Tahlia Newland, author of the multi-award-winning Diamond Peak Series, writes heart-warming and inspiring magical realism and contemporary fantasy. She is also an editor, a reviewer, and a mask-maker who loves creating digital art and sitting on her veranda staring at the rain forest.
Tahlia has studied with top Australian editors and has a Certificate in Editing and Proofreading. Before writing full time, she had over 20 years’ experience in scripting and performing in Visual Theatre and Theatre in Education. She has had extensive training in meditation and Buddhist philosophy and lives in Australia with a husband, a teenage daughter, and a cheeky Burmese cat called George.
What inspires you to write?
Scenes pop into my mind as if I’m watching a movie. They are so exciting and vivid that I have to write them down. From there whole stories emerge. I feel as if I’m uncovering a story that has actually happened somewhere rather than making up a story.
Tell us about your writing process.
I start with scenes and just write what comes, then at some point, the over all story arc reveals itself, and at that time I write it out using sticky notes for each scene. I place them on a time line that I’ve drawn on a long piece of paper. This allows me to keep track of several story threads that weave around each other. I’m always willing to change it though.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Yes, I do. In book three of the Diamond Peak Series one of the characters did something that I hadn’t seen or planned for. I resisted at first because I didn’t know how she would get out of the situation she’d got herself into, but when I trusted that it would work out and I went with her, the result was surprising for me and the reader. It make the book so much more interesting than had I stuck to the plan I had.
What advice would you give other writers?
Don’t be in a rush to submit or publish. Study your craft well, and if you plan to self-publish, get a comprehensive edit ( with all 4 stages covered) with a professional editing service. Without it, unless you’ve done a lot of study and practice, your book is most likely to be substandard. Working with a professional will teach you a lot, so your next book will be better and won’t cost you as much for editing.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I had an agent for Lethal Inheritance. She said that a few years back it would have been snapped up, but with the economic down turn (this was in 2010) and the explosion of self-published books, she couldn’t guarantee anything. She only submitted to the really big publishers and I only just missed out on a deal with the top Australian Publisher. After 2 years I figured nothing was going to happen. My agent didn’t want to submit to small publishers. I could have submitted to small publishers myself but I was sick of the whole system by then and didn’t want to wait any longer, so I set up my own publishing business to publish the Diamond Peak Series. Now I have a deal with a micro-publisher, and my own company (AIA Publishing) publishes other authors.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I’m not sure what will happen, but I hope that the hack writers find another hobby or pay professionals to help them produce a decent book. Poor quality books in the market bring the whole industry down. Maintaining standards in written English in self-published books is the biggest challenge, and I’d like to see readers become more discerning. It’s sad to see badly written books selling well, often just because the author can pay for exposure. I think mico-publishers will grow and will have a big place in providing quality for readers. There may come a time when readers don’t buy anything that isn’t published by someone other than the author, doesn’t have some kind of reputable award, or isn’t listed on sites such as the Awesome Indies who sift the slush pile of self-published books and select the good ones to display on their site. I think that would be a good thing.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Young Adult, adult, contemporary fantasy, magical realism , metaphysical, visionary.
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print