Last month on September 24, 2016, I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in an Author Q&A in the Book Whore’s Facebook Group. Of course September was a bit crazy and stressful for me and my family so I didn’t have a chance to post this until now. I had a great time and thought that they asked me some really wonderful questions geared at getting to know me versus just promoting my latest book. I was very thankful and appreciative of that. So here are the questions and answers from my Q&A. Enjoy!
Q: Tawa, have you always wanted to be a writer and how long have you been writing for?
A: I was one of those kids who was always lost in my own world and as a child I always had a book in my hand. I absolutely adore the written word so yes, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. As with most things in life I was thrown a curveball and right out of high school I found out I was pregnant. I had a beautiful son but he had special needs (ADHD). When I finally got around to going to college I ended up taking a lot of child development and psychology classes to learn ways to help my son. I ended up finding a calling in psychology and put my dreams of being a writer on hold. Cut to 2010, I found myself divorced; raising a child and a good friend of mine suggested I write my story, you know to heal. Well, I wasn’t prepared to do that. I mean, YIKES! But I did find a home in fan fiction, which let me explore writing again.
Q: I want to talk a little about your book Helios Awakened, what gave you the inspiration to write it? How long did it take you to write?
A: Ahhh, I do love me some Helios. The inspiration for the story came from something in real life. The situation wasn’t the same but the idea of this man who had done something while using and the prolonged cost it had on his life was something I had witnessed with a family member. So then I just started thinking about what it would be like for my character, what was his back story, and whether love was really enough to right the wrongs of ones past. The story really flowed for me. I wrote the first two ‘books’ back to back and then took a break before finishing the story. So total it probably took me about 6-8 months to write the first three books. Now, I will say that this story is an Adult Romance an as such there is cursing and some sexual situations. It’s not overly done but it is still in there.
Q: When you are not slaving away writing, what do you like to do for fun?
A: I love dance. I’m Native American and while I can’t dance myself anymore I love watching my daughter dance away at pow wows. She’s also dances on a studio team so I get to enjoy her perform ballet, jazz, tap and hip hop as well. I also just love reading (of course!) and try to read as much as I can. I’m still one of those people that have a book on me and I’m also am a sucker for indie movies, you know those low budget films with no major star in it that are playing in like ONE theater… LOL
Q: I want to talk a little about your book Helios Beginnings, what gave you the inspiration to write it? How long did it take you to write? You kinda already covered some of this 🙂
A: When I initially wrote Helios Awakened I included all of Andrew’s backstory in the book itself but it made it feel really choppy, going back and forth between the past and present, so I decided to pull all the back story out and make it into its own separate story, as concise as I could, then of course I added a bit more to it. I really liked reading it that way and hope that readers do as well.
Q: Do you have a favorite book of yours?
A: Oh gosh no, that’s like asking if I have a favorite child 😉 I love each one for different reasons though. There are some characters that talk to me more than others but they always speak to me, well, sometimes they just glare at me but its sort of the same thing… LOL
Q: What authors inspire you and if you could co-write a book with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
A: Probably my two biggest writing inspirations are Maya Angelou and Ernest Hemingway which coincidently would be the two authors who I’d love to co-write with… LOL… of course, I would probably drop off the wagon if Ernie and I were hanging 😉 I have co-written a story before though. It was with my long time editor Amanda and would love to do that again. I think our styles mesh really well together just got to get her to actually publish. Still working on that one
Q: Would you change anything about your books or would you do anything differently with them?
A: Well, I think with Helios Awakened, it was my first time writing strictly in third person and I probably got a little carried away with giving characters a voice… LOL… I will say I did a better job on that in books 2 & 3 but I think if I were to change something I probably would tone that down a tad in book 1, other than that I’m extremely proud of my stories. Of course, I don’t read them once their published. I’m too critical and would probably want to change things!
Q: I want to talk a little about your book Thirty Eight, which I understand you co-wrote with your daughter. That is awesome! What gave you the inspiration to write it? How long did it take you to write?
