a problem with trust and shies away from having a relationship with another man. Even when the perfect guy appears, Tammy is not convinced and waits for the ultimate bombshell to prove her right. If all goes to plan, I hope to have it available by late 2019.
I’m also working on a romantic comedy series, but it’s in the beginning stages and still a pile of notes…LOL.
9. What do you like most about writing?
The answers will differ, depending on what I am writing. Reckless Beginnings evolved from my journals when I tried to make sense of the chaos surrounding my life. It became a necessity to express myself, and with no one to talk to, it was therapeutic and a road to healing. I also hope it will help other women, or other family loved ones that are caught up in the web of an addict. It can be a lonely place, and I hope my book brings comfort and helps others. None of us have to settle; we all have choices.
Also, when I’m writing fiction, it’s my escape to another world. A world that I create and this thrills me. Most of the time, I have no idea how the story will end. In order to find out, I continue to write. I love this process.
10. What would you like readers to know?
I’m excited about my debut novel and never thought I’d see the day that it would finally be published. It’s been a long emotional journey, but well worth every step. The road has been bumpy at times—sometimes to the point where I almost quit.
So, never give up, especially when you feel all odds are against you. That’s the best time to push through all the bullshit and meet the rewards at the other side. No matter what you are facing, stick with it because it will be worth it.
MK: Well said, Tina!
Thank you, Michele, for this opportunity.
Tina is a master at marketing. For more information, please visit the following sites: www.tinahogangrant.com. https://www.facebook.com/Tina.Hogan.Grant.Author/ https://www.instagram.com/tina_hogan_grant/ https://www.Twitter.comTina/TinaHoganGrant https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/11947664-tina-hogan-grant
To read a sample or buy Tina’s book, please click on Amazon.
Thanks for reading.
Warmest Regards, Michele
P.S. If you like suspense novels, please consider reading my debut novel, Busted, which shows both sides of the drug debate. To buy, click on Amazon. If you’ve read it and liked it, please recommend it to a friend. Thanks!