🔖Interview: Author Maria Schneider (PLUS an awesome sale)

Good morning, you beautiful people, you! Today I have something special for you guys! (I know, I know, last week was something special too! BUT I JUST LOVE HAVING GUESTS OVER, YOU KNOW?!) Maria Schneider will be joining us for a short interview. She has 2 series on sale starting TODAY (December 15th). Link at the bottom of post.
Without further ado….

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Author Interview + Giveaway: Tialla Rising

Good morning, dear readers! Kaitlyn Deann here in the bold black print! I hope everyone is having as wonderful a day as I am! I’ll keep it short and sweet (or try). Today we have author Tialla Rising here with us to answer some questions. (Plus, at the end of this post is a link to a giveaway she created just for us!)

Let’s jump right in!

Tialla Rising:

Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions and do a giveaway for us, Tialla! Before we get into the heavier questions, can you tell us a little about yourself?

Hi Kaitlyn, thank you for having me!  I am a twenty-year-old author.  I was homeschooled from fourth grade through graduation, and I have published two novels since I was seventeen.  I love reading and writing (obviously, haha), watching movies, and editing.


I don’t know if the readers realize how much you and I have in common. I was homeschooled too, and I’ve also published two novels since I was seventeen. Let’s not forget to mention that I, too, am twenty years old–although I’ll be twenty-one in less than a week and a half (my birthday is February 1st in case anyone wants to buy me really nice gifts like a Porsche *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*)!

So, Tialla, let’s talk about what you have written. Tell us a little bit more about your books.

I have written two novels, the first (“Holding the Future Hostage”) being an action adventure with a sci-fi twist, and the second (“Where Shadows Lie”) being a Christian action adventure.  Here are their titles and summaries in order of publication:


Holding the Future Hostage”:

A Mystical Bottle… A Teenage Beauty… A Criminal… A Universe of Pursuit. When a teenage girl finds an enchanting perfume Vial, her world is thrown into chaos. Friends become enemies; enemies become friends. Trust is what she needs most – and what she can’t find. Through a series of deadly experiences, she discovers that this Vial plays a vital role in deciding the fate of many. Murder and betrayal surround her – hundreds try to claim her very life. A test of determination awaits…. Will she survive? Visions of the future, attacks, kidnappings, travel, explosions, and murder fill this page-turning novel with suspense and surprise.


Where Shadows Lie”:

His dark past haunts him. His new life taunts him. After twenty years in the gangs and a hefty prison sentence, an early release gives Shawn the opportunity to turn his life around. But that isn’t so easy when gangs are involved. Only a year into his fresh start, the gang catches on and makes Shawn’s life miserable. After all, once a gang member, always a gang member. His very blood belongs to them. Threats become promises. Whispers become actions. Words become bullets. He must fight – not only for his life, but to save his honor, prove his integrity, and protect the woman he loves. An ember of hope glows in the darkness, strengthening his resolve. Will her support and his determination be enough to dispel the shadows of his past? A story of discovery and faith, love and perseverance.


I have read HTFH (here’s my review on it: https://authorkaitlyndeann.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/book-review-holding-the-future-hostage-by-tialla-rising/), and I can’t wait to read WHERE SHADOWS LIE! Do you remember the first time you decided you wanted to be a writer/published author? If so, tell us about it!

I definitely do!  I was watching an episode of “I Love Lucy” and in that particular episode, Lucy wrote and published a book.  Though it was hilarious, it definitely made me want to publish a book of my own, haha!  Not long after, I read “Eragon” by Christopher Paolini and I was super inspired by him because he was a homeschooler as well.


Very cool answer! I love that you were inspired by “I Love Lucy” and Christopher Paolini! So, I know you’re self-published (cue indie author secret handshake). Can you tell me why you chose self-publishing over traditional? What are, in your opinion, the pros and cons?

