Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
I started writing in the 2nd grade - silly poems, mostly.
What makes writing your passion?
I'm passionate about writing for several reasons: I love the creative process, I love finding inspiration in different places, such as in the woods with my husband, horses, and dogs, I love the solitude of my office where characters come to life, and I love sharing my books with others.
How long have you been writing?
I've been writing since I was very young, but have been focusing solely on writing since 2013 when I put my real estate career on hold to take up writing full time.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
Publishing my first book, Orphan Moon, was beyond thrilling. It's won several prizes and even made it to the #1 spot on Amazon in several countries. That was a huge boost and incentivized me to write and publish my second book, If the Devil Had a Dog.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
In both books, the characters are all flawed in some fashion or another, which makes them believable. Yet, they are also strong, brave, and overcome dire odds to get what they want. I think they are characters one can look up to.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
A minor annoyance is being asked the age-old question: "So - when's your next book coming out?" I'm always working on the next book, sometimes two manuscripts at a time. But for the most part, I don't get annoyed easily. It's all about staying focused and staying dedicated to your craft.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I have tremendous support from my husband, and when I get writer's block, we saddle up our horses and go for a trail ride in the woods. I talk out the issues with him and we discuss why I'm feeling "blocked" with a certain character, scene, or plot device. We bounce ideas back and forth, and that usually fixes the problem.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
I keep on writing because I have to. It's beyond wanting to - I have to. As a creative person, to not be creating something would be torture. And my advice for new authors is to never give up - keep going - and believe in yourself and your vision.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
I'd love to go back in time and tell that 2nd grader who wrote silly poems that it would all work out and to never quit writing or believing in herself.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
I love reading my reviews! For the most part, it uplifts me and validates what I'm doing. Even the negative reviews can serve a purpose and you can learn from them, too, if you keep an open mind. Not every book is for everybody, and that's ok.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
Receiving a good review is validating and uplifting. I love hearing from readers and learning about their reading experience, what they identified with, and what they liked or didn't like. I'm grateful for every reader who takes the time to write a review.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Absolutely! I think that when a writer uses events, places, etc. that they are familiar with or something that actually happened to them, it makes it more authentic to the reader.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
In Orphan Moon, I identified with the plucky, horse-crazy protagonist. In If the Devil Had a Dog, I identified with some aspects of the main character's life. However, both characters are definitely a figment of my imagination.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
For me, a book cover is definitely as important as the story itself. It's the first thing potential readers see that helps them to determine if they want to read the book or not. If the cover doesn't draw the potential reader in, then it doesn't matter how great the writing is.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I love connecting with readers and freely invite them to drop me an email or sign up for my newsletter and communicate with me there.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
It's always nice to be appreciated - or recognized in public! The other day I was at the dry cleaners and a lady was standing in line. When she turned around, she exclaimed, "You're that writer, T.K. Lukas! You spoke at our book club last month." I was flattered she remembered me.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
Oh my - I have so many favorites, it's hard to narrow it down. But I'm obsessed with Lucy Foley. Her writing is superb - the character development - the plots - the settings - the twists and turns... I also love Liane Moriarity, Lucy Score, Larry McMurtry, and Cormack McCarthy.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
I'd love to be as big as any author on my favorites list!
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
I don't think I'd rewrite any of my books because I rewrote them many times over in the editorial process. At some point, one needs to learn when to put the pen down, so to speak.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
While I admire and respect many authors and have learned tons from them, I wouldn't switch places with any of them. Everyone has their own journey and I'm quite happy navigating my own way on my own path.
What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
While it's tempting to want to put trolls in their place or set the record straight, it's best just to ignore them. Besides, a negative review or two is not the end of the world; it actually gives more credibility to the hundreds of positive reviews!
What would you say to your readers?
I owe my readers a debt of gratitude for taking the time to read my books, and a huge "thank you" for leaving an honest, heartfelt review.
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
My husband and I live in north-central Texas on a small ranch with our equine, bovine, canine, and feline darlings. We have three adult children who are scattered across the globe.
What is your day job if you have one?
I've lived a very diverse life, career-wise: dance instructor, air traffic controller with USAF and FAA, tree company owner, REALTOR, part-time writer for equestrian magazines, and now full-time writer and published author.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
Besides reading and writing, I love horseback riding (I used to be a competitive show jumper), international travel, snow skiing, painting, photography, and collecting antique and/or interesting deviled egg plates.
Did you have a happy childhood?
I didn't have a particularly happy childhood; however, I do have snippets of happy memories, mostly involving my siblings. I'm the middle of five kids - four girls, then a boy snuck in at the end of the line.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
When I was 11, I got my first horse, "Dandy," and I was in heaven. Then, when I turned 13, my parents divorced and I had to find a home for "Dan," because we couldn't afford to keep him anymore. I journaled in a diary in fits and starts before giving that up - it was almost too painful.
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
I have two unpublished manuscripts that I'm working on. One is a murder mystery/thriller about multiple murders in a small Texas town where everyone is a suspect. The other is about an air traffic control tower that is out of control, and people start turning up dead. In both books, the last person you'd think was the killer turns out to be the killer...
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
The 3 Rs are missing - reading, writing, and arithmetic. And, teaching civics and government classes should be reinstated into every curriculum.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
My three wishes would be for world peace, a cure for all cancers, and ponies for everyone!
What is your favorite music?
I have an eclectic Pandora playlist: 80s and 90s rock, Johnny Cash and 60s C & W, classical, some jazz, and movie scores (Last of the Mohicans and Outlander are my faves there)
Share a secret with us 🙂
That chocolate bourbon pecan pie I serve at Thanksgiving and Christmas that I make from scratch, including the crust?? Well, the crust is really store-bought, a time-saving secret I learned from my grandmother, who everyone assumed made all her pie crusts from scratch. Not so!