One of the pleasures of Tim’s Curious Questions is that I get to learn some fascinating details about lots of authors and other interesting people online, and today’s guest is no exception. Tahlia Newland is an Australian author who is the founder of the excellent website Awesome Indies, which promotes books by independent authors which are at least as well written, edited and presented as those by established publishing houses. The majority of books which apply to this site are rejected, but I’m delighted to say that mine were not, and one – Bold Counsel – even has the Awesome Indies Seal of Excellence.
Tahlia Newland herself is an award-winning author of books which she describes as ‘fantasy and magical realism with a metaphysical twist. As well as being an author and running Awesome Indies she has had extensive training in meditation and Buddhist philosophy and lives in an Australian rainforest south of Sydney.
So, Tahlia, first curious question. What is the most important choice you have made in your life? What might have happened if you had chosen differently?
At the age of twenty two, I quit my job as a school teacher, and followed my heart into the performing arts. That was a pretty radical decision because I left the security of a regular job for a life that, for most people, didn’t pay very well, even of they could get a job. I learned to live on very little and I had a ball.
I began as a dancer, then turned to mask, mine and clowning and eventually became quite well known in Australia for visual theatre in education. I met my husband while we were both dancers and we toured all over Australia and New Zealand together. Few people last very long as a performing artist, but I survived for twenty five years. I’m glad that I had the courage to make that radical leap then, because it makes it easier now to trust that I can make a living writing as well. I follow the saying, ‘do what makes your heart sing and the universe will provide.’
If I hadn’t made that choice, I could well be a desiccated old teacher now. As it is, I do the occasional teaching day in a high school, but I’m glad I haven’t been doing it for thirty years—except for the superannuation; that would be nice.
I bet there are lots of schoolteachers all over the world who are thinking ‘I wonder what would have happened to me if I’d been brave enough to do something like that. Your choices seem to have made you fairly self reliant, so let’s try this question. You wake up at 3 am. It’s dark and quiet. You press the light switch, but no light comes on. What next?
I turn my torch back on—I don’t get up without one because there’s no street lights where I live—and I go to the power room and check the circuit breaker. If it’s off, I turn it on. If it’s still on, then I check the inverter—you have no idea what I’m talking about, do you? J—I might just have to reset the inverter, but if that’s not the problem, I’ll go back to bed and let my husband look at it in the morning. He’s the electricity wizz.
I don’t panic because my house runs on solar and water power. It has no mains electricity at all. I live in the bush and I’m used to the dark and the idiosyncrasies of a stand-alone power system.
I bet you haven’t had that answer before!
Typical Aussie answer, I reckon. You’re dead right, I’ve no idea what an inverter might be. But I see you’re like Maggie Thatcher – she never slept without a torch after the IRA tried to kill her by blowing up Brighton Grand Hotel in the middle of the night, with her in it. Useful invention, the electric torch. Are there any other inventions which have made a big difference to your life?
My slinky apple peeler is the most awesome invention ever. It makes it really easy to peel and slice apples for apple pie and apple crumble. We have lots of yummy stewed apples in my house these days.
I’m beginning to see that you’re a really practical lady. Ok, final question: in everyday life what annoys you the most?
When I first read this question, I thought, ‘nothing bugs me; I’m a very easy going person.’ Then I realised that there was something. It’s people who don’t fill in forms properly. The form used for submissions to the Awesome Indies site is pretty clear, but you’d be amazed how many authors either leave things out, so I have to email them and ask for it, or the links they give me to information isn’t to the information I asked for. One author even filled in three fields with the words, ‘Don’t have one yet.’ If I wasn’t such a polite person I would have told him not to waste my time. As it was, I merely suggested that he reapply when he had the required information.
I love the authors who provide everything I ask for, they make my job as administrator of the Awesome Indies list so much easier than those who think that I’m either not going to check the information, or that it have time to chase after information that they couldn’t be bothered to find! I have been known to clap my hands in joy over a perfectly completed form. I have also been known to mutter, ‘how can they write a book if they can’t even fill in a form?’ There, that’s my grumble over.
So now you know! If you want your book to be considered, fill in the form correctly! Ok, Tahlia, tell us a little about your own books, please.
I’ve just released book three in the Diamond Peak Series, a new adult contemporary fantasy series that follows the journey of Ariel as she climbs a mountain in a hidden realm to rescue her mother from the Master Demon. In this pivotal installment, Ariel faces her greatest challenge yet, a demon that preys on her inexperience in matters of the heart. If she succumbs to his seduction, she risks becoming his mindless slave.
Her boyfriend, Nick takes it upon himself to save Ariel from herself, but the difficulty of the task threatens to break his heart. Though a heartening prophecy is revealed, new allies are found, a fire escaped and a battle won, in the end, Ariel must face the demon alone.
It’s always best to start at the beginning of a series though, so to inspire you to do just that, book one in the series is only 99c until the 6th July on Kindle and Kobo, so pick it up and read your way to the top of Diamond Peak.
Wonderful – a bargain! Readers, grab it now! Have you had any good reviews for the Diamond Peak Series?
Yes. Here are a few.
“I can’t even begin to describe all of the action you’ll find in this highly imaginative journey. This is a fantastic depiction of a fight between good and evil.” Crazy Four Books.
“A magical world with an exceptionally well-written ribbon of “real world” weaved throughout.” Twisted Sense Book Blog.
“This world is the context for Ariel, a young woman in the grip of a prophecy, desperately trying to rescue her mother before her mother is killed… or worse.” Ruthanne Reid, author of The Sundered.
“A beautifully written, exciting fantasy-adventure with vibrant description.” Krisi Keley, author of Mareritt.
Well, thank you very much, Tahlia – and thank you once again for all the creative effort you’re putting into the Awesome Indies website. It’s a wonderful idea and a great site – I advise everyone to take a look. For a closer look at Tahlia’s books, click on one of the links below.
Purchase Points for Demon’s Grip.
If you would like to learn more, you can join Tahlia on Facebook , Twitter or Google+ You can even fan her on Goodreads. When not reading, writing, reviewing or mentoring authors you may find her being an extremely casual high school teacher or making decorative masks. Tahlia began writing full time in 2008 after twenty years in the performing arts and a five-year stint as a creative and performing arts teacher in a High School. In 2012, she set up the Awesome Indies List to showcase quality independent fiction. She has had extensive training in meditation and Buddhist philosophy and lives in an Australian rainforest south of Sydney. Creativity is her middle name!
Did you enjoy this post? Subscribe to my blog and you won’t miss the next one! It’s easy: just enter your email address in the upper right hand corner of this page. And don’t worry – I’ll never sell, share or rent your contact information. That’s a promise!