About Tahani Nelson:
Tahani Nelson is an author and English teacher in Billings, Montana. With hundreds of 5-star reviews and an ever-growing army of Faoii at her back, Nelson has become a common attendee at author events, Renaissance festivals, news programs, and conventions across the US– always wearing full armor and a face resplendent with warpaint. While her most notable appearances have been at the Indie Audiobook Awards and Fantasycon discussion panels, she most frequently gives presentations about empowerment and creating strong, healthy female role models in modern media.
What inspires you to write?
I've always loved fantasy, but growing up I had a lot of trouble finding heroines that I could relate to. It felt like women were always damsels in distress or the love interest. I wanted women leading armies and forging their own destinies without the expectation that they need to find love in order for their story to be fulfilled. So I started writing all the women that young me looked for. And, as it turns out, I wasn't the only one who was looking.
What authors do you read when you aren’t writing?
I appreciate Tamora Pierce because she set the groundwork for the female-led military fantasy books I now specialize in. She was the first author that gave me characters that I could relate to– that I wanted to be. She opened a gate and then I marched through it with armies, and I will always be grateful that she found the key.
Tell us about your writing process.
I never know what's going to happen in my novels until I write them. I try to outline or make notes of where I want the story to go, but my characters and their worlds always take on a life of their own and I can rarely force them to do anything. I like this, though. My characters feel real and unique, partially because I don't get to decide what they're like before the story is written, and thus their reactions to things feel organic.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
When I'm writing, everything that happens in the book depends on how the characters react to the situations I present. I have very little control over what my characters actually do, so I'm forced to either listen to them or not write at all. They also tend to pop up with ideas or interesting scenes when I'm away from my computer. I wrote most of my first book on napkins from work before I could get home and type them up.
What advice would you give other writers?
Don't compare yourself to the other authors you can only see on social media. There will ALWAYS be someone who writes more than you each night or who has more reviews or who makes more in royalties. Social media only shows the carefully-curated highlight reel that we decide to put in front of other people– so of COURSE it looks like everyone else is beyond anything you can ever reach. But look at how far you've come since you began! That person that was just starting would be SO, SO proud of you. And rightfully so. The only person you should ever compare yourself to in this industry is the writer you used to be.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Originally I published through a small indie publisher and hated the experience. I never felt like the people I was working with cared about my novels (or their success) as much as I did, and it bothered me when my questions or e-mails would go unanswered. Now I self-publish and LOVE it. I love having an active role in each step of the process, and I know that 100% of the people who work on my novels WANT to see them successful. I've also quadrupled my royalties since switching to self-publishing, which is a nice bonus on top of everything else.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
The writing industry is definitely changing and will continue to do so. Our minds don't work the same way that they did 20 years ago. Social media in particular has taught us to see, digest, and move past a piece of information in seconds, over and over again, without tying any of it together the way books require us to. I think that audiobooks will continue to grow, though. People always feel like they need to multitask, and audiobooks allow that.
What genres do you write?: Military Fantasy; Epic Fantasy
What formats are your books in?: eBook, Print, Both eBook and Print, Audiobook
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.