About T.J. Rao:
T.J. Rao first received inspiration for her writing from a dream, the result of a mean tweet. She often comes up with ideas through her dreams and incorporates them into important messages that she wants to share with her readers.
Representation, diversity, and relatable characters are elements that T.J. believes are critical in young adult books. “People want to hear stories that impact them and take them away, but at the same time can enlighten their minds,” she says.
T.J. hopes that, through her books, readers learn about mixed-race Americans and the racial injustice that they face; that those young adults can come to understand that it’s ok to learn and grow and change their minds about things that they previously thought were true without reprehension. And, of course, enjoy an amazing story rich with characters and dimension.
When she’s not writing fiction depicting societal topics and dystopia, T.J. enjoys watching Bollywood movies and KDramas, reading anything she can get her hands on, having copious amounts of coffee, and going to church with her friends. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her toy Maltese, Mr. Bingley. This is her debut novel.
What inspires you to write?
I get inspiration from a lot of different media, other forms of art, but mostly I find inspiration from my faith.
What authors do you read when you aren’t writing?
Jenny Han, Jane Austen, Harper Lee, Kiera Cass, Holly Black, Kathryn Stockett, Jhumpa Lahiri, Mindy Kaling
Tell us about your writing process.
I get out a bunch of notecards and write down all my plot points and then sit on the floor and spread them out. I then order them and add more points in to make full chapters and finally a whole book.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I try to ask questions about how my character would feel in a certain position or plot line and see if that would gel with them.
What advice would you give other writers?
Set aside a period of the day to write, even if you don't feel inspired. Sit there for the entire time period and write something because true writing shines through revisions, not the first draft.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I decided to publish with TLSI Publishing, LLC. a small indie publishing company because they care about diverse voices and I wanted to work with people that wouldn't white-wash my story.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I'm excited for it because I believe that we are having a radical change with OwnVoices becoming popular. There's seems to be a lot of diverse authors being published which will allow even more relatable and relevant stories to be out in the world.
What genres do you write?: Young Adult, Fiction, Dystopian, Romance
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.