It was an absolute pleasure to catch up with British author, Tania Tirraoro.
Normally, I wouldn't give a second thought as to where an author lived and would not bring attention to it but, when reading This Last Summer and seeing words such as kerb instead of curb, I started wrinkling my forehead.
There were other little things, too, but when I read about a character getting into a vehicle and sitting in the front passenger seat on the left, it was a dead giveaway that Tania Tirraoro was in one of two categories: an author who visited parts of Europe and based a story on a trip she had taken there or she was, indeed, from that part of the world. I couldn't wait to find out!
Here is the result of a recent interview I had with Tania and I'm sure you will enjoy catching up with her, as I did.
Norma: When did you first realize that you wanted to write and publish a book? How old/young were you at the time?
Tania: I've written for a living all my working life, as a journalist. However, I first started writing (or trying to write) a novel when I was 24; that was unfinished. My second, which I did finish and has been lost to the technology changes of time, was finished when I was about 28. Then family life, and special needs children took over and I didn't write my third, This Last Summer, until 2007, just after my mother had passed away from Pancreatic Cancer – so I write about that terrible illness in the book from close experience.
Norma: From its inception, how long did it take you to write and publish your first book? Was the experience mostly rewarding or filled with varying levels of frustration?
Tania: I wrote it in 2007 and finished it in 2008. I then did little with it, having a few rejections and then giving up until I uploaded it to Authonomy in 2009. It got lots of great reviews there, so this increased my confidence and when Kindle came about, I published it there. I always believed it was a good book – not frivolous but not difficult to read. I hope others who read it feel the same.
Norma: Are you currently writing another book which you hope to publish at some point? If so, we'd love to hear more about it.
Tania: I have another book – a light romance which I wrote in three months called Sweet Seduction. It's doing pretty well on Kindle so I'm bringing it out as a paperback in the next few weeks. It's very different to This Last Summer. It's a little light relief, a bit Harlequin-esque, though the characters still have to overcome difficulties.
I also have a new non-fiction title, Special Educational Needs, Getting Started With Statements, mainly aimed at the UK market to help people get the support they need for their SEN children. It's a practical advice book based on my experience of working through the education system with my two sons who have Asperger Syndrome. It's been very well received so far – this is an important issue for so many parents.
Norma: If you have published multiple titles, which book is your favourite and why? If you can't decide on one favourite, that's OK; break the rules and give us two or three.
Tania: I love This Last Summer. It was cathartic to write and many of the stories Maddie goes out on actually happened to me when I was a young TV reporter. My SEN book means a lot because it's aimed at helping other parents.
Norma: Who has been a major source of inspiration for you as a writer/author?
Tania: The late author - Carol Shields - whose writing I can only aspire to, Janet Evanovich's book, How I Write, and my circle of online independent writer friends who I connect with every day.
Norma: What is your ultimate dream, in terms of being a writer/author?
Tania: Respect rather than money, which is probably just as well!
Norma: What is one of your favourite quotes? It can be from a book you wrote or something you heard throughout your life. If you did not write it, please cite the source, if possible.
Tania: I'm not religious, but I remember seeing a poster in my school classroom with a poem on where a person was complaining to Jesus that he had abandoned him in hard times because he could only see one set of footprints in the sand. And Jesus said, "That was when I carried you." I just looked up the source; it was Mary Stevenson, Footprints in the Sand.
Norma: Tell us a little about your life. What does an average day look like?
Tania: Wake at 6.15 a.m. Have a cup of Earl Grey tea in bed with my husband. Then get the boys up, dressed and drive them to their specialist school five miles away just after 8:00 a.m. Then home to work, either on my special needs site, Special Needs Jungle or for the three heart rhythm charities I do PR for.
Then, if I have a fair wind (enough energy), I might some time to work on my WIP. I also design covers for ebooks, which I really enjoy. Then it's back to pick the boys up and into the evening routine of making dinner. Before you know it, it's nine o'clock and I fight for the remote control with my oldest son; I usually win.
Norma: What are three of your favourite hobbies?
Tania: I don't have hobbies – I'm totally involved with everything above. I'll try to read whenever I can, though.
Norma's closing thoughts:
Tania, hopefully, you'll be able to carve out some time to develop a few hobbies so that life does not solely become all work and no play. Even so, I admire the fact that you can reach out to others, granting them the benefit of your past experience - especially in dealing with issues pertaining to special needs. May God continue to bless you as you reach out to others.
If you would like to learn more about Tania Tirraoro, feel free to visit her website. You can follow her at Twitter by following TaniaLT or SpcialNdsJungle. Of course, you can also catch up with Tania at Facebook and visit her channel at YouTube. To check out her books at Amazon, click here.