I chose self-publishing because I liked the idea of having complete control over my work and the higher royalties.  It was a good place to start, though I’m definitely not against perhaps someday looking more seriously at traditional publishing.  I have gone over the pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing with an author friend of mine who published traditionally, and recorded all our findings in this blog post.  Feel free to peruse it for the pros and cons! 🙂


I agree with you; I like being my own boss, so to speak. How about your publishing/writing journey? How has it been since publishing your first book, HOLDING THE FUTURE HOSTAGE?

Since publishing my first book, I have published my second novel, “Where Shadows Lie” which actually came out in June of 2015.  It was much easier to publish my second book because I already knew which resources I wanted to use and which routes were better after my trial and error run with HTFH, however, the writing process was incredibly more difficult.  I was much harder on my editing, and ran through that book cover to cover with a red pen about nine times or so.  However, all the work was worth it because I’m very happy with how it turned out.  It has been very fun and satisfying to be an author, but it has also been hard and I’ve had to learn a lot about business and all that.  Authors, as I’m sure you know yourself, have to have quite a tough skin when it comes to negative feedback.  However, in the end, every positive review and fan letter makes it all SO worth it!


True dat, home girl! (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself). It took me two years to completely “perfect” (and I use perfect in the wrong context because it’s not perfect) WORLD OF THE BEASTS.
What inspires our lovely Tia to write?

It could be anything, really.  I tend to get a lot of my ideas simply from phrases, actually.  Someone will say something and it’ll set my imagination to work, creating a story premise from that phrase before I know it.  Certain scenes, ideas, or sentences in books inspire me as well, as do landscapes or worlds in movies.  As opposed to a lot of authors I know, music doesn’t really inspire me with new story ideas.  However, once I have set characters in mind, music can certainly help get me started writing for the day by putting me in a character’s mindset. 😉


I kind of feel the same way, although I’ll have to say that at least 80% of my inspiration comes from eavesdropping on strangers. Hey. Don’t judge me. It works.
What’s the most challenging part of writing?

Final revisions.  Also known as editing, haha.  Though I LOVE editing as a job for other writers, it is painful for myself.  I think it is so difficult for me because a lot of my editing for my books involves cutting certain subplots, writing new subplots, filling plot holes, and lots and lots of cutting/pasting and typing away in an Evernote doc.  It involves tons of brain-fried nights, pounding headaches, and constantly trying to look at my story from different angles to see what I have missed and how to fix it.  There’s also always the major fear of: “What am I missing that will be super obvious to readers?!”


It’s almost like we are the same person, Tia. Editing other people’s work is a lot easier, and I think it’s simply because of two reasons: 1) you, the writer, isn’t emotionally attached to it and are convinced it’s your baby that you have to protect from the evil red pen; 2) other people’s work you don’t have to go back and fix the mistakes. So, I concur.
Anyway, are you working on any current novels/novellas/short stories, etc.? Can you tell us anything about it/them?

I’m not seriously working on any writing projects at the moment, actually.  I would like to get back into writing again fairly soon, but I’m not sure what project I will work on.  I have an idea for a children’s book, and I also have an idea for a prequel to HTFH.  I’m not sure which one I will start on, but I definitely want to start up again!


What do you mean Tialla Rising isn’t working on anything?! How can this be?! Just kidding, girl! Haha, I mean, seriously, who am I to talk? I just spent the whole year of 2015 in Nursing School where I didn’t write anything. You do what you feel!
Which leads me to ask, what do you do when you aren’t writing?

Sleep, run for president, and try to patent the idea for delivery Starbucks (which would be AMAZING).  Nope, just kidding.  I work as a remote marketing representative for a company called VKidz, which is basically a family of homeschool-geared websites such as Time4Learning.com, SpellingCity.com, HomeschoolLiterature.com, and LetsHomeschoolHighSchool.com.  Basically, I’m an online marketing telecommuter.  I also try to read more when I’m not writing, because when I’m in the middle of a writing project, I often don’t give myself any time to read.  Other than that, I try to spend time with my boyfriend, because he’s the best. 😉


Hey, Starbucks delivery? Sign me up! And congrats to you and Joshua! (Yes, readers, I know her boyfriend’s name! HA, HA!)
How do you overcome the dreaded writer’s block?

