Dear readers I am so excited today to share this interview with Tijan!
I wanted to interview this beloved authors for a long time now!
Tijan is the author of more than 30 books so far! I follow her for years now and I was humbled when I had the opportunity to interview her. Let me tell you that Tijan has been so generous in her answers!!!
You’ll get the unfiltered interview here below but first let me show you some of her books (far from all of them!).
First let me thank you for agreeing to answer my questions! I’m a fan for years now and this thanks to another author, Penelope Douglas. I was following her when she told us that she loved Fallen Crest. I was curious and bought the book… insta love! Mason is still one of my top book boyfriends years after but Ryan and Brody are a close call 😉
I’ve read The Fallen Crest series, the Davy Harwood, the Broken and Screwed, Sustain, Hate to Love You, Jaded, Carter Reed, Kian (one of my favorites!), Evil…. and these last months Ryan’s Bed (you turned my world upside down with this one!) and Bad Boy Brody.
See when I told you I am a fan 😊
So yes a BIG thank you!!!!
I was told I could ask no more than 10 questions and I have so many more. I will have to choose wisely.
- Who were you as a child? Who was little Tijan, her dreams, her hopes, her likes and dislikes, her fears, her joys, her pranks. Was she a nerd or an athlete, shy or outspoken etc. This is an open question so do your worst 😊
You’re so sweet!! I just want to hug you and twirl you around and not let you go. (But not in an uncomfortable way, but in a way we go and have ice creams and drinks together. 😉 ) But okay—me as a little kid = VORACIOUS READER!
I was kind of a loner? Kindof, but not really at the same time. I was in sports from fourth grade until I told my parents nope, no more, and I joined yearbook and mock trial my junior year of high school instead. Though, I stayed in volleyball until my wrists got too bad. (I was a setter, and not a good one.) I was … shy, but also outspoken. I think that’s how I am now too! No one would tell the class bully to shut up, except me and he never came back at me (which I’m still amazed about), but generally pretty quiet. It’s something I’m still working on.
Likes: dolphins, the beach, riding horse (yep, we had a few!)
Dislikes: mowing lawn
- Can you share with us a typical writing day? First thing comes coffee? Or a walk with a dog? You write in silence? With music? At home? In a Starbuck? Erase all the time or keep it all? Need chocolate or alcohol? Look at soap opera to feed the inspiration? Swear when the characters don’t behave? You get the gist of it once again, the floor is yours.
Typical day: I get up, get coffee, my dog is super happy to see me. I generally go right to working whether it’s writing or getting on the computer to answer emails or messages on Facebook. Then I’ll change so if I did business stuff first, I’ll write later etc. If I’m not writing, I’ll do whatever: cleaning, book orders, promo somehow, or whatever errands I have to run in real life. Evenings are usually spent with the fam or just watching television, but sometimes I end up writing too. It all depends on what’s planned during the day!
Write with music. ALWAYS! This is basically a necessity, along with coffee. I have to have coffee by me.
Usually write at home, but sometimes I might head to a coffee shop or if I’m really under deadline, I might grab a cheap hotel room.
I usually keep it all. I used to erase, but I’ve stopped doing that. It didn’t work with me so I stopped second guessing myself.
I’ll have some wine, sometimes!
No soap operas! I got frustrated because the plotlines never ended! Lolol
No swearing at the characters. I’ve learned to kinda go where the characters take me. I really really try and listen to them. Like with the Fallen Crest crew, they never let me outline them after the first book. That was it. After Fallen Crest High, they had a mind of their own. The same with my current work-in-progress. They are in complete control what they’re doing. I have to try and have an idea where I’m going, but that’ll usually get changed within the first chapter anyways. With Ryan’s Bed, they kept telling me to slow down and let them formulate their thoughts so I did just that. I took my time with that book!
- How do you build your characters? Are you inspired by others, friends, actors, book characters? Do you write how they look, their likes and dislikes, their pasts, their quirks, strength and flaws to get to know them intimately before writing the book? How do you choose and pair them? This kind of hero should go with this type of female MC? They should have these sidekicks? Etc.
I don’t generally get inspired by other people. I say generally because Hate To Love You actually had some real people from my college days in there, but generally nope!! My characters tend to be different sides of myself, and I try to write what I feel comfortable writing if it’s something I personally know or I’m personally feeling. If it’s a new character or situation to me, I really take my time and I’ll start tucking away information in the back of my head for weeks, sometimes months, and a few times years even. I let them formulate in my subconscious until they’re ready to come out.
I don’t really pair anyone consciously. I tend to write what I’m feeling to write and what I think would be fun! I look at side characters as real people. I might hold back on their personal story if it’s not their book, but they’re real to me. They’ve got hopes and dreams and annoyances and hurts just like the main characters. It’s just how much I give attention to them in certain books, but I really try to make my books as real as possible, within reason! Sometimes if I’m really feeling like I want to indulge in my childhood fantasies, I let myself go, but I always try to write what I’d like to read myself.
- This will maybe be personal but I’ve noticed in all your books that I’ve read that parents are either absent (dead or neglecting their kids) or abusive. Not really great role models for their kids. Is it a conscious choice? Have parents out of the way to let the story center around the young adults? Other?
In some of my books, this is true. Maybe I’m odd, but I look at parents as normal people. They have flaws etc, and I just incorporate that into the books. Some of my earlier books, it was just more fun to write it without parental guidance. The characters could be more wild and reckless. In some of my other books, I did have a strong parent figure like with Brady with the grandparents or in Sustain with the mom. She was there, but she was struggling to make ends meet herself. I think I just really like to delve into what’s underneath the surface and peel it back to