Monday, 17 February 2014

Meet A Writer Monday Presents...

...Tiffany Haisten

1. Tell me about your book Red is the Color of... and where you got your inspiration for it? 

My book is about a young girl who learns that the thing that makes her different, her red hair, is the thing that makes her special. The inspiration for my book came a few years into my teaching career; I saw many students struggling with self acceptance, especially after being bullied. I wanted to show them that we are all different, and we are all of value.

2. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or is it all imagination?

I based the book on real life conversations that I had with my mother over the years about my struggle to accept my red hair. I often was teased about my looks and my mother was instrumental in helping me accept all the wonderful differences that made me..Me! Although ,just as many authors tend to do, there is always a bit of imagination added here and there.

3. Is there a message in your children's book that you want the readers to grasp?

I want children to understand that they are perfect just the way they are. They don't have to be like the person next to them to be worthy of love and respect. Each of us is a masterfully created piece of artwork and we should celebrate that instead of trying to be a duplicate of another.

4. What was the point you realised that being an author was no longer a dream but a reality?

I was one of those writers that just wrote stories and tucked them away. Occasionally I would be asked to read one or two by my family, but I never thought that I was "good enough" to pursue writing. One December, I had just read my story "Red is the Color of..." to my father and mother; at the end my father looked at me and said, "Promise me that one day you will publish one of your stories." That was the last conversation I had with him before he passed away from a massive stroke. A year later, I remembered the promise I had made and began the process of looking to be published. The day I got my acceptance for publishing, I cried because I had finally fulfilled my father's last wish.

5. How did you chose your genre?

I do not think I really chose my genre, I think it chose me. I truly enjoy reading fantasy, but I have a hard time writing about things that are not real. I remember, when I first started writing, at the age of 8, I wrote about things I knew and was actually pretty good at it! As an adult I feel the most comfortable in realistic fiction, there is so much room to play around and add "fantasy" when needed. Plus, I can make the characters, events, and places more real because I am familiar with "them".

6. How do you handle working with an editor without letting pride get in the way?

I was pretty lucky in that area, my editor was very kind, and she was amazing at constructive suggestions. Ultimately, a writer needs to understand that an editor is trying to bring the best out of you. Most of the time they are NOT trying to destroy your literary message, they are just wanting it to be its best!

7. What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

Make friends with other authors, know that you will spend more money than you make in the beginning, and be prepared to be a small business owner. Your book is your market market! I have gained so many opportunities because I sought advice from other writers; don't be afraid to ask questions. And never pass up an opportunity!

8. What’s next for you?

I have a few other children's stories tucked away in a journal as well as a YA novel. Hopefully, one day soon, I will release a few more realistic fiction stories.

9. Have you ever read or seen yourself as a character in a book or movie?

Oh my goodness yes! I have a laundry list...Anne Shirley, Arwen, Hermoine, a mix of Peta & Katniss, Sherlock holmes, Jane Eyre, Elizabeth Bennet....the list goes on and on.

10. Who is your favourite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work? 

Do I have to have ONE favourite? Well, if I had to choose my TOP favourite it would be JRR Tolkien. His ability to create a mythical world and all it's inhabitants and make them seem richly real, astounds me. He has the ability to allow his reader to live, work, battle, love, smell, touch, and feel middle earth - it is magical! It is probably the reason why I love C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowling and Suzanne Collins. These 4 authors are masters at making the unbelievable believable.

11. What was your favourite subject at school? 

My favourite subject was history. I believe we can learn so much from our past, and sadly we often forget that the same mistakes can be made again. I wish that more people were as passionate about history as they are about pop culture. Sometimes we forget that we are making our own history - for better or for worse.

12. Sunrises or Sunsets?

Sunsets, there is such beauty in the ending of a day. The richness of colors is majestic, calming, and the romantic feel is hard to beat. I love painting and photographing sunsets, each day a new beauty to behold, and I wish I could record every one of them.

13. If you were trapped in a room with Jennifer Lawrence and the world was about to end, what would you do? 

If I were in a room with Jennifer Lawrence and the world was ending, I do believe I would just want to about life and laugh. If we cannot save the world we might as well remember it and look forward to what is to come...

14. Would you rather be the good guy or the bad guy in a movie? 

Is quirky side kick available?? I would love to be the funny person rather than the hero! But, between those two choices...the hero!

15. If you could have only three electrical appliances in your home, what would you have a why? 

The 3 electrical appliances I would have are a toaster oven, a coffee maker, and a fridge. I can cook things in the toaster, heat liquids in the coffee maker, and store any left overs!


'I hate my red hair!'

Tiffany feels that her red hair makes her weird and different from everybody else. But her mother knows that the color red is not weird at all. It is what makes things vibrantly beautiful. Roses are red. Red is a color of the rainbow. Christmas stockings are red.

Listen in on a conversation between Tiffany and her mother as Tiffany is taught what else Red Is the Color Of...


About Tiffany

Tiffany wrote a children's book called "Red is the Color of…" out of her own experiences with bullying. As a child, Tiffany was often victimized by other students because of her dyslexia and for the color of her hair; which is red. Her parents were instrumental in helping her realise how beautifully special she is and how to accept her differences. As a result, Tiffany wants children to understand that what makes them different makes them wonderfully special.

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