Tara Moss has released the final chapter for her Mak Vanderwall Series, Assassin, we found the book incredibly thrilling, her best yet, which had us sitting on the edge of our seat as we were swept through the underbelly of Europe with Mak, as she finds a way back home (you can read our full review here).
We also had a chance to speak to the incredibly talented author, about how she came to this point in Mak’s story and what it was like to write the final chapter on her beloved character Mak Vanderwall:
Maddi: We see Mak toughen up more in this book and go outside her own boundaries, and then on the other hand, we see her show another side that adds another layer to her character in a way I wasn’t expecting, how did it feel adding those more complex layers to her character? Was it a natural progression for her character?
Tara: The whole series – particularly the last three novels – have been working towards the events in Assassin. Mak has been pushed to her limits and she finds out just how far she will go to protect herself and her loved ones. She discovers a new dark side that was strongly hinted at in Siren, and through all of it she has to work hard to keep hold of her own humanity and her own identity. Which is hard to do when there is a price on your head, you have to use fake IDs and live under the radar…
Maddi: The ending was once again surprising, which is what we are looking for in a series, keeps us guessing and you have me guessing … do you know what you’re doing with Mak next?
Tara: This sixth novel will be the last in the Mak Vanderwall series. It has been an incredible 15 years writing Mak, and Assassin completes her story. It’s time to let her go. It won’t be easy, I’m sure.
Maddi: You’ve been writing stories about Mak for many years now; what is your favourite aspect of her character as she’s developed along the way? How important is a main character to grow and change as we do in story telling?
Tara: I have been writing Mak for 15 years now and a lot has changed in her life – and mine. The series sees her evolve from a tough and smart, but in some ways naive young woman to a vigilante of sorts. She has seen the dark side of humanity – greed, sadism and violence – and she responds by doing whatever she has to in order to survive and find justice. I love the evolution of her character. Characters must go on a journey and must evolve and grow. That is especially important in series fiction.
Maddi: What has the process of developing Mak and her stories taught you about being a writer? How has your style changed over time?
Tara: The book is boss. Every writer is both a creator and a slave to the characters they write. I’ve learned that much. Characters become real in a way, they take on their own personalities and can’t be told what to do. I have also discovered that I have a real passion for research and learning. I love facts, case studies and history, and I like to take all those fascinating real life details and write them into my fiction.
Maddi: You always put in amazing prep work for your stories, have they changed the way you think of police and their work? ie. there are aspects as us, the general public, take for granted and just don’t realise how hard it is because of all the shows like CSI that make it look easy?
Tara: We owe a great deal to the women and men of the police. Cops have a tough job, physically and psychologically, and they put their lives on the line for us in a very real way. It simply isn’t like it is on TV. Some cops are haunted by unsolved crimes long after they retire. Their work humbles me.
Maddi: You’re also going well with your new series Pandora English, did you need to create a new character to move away from just being known for your writing as Mak? What do you love about this new series?
Tara: I took a chance by creating a new series with Pandora English. I had to prove to readers and to my publishers that I could write other stories, other characters and genres. I am glad it is going well, because that success will allow me greater freedom in the future. Writers can write whatever they want, but getting someone to publish it or read it is not always easy. I’m fortunate that I have the chance to grow and change as a writer, and so far my readers are willing to go with me.
Maddi: Do you have anything new up your sleeve that you can share with us? Any movie / TV series deals for Mak may be? That would be so awesome!
Tara: I have just finished writing the third Pandora English novel, The Skeleton Key, and it publishes in December with Pan Macmillan. I have more planned in the Pandora series. She’s just getting started and I will be launching her in Spanish in Spain next year, along with Assassin, which is partially set there. I also have further novels coming out with HarperCollins, including a dark thriller due for publication in 2014, unrelated to the Mak series or Pandora series. I am continuing with my blogging, freelance journalism and charity work with the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children and UNICEF, and of course my daughter keeps me quite busy. Life is exciting at the moment. I feel very lucky.
Happy reading, Tara x