Today we travel to Ontario to chat with T.S. Beier about how paddle-boarding, tattoos, cross-stitch embroidery, Virginia Woolf, painting houses, freedom in Las Vegas, a Jurassic Park themed wedding, a boating license, a one-eyed pug, and Lake Huron come together as part of her current and past life.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m from Ontario, Canada (about 100km west of Toronto). I love to read Science Fiction and Victorian literature. I have two daughters and a partner; we live a very mundane life in suburbia. I love to travel, specifically to desolate landscapes or cliffs above roaring waves. I play video games (when I can) and I also love baking/cooking, paddle-boarding, craft beer, tattoos, soccer, cross-stitch embroidery, travel, and renovating my house. I’ve been an editor, a project coordinator, a house painter, and most recently an entrepreneur (risingactionpublishingco.com). I have a university degree (English), and certificates in Publishing, Creative Writing, and Interior Decorating. I have a strange obsession with ghost towns and the ruins of industry.
In which genre do you write?
I write science fiction in multiple sub-genres. My recently-released novel is post-apocalyptic, I’m working on a space opera trilogy, and I have finished a hard sci-fi drama. I also wrote a faux noir cyberpunk that is stuck two chapters from completion. In my early 20s, I wrote a five-book fantasy epic (which I’m sure leaves much to be desired today).
What are you currently reading?
I’m sure this will change by the time this is published, but I just finished a NetGalley arc of Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire by Dan Hanks and am jumping into Falcon’s Shadow, which is a sequel to Eight Pointed Cross, an utterly amazing historical fiction by fellow Canadian Marthese Fenech.
If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author from the past, who would it be?
Virginia Woolf. That might sound strange, but I think she would be a very interesting person to talk to. She was a brilliant writer and pioneer within postmodernism. Granted, she wasn’t known to be the nicest of people, but I bet it would be an intellectually-stimulating conversation at least.
Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?
I kept a diary since I was twelve but stopped around age twenty-two. I had dozens of them. A couple of years ago I burned them all; I literally threw them into our backyard fire pit. I was pregnant at the time and I morbidly decided I didn’t want my future daughter to find my angsty, angry words if something happened to me during delivery (oh, how those hormones will get you). While I don’t think this rambling jeremiad helped my writing in any specific way, any writing is good for the craft.
What is the most amusing, crazy or inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?
When I was in Las Vegas in 2019 I took off one day to “go to the desert” (I love the desert). I rented a Mustang convertible and spent 8 hours on the road by myself. I toured Red Rock Canyon and afterward I drove south along the highway, doing a mini road trip basing my stops on the game Fallout: New Vegas. It was one of the only days in my life I felt completely free – it was just me, the car, the road, the mountains, and the endless blue sky. I felt accountable to no one, as I had only the most basic of agendas. At one point I was on a sideroad and despite going drastically over the speed limit, I didn’t see a single person for over half an hour. The hint of danger (what would happen if the car broke down?) made the experience even more freeing. I have a post about it on my blog.
What do you miss about being a kid?
Learning new things. You can definitely learn new things as an adult, but not with the same sense of wonder that you do as a child. I get to watch it second-hand now with my daughters, which is nice.
List 3 interesting facts about yourself.
During my first pregnancy, I watched Mad Max: Fury Road during labour to psyche myself up for home birth as I knew it would be natural (aka no pain meds). What I didn’t expect was an episiotomy on top of this (also no pain meds), so I was happy I had channeled Furiosa hours earlier.
I had a Jurassic Park themed wedding (and my wedding dress was red).
I have a boating license and a firearms license. I had a motorcycle license too but I let it lapse.
What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?
A documentary called Tread on Netflix about the “Killdozer” attack in 2004. One night years ago my partner and I were watching police car chase videos on Youtube (yes, we were under the influence). We came across a video of a very agitated man waging war against his town using a self-modified bulldozer-turned-tank (no one was hurt). When the documentary popped up on our feed a few weeks ago, we had to watch it. The movie shows the events from the angry man’s perspective but also that of the town that he felt wronged him. The reenactments were a little cheesy but the rest was fascinating.
If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?
I have three pets:
I’d ask my one-eyed pug whether he regrets his decision to challenge a Shepherd-Mastiff to a fight (hence the single eye).
I’d ask my Shepherd-Mastiff whether he regrets stealing my GoPro from me while I was swimming and dropping it into Lake Erie.
And I’d ask my cat whether she regrets all the dozens of smaller animals she’s killed (likely not).
What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?
Canada is so vast and varied in its beauty, so I’m going to narrow it to my province. As such, the coast of Lake Huron is where I love to be. Beautiful white sand beaches, tropical-blue water (that can also get very rough – I was lucky to witness a huge water spout this past summer), and quaint little towns all the way from Grand Bend to Tobermory. I love renting cottages along the coast, boating, and paddle-boarding on the water. It’s essentially a freshwater ocean.
What are you currently working on?
A space opera trilogy! It’s lighter in tone than my first book, but it’s still got lots of action scenes. There’s snarky bander, space battles, an unorthodox romance, and weird aliens with interesting cultural and physical traits. You should see my notebook to keep track of all of their idiosyncrasies! The book is like Mass Effect meets Firefly meets Alien/Event Horizon.
Tell us about your most recent book.
What Branches Grow, a post-apocalyptic adventure novel, was the subject of my Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing. I chose to self-publish it because I had time off and decided to produce it myself (I paid for an editor and cover designer, of course). It’s about a resilient and misanthropic woman on a quest to find civilization thirty-five years after a war ravaged the United States. She is joined by a Byronic male hero and an eccentric Millennial in his 60s with his pug dog. It has an inclusive cast – two of the three main characters are people of colour, the female characters are varied and complex, and one of the main characters is bisexual. They travel through strange towns in the wasteland, trying to find a city that’s rumoured to have survived the war. It has fun banter, exciting action scenes, a slow-burn romance, and some nasty villains. It’s part Mad Max, part Fallout, part The Road.
It was wonderful to have you on MTA, Tina! You sound like so much fun!! If you ever make it down to Reno (eight hours north of Vegas), give me a shout! I think you’d love Lake Tahoe! Wishing you all the best. – Camilla
What Branches Grow
A boldly imagined, exhilarating quest through post-apocalyptic America, where human nature is torn between the violent desperation to survive and the desire to forge connection.
Thirty-five years ago, the world was ravaged by war. Delia, driven from her home in Savannah by loss, travels North in search of a future. Gennero is tortured by his violent past and devotion to his hometown. Ordered to apprehend Delia, he follows her into the post-apocalyptic landscape. The wasteland is rife with dangers for those seeking to traverse it: homicidal raiders, dictatorial leaders, mutated humans, and increasingly violent and hungry wildlife.
What Branches Grow is an unflinching depiction of life after civilization, where, above all else, trust is the hardest thing to achieve and to give. The survivors have an audacious dream of a better life, but their quest may end up being a fruitless endeavour in a world openly hostile to hope.
Where to find the book:
You can find What Branches Grow on Amazon and Kobo.
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