I know writer’s block is a huge thing for the writing community, but for me personally, I don’t believe in writer’s block.  I feel like it doesn’t exist because there is always some way to start writing again.  I don’t know how many times I haven’t felt like writing or didn’t know what to write next while writing my novels, but I was always able to work through it just by sitting down and forcing myself to write.  Even if whatever I forced myself to write turned out horribly, eventually I’d find myself inspired again and then I could go back and edit the beginning later.  There is one trick that I found often helped me get started writing, and that was to leave off in the middle of a paragraph or thought.  When I would start up again, reading through the paragraph would give me the momentum I needed to jump in and start writing again.  In the end, I’m a huge fan of William Faulkner’s quote on inspiration:

“I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired at 9 o’clock every morning.”


I love that quote! And yes, some writers have writer’s block more than others, and I tend to lean more towards those that don’t. Usually what I do to–what I call–refresh my brain is get up and move where I’m writing. If I was at the table, then I move to my room. Change of scenery helps me. Maybe it’ll help some others out there struggling with it!
What top five tips would you give aspiring writers?

–Don’t worry about your first draft.  It will be awful; everyone’s is.  The important part is that you just get it written.

–Don’t get caught up in editing while writing that first draft.  Writers who edit while on their first draft will lose momentum and oftentimes have lots of troubles even finishing the draft.

–Invest in a thesaurus.  They are the best, I promise.  

–Backup your work.  Keep a flashdrive handy and always backup your work, unless you are writing on an online source with automatic cloud backup.

–Remember, this is fun.  No matter how hard the writing, editing, marketing, and reviews get, always remember why you started in the first place–because you love writing and the story has a warm place in your heart.


AMEN TO ALL OF THOSE! So, last question, Tialla… How can we keep up with you?

You can keep up with me in numerous places online:

You can also subscribe to my newsletter here.

Everyone, go to all those awesome things and follow/like/subscribe to Tialla! Trust me, you won’t regret it! She’s amazing! Thank you, Tialla, for agreeing to be here with me today.

Thanks so much for having me, Kaitlyn!  It was lots of fun! 🙂

Seriously, guys. Go buy her books and go subscribe to her stuff! And enter the GIVEAWAY below! 😉 Who’ll be the lucky winner? Hmm…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a good one,


Interview: Tialla Rising

Heeeey guys! Today I’m doing something a bit different. You will not see this very often, so look closely and memorize every single word like it depends on your life.

A friend and fellow teen author, Tialla Rising, shares with us a few things about herself and her writing journey.


1)      What inspired you to write your first book?

My laptop wallpaper.  For real – I had this photo of a huge rock mass sitting in a lake surrounded by trees.  It was absolutely enchanting, and I loved to just look at it and imagine everything else surrounding it.  I imagined a girl swimming in the water, thought of an awesome sentence to describe it, and wrote it down.  That one sentence no longer exists, but it spurned the rest of the story.

2)      Do you have a specific writing style?

I prefer to write in first-person point of view.  I just feel like I can get inside main character’s head so much easier that way.  Also, I will not hesitate to use repetition, sentence fragments, and modern allusions if it accurately conveys the point I’m trying to make.  I’ve heard that people have enjoyed how I write, so I must be doing something right. 😉

3)      How did you come up with the title for HOLDING THE FUTURE HOSTAGE?

Honestly…I don’t know.  I was in the middle of writing a chapter, and my mind wandered to what the whole story was about.  I was contemplating what had happened, and where it would head.  Then BAM – the title hit me.  It was definitely an epiphany!

4)      Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I hope that my book strongly conveys the importance of relying on others.  In this modern world, so many characters (especially heroines) are portrayed as completely independent – that they don’t need anyone else; they can take care of everything on their own – and they’re viewed as “weak” if they can’t.  That’s just not realistic.  We absolutely need other people to rely on – especially when we are going through trials.  We can’t make it on our own.  Virginia, my main character, gets herself out of several scrapes, and is a great fighter, but she works best when others are helping her.  People need to realize that not only do they NEED other people for support, but it is ADVISABLE to lean on others.  Our strength fails us time and time again.

