By the time Marta Tandori reached fifth grade, she was an avid reader and writer with a stack of short stories collecting dust in a box under her bed but it wasn’t until she began studying acting in her early twenties at the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York that Marta realized acting wasn’t really her passion – writing fiction was. What followed was years of writing workshops as well as correspondence courses in writing for children through the Institute of Children’s Literature in Connecticut. She credits the award winning author, Troon Harrison, as the instructor who helped her find her literary voice. Marta’s first work of juvenile fiction, BEING SAM, NO MATTER WHAT was published in 2005, followed by EVERY WHICH WAY BUT KUKU! in 2006. With her more recent endeavors, Marta has shifted her writing focus to “women’s suspense”, a genre she fondly describes as having “strong female protagonists with closets full of nasty skeletons and the odd murder or two to complicate their already complicated lives”. To learn more about Marta, visit her website at http://martatandori.com.
What inspires you to write?
Something – anything, really – will spark my curiosity, like a hat falling in the subway, and before I know it, I’ve made up a whole history about that hat and where it came from, inside my head. What happens to that hat, or how the hat inspires a series of events, will usually be the outcome of a book.
Tell us about your writing process.
I never sit before the keyboard until I can close my eyes and actually “visualize” the first few chapters play themselves out in my mind. Once I can “see” that, I know I’m ready to sit in front of my keyboard. A few chapters will follow and then I’ll stop typing and write out a rough outline before I go back to the keyboard.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
My characters talk all the time and when I’m typing, I’m almost convinced I can hear them. I rarely interfere in what they’re doing. However, if an action or some dialogue doesn’t feel right or it feels contrived, I’ll say something like, “Come on, guys, you can do better than that!”. That small admonishment will usually have the desired effect and get things back on track.
What advice would you give other writers?
Write because you absolutely NEED to write, not because you THINK you should or because someone else THINKS you should.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Writing is a craft. A writer has to be creative as well as know certain elements in writing such as point of view, characterization, plotting, etc. I chose to self-publish through Amazon. Many writers to self-publish misguidedly believe that you simply upload your book, upload your cover, set the price, hit the ENTER key and abracadabra, they’re now a writer with sales soon to be pouring in. Unfortunately, in just about every case, that’s not how it works. Self-publishing is a business, with the writer a sole proprietorship who wears many hats. Writers have to educate themselves on the self-publishing industry, how to market their books effectively, how to use social media to market themselves, etc. This takes dedication and learning. Every author needs to take the business aspect of writing seriously and to educate themselves.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think the future of book publishing is evolving. For many years, it used to be about the Big 5 publishers as well as the agents who represented the authors who were published by the Big 5. With self-publishing, agents are no longer necessary (in most cases) and the power of the New York publishing houses has been compromised to some extents, thanks to the likes of Amazon and other self-publishing platforms.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?
mystery, suspense, middle-grade fiction
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print