T4nky: For people who have never heard of the story, The Other Kind of Roommate, could you give a brief description? If someone wants to read it, where can they find it?
Tartra:The Other Kind of Roommate (TOKoR) is a lighthearted, urban fantasy that follows Alex, a superpowered recluse hiding for his life; Xander, the temperamental voice in Alex’s head; and Beth, the chatty artist living under both of them, as the three go on the run from a power-harvesting organization known only as the Agency.
T4nky: What is the process behind writing an update? Do you plan it out ahead of time? How long do they normally take to write?
Tartra: Two parts panic, four parts coffee, six parts swearing at my computer screen. The planning process takes anywhere from three weeks to four months, during which I’ll come up with snippets of what should be in an update but are only fleshed out when I get close to that part of the story. Sitting down and actually writing – thanks to the magic of deadlines – takes roughly four days, with the bulk of the work being in those last two. The vast majority of my effort is spent just coming up with things to write, and as of right now, I have the ‘snippets’ ready for the next five posts, plus a bunch of eventual milestones.
T4nky: One of the characters you introduce, Bethany Keeler, is a starving artist. Almost literally. Is this a position you or a friend has been in?
Tartra: I’ve been fortunate to never have to be a starving anything, and most of the artists I’ve met were university students in run-down residences. I modelled Beth’s living situation a little after them, minus being a student, and figured the few but notable sales she’s made were enough motivation to keep her in that environment and waiting for her big break. So no, she’s not drawn from any personal or friends’ experiences, but she’s been inspired by real-life observations.
T4nky: Do you have a day job and/or go to school? If so, is it hard to keep a consistent schedule?
Tartra: This is where the four-parts-coffee comes in. I work 9-5, in addition to my two hours of commuting, in addition to the hour I need to get up in the morning. It’s a draining chunk of my day gone, and it most certainly impacts my schedule. The hardest part of committing to TOKoR was realizing I can’t add it to my schedule; I have to swap out other things I love just as much. It’s reined in my social life, for starters, but after months of working around my story instead of trying to work in, I (hopefully!) found a nice balance.
T4nky: How hard is it to get fan feedback? Do you get a lot of comments on your site or other places you post?
Tartra: Fan feedback isn’t hard to get. Fans are hard to get. I do get a lot of comments on my website and on other forums I head to. I’ve worked hard to seem as open to feedback as I sincerely am: I’ve directly welcomed it, I’m happy to chat back, I am slowly building extras for others to get into, and I haven’t failed to reply to an email. Surprisingly, I get more emails than comments!
T4nky: Is there a fan-favorite character in your serial? Do you have a favorite character? Are they the same?
Tartra: Everybody loves Xander. I think it’s awesome, and I’m thrilled he’s someone readers can laugh with at somebody else (mostly Alex) while fully understanding he’s an unrepentant jerk. But he’s very open about that jerkiness and all his other flaws, which I think adds to how easy he is to accept. If I’d tried to play it down, it might have come off as dishonest or slimy. Instead, Xander just is, acting out of impulse rather than malice.
My personal favourite is Benoit. He’s new to the story, but was highly involved throughout the first draft. With the direction TOKoR’s taking, he’ll be as involved as before, and more than anyone, I have big plans for he handles Xander down the road.
T4nky: How long do you plan on having the serial go for? Do you have an end planned?
Tartra: Weeeeeell… yes and no, as far as having an ending planned goes. I expect this to be a long, long, long-running serial, with new arcs and plots added for as long as there’s still an idea explore. I have broken it into three major ‘books’, and while I know where the first two books would end, it’s too early for me to have figured out the third. And as far as where we are now, this is a drop in the bucket. I’ll be counting my final post with four digits, if I’m lucky.
T4nky: Is there a bit of you in any of the characters?
Tartra: Absolutely, but only a bit, just enough to get inside the head of everyone and give them one trait that I know at least one person on the planet (read: me) has, cranked up to eleven. For example, Alex has my serenity in the face of the unknown, while Beth has my sense of perspective, and Xander, my optimism. I will now stop talking, leaving everyone to imagine the wonderful person I am.