5)      Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? How about characters?

No, not really.  I live a pretty quiet life – I rarely travel and my life hasn’t really been threatened before (as opposed to the bazillion times Virginia almost dies in HTFH).  My adventures come from books – writing and reading them.  So to answer the first question, no, the experiences are not based on others or events of my life.  However, for characters, Bryan is most definitely based off my older brother.  The relationship between him and Virginia very closely resembles the relationship I have with my big brother.  My brother isn’t near the geek that Bryan is, but a LOT of the others things are similar.  In fact, when he was first reading my book, he incredulously asked, “What, are you trying to make me a geek??”  Haha

6)      What books have influenced your life most?

-The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini

-The Auralia Thread by Jeffrey Overstreet

-Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

-Nancy Drew Mysteries

-The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien

-Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

7)      If you had to choose, which writer would you want to meet (past or present), and what would you say to them?

C.S. Lewis.  I am absolutely awed by Lewis.  His ability to explain salvation and God’s gift to us just floors me.  It’s just so…simple.  He can explain it so marvelously, and in such a way that the reader is convinced beyond a doubt that what he says is true.  He was truly gifted in SO many ways.  I would ask him to explain his theory about Mere Christianity – mainly because I love that book and would love to hear the author summarize it.

I know you said which “writer,” meaning one, but I would also LOVE to meet Jeffrey Overstreet.  His books are so beautifully woven; the stories are incredible, and the characters are fantastic.  Each character has their own story, and are so well developed that you begin to like all of them – you even sympathize with the villains.  He is truly the best author I have come across, and he definitely inspired me to keep improving my writing.  I highly recommend reading his books!  If I met him…well…I would ask him to sign my copy of his books.  I would also ask him where he draws his inspiration and imaginings from.  And I might possibly ask him what the deal is with Auralia and Cal-Raven at the end of “The Ale Boy’s Feast,” and whatever happened to poor Emeriene. (You’ll have to read the books to get that one. 😉 )

8)      What book are you reading now?

“Touching the Clouds,” by Bonnie Leon.

9)      What are your current projects? Can you clue us in on anything hush-hush about it?

I am currently writing my second book.  It is NOT a sequel to “Holding the Future Hostage,” but it does involve the main characters.  I mainly say it is not a sequel because the first book does not depend on it in any way.  I am about 255 pages into it, and I think I’m about ¼ of the way through…perhaps a bit more.  I will clue you in on something hush-hush (which I suppose won’t be hush-hush anymore!): it is about Shawn, my wannabe gangster from “Holding the Future Hostage.”  Get excited, people!

10)   If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in HTFH?

I would probably do some minor re-writing in the 1st quarter to make it more fluid, but that would be it.  People love HTFH (which has definitely pleasantly shocked me!), so I don’t really want to change anything else about it.

11)   How did you become interested in writing and when?

I believe I started writing when I was eleven.  I had always, and I mean ALWAYS loved reading.  In fact, when I was in second grade, I read so much that I had to get reading glasses because my eyes weren’t developed enough to handle the amount of strain I was putting on them.  Of course, my parents didn’t tell me to stop reading – what parent would? – so they put me in readers.  I strongly believe that this immersion in literature is what aided in my becoming a writer.  It cultivated my love for the written word, and for the fiction story.  When I was eleven, a friend of mine and I would write stories and email them to each other to read.  I don’t remember why we even started writing, or how that idea entered our minds, but we used our imaginations ALL the time for EVERYTHING, so it only made sense to write ideas down when we were apart.

12)   Is there anything you find particularly challenging while writing?

