T.L. Costa graduated from Bryn Mawr College, got her Masters of Teaching from Quinnipiac University, and taught high school for five years before becoming a full-time mom and writer.
She has lived in Texas, New York, New Jersey and Spain. Currently, she lives in Connecticut.
T. L. can be found online at her Facebook page (www.facebook.com/tlcostaauthor) and on Twitter (@TLCosta1).
Her novel PLAYING TYLER will be released in October of 2013 by STRANGE CHEMISTRY BOOKS.
Tell me about Playing Tyler.
My book, PLAYING TYLER, basically starts by asking when is a game more than a game?It is about a boy named Tyler MacCandless, who can’t focus, even when he takes his medication. He can’t focus on school, on his future, on a book, on much of anything other than taking care of his older brother, Brandon, who’s in rehab for heroin abuse… again.
Tyler’s dad is dead and his mom has mentally checked out. The only person he can really count on is his Civilian Air Patrol Mentor, Rick. The one thing in life it seems he doesn’t suck at is playing video games, and, well, that’s probably not going to get him into college.Just when it seems like his future is on a collision course with a life sentence at McDonald’s, Rick asks him to test a video game. If his score’s high enough, it could earn him a place in flight school and win him the future he was certain that he could never have. And when he falls in love with the game’s designer, the legendary gamer Ani, Tyler thinks his life might finally be turning around. That is, until Brandon goes MIA from rehab and Tyler and Ani discover that the game is more than it seems. Now Tyler will have to figure out what’s really going on in time to save his brother… and prevent his own future from going down in flames.
Who did you write it for? For PLAYING TYLER, as well as for the book I am writing now, my target audience is typically the teen boys that usually wouldn’t read because they find no one in books with whom they can relate. There are very few books about boys like Tyler, and I wanted to present a kid that really wants nothing more than to be a hero, to save the people he loves, even though the world would classify him as a kid who “falls through the cracks.” Also, I see an audience with teen girls, the nerdy girls who get very little representation in books, even though they tend to be big readers. (I totally include myself in this category.)
What are your productivity tips?
Productivity tips? I have very few of them. When I first started writing I was not productive at all. It took me two years to write a book that will forever live in the ghostly netherworld of this laptop. It was only after I met you and started taking your advice about being productive that I wrote with any kind of speed. I wrote a rough draft of PLAYING TYLER in seven months, and recently I just completed a rough draft of a new novel in four.
Which advice of yours do I take as writer-ly gospel? For one, I have at least a rough outline of plot before I begin, and I know my characters inside and out. Secondly, I now journal in full sentences. Nothing big, just a notebook by the computer where I write out a few sentences about what I am going to write tomorrow. Also, I force myself to disconnect from wifi before I start to write for the day and I hold myself at the computer for a certain period of time (usually an hour with a goal of a thousand words a day.) I use BAGEL for words I don’t know or facts I have to look up later so I don’t lose the flow of the text. Also, for specific plot problems that I am having trouble solving, I write them out on another notebook before I go to bed, and after I’m done reading for the night, I pull out the notebook and look at the questions, so they are the last thing I think about before falling asleep. I don’t always wake up with the answers, but when I do, I feel like a badass.