I’ve tried my hand at poetry, short stories, and screenwriting. I’m currently working on my first novel while taking the Ultimate Novel Writing Course at Jericho Writers. I am a member of the London Writers’ Salon writing community and find it supportive and empowering. I plan to publish under the penname Tiana Dunbar.
What inspired you to start writing this book?
The idea sprang from a quote by Oscar Wilde concerning masks. At first, I had a scene in my mind, almost complete, much like a part of a movie. Then the story began weaving around it.
Describe your dream book cover.
It would show a portrait of one of my protagonists in disguise.
If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?
There are a few songs that have been accompanying me on this writing journey: “I Feel You” by Depeche Mode, “What Is Love” by Howard Jones, and “Let There Be Love” by Simple Minds. Somehow, the lyrics relate in my mind to the story. Each song has become an instant connection to the book.
What books are you reading (for research or comfort) as you continue the writing process?
Story Genius by Lisa Cron and Refuse To Be Done by Matt Bell have been with me for a while now and give me excellent pointers and food for thought.
What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?
I’ve been blind since the age of three.
Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?
Books have always been part of my life. I was very fortunate to learn Braille at age four and started writing stories and poems around age six or so. I read everything I could get from the library for the blind and anything my mom would read to me. Many authors have motivated and inspired me: Oscar Wilde, Agatha Christie, John LeCarre, William Blake… The list is long and varied.
Where is your favorite place to write?
I cannot say there is one place I prefer, but I usually find myself writing at my desk.
Do you have any writing rituals?
I often listen to classical music or jazz in the background while writing. Classical music, especially harpsichord or piano music, puts me in the right mood for writing. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I am writing historical romance and the music relates to the period in my mind.
What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?
Every reader is a perfect reader, in my mind at least. There is something exciting and unnerving in knowing your story may become so many things you never thought of while being interpreted by different readers. I hope my readers will be empowered by the theme of my story, which is the importance of remaining true to oneself, in spite of the opinions of others and the pressure of society. I want to remind my readers that they can flourish in the face of prejudice and adversity and find their own happiness, even when it seems impossible.
Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.