Joining us today is a woman of many talents. She’s an author, artist, interior designer, editor, and publisher. Thankfully for the wider world, she is doing her best to help educate others and make her skills available in the form of nonfiction books, whilst she also entertains romance readers as a fiction author. I’m extremely happy to welcome Tanya Freedman, who also writes fiction as Gloria Silk.
Hi, Tanya! Thank you so much for finding time to have a chat with me today. You write fiction and nonfiction. What is your favourite genre to write and why?
Firstly, thank you so much for interviewing me and with such astute questions.
I like the variety of spreading my time between writing romantic fiction, non-fiction and helping others create and produce their own, (business, memoirs and biographies).
The diversity of subjects and genres keeps me from getting bored or tired, and I learn fresh things and meet new people; real (such as my clients) or fictional characters I create or help clients develop.
You’ve lived in a few different countries. Which was your favourite, and how has living in different places influenced your work?
From a very young age, I enjoyed trying different foods, learning new languages and about other cultures, and although I love Greece (where we honeymooned), and Hong Kong and Hawaii the most, so far, Australia and India are my next dream locations. Europe has influenced my fiction because I grew up in England and worked many years in central London. (Billionaires and tycoons, anyone?) Over the years travelling with my husband, I soaked up many inspirational castles and Heritage homes across the British countryside. Setting my stories in London, Israel, France and Greece lets me revisit the places I know my readers enjoy, too. My next romance will be set in Hawaii, and more of my Billionaire romances will feature the glittering parts of the world we can ‘visit’ any time we want.
Ooh, that sounds like fun! I love visiting other places, even if it’s just via a book.
You’re an artist, interior designer and author. Do you have equal time in your week for all these creative pursuits or does one get more time over the others?
I used to paint and often exhibit my art work in England and the first few years after we moved here to Toronto in 1999. But as a true multi-preneur I follow my passion wherever and whenever I can. After running a couple of successful creative businesses (importing antiques from England, and starting and running an art teaching business) my dream of becoming a traditionally published author came true in 2006.
My main ‘full-time’ occupation is being an authorpreneur; which includes writing, editing or producing fiction or non-fiction, marketing and connecting with my other author friends, answering reader emails, sending out giveaway books, and keeping my current readers up-to-date about my writing adventures.
My love for art, antiques and decorating my own homes since my early twenties naturally led me into interior design. Since becoming a certified interior designer, I’ve enjoyed bringing order and beauty into many people’s lives. Everything seems to pull me into the same creative zones where I organize homes and help people enjoy them or resell them. I love the sense of instant gratification after hours or days of decluttering and organizing. The ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures are magical to me! This is quite different from my writing passion. Instead of poetry, like Haiku, which I love, I’m still surprised that I prefer writing long, complex novels. Especially as I’m not a fast writer like so many of my friends. But all the aspects of creating, writing, editing and publishing a book boost my creative freedom and give me such a great sense of accomplishment. Even if it takes several months.
You run a small publishing company. Why did you want to step into that sphere?
It happened organically. After learning so much about the publishing process while dealing with a traditional publisher who accepted my non-fiction business book in 2006 (Start and Run an Art Teaching Business, 2007) I was aware of the growing trend of independent publishing whilst honing my fiction writing craft and technique. Despite often placing second in large novel writing contests and getting really close to getting contracts from Harlequin and other traditional publishing houses, I still couldn’t break in. So after five years, I decided to put my entrepreneurial skills to work to treat indie publishing like a true business. After rewriting and publishing both the Destiny books, (my debut intercultural romances) I got requests from others to help with their own fiction and non-fiction; from concept to finished published product. Even though I was offered further contracts to publish my non-fiction via traditional means, I realized I wanted true freedom. More about this below.
Were you an editor first or an author? What do you enjoy about editing?
Great question, I had to think about that one, because I truly am both! I was always a writer and learned early on (thanks to a couple of my generous mentors and creative writing courses through Athabasca University) that editing is an even more important part of writing. I compare it to having a baby and then helping it grow over the next couple of decades. The ideal of the wonderful first draft is amazing, but the work that follows can be arduous. What my clients and author friends appreciate is my ability to keep the two aspects of writing and editing separate. That’s not easy. I can fully empathize with them because I’ve been there myself, and can stay true to the author’s vision and bring out their own unique ‘voice’.
But I do love to write that first draft, especially when an idea seems to come in full glory (which is rare) and demands to be written. Then I keep reminding myself to take ‘baby’ steps throughout the process. As many authors agree, I love having finished editing, not so much the painstaking, detail-oriented process which results in the polished work. I have two editors (content and copy editors) who are invaluable in getting my own work into shape. Editing is a crucial investment for the best quality product.
