Author Tina Hagmann #interview

Please give a warm welcome to author Tina Hagmann

Tell us a bit about yourself…

Hello from Austria! Thank you so much for inviting me, this is very exciting and I’m very happy!

My name is Tina Hagmann and I am the author of a historical nove which might be published later this year. It is about a French soldier, Raoul Matisse Loberon, who suffers more loss than he can handle in the battle of Sedan 1940. So he flees to the end of his world and has no intentions of returning to Paris to fight the Nazi’s again. But as always, fate decreeds otherwise. Confronted with  unthinkable plans of the German Wehrmacht, Raoul joins the Parisian Resistance and offers his contribution as a marksman to an armed squad working against the Nazi occupation. Things seem to change for the better, but when he is forced to face his worst nightmare, once again everything he cherishes is at stake.…

I am living south of Vienna at the foothills of the Alps. After studying psychology, philosophy and ethics, I started to teach and have been a teacher for students, ranging from ten to eighteen at a high school for more than twenty-five years. This is an incredibly exciting, but also very challenging job, as children behave never the same and every day holds new surprises. As a result, I have learned how to keep my thoughts focused, my lessons compelling, and how to simplify the often confusing content of my subjects. If I didn’t do that, my students would probably fall asleep due to boredom! Thus, my profession might offer a good foundation for my writing.

Besides this job, I have a bustling family life with my husband and two wildlings, a dog and a horse. I think most authors who can’t earn enough money from their books for a decent life know this balancing act between everyday life and this deep, inner urge for actually just wanting to write. On the other hand, these interruptions, called life, are exactly the ones that give me a distance between me and my stories. Many things only dawn when I’m no longer sitting at the laptop. Besides, I’m just happy that I can write at all! My husband keeps my back free, without his support it wouldn’t have been possible to finish my debut novel.

Apart from that, I like to work in our little garden. Especially in times like these, it’s important to provide a habitat for bees, insects and hedgehogs and to keep the garden as close as possible to nature. I love the buzzing and humming and the manifold scents surrounding me. Half an hour of cutting the lavender plants triggers true relaxing miracles!

Have you always wanted to become an author?

I wished I could answer this question with “yes” and tell you that I have been writing since I was a kid. But that’s not the case. I started writing very late, in my mid-forties. However, what I can definitely tell you is that stories have been within my mind since I was a child. I’ve been thinking and dreaming stories non-stop. And the more I read, the more sentences started to shape in my mind. I imagined that I would once write all of them down. From time to time I tried to scribble down a short story , but very quickly I realized that there is a huge difference between what’s in my own ‘mental’ cinema and to write a story in such a manner that the reader ’experiences’ the same as me. Thus, I quickly realized writing is actually hard work!

And one day, out of the sudden, I gave it another try. I wrote an hour or two every day in the evening, and when Covid lock-down came along, there was so much more time! And one hour turned into many hours and the more I wrote, the more fun it was. Here I set the foundation for my writer’s life and proved that writing is more than just a hobby for me. It became a real passion!

What was your inspiration for your current book/series?

Fun fact: It was a TV show called “Man in the High Castle”. Therein it plays with the terrifying thought that the Nazis won WW2 and actually conquered the world. And suddenly there was this scene in my head- a man, a Resistance fighter, completely at the mercy of a Gestapo Commissioner. And this man was willing to lay down his life for what is important to him. That was the first scene I wrote, and the whole novel grew around it like petals are growing around a stem. Who is this man? What has he experienced and done to end up at this particular point? So there was an incredible amount for me to develop and that was more than exciting in every single way. Writing towards a certain point, especially when you know nothing about the person and his history, was a real challenge for me. With this in my thoughts, my novel was written kind of backwards, from its end to the beginning.

What are you working on now?

Right now I’m adopting a two fold strategy. First, editing of the historical novel has started and I just received the final report of my editor‘s. And as I expected, there are tons of stuff to fix, rewrite and restructure. It’s all going to take time.

In the meantime, I’ve started a fantasy trilogy and somehow the “curse” of writing backwards is haunting me! For a long time I hesitated to write fantasy, because I’m simply lacking unique ideas. Especially here I was under the impression that everything has already been said at some point and somehow. I love fantasy, but I just didn’t have any sparkling ideas. And like in my historical novel there were suddenly those three final scenes. At that point I knew it had to be a trilogy and again I started to create the story “backwards” from those scenes. What has to happen for my MC to end up exactly where I want him to be? Unlike with my first novel which was created as a panster over long periods, I carefully planned and worked on world-building, i.e. how magic works or which social system I need. Funnily enough, right now  I don’t care about geography, monetary systems or anything else, that remains to be seen as I write. I wrote the 1st word of the 1st chapter after two months of planning and the first book of the trilogy is almost halfway through.

Do you have any quirks while working?

I must say there are always many other children in the house and this is often more than turbulent. And I don’t even have my own desk! I sit with my laptop at the dining table and try to write in the midst of the hustle and bustle. The only possibility of excluding the noise around me, putting on my headphones with my ‘writing music’. I need it to mentally find a way into my stories. When I wrote the historical novel, ‘Two Steps From Hell’ had to be a must and each act of the book had certain songs and albums associated with it. It’s a bit magical, I put on my headphones, fire up the playlist and instantly find my writing rhythm. For the fantasy story, I mainly listen to Pandora’s Journey, so Epic Fantasy Music. It always works!

What are your hopes for the future?

I hope I can provide for many readers a great time with my story! All the years before, so many wonderful books have accompanied me. They have taken me out of my everyday life and allowed me to escape into incredible worlds. I hope I can give something in return! I want to write books which entertain readers. Give them pleasure. At best, to lay a foundation for their daydreams. If my stories succeed in this point, then I have achieved a lot.

Do you have any advice for new authors about the publishing world?

I’m still on the road to publishing my book myself, but right now all I can say is: find yourself a writer who has more experience than you and who can guide you. I was incredibly lucky to meet Krista Pimpinella, the author of Nexus Point, the 1st book of the Time Ranger Series. She has taught me so much along the way and prepared me for what is to come, especially the tedious and sometimes painful editing process. The other thing I’ve learned is that as a self-publisher it is less about promoting your own novel but rather about introducing yourself to the world. Be interested in other people and their passions, and over time it will come naturally to talk about your own work as well. Just marketing my novel is not my primary goal.

Do you have anything to say to your followers?

You are an incredibly great community and it’s so much fun getting to know you, spending time with you and your thoughts, and I’m learning and benefiting from your experiences! I really enjoy all your passions and skills. There is so much to discover if you are open to meet new people, no matter what they are- poets, horse lovers, photographers, artists, or Musketeer fans. We are connected by our openness and interest in each other- and that’s just awesome!