Every step in writing, editing, revising, and publishing a novel is difficult.  I suppose, however, that the most difficult when writing the first draft is originality.  I mean, think about it – thousands upon thousands of books have been written on nearly every topic imaginable.  Yet, we (authors) still need to be original or the reader will toss it out the window while saying, “Cliché.”  So…being original is tough.  Most of my time “writing” is spent thinking of new ways to get my characters in and out of trouble.  After all, I want my readers on the edge of their seats so they will finish the book.  That’s not going to happen with a situation that has been written about ten times over.

13)   Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

My favorite author is Jeffrey Overstreet (author of the Auralia Thread books).  His stories are so intricate, beautiful, and captivating.  They are complex, yet easy to follow.  They are deep, yet understandable.  The characters are real.  The fantasy world is believable, well-imagined, well-described, and thorough.  Everything about his books are amazing. (No he is not paying me to market for him. J )

14)   Who designed your cover?

My publisher, CreateSpace.  They offer various services for editing, proofreading, interior design, cover design, marketing and more.  I purchased their “Unique Book Cover” service, as well as their “Total Freedom Interior Design” service.  I have to say, they did an excellent job!  I’m so pleased with their designs.



15)   What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Beginning it.  The beginning is the absolute hardest.  It is essential to have a good beginning to go through with the story, but definitely the hardest to create.  Oftentimes, I change the beginning after I have the rest of the book written.

16)   Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I learned SO much from the entire process, but one of the main things I learned was how to distinguish a scamming publishing company from a legitimate company.  If you just Google publishing companies, hundreds of publishing sites will appear.  And you know what?  All of them look great.  That’s for a reason – they make their websites and deals look great so they can get you in, get your money, and then make a crummy book or worse.  I’ve learned that the sites with tons of success stories posted, lots of media and big “PUBLISH NOW” buttons are vanity presses, aka, scammers.  If you come upon a flashy, feel-good site, be warned.  It most likely is too good to be true.  The true, legitimate sites require a little bit of digging.  Their home pages are professional, but not pushy.

17)   Do you have any advice for other writers?

Be true to your style – don’t copy other author’s styles.  You may LOVE to read those kind of books, but can you really write that way?  I believe it is best to write YOUR way, in your own style.  Don’t be afraid to experiment, just make sure you are not copying others.  Be original.  Read, read, read.  Reading is the key to writing a good book.  You need to pay attention to how other authors craft their books.  Pay attention to the things you like, and figure out how to integrate that type of thing into your books.  Pay attention to the things you don’t like, and make sure not to do those things.  I can’t stress the importance of reading good literature enough.

18)   Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I just want to thank you guys so much!  I wouldn’t be very far without my reader’s support.  I’m so glad you like my book, and I hope you like my future books!  I honestly can’t tell you how happy it makes me feel when someone tells me they loved my book.  It’s like…writer’s Heaven.

19)   What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, etc.) in bringing your book to life?

Probably figuring out how to relate actions without using too many words.  In a film, you can view someone speaking, watch their facial expressions, hear their tone, and feel the emphasis by their body language.  You can then see them take a drink of coffee while crossing the room to look out the window, etc.  All of this is just seen and heard.  It’s natural.  But when it comes to a book, if you want the reader to have that “natural” image in their head, you have to write it.  ALL OF IT.  How to do that without becoming stiff and too wordy?  That’s a huge challenge for me, and one that I’m still working through!

20)   Fire-ball questions:

Flats or heels?

Heels.  I LOVE heels.  I have a huge weakness for heels.  I admittedly have too many pairs of them, but they’re all thrifted or hand-me-downs, so I shouldn’t feel guilty, right?

Sweet or sour?

Sweet.  I’m a chocolaholic.  I love chocolate, and especially peanut butter mixed with chocolate.  I love white chocolate.  I love dark chocolate.  I love milk chocolate.  I love milk chocolate with almonds and toffee bits.  Yep, definitely sweet.

Werewolf or vampire? 

Umm…neither?  I choose a dragon.

Sun or moon? 

Moon.  So mysterious. 😉

Thing One or Thing Two? 

Thing Two for sure!  Thing One wouldn’t get very far without Thing Two.