Cori Tadrus was born and raised in Syracuse, NY. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from Syracuse University. She spent most of her twenties working as a refugee case worker by day and a bartender by night. Although passionate about this work, at the age of 30, she decided it was time to get a 9-5 job that paid the bills and did not require so much of her time and heart. She pursued a career in finance but it left her feeling empty and uninspired. She found respite in writing a story about a character named Athena who, like her, was seeking a more fulfilled life.
A few years later, Cori married an active duty Army Officer. When she was nine months pregnant with her first child, she left her job to join him in his travels. With change came perspective, and the ability to look inside of herself to discover what she truly wanted to be: an author. When she is not writing, Cori enjoys mixing and drinking cocktails, listening to spoken word poetry and soulful music, impromptu dance parties with her daughter, and eating dessert.
What inspires you to write?
I go into more detail on my website about this, but I started writing Flawed Happiness about five years ago when I left a job in the nonprofit world for a career in finance. The work left me feeling empty and unfulfilled, so I began to write about a character who, like me, was searching for her happiness. It was a type of therapy for me, and provided direction and meaning during a time in my life when I felt like I had neither. However, I didn’t make it past the first chapter until a few years later, after my first child was born. It was the first time in my adult life I wasn’t in the workforce, so writing about Athena and her search for happiness was a creative outlet for me that also allowed me to work through my own obstacles to finding happiness. Having a child was a huge motivator for me to finish the book; I wanted to set an example for her of how to follow your dreams.
Tell us about your writing process.
I know that many successful writers swear by outlines, and ordinarily I am a very structured and organized person, but I did not have an outline while writing Flawed Happiness. Honestly, the impetus for the book was not to be a published work; I wanted to live vicariously through my protagonist’s experiences in her search for happiness. Each chapter unfolded on it’s own, like a movie that played out in my mind, as I was living in her world and taking the journey with her. I did have a notebook where I kept track of important plot elements and character traits, and jotted down ideas as they struck (usually in the middle of the night). As far as setting the writing mood, I like to light a candle or diffuse essential oils, listen to soulful music (anything from jazz to neo-soul), and occasionally have a glass of red wine to relax my mind, if the words are being especially obstinate (not during the editing process though!).
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I absolutely do 🙂 I infused many of the characters in Flawed Happiness with traits and circumstances inspired by my friends and those who have inspired me in my life, so they felt like very real people to me. I would read dialogue aloud while picturing the character and setting, to ensure their authenticity.
What advice would you give other writers?
Always write for yourself. Don’t try to write what you think other’s want to read, because in the end, your story will not come across as genuine. And if you go the route of traditional publishing, set hard limits of things that you will not compromise in your story. The editing process is neither comfortable nor easy, and often times your editor will see things much clearer than you will. But it’s important to fight to keep the things in your book that you feel the most connected to, that are a piece of you, because those are the very things that will make the reader turn the page.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
When I finished writing my manuscript, I didn’t know a thing about book publishing. In fact, that very moment went something like this: Typing the words ‘The End’ and staring at them in disbelief for at least ten minutes; hitting ‘save’ about 15 times, closing the document, then reopening it to make sure it really saved; thinking “holy shit, I actually finished it, now what?”; and googling “I wrote a book, now what?” It took a few weeks to sort through the answers, to read up on the pros and cons of each type of publishing, and to define my goals. Ultimately, I decided to pursue traditional publishing because I believed it would give my novel the greatest chance of success. I wanted the guidance and experience of a professional publishing team beside me, even if it meant relinquishing most of the potential income.
I would advise a new author to do the same: to research each avenue thoroughly, define their goals, and make a decision based on what will be the best fit for them. If that happens to be traditional publishing, I suggest not limiting oneself to the top literary agents or publishers; rather exploring smaller, indie companies that may just take a chance on an emerging talent.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think that book publishing is going through so much transition right now, with the rise of the self-published author and the sheer number of books available online. My hope is that publishing companies will continue to evolve with this trend and break the traditional mold by offering more support and services to the unknown author.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?: Women’s Fiction
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print