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Adam Interviews... T.K. Toppin!


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Thanks for coming back!

I really appreciate you visiting week after week, reading the newest interview and learning about an author who you might never have heard of.

And since you don't want to hear from me, let's talk about today's guest.

 

T.K. Toppin is a published author of Science Fiction, Space Opera and Speculative Fiction novels and short stories. Her stories are character-driven and scattered with mystery, intrigue and excitement. T.K. was born, raised and lives in Barbados. When she’s not writing, she can be found seriously working on her doctorate in procrastination by binge-watching shows on streaming networks, doing absolutely nothing, and juggling the baffling realm of social media marketing.

 


An image of TK Toppin, a middle-age woman with slightly asiatic features, a big smile, and short highlighted hair

Linktree: TKToppin

Instagram: @written.by.tktoppin

Threads: @written.by.tktoppin

Tiktok: @tktoppin

Facebooks: Written By T.K. Toppin

Twitter: @TKToppin

For more on T.K., visit her Blogsite

T.K. would love to hear from her readers: tktoppin@gmail.com


Links:


Star Trek or Star Wars?

Star Trek

 

DCU or MCU?

I mean, both have their strengths and weaknesses. I like them both.

 

Firefly – gone too soon or overrated?

Gone too soon. I’d like to have seen where the story ended up, or could’ve gone. The movie Serenity kind of “finished” it, but not quite. I want more!

 

Reboots – a great idea or a lack of creativity?

Depends on the reboot. Like definitely wait a whole century or more to remake Lord of the Rings, after we’re all dead and gone and can’t recoil in horror. But some, they’re okay. There are so many amazing books out there (indie books!), like mine, hint-hint, which beg to be made into a movie or a series. Just saying, you know.

 

A book you’re looking forward to release (by someone else)?

So many, it’s hard to narrow it down to just one. Can I give you five? I’m going to give you five. Caroline Noe’s new Mangy Wolf book (3rd one dropping this year). Bryan Chaffin’s sequel to Accidental Intelligence. Julia Blake, she’s a multi-genre writer, but she’s working on a new sci-fi book. Anything Shel Calopa writes (she wrote Letters from the Light, Missals from the Dark, and Emoto’s Promise — all brilliant sci-fi books). And finally, J.D. Robinson’s new time-travelling novel—no idea what it's called, or when it’ll be released, but I want to read it!

 


The cover of RAQ by TK Toppin - a reptile eye on a black background reflecting a person's silhouette in desert

A book that pleasantly surprised you?

I’m usually quite discerning with what I’m going to read next, so I know what the expect. Can’t say I’ve been surprised much.

 

Coffee, tea, or cacao?

Coffee.

 

Favorite hangover recovery recipe?

Sleep.

 

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I think it was always there. I used to be a graphic artist, and writing just seems like an extension of that, another way of expressing my creative side. When I was younger, I used to draw and create cartoons/graphic comics with epic adventures, which then morphed to cringe-worthy stories I’d write (in the hopes of turning them into comic books). But I think I seriously explored writing when I was about 35. I read a lot, and it was when I came across a truly dull, dry, sleep-inducing book that had been raved about, and published by one of the Big 5, that I thought, I could do this! And I could do it better—and without making people fall asleep. I know, big talk, but there you go. Haha! But it gave me the right kick up the ass to actually start writing.

I then started to read books in any genre for the sake of learning how established authors wrote, how their words were placed, how characters came to life, dialogues spoke loud and real, and worlds sprang clear and vivid. I decided, if I was going to write a book, it would be science fiction, even though I love a good mystery book. But with science fiction, one can do pretty much anything without too much rigid constraint. Anything is possible, everything is possible. By 2007, I was 38 and my goal was to finish writing a book by 40. I did that one year shy of my goal. Then I researched how to get it published, and by the end of 2009, I managed to sign on to a small indie press. In five years, I parted ways with them, rebranded the three books they’d published, re-edited, and released them as a full-fledged indie author. And I haven’t stopped since.

 

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Everywhere and anything give me inspiration. Could be from a random conversation, something I see, a situation I was in…anything! One book I wrote started out during a power failure when I wondered what would happen if the power never came back on. It manifested from there into The Dark Without. My first book, The Lancaster Rule, and it’s sequels, all started because I wanted to write, and write a book that was exciting and bold and adrenaline-rushed! It’s during the writing process, depending on where it takes me, I do my research. Google is my friend. I also use life experiences as reference to some things.



The cover of Technicolour Sandbox by TK Toppin, a humaniform robot looking out over a futuristic city at dawn/dusk

 

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I prefer to write during the morning hours. So from about 8am to around noon. Then, zonk out since my brain is fried.

 

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

When I was 18. I’m scared to look at it now. I might go into apoplectic shock. I had two friends read it. They loved it, and said it was exciting, like watching an action movie.

 

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Sleep. Play mindless games on the iPad. Watch TV. Read. Sleep. Complain about cooking. Sleep some more.

 

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

That I can actually write. Haha! It’s an ever-evolving and learning experience. I love it.

 

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

Eleven, going on twelve. It’s hard to choose one over the others. Each book is a moment in my life where I dedicated hours and hours, sometimes years, into creating and bringing it to life. It’s like a close friendship with the characters and the world.

 

Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Everyone has their own journey, and their own learning curve to negotiate. My advice might not be applicable to another. All I’d say, is if you want to be serious about it, then read. Read lots, read anything. Listen. Observe. Be open to criticism, there’s no better way to learn but feel the stinging, soul-depreciating words of a critic. Even if it’s your editor.

 


The cover of The Dark Without by TK Toppin, a bright, abtract image of vaguely mechanical parts with spheres mingled among the parts

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

Aside from a few, noooooo. Big ugly tears

 

What do you think makes a good story?

Great, engaging characters. Relatable and realistic dialogue. A simple, but good plot for those characters to orbit around. And a proper end-game, whether it’s concluded or not, but most things should be tied off.

 

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

A veterinarian. Then I realised how long you had to stay in school. I changed my mind. I hate school.

 

What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?

None.

 

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Wanting to be the next insert big name author. To be likened like insert big name author. Why not just write like you write. Be you. Be original.

I’ve seen a couple aspiring authors ripping themselves inside out wanting to be “on par” or “just like” an author they admire. They flail and flounder and get bogged down, and in the end, have nothing to show for it. Just write your story.

 

Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

Definitely hurt. Definitely. Instead of ego, cultivate confidence.

 

What is your writing Kryptonite?

Laziness. I’m really good at it.

 

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

So many! And each of them have brought, or brings something unique, yet like-minded to the collective. I’ve learned a lot from many along the way. I’m still learning, and now, I’m at a point where I can also offer something to someone else’s journey. When I first started out, everything was brand new, and it was also a time when ebooks and self-publishing were still on the cusp of explosion. I had to poke many holes to find the right sources to learn from. So now, if anyone need helps with their craft, I’m happy to lend a hand.

 

What do you have coming next?

A brand new novel, BIS ROSE. It’s currently with my editor and I’m hoping for a July release.

 


An image of all the books by TK Toppin

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