Author Interview: Tabitha Caplinger

SP: Hi Tabitha! Thanks for joining us! Before we get into book stuff, we’d LOVE to know a bit about you and your writing journey.

HI! Thanks so much for having me! The basics about me are I am a wife, mom of two sassy girls and aside from writing the book words, I am also an ordained minister. My husband and I are currently the student pastors at Faith Community Church in House Springs, MO.

I never considered being a writer growing up. I have always had an active imagination, and I think there has always been one story or another spinning around in my brain. But writing never occurred to me. After high school I spent two semesters at Sweet Brian College and randomly declared a major in creative writing. For those two semesters I took some of the most amazing writing classes. Then God pulled me toward pastoral ministry so I left that school for Bible College. Fast forward to my thirties and the idea of writing a book began to pull at my heart. Being a pastor I thought I should write nonfiction, so I did. I self-published one collection of essays on being a woman in ministry. But my heart longed to tell stories. So after some wrestling with myself and what I thought I should do, I turned to writing fiction. After my first book, I started questioning if this was the right path and feeling inadequate as a writer. I felt like I didn’t have the same training or education in writing. Then I was reminded of those two semesters of classes and saw how everything had been woven together. 

In the middle of all of that I realized I could marry my love for story with my desire to teach the truth of God’s Word. The two are irrevocably connected in my heart. 

SP: We’ve been so excited about your new book, THE WOLF QUEEN. The cover is gorgeous! Can you tell us about it?

Me too!! I am so proud of this story! 

Ylva was raised by wolves. That is the story the villagers tell of their Wolf Queen. The truth is far more miraculous. Her Gift, bestowed by the Light, enables her to see deep inside the hearts of men. 

Prince Rohan considers the Light mere superstition and only believes in what he can see with his own eyes. 

But a great evil is infecting the Four Realms. The battle between the Light and the Darkness is no longer bound to human hearts, and words Ylva and Rohan thought were just legend are being whispered again. The dragon is rising.

SP:  Can you tell us what inspired you to write THE WOLF QUEEN and what did the publication journey look like? 

It’s funny, but the smallest things can spark a story idea for me; a song lyric, picture, or one random line. The Wolf Queen was inspired by my youngest daughter. About four years ago she came over to me and put her little wolf stuffed animal on my head and said, “Look Mommy! You’re the wolf queen!” That did it! That title, The Wolf Queen, got me asking questions about this queen and her wolves and her purpose, which turned into this book. 

The Wolf Queen finding its way to publication has been a cool journey. At first, the publisher I worked with for my trilogy passed. They liked the story but didn’t think they had room for it at the time as they were setting some business goals that were stepping outside the fantasy genre a bit more this year. I was disappointed but understood. (I really have such an awesome publisher who I am so grateful for.) I started shopping my manuscript around to other small presses and agents and, as is what happens in the industry, did a lot of waiting. I got some rejections and also a little interest, but nothing firm. About six months into looking for a publisher, my original publisher, Blue Ink Press, called out of the blue to say they loved the story and loved me and wanted to make room for it if it was still available. I was so thrilled and grateful because this small press really works hard to put out quality work. It is awesome working with a press that really values me and my stories.

SP:  What is it like being a mom, pastor, and author? That combo is just so intriguing! Are there any unique challenges you face as a pastor and author of young adult fiction?

Some days it is a lot to balance. It has taken some time to figure out the right rhythm to everything. 2020 with its sheltering in place and then deciding to homeschool my girls, threw everything for a loop and has required coming up with a brand new rhythm. But I am getting there and smoothing out the kinks to it all. There are just so many moving parts to all the areas of my life. Being intentional with my time management and self-care is really important. 

The biggest challenge I faced as a pastor/author was the tension between giving time and energy to writing fiction and still prioritizing ministry. When I realized that writing and pastoring are both forms of ministry and purpose in my life which can thread together, it changed the game for me. Sermon and story no longer compete but are connected in a way that I find really beautiful.

SP: What’s your favorite line from your book? 

Oh, that is a tough one! There are so many that were fun to write. But I think if I have to choose just one, it would be the battle cry of the armies of the Four Realms, “May the Light lead you, and the Darkness fear you.” It encompasses the tone and theme of the whole story. 

SP: Oh I love that line! If your main character could give a word of advice to your readers, what would it be? 

To not underestimate yourself. She would want readers to value themselves as beings loved deeply by the Light,  and not be swayed by the opinions or perceptions of others. 

SP: Is Tabitha a…

Plotter/pantster?  – A flexible plotter. 

Last book you read? – Dune (audiobook) and Met by Midnight by Janeen Ippolito (physical book)

Current dream vacation spot? – Sweden, or Ireland, or a mountain cabin in Montana. 

Something always in your fridge? – Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate/Sea Salt Caramel Squares and half and half. 

Would you rather be a professional: Marine Biologist? Spy? Opera Singer? Brain Surgeon? OR? – Archaeologist maybe. Or film director. That’s a tough one because I actually just really love being a pastor and author so I don’t think about other stuff. 

Favorite childhood book?  – I really loved The Boxcar Children books and Nancy Drew. 

SP: Thanks so much for sharing with us, Tabitha! THE WOLF QUEEN is a beautiful book are we’re excited to share it with the world!

Thank you again for having me! 

SP: If you’re interested in learning more about Tabitha and THE WOLF QUEEN, you can find her on IG at @tab_caplinger and on Goodreads. Thanks for joining us today!

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