I am grateful to have Tifani on my blog today. I met Tifani through the internet. And maybe met is not the right word, since we've yet to meet in person. The first time I heard about her was through her sister-in-law who I attend church with. I'd been invited to a Facebook book launch party. Of course it piqued by interest, being an author myself, and it was actually through this that I found my publisher, Creative Prose Publishing. So thank you to Tifani for writing a book and getting it published and to her sister-in-law, Natalie, who without her invite I would not be where I am, soon to be published. But this isn't about me, its about Tifani. :-)
A brief bio about her before we go into some fun questions.
Tifani Clark grew up on a farm in southeastern Idaho (yes, that’s where they grow all the potatoes) as the middle of five children. She had a lot of space to imagine and daydream and often pictured herself as a character in one of the many books she read. She was habitually found pretending to be Scarlet O’Hara. Tifani loves mysteries and hates it when one goes unsolved. She is married to the love of her life and is the mother to four fabulous children. When not writing, she enjoys playing the violin and piano and traveling to new places. She especially enjoys visits to national parks and places of historical significance.
Stephanie: I too grew up in southeastern Idaho and even have a mangled finger to show for my work among the potato fields. And I am the middle of five children. Similarities abound. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Tifani: I can't remember a time that I didn't want to be an author--it just took me a long time to gather enough courage to try. I officially started writing in 2012.
Stephanie: Wow, and already with two published books to your name. You are inspiring. What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Tifani: You'll never know if you can do it if you don't try. Set a deadline for yourself to begin writing and just go for it. And, don't give up. Rejection is all part of the game.
Stephanie: Great advice. Can you describe for us your writing process?
Tifani: Each time I start a new book, I spend anywhere from a few weeks to a few months mulling the idea over in my head. Then, I sit down and write a brief plot synopsis and character description so I know where I'm headed. After that, I start writing and let the story take me where it will. When I'm deep into writing a book, I dream about the characters or wake up with a plot problem on my mind almost every morning. Sometimes I'll lie in bed for hours writing dialogue in my head before I finally get up and put it on paper.
Stephanie: What books inspire you? What do you enjoy reading?
Tifani: I like to read a wide variety of books, but I get excited when I find a good suspense novel. I like to get scared. If an author can scare me, I'll stay up all night to finish the book.
Jamie Peters plans to spend the summer before her junior year with her nose stuck in a book—not saving lost souls. Usually the girl that blends into the crowd, Jamie’s world is turned upside down when a mysterious ghost begins to follow her.
But Sophia isn’t just any ghost.
A hundred years earlier, Sophia’s disappearance sparked a national mystery that remained unsolved. Jamie knows the legends surrounding Sophia’s disappearance, but she never dreamed she would find out what really happened . . . or that her family might have had something to do with Sophia’s disappearance.
Determined to set Sophia free, Jamie blows the dust off her family’s past and unearths clues to discover what she must do to save Sophia’s soul. She enlists the help of childhood friend—and secret crush—Peter Ashby as she sets off on a dangerous quest to find a missing map. Spending the night in a graveyard, crawling through a dilapidated barn, and staring down the barrel of a gun aren’t enough to deter Jamie from helping Sophia. But can she find the answers she needs before another ghost gets revenge on her and Sophia?
Stephanie: Shadow of a Life is your first published work and is part of a series. How long did it take you to write it?
Tifani: Shadow of a Life took 6 weeks to write. Before I ever wrote a work, the entire story was written in my head. I just needed to put it on paper.
Stephanie: Your most recent book, Haven's Waiting, was just released Monday, January 3. How long did Haven Waiting, the sequel to Shadow of A Life, take you to write?
Tifani: Haven Waiting took longer than the first for a few reasons. I spent a lot of time looking for a publisher for my first book and doing things to improve my writing so my time was limited. Then, school got out for the summer and with 4 kids at home, writing was put on hold. I finally wrote the ending about 6 months after I started it. That was a year ago.
Stephanie: How many more are in the series?
Tifani: Because each book tells the story of a ghost from an important time in history, the potential number of books could be really high. Almost from the beginning I had three distinct stories in mind. The third--still untitled--is almost finished. I have many more ideas, but sometimes I have to let my characters lead the way. Sometimes they surprise me.
Stephanie: It's amazing to see how, as an author, your characters really do seem to have a mind all their own and that they can surprise even the author.
I've read Shadow of A Life. It was very entertaining and fun to read. I loved Peter the most of all the characters. And you nailed Camille, jealous and a bit self-absorb, but truly a good friend. The main character Jamie, was hard for me to get into at first, but I think it was because she was so unsure of who she was as a person in the beginning of the book, it was hard for me to know who she was. But she really came through in the end. And what a twist you brought in with Haven's Waiting. A witch. Wow! How'd you decide that?
Tifani: I've always been fascinated with the Salem Witch Trials and what would possess people to act the way they did back then. I read many books as a child, but rarely re-read anything. One of the few exceptions was "The Witch of Blackbird Pond." When the idea to center Haven Waiting around the Salem Witch Trials first came to me, I thought Haven's unfinished business would be proving her innocence. However, before I even started writing, her character insisted that she wasn't as innocent as I thought she should be. Her story took off from there.
Stephanie: I don't know anyone who wouldn't be interested in that part of our country's history. What else are you writing? What's next for Tifani Clark?
Tifani: I have three stand-alone books that I've been sitting on for a while. They are all YA Suspense novels without any paranormal aspects. I grew up in a small town and all three books take place in rural areas of Montana, Idaho, and Arizona. It felt completely comfortable and natural to write them. I also have an idea for a women's fiction that might be the next idea to make it onto paper.
Stephanie: How does your life influence what you write?
Tifani: Like I mentioned earlier, I grew up in a small town and many of my characters have as well. I feel like I can relate to them. I don't purposely pattern characters after people I know, but sometimes they resemble people from my real life.
That makes sense. I find a lot of my characters are based on people I know. Some I model on purpose and others just come out organically on the page and then I realize later that they are based on someone I know. Thank you so much Tifani for taking the time to do this interview and I can't wait to read Haven's Waiting.
Fifteen-year-old Jamie Peters is a Soul Saver. She helps ghosts finish their business and move on. When a mysterious map comes into her possession, she knows a new adventure is waiting. With the help of her friends, Peter and Camille, she follows the map. Her friends hope to find treasure, but Jamie suspects there is more to the map than riches. She never imagined the map would lead her to Haven—and a book of spells.
Haven Mills was accused of practicing witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials. Unlike the other women hung during the trials, Haven wasn’t as innocent as she claimed to be. In one moment of weakness and desperation, she did something sinister—something that has been bringing evil to the world for centuries.
Jamie promises to help Haven, but the reality of what that promise entails comes back to haunt her as she fights not only for Haven’s soul, but for her own as well.
IMPORTANT LINKS FOR AUTHOR TIFANI CLARK
Haven Waiting on Amazon
Shadow of a Life on Amazon
Haven Waiting Blog Tour (and my blog)
Stephanie N. Pitman, Author
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