And I’m back with another author interview, this time with Tanya Chris!
What’s your name, what do you write, where can readers find you on social media?
Hi, I’m Tanya and I write romances about kind people in mutually supportive relationships. I’m on Twitter as @tanyachrs and Facebook as Tanya Chris Publishing. My website is: http://www.tanyachris.com/
If you could be any mythological being, what or who would you be?
It would be nice to be an angel who could touch people’s lives and make miracles happen.
- What got you interested in writing?
I’ve been a reader since before I can remember, so I think I always wanted to be a writer, but I was intimidated by the process and a fear of failure so my efforts never got very far off the ground.
- When did you become SERIOUS about writing?
In 2014, I did NaNoWriMo. It wasn’t the first time I’d done NaNo, but it was the first time I finished what I’d been working on and liked the result enough to take some next steps with it. I’ve been writing seriously ever since then, amounting to nearly a million words in two and a half years.
- What inspired your book?
My New Adult romance, When It All Falls Down, was inspired by a sad memory that has always haunted me. A popular boy in my high school class accidentally killed a child with his car towards the end of our senior year. I remember seeing him standing by himself, looking out of a window, and wondering what had happened to all his friends. That moment became the opening moment of When It All Falls Down. The narrator, Charlie, has more courage than I did, and he does what I wish I could go back in time and do – he approaches the heartbroken boy at the window.
- What is the book about?
It’s about Drew who, until the accident, was something of a golden boy—popular, rich, a good student—and Charlie, who’s been living with loneliness since coming out when he turned eighteen. Charlie approaches Drew because he can’t stand seeing Drew suffer alone and from there they form a friendship which deepens into more as Charlie helps Drew cope with the consequences of the accident.
- What are the characters like?
Drew is really sweet. He’s popular because he’s nice to everyone, but he discovers after the accident that most of his relationships, even with his own parents, were superficial and based on him being who everyone expected him to be. He’s never really asked himself who he wants to be.
Charlie’s part geek, part goth. He’s tough on the outside and won’t let his friends know how hurt he was by their reaction when he came out, but he adores Drew and would do anything to make him feel better. He’s not sure if Drew is really attracted to him or just needs cuddles, so he holds back on taking their relationship to the next level.
- Who should pick up your book and why?
Although the characters are in high school, the themes—that relationships are more important than accomplishments and that relationships require work and forgiveness—are universal to any age. Charlie and Drew are young, but by the end of the book they’ve gone through a lot and they know what they want.
- Favorite quote from your own work?
Andrew Lavoitt was never meant to be an island. He was the most popular boy in our graduating class after all. Literally. In our yearbook, fresh off the presses last week, there was a photo labelled Most Popular Boy, and the photo was of Andrew Lavoitt—lacquered dark brown hair and wide, dark brown eyes, dressed in a lime green polo and over-dyed skinny jeans, sporting a grin so sincere it didn’t make you want to smack it off his face, not even with the label “Most Popular” hanging over his head.
- Traditional or Self-publishing? Why?
I’m self-published. Traditional publishing wants us to write inside a box, and I want to be free to write what inspires me, not what fits the pre-defined requirements of a publisher’s imprint. A lot of my work crosses boundaries or bounces between genres.
- If you could only write in one genre for the rest of your life what would it be and why?
LOL. See above. I don’t think I could do it.
- Name one book that affected the way you write?
I remember reading William Strunk’s The Elements of Style back when I was in high school and taking it really seriously. I’m not Hemingway, but I strive to keep my prose clean and use simple words when simple words will do. I’m also kind of a punctuation geek.
- Three authors you recommend and why?
Nora Roberts was an early favorite of mine, back before I was writing myself. I remember being impressed by how different her characters and their relationships were from book to book, especially considering how many books she wrote. She also does a great job of writing women who are positive role models.
Stephen King gives great dialogue and absolutely used to terrify me, but be careful of his writing tips. He gets unnecessarily definitive.
I get tired of hearing people rank on Stephanie Meyers. The Twilight books are entertaining and original. They’re romantic without hyper sexualizing women, and I don’t care what anyone says, they aren’t stalker-ish or fragile-heroine-ish. Both of those tropes piss me off, and Twilight doesn’t.
- If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
I’d like everyone to feel safe so they wouldn’t have to act hateful.
- What do you believe is your main purpose/motivation as a writer?
I can’t help trying to mix romance with moral messages. I’m currently working on a romance set during the Salem Witch Trials which draws parallels between what happened then and the current political climate. I also try to incorporate diversity—race, religion, ability, orientation—into every book I write.
- What’s your favorite writing-related memory?
When I sent my first completed manuscript out to beta readers, one of them came back with a comment to the effect that if she’d paid for it, she wouldn’t have felt ripped off. I felt like a writer.
- What’s a favorite moment you’ve had with a fan/someone who’s read your work?
One of my Twitter friends recently live-tweeted herself reading of one of my books. I really enjoyed that.
- One fun fact most people don’t know about you?
I’m a lot older than my author picture would suggest because it was taken thirty years ago. Is that fun? Now that I think about it, it’s not fun for me!
- One piece of advice you would give to new writers?
“Write what you want to read” is the one that finally worked for me. All those attempts I’d made over the years to write something marketable never resulted in any finished manuscripts, never mind any marketable ones. Now I write the book I want to read and sometimes it turns out that other people want to read it too.
As always, keep making magic, word weavers!