Under your pen name, Gloria Silk, you’re a USA Today bestselling author. Can you tell us how you got into writing fiction?
At twelve years old, my local library became my haven where I voraciously read Mills & Boon and historical romances such as those written by Kathleen Woodwiss, Rosemary Rogers, Lauri McBain, Shirlee Busbee…and so many others. (Yes, I loved those ‘bodice-rippers’ as they are sometimes called! And yes, I’m that ‘old’!)
Writing came as a natural progression when I was compelled to pen my own versions of the incredible love stories filled with feisty and strong heroines and gorgeous, loyal heroes. I escaped into my own romantic worlds every chance I got.
What genre do you enjoy reading, and do you have any favourite authors?
These days when I have time, I read historicals by Eloisa James and Mary Balog, but mostly I love reading contemporary romances and women’s fiction (like the funny and witty Irish author Cathy Kelly), plus Nora Roberts, Bella Andre, and so many others. Non-fiction comprises biographies, inspirational self-help and spiritual self-improvement.
Where do you get inspiration for your stories?
I have literally dozens of notebooks filled with hundreds of ideas I’ve captured over the years. And more ideas strike at the most unlikely places such as standing in an airport line hearing two men discussing a co-worker. “You know how organized Louisa is; she’ll probably have the whole department in tip-top shape in no time.” I noted that down in my mobile notes, imagining what this Louisa, her personality and life would be like and what obstacles I could put in her way in my own future romance novel.
Tell us about your books and series and why and how they came to be.
So far I’ve only written four novels and I thought my first two (about first love and second chances) First and Only Destiny and Second Destiny, were the closest to my heart. I loved my hesitant heroine and incredibly romantic hero that I fell in love with him myself. But when I revisited a story which I had conceived in the mid 1990s (Nobody’s Baby But Mine) I realized how much of myself I share within the pages of all my books.
The third book, From Geek to Greek Billionaire was a gift which kept on giving…to me and to charity. After having read and loved my first books a couple of years ago, an author friend, Elizabeth Lennox, now honored me by asking me join the collaborative writing effort, a Billionaires by the Beach box-set, in aid of charity. Not only did I have a blast writing my own last in the series novella, but I was also proud when in the summer of 2017 100% of the proceeds ($10k) was donated to breast cancer research charity. As I’d conquered this disease over twelve years ago it was an honor to be part of the fun initiative.
My fourth book, the latest release, Nobody’s Baby But Mine was my original first draft from the mid 1990s, loosely based on my own great marriage undergoing infertility issues. It’s about temptation at work and ex-lovers, and budding friendships that may answer prayers or be the end of a happy marriage. Read the blog post mentioned above about which aspects are truth and which are ‘what if’.
You’re traditionally published with some of your nonfiction titles. How does that process differ from when you’re self-publishing?
The main important advantage for me and for many other indie authors is having complete control throughout the course of creating and producing the product. And the timelines are in our hands rather than the traditional publishing houses.
At what time of the day do you feel most creative?
I work seven days a week: Most days I do the bulk of my work between 10am-3.30pm with a lunch break in between, and then again after preparing and having family dinner, I work for an hour or two late at night. It seems to work well for me, although I sometimes pay the price of staying up too late (when on a roll or deadline) and feeling ‘hungover’ the next day.
Do you listen to music while you write or paint?
Always; this morning while I was structuring my new non-fiction interior design book, I was listening to Jesse Cook and other fabulous guitar music. On my half-hour dog-walking break, I listened to some pop (ranging from 90s’ SoulIISoul to the present). Right now as it’s late evening, and I’m listening to calming zen music.
Sounds nice. I’m relaxed just hearing about it lol.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m under contract to start in a few weeks to ghost-write a very interesting biography, and to help another client get her own novel ready for publication. At presentI’m working on my own two new projects. 1) Fiction: the second standalone novel of the younger sister Abby, who was introduced in my latest release, Nobody’s Baby But Mine. This successful artist and entrepreneur keeps falling for the wrong and sometimes dangerous men. Healing Love is her romantic and sometimes difficult therapeutic journey through growing-up and learning to trust herself and true love. 2) Non-fiction with the working title, From Cookie-Cutter to Custom Design on Your Budget is a practical hands-on guide to help anyone redesign, update a home (and office) for resale or to enjoy for years to come.
Wow, good luck with that! That redesigning book sounds like a great read. You definitely have a lot of writing to do over the coming months and years :). And thanks so much for joining us. It’s been interesting to find out all about your writing life. If readers want to check out Gloria Silk’s/Tanya Freedman’s books, they can click on the book covers below to check them out on Amazon, or visit today’s author at TanyaFreedman.com/ Facebook/ Twitter
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