I love Book Fairs and Book Signings, not only for the opportunity to talk with readers and the public in general but also for the chance to interact with fellow writers. I met Tara Tyler at Mulberry Street Books in Lebanon, Ohio, where proprietor Angela is incredibly supportive of local authors. Tara, a sci-fi fantasy and adventure author, impressed me with her stories aimed at the middle-grade reader. She describes herself as “a math teacher who writes to share her passion for reading with others. She loves dogs, coffee, and is the lazy housewife, living in a world of boys with a yellow lab, three sons, and a coach husband.”
Janet Irvin: For those who don’t know you, Tara, will you share a little of your background — work, travel, places you have lived?
Tara Tyler: I’ve lived all over the eastern part of the US. I was born in Plymouth, MA, then moved to South Florida for high school, Arkansas for college, married in Georgia. Every time we had a child, it was in a different state: South Carolina, Michigan, and Ohio, where we are now. As for travel, I’ve been blessed to be able to enjoy England, Scotland, and Greece. I learned so much from each move and each trip, and I encourage everyone to travel outside their bubble at least once in their lifetime if they can!
JEI: You are a math teacher who is also a writer. How did the two worlds ‘collide’? 😉
TT: I always liked to read–but not the classics in school. I did well in English because I followed the pattern of good writing skills–a structural almost mathematical concept… I also have a wild imagination. I’m no super math genius, but I see how the puzzle fits together and I like to help others. That’s why I became a math teacher, and also why I started writing. I want to encourage young people to take a break from their phones and read more, especially my own 3 boys who are now grown.
JEI: Your chosen genre is science fiction and fantasy. Why did you choose that arena to write in?
TT: I like creating worlds with limitless possibilities. But worlds also have rules which are made to be broken, leading to good stories! I love reading and writing action-adventure stories full of anticipation and hope — with bits of comedy and a touch of romantic tension. The encouraging themes are undertones.
JEI: Your first series, Pop Travel, features an adult protagonist, doesn’t it? Yet your other two series appear geared more toward YA and middle grade. What influenced you to write for that age group?
TT: I believe I am young at heart. I don’t like to dive too deep into dark themes, so my stories are written for MG and YA. Pop Travel is “PG-13” — my middle school readers love it, but adults do, too. And my Beast World series is about teenage fantasy creatures in high school who want to make the world a better place. Teens are full of daring, curiosity, and a feeling of invincibility which makes them exciting to write.
JEI: What is the best part of being an author? What gives you the most challenge?
TT: My favorite part of being a writer is meeting readers. With everything going on the past two years, it’s been extremely difficult to stay motivated. The challenge is finding the time to write/edit/and worst of all self-promote–yuck!
JEI: I agree with you about the self-promotion aspect. Not my favorite either. Now, most readers probably aren’t aware of your involvement with IWSG — Insecure Writers Support Group. How did the group get started? What does it offer to beginning and established authors?
I’m so glad you asked about the Insecure Writers Support Group (IWSG). I started blogging as the concept was taking off. A community of bloggers did a yearly blog hop called the “A to Z Challenge” each day in April we would dedicate a post for each letter. The point was to visit and connect with other participants (at one point we had over 1000!) I made so many writer friends and connections, and out of that blossomed the IWSG: a monthly blog hop post where we commiserate with and encourage each other and nurture the connections, founded and maintained by Alex J Cavanaugh and a small crew. They even have a yearly anthology contest. I’ve been in two of them (Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime and Dark Matter) and I also maintain the IWSG Anthology website. Though blogging has subsided, the IWSG keeps us going! Link http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/p/the-insecure-writers-support-group.html
JEI: What plans do you have professionally and personally for 2022?
TT: I hope to finish the 4th novel in my Pop Travel series. And I actually have a lot coming up–My middle son is getting married in May! My oldest has been living and working out of our house since college to save up and will be moving into an apartment in June. And my youngest will be heading to college in August after baseball season. Many exciting changes!
JEI: Those family milestones are always exciting. I’m amazed at your ability to publish so many blog posts! How do you manage your time to get everything done?
TT: When I started writing and blogging, I was a substitute teacher as we moved around, so I had a lot more time to work on it. Now that I’m full-time again, I cram in what I can on the weekends, and summer is a big help.
JEI: What’s on your writing desk for the coming months?
TT: I need to start drafts for the 4th Beast World installment and my 5th novella in my UnPrincess Series. But as I said, time and motivation have been hard to find lately.
JEI: Thank you for sharing part of your life and writing journey with me. Now, for a little fun: of all the places you’ve traveled, which is your favorite? Why?
TT: Traveling was nice, but coming back home, I appreciated what I had. And I love Georgia the best. It’s beautiful, historic, welcoming, and where my roots are because of so many firsts there.
JEI: Do you have a favorite s-f book? writer?
TT: Michael Crichton hold a place in my heart — he was my inspiration to start.
Readers can find Tara at the following links: