To live in a world of fantasy is amazing especially when the reality is overwhelming. Amidst all the anxiety I am living with and a stubborn reading slump, I picked up Merilla City and loved going down the lane of my childhood.
In an interview, Merilla City’s author Tatiana Handfield spoke about her book, her writing, and her thoughts on book marketing. Excerpts:
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Hi everyone! I am Tatiana Handfield, author, teacher, and owner of the independent publishing company Cyril & Dorsie Publishing.
When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?
I started writing from a very young age (around 9 years old) because I always enjoyed making up stories. It wasn’t until I was little older did I realize I wanted to actually be a writer.
What inspires you to write books? What are the things which catch your attention?
My surrounding, experiences, and adventures are always a great source of inspiration. I live on an island in a country called the Turks & Caicos Islands and the people, history, culture, and heritage of my home country are one of the biggest inspirations for me when it comes to writing. Nature is also an element that catches my attention when writing, you’d notice instances of nature being used very frequently in my work.
Tell something in brief about your book ‘Merilla City Rising Tides’? How did the idea of coming up with this book strike you?
Merilla City Rising Tides follows the journey of Gina and Jonah, a brother-sister duo who becomes trapped in an alternate universe and must journey through time to escape. I wanted to write a story that captured the magnificent history, culture, and heritage of the Turks & Caicos Islands while also being fun and adventurous.
Do you see books as a carrier of an important message or a medium of entertainment?
Yes, the Merilla City series is definitely the carrier of an important message and also a medium of entertainment. I want readers who interact with the story to become more knowledgable of the Turks & Caicos Islands. I know it may seem a bit repetitive but the culture and history of the islands are so important and connects to history worldwide. Additionally, the Turks & Caicos Island is a wonderful vacation spot so readers can always have the opportunity to actually visit and become apart of the adventures portrayed in the book.
Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
I definitely view writing as a spiritual practice. The gift of writing itself is a blessing because it allows you to connect with others and brings a sense of healing and relaxation.
When you were young, did you ever see writing as a career or a full-time profession?
I always dreamt of being a writer as a child! I read a lot when I was young and imagined myself being able to entertain young readers as my favorite authors did through their stories.
How would you describe the contemporary scenario of writing and reading around the world?
I love how the world of writing has grown and everyone now has a chance to tell their stories. The world is big enough for everyone’s stories and I would definitely encourage others who enjoy writing to share and publish with the rest of the world. We must never let the world run out of stories!
How crucial are marketing and promotions when it comes to selling a book?
Marketing and promoting is so important! I remember when I published my first book and thought everyone would instantly purchase it! If you want your stories to reach the right readers you have to market and promote effectively, otherwise, your hard work will become lost in a sea of books who have decided to put in the necessary work to build their platform.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors? What is your favorite genre?
I still read a lot but not as much as when I was younger. My favorite authors are Toni Morrison, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and C.S. Lewis.
Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?
Always put your best work forward! I can definitely say if you want to gain valuable readers and fans, ensure your work is perfect! You don’t want to give yourself a negative headstart in the race of publishing and lose potential fans. Build a reliable team to help you make your writing wonderful and readable for your fans.
Are we going to hear more from you in the future?
Yes, definitely! My writing journey has only just begun and I cannot wait to see where it takes me! Thank you!
*We wish Author Tatiana Handfield all the best for her future endeavours.*