Tori Scott has been seriously writing with an eye toward publication for 15 years, though she’s been spinning tales and writing poetry since elementary school. She is a former Golden Heart finalist in the prestigious RWA writing contest, a winner in several regional contests, a finalist in the International Digital Awards, and a semi-finalist in the Best Indie Books of 2012. She lists several publications among her accomplishments, including a featured Christmas story–The Christmas Wish–in Woman’s World magazine.
Tori loves reading, swimming, photography, traveling, and especially writing. When she can talk him into it, she loves riding on the back of her husband’s Harley. She’s an animal lover, and though she’s now down to one dog, at one point she owned cows, chickens, goats, rabbits, ducks, four dogs, and a mule named Doc. You’ll likely find animals of one kind or another in her books.
Tori was born in West Texas, raised in North Texas, and now lives in East Texas. Most of her books are set in one of these areas, but especially West Texas because the people who were born and raised there have a code of ethics that makes for great heroes. It takes a tough man or woman to deal with the tornadoes, dust storms, hail, blizzards, rattlesnakes, and drought that are so common in the Panhandle. But they handle whatever comes their way and become stronger for it.
Tori’s husband, Tony, is the inspiration for many of her heroes. He’s a country boy who can build a house, ride a Harley, handle a rifle in defense of his family, and wade into a pack of fighting dogs to save her precious Blue Heeler. What more could you ask for?
CJ ~ Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
TS ~ I fell in love at first sight and knew the moment I met my husband that he was the man I was going to marry. We’ve been married 41 years and we have four children and 5 grandchildren. I was only 17 when we met, so I’ve never lived on my own. My kids can’t imagine that now, but that wasn’t unusual at the time. It took me a long time to discover that I actually had talents beyond being a wife and mother. I did manage to finish college–when I was 35 and had 4 children, the youngest only 9 months old. I’ve been a Christian school teacher and administrator, a child care director, a car salesman, insurance salesman, and portrait consultant. Rather than feeling like I was a job-hopper, I prefer to think of it as gaining life experience for my writing.
CJ ~ What inspired you to write your first book?
TS ~ A lot of things happened to me between 1998 and 2000. I lost my father, my oldest daughter got married, the youngest decided she wanted to go to boarding school. I was faced with a nearly empty nest for the first time in twenty-two years and decided it was my time. I’d written a novel in 1992, but at the time I had no idea what to do with it. As the end of the millennium rolled around, I got serious about writing. I got online and discovered RWA. I found out there were a lot of people like me out there, and they were willing to share what they knew. Once I understood the basics, I sat down and went to work.
CJ ~ What book has had the most influence in your life?
TS ~ Overall, I’d have to say the King James Bible. I loved the beauty of the writing, the wisdom and message within its pages. The second most influential was probably the Cherry Ames series of books. I read them as a young teen, and they helped shape my view of what a good person was like. I wanted to be just like her.
CJ ~ How much truth is in your fiction?
TS ~ I think every writer shares a bit of herself in her writing, and sometimes true bits and pieces of life end up in the stories. Which parts, I’ll never tell.
CJ ~ If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor and why?
TS ~ That would be very difficult for me to choose just one. It was a whole group of women–The Wet Noodle Posse–who helped keep me going and never let me give up. These women were all 2003 Golden Heart Finalists with me, and we’re all still friends to this day. They’re the ones who convinced me to put my books up on Amazon after a disappointing experience with my one publisher.
CJ ~ Who is your favorite author(s) and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
TS ~ It would be hard to choose just one. There are so many talented authors out there. I love Allison Brennan’s thrillers, Nora Roberts’ romances, Linda Lael Miller’s western romances, Stephanie Feagan’s comedies, Bronwyn Parry’s Australian mysteries. And so many, many others.
CJ ~ Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
TS ~ Just making myself do it. I get distracted by the internet, my husband, housework, the dog.
CJ ~ What are you working on now? What is your next project?
