Tanya Jones is a busy little bee. According to her website, she is the Publisher of the Gateway Gazette digital media, a freelance writer, a YA fantasy author, and winner of the Royal Canadian Legion Media Award; and from what I know of her, she’s highly active on Facebook and Twitter too – always talking to fans and offering help to other authors. Her debut novel, Dreams of Beautiful Whisper, was released earlier this year and is available in paperback and e-book. The book has received some great reviews (mine included), and it’s the first in The Elves of Eytherfel series. The second book, Whisper’s Beautiful Song, is expected to be released early 2016 – and I for one am excited!
What inspires you to write?
My non-fiction writing is typically inspired by a desire to help and educate people.
My fiction writing pretty much got started on a whim and after the ball got rolling then it’s become my characters and their story that inspires me and my characters are mostly inspired by the people around me, especially the teens.
Did you always know you wanted to be writer?
Yes and no. I recall always wishing I could write, I wanted to when I was younger, but I never felt creative or clever enough to put something together.
Why do you think YA fantasy is so much more popular than other YA genres?
I think there’s a part of all of us who love the magic and wonder of the fantasy realms. We want to believe the unbelievable; we have a desire for magic and mythical creatures to be real aspects of our lives. The grass is always greener on the other side and fantasy tied in with the immortality of youth is a wonderful escapism from the daily grind of reality.
Dreams of Beautiful Whisper addresses some of the problems faced by average teenagers (yes, even those who aren’t elves!). Do you think it’s important for young adult fiction to broach these issues? Which ones did you feel were most important for your book?
I’m not sure that I would say that it’s important for all young adult fiction to broach these issues, at least not head-on. But I don’t believe there is anything wrong with them being woven into stories in a natural way. Unless someone has made the choice to read self-help type material, not many readers are looking to be “taught a lesson” when they read. However, we are all influenced by the various forms of entertainment that we’re subjected to. I do believe that our society would benefit if more of that entertainment was focused on stronger, positive messages, without being in your face or preachy. As an example, show situations from the angle of the positive outcomes that result from better choices as opposed to showing the negative consequences of bad choices. I know the idea is to deter the bad choices because of the negative consequences, but we are a society of short attention spans and if we’re continually fed clips of bad choices (especially presented in a cool or comical way) then the underlying message will often get missed.
Though it wasn’t intentional when I first wrote Dreams of Beautiful Whisper, I would have to say that the problem solving skills displayed by Amanae and the positive role models ended up being two key components of my book, more so than the issues that were addressed. At the end of the day, it matters very little what the issues are that any of us face, it matters far more how we cope with them and work through them.
What’s in store for Amanae as the series continues? Can you give us a sneaky peek at book 2?
With the completion of Dreams of Beautiful Whisper, Amanae’s journey has only just begun. Book 2, Whisper’s Beautiful Song, picks up from pretty much where book 1 finished. We will finally get to meet her twin sister Amaera, and Amanae finds out just how real the warnings about the strength of her powers truly are. Amanae also learns that the development of her powers is the least of her challenges compared to the much deeper, emotional wounds of the circumstances she must face with the people surrounding her. She is faced with making choices of action between bad options, hoping to end up with the lesser of the evils. She struggles with knowledge that she can’t just simply layout for all to know.
If you had a chance to become any mythical creature, which would you become and why?
It may sound cheesy in light of my book, but I’d have to say I’d love to be an elf. Primarily because of their near immortality and powers. While there have been many variations on the portrayal of elves, I’m in love with those brought to us by J.R. Tolkien who were in part an inspiration for my own elves.
Apples or oranges: Apples
Books or films: Books
Facebook or Twitter: Facebook
Fame or riches: Riches
E-Book or paperback: E-books
Intelligence or beauty: Intelligence
Fiction or non-fiction: Fiction
Big family or small family: Big
Self-publishing or traditional publishing: Ugh – both hahaha… okay, self-publishing
Sunshine or Snow: SUNSHINE! 🙂
If you’d like to check out Tanya’s work (and it’s well worth the effort), here is her website, her Facebook page, her Twitter handle, and her Amazon author page from which you can buy her books. I’m sorry, I couldn’t get her personal phone number or her address – so for all of you wanting to pester her for details about the second book, you’re just going to have to wait!