The very first author I would like to introduce you all to is Taya (Teija)! I had a really good time reading her interview and hope you all enjoy it as well!
Are you an indie author or a traditionally published author?
I’m a proud indie! I published my first trilogy through a small indie publisher in 2019. I’m now working on two different Dystopian fiction series that I’ll be publishing through KDP on my own. My husband and business partner, Chris, is helping me with marketing and release strategies, which is making this process so much fun!
Tell me a little about your writing journey, thus far.
I started writing a blog about my life after moving away from my home country, Finland. I first lived in Hereford, UK, and then, later on, moved to Vermont in the United States. We moved quite a lot, and I ended up living in eight different cities in five different states during my seven years in America. The more I experienced while seeing the world (well, North America), the more I had to write. It became my second nature.
Do you write under a pseudonym? If so explain why.
I write under Taya DeVere, which is basically my “Americanized name.” I wanted to write with my real name but also differentiate my author’s life from my real life. So far, this compromise has worked brilliantly for me.
What genre do you write and why?
My first trilogy “BORDERLINE” was contemporary fiction / women’s fiction. The two new series that I’m writing now are both dystopian fiction. One is dystopian sci-fi, the other post-apocalyptic dystopian. Each book I’ve written is character-driven and focuses on humanity. The trouble our world is in today inspires me to write about the future. I guess it’s therefore natural I’m writing dystopian stories.
What are you currently working on?
The dystopian sci-fi series is a novella series. Each book will be released with a related short story. As of today, I’m writing the fourth book + short story. At the same time, we’re working with a cover artist, two editors, and multiple beta-readers to make sure everything is as close to perfection as possible.
What inspired you to write your books?
My idea for the BORDERLINE books came after I had lived in the United States for a few years. What if I never left Finland? What would my life have been like back home? The books take place in two alternate realities, one in Finland and one in America. I think this premise gave the story an interesting twist compared to other contemporary fiction out there. One of my readers described the books to be “raw yet funny.” I found that to be an excellent way to describe the series.
What are your top 5 favorite books?
“Stumbling” by C.M. Martens
“The Heart Goes Last” by Margaret Atwood
“Wool” by Hugh Howey
“The Dog Stars” by Peter Heller
“To Mend a Broken Heart” by Myunique Green
What does literary success look like to you?
I got an email from a reader / reviewer after she read “Between Two Doors” (the first book in the BORDERLINE series). She told me she had struggled with her life as is, with depression and anxiety, caused by work and people, and life in general. She told me my story gave her hope and new momentum to fix what’s broken. This was my goal for the series: For my story to help someone else who’s lost.
One time my yoga instructor friend has read one of my blog posts to a room full of students (after practice, during ten-minute relaxation). She said the whole room was in tears while she was reading. Multiple people came to thank her for the story before leaving the studio. That felt amazing.
How many hours a day do you write? What is your writing routine?
When I’m in the middle of writing a new book, I aim for 1800 words per day. If I have side projects or editing going on the side, I usually focus solely on those projects just to get them done. I’m a bit of a scatterbrain; it’s easier to focus on one mess at a time. Lucky for me, I have an amazing(ly patient) editor.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it be and why?
Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale. I would have kept writing the book to show what happened to June. The literary people may praise the open ending, but it bugs me beyond belief. Did they get it right in the TV show? What if they didn’t? Wasn’t Nick more of a creepo than a hero? Darn it, Margaret!
What advice would you like to give to aspiring authors?
Don’t be a jerk. A lot of authors who “have made it” (other authors, not me) have said this. I think it’s super important. We’re all in this together. Everyone’s fighting some sort of a fight you know nothing about. Everyone needs to eat and pay rent. There are enough readers for everyone. Be kind. Help each other out. Whether it’s a few encouraging words on their Facebook post, an honest review on their debut novel, or feedback on a first chapter or blurb. Be the person who lifts spirits, not the other way around.
What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
I’m glad you asked! My all-time favorite ice cream flavor is French vanilla. What? What do you mean “boring”? It’s not! I am not! French vanilla is completely misunderstood. It may first seem plain, simple, and dull. But good French vanilla is heaven. It’s simplicity with a twist. It’s a story that not everyone gets. A secret you’re about to trust with a new friend. It’s a flavor that brings people together. Because unlike raspberry-licorice, no one will turn their noses at a cone of French vanilla. They’ll happily take the cone from you and say, “Thanks for this. Though I wish it was my favorite flavor: _____________. What’s yours?”
You can view all of Taya’s fantastic books here.