TS ~ I’m working on the final book in the Lone Star Cowboys series, book 6 which doesn’t have a title yet. My next project will be a novella for a group project with the Authors of Main Street. We did a Christmas collection that was very successful and we’ll be coming out with a new collection for the summer.
CJ ~ Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?
TS ~ No, other than the fact that I do the majority of my writing between 2 and 4 a.m.
CJ ~ How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
TS ~ I mostly go with names that sound like the kind of character I’m writing. I’m at the point, though, where I need to start a file with all the names in my books so I don’t re-use the same ones.
CJ ~ Are you a plotter or a panster?
TS ~ Definitely a panster. I start writing with only a very vague idea of where the story might go. It takes me twice as long to write the first third of the book as it does the last two thirds, because I’m getting to know my characters and their motivations. I’ve tried plotting, but I found that if I know how it all turns out, I feel no need to write it.
CJ ~ What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
TS ~ Finishing that first book. That was huge for me. Up until then, I was notorious for starting projects, but never finishing them.
CJ ~ Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
TS ~ I probably won’t ever write zombies or vampires. Just not my thing. I’m also old-fashioned enough that I won’t ever write a ménage or multiple partners.
CJ ~ Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?
TS ~ Love scenes are hard for me because I always skip them in my reading unless the author is really good at showing the emotions more than the actions. I don’t like reading about every little move, touch, or part A into part B. I like reading the emotions of falling in love, but I don’t need a manual on the how-to’s of sex.
CJ ~ What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?
TS ~ It used to be the submission process. Being an Indie author let me put that chore behind me. And what a relief!
CJ ~ What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
TS ~ Quit thinking about it and do it. Don’t expect to be the next JK Rowling or Nora Roberts. You probably won’t be. But that’s okay. If you really want to write and have a gift for it, you’ll make your own name and place in the publishing world.
CJ ~ Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
TS ~ Still writing, still married, but hopefully with a pool in my backyard so I can get lots of inspiration while soaking up the Texas sun.
Just some fun questions:
CJ ~ Characters often find themselves in situations they aren’t sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?
TS ~ I got my husband and I into a job that we both grew to despise, a job that sucked the very life out of us, but at our age we didn’t have many options. That’s when I kicked my writing into high gear and put my books on Amazon and Smashwords, amateurish covers and all. They sold so well we were able to retire 6 months later. I have never been so grateful for anything in my life.
CJ ~ Does your significant other recognize his moves in your writing?
TS ~ I’m sure he does, but he never says anything.
CJ ~ If you had a superpower, what would it be?
TS ~ I would love to be able to be invisible so I could see what people say in secret.
CJ ~ What literary character is most like you?
TS ~ Probably Scarlet O’Hara. All drama when I was younger, but able to knuckle down and do the hard work when necessary. And still a dreamer when all is said and done.
CJ ~ What secret talents do you have?
TS ~ I can pour concrete, build a house (with the hubby’s help), and cook a pretty decent meal.
CJ ~ Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?
TS ~ Alaska. I’ve been to 40 of the 50 states, and hope to see them all by the end of the year.
CJ ~ If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be?
TS ~ Probably a polar bear. They have their own pool, can eat all they want, and nap all winter.
CJ ~ What were you like as a child? Your favorite toy?
TS ~ I was a good kid until I became a teenager. Then I was a monster. Well, okay, I still wasn’t that bad, but I had a smart mouth that got me into trouble more than once. Favorite toy? Probably my roller skates.
CJ ~ Do you dream? If so, what do you dream about.
TS ~ I dream a lot, but I have trouble remembering them when I wake up unless I’ve had a nightmare. The most memorable usually involve me being chased by foreign soldiers.
Three hours later, the alarm dragged him from a deep sleep. Just as he’d feared, his brain felt fuzzy and his reactions sluggish. He took a shower, turning the water to cold in an effort to shock his body awake. He only had a few more weeks to go before Vegas. He was in a good position, points wise. But the toll on his body was mounting and every ride seemed harder than the one before. Tonight he’d drawn a rambunctious bull he’d never managed to ride to the buzzer. But there was no way in hell he’d let that bull throw him this time. Amazon iTunes B&N