Dream Breachers season two is here!
To celebrate, we decided to sit down (virtually!) with creator, Tara Altebrando, and get a behind-the-scenes look into her life as a mom and writer.
Without further ado, check out her interview below!
Q&A With Tara Altebrando — Dream Breachers
Hi there! To start, why don't you tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to work with Pinna?
Of course! I'm primarily a novelist, mostly working in the young adult space. But I'm also a mom, and my children and I discovered Pinna a few years ago and I decided that writing for audio was absolutely something I wanted to try. It seemed like it would be much more fun and collaborative than writing novels. So I reached out to Pinna with a few story ideas and Dream Breachers got the go-ahead. It's been really interesting and challenging for me to work in a new format and to think about stories completely differently...from a sound-only perspective. Writing for audio is also much more collaborative than writing a novel so it has been great fun to be part of a bigger creative enterprise.
What led you to this career choice? Any advice for our readers who may be interested in pursuing this path?
I've always been a writer. Ever since I was young I kept diaries and wrote short stories. Then, I wrote for my high school's newspaper and eventually was an editor of an arts paper in college. My first real jobs were at magazines and then I eventually turned to fiction...and now audio fiction. I think that to be a good writer, you need to read everything you can get your hands on and then think about why it's working — or not. Writing for audio means honing your own listening skills...and the fun thing is that you can practice that anywhere at any time.
Here's a page from a diary I kept in the 5th grade!
Growing up, what was your dream job? How does that compare to what you're doing now?
As a kid, I often dreamed of being an Olympic figure skater; that obviously did not pan out. For a long time, I thought I wanted to be a musician in a pit orchestra on Broadway, which I guess is a more realistic dream...but still one I did not pursue. Writing just took over at some point and now I'm not sure what else I'd actually be qualified to do. So what I'm doing now is absolutely my dream job. I get to make up stories and shape them and put them out into the world. I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing.
What (or who!) inspires you? We'd love to hear more about your creative process!
I'm inspired by great, high-concept premises. I love it when an idea pops into my head and then I feel invigorated by the process of letting a story play out on its own terms. When I read about a book or movie with a killer concept, I sometimes get super jealous. So I always start with a premise that really excites me then write a few pages that I think capture the tone, just to get myself going. I used to write flap copy for books as a part-time job, so I usually write the jacket copy for my own ideas just for fun. Then I write pages and pages until I hit a wall...then stop and figure out why I hit that wall and how to break through it. With Dream Breachers, the premise came from a conversation with my daughter. She told me she'd dreamed she got a dog. I was not interested in getting a dog at all and said, "That's the only way you're getting one." Then I was like, "Hey wow. That's a story." I immediately started taking notes.
Okay, let's have a little fun! If you could travel anywhere in the entire world, where would you go and why?
Wow. Right now I have a long list of places I'd like to go...and I've travelled pretty extensively in my life so far...but I've never been to Australia and I'd love to. I'm specifically drawn to Tasmania; it just looks so otherworldly and beautiful.
Do you have any furry (or scaly!) friends keeping you company while you work?
We got a puppy last year (the children wore me down!) and he's definitely into just sitting on my lap while I work or snoozing under my desk. His name is Honeyduke, which Potter fans will know is the name of the sweet shop in the books. I like having a dog because you can't just sit and write all day every day; you need time to pause and consider next steps along the way. So dog walks are a great time for me to think through what I'm working on.
Here's a picture of Honeyduke and me!
Let's talk food! If you could only eat one thing every single day for the rest of your life, what would it be? Why?
I actually find the idea of eating only one thing every day forever incredibly depressing! I LOVE food and eat really well, both at home and out at restaurants in Queens, NY — where I live, and which has the most amazing food diversity of any place I've ever been. If I had to pick something, though, it would probably be...aaaaah. I can't do it! I won't! You can't make me!
What do you enjoy listening to — music, podcasts, audiobooks? Can we get a sneak peek at your playlist? ;)
I've got a few favorite bands that I have on repeat lately: strangely, they are mostly Australian indie acts like Middle Kids and Ruby Fields. Our whole family is absolutely obsessed with Olivia Rodrigo, though, so that is also played loudly — and often! On my own, with AirPods, I listen to a lot of true crime podcasts and I love a good thriller on audiobook so I can listen while I'm cooking or puttering around. As a family, we love listening to Pinna favorites like Grimm, Grimmer, Grimmest and we've just started Mackaroy Uncovered (I know! Again with Australia!).
Wrapping up, can you share where our readers can follow you to keep up with your work?
I've got an author page on Facebook and I share career news on Twitter @taraaltebrando. I've got a few projects that I'm kicking around now — books AND audio — so stay tuned for new and exciting things coming!
Well, there you have it...an exclusive interview with popular author and podcast creator, Tara Altebrando.
We hope you enjoyed this Q&A as much as we did.
Catch up on Season 1 of Dream Breachers and start listening to Season 2, out now!
We’re all ears!