A: Yes, Thirty Eight I wrote with my daughter who was 12 at the time. When I was getting the feel of writing again and doing fanfiction my daughter would often ask me if she could write with me. Obviously that was a big fat no when it came to FF… LOL… but after I was done with the FF world I told her we would definitely write a story together. After all, the window of ‘I want to do things with mom’ is rather small once adolescents hits so I jumped at the opportunity. We were actually working on another story when inspiration for Thirty Eight came. She was on the Dakota 38 Ride and while she was gone I kept having a recurring dream of what turned out to be one of the pivotal scenes in the story. When she came back from the ride I asked her if she would be willing to put our other story on hold for a bit so we could write Thirty Eight and she was 100% in agreement. The story follows a young girl who goes on this memorial horse ride to honor her father who passed away in the line of duty. In the process she sort of finds herself as a young Native woman and what that means for her future. It took us about 6 months to finish it. And, the cool thing about it is that all the royalties we earn on the book we are donating to the annual Dakota 38 Ride. As of today, we have raised $919. We’re only $81 short of our goal of $1000 by December 10th.
Q: Do you have any additional books in the works?
A: The rest of the Helios Chronicles is nearly complete so that will finish over the next 8 months. Helios Exposed will be out in January and then Helios Renewed will be out in June or July. The epilogue novella, Helios Forever, will be out in July or August. I also have a short story in the Thrill of the Hunt anthology called Horror in Grieselton that will be out on Oct 1st. It’s actually a prequel novella to a young adult series I’m working on with my daughter called The Diakrisis Tales, the one we put on hold to write Thirty Eight. It follows a teen girl who finds she has special ‘gifts’ that help her combat evil. The first book in that series, an Unexpected Gift, should be out late 2017. I also have a crime/suspense series called The Talionic Files that I’m working on. The first book is nearly done but the second book needs to be mapped out. I’m expecting the first in the series to be out sometime in 2018.
Q: Who has been the hardest character to write so far and why?
A: I think the hardest character I ever wrote was in a FF story that I don’t plan on publishing, mostly because her story bore a resemblance to mine. Some of the things she went through, I went through so it felt very raw to me. I always joked that the story was probably the closest I’d ever get to writing an autobiography, except well, in her story she got her HEA with the hot guy 😉 But writing her was a great learning experience for me and helped me recognize where my limits were. Otherwise most of my characters tend to be very easy for me. I usually incorporate a little piece of me in them, whether it’s my fave coffee or sports team or musician. And I think with my training as a psychologist nothing really is too difficult to write, even the bad guys have their own special appeal.
Q: If you could pick any actors to play a book to movie, which book of yours would you choose and who would your main male/female character be?
A: Man, isn’t that the ultimate? Ummm, I think I would love to see The Helios Chronicles made into a movie cause, just damn! I love Andrew so much but ultimately I think the story I would really like to see is a spin off from the Helios Chronicles called ‘Sunday Kind of Love’. It’s a novella chronicling the early lives of Jayden’s parents, Elias and Liam Bennett. I plan on publishing their story but probably not until 2018. Now, generally when I write stories I usually have actors in mind for the main characters so when I wrote the Bennett’s I pictured Benjamin Bratt as Elias and Jason O’Mara as Liam. Talk about a hot pairing! And yes, I recognize that I have a seriously unhealthy obsession with that couple *swoon*
Q: What wise words of advice would you give to aspiring writers? And what is something you would encourage them to do regarding getting started?
A: I think the best advice I can give is to just do it, write the story in your heart in spite of the obstacles in your way. And get an editor, preferably a developmental one! Work with someone who will help you make your story better, who will help you with timelines and plot holes. But, yeah, most importantly just write, go for it!
Q: Do you have anything else you want our guest to know about you or anything random you want to tell us?
A: Oh, I love random! Okay, here goes… are you ready? I LOVE COFFEE!!!! I’m totally addicted to it, yeah, I know that’s not that interesting but hey, I’m inherently just a normal gal, I leave the interesting things to my characters 🙂
Thank you so much DiAnne for being such a great host and for being interested in all my work. I hope that we can do it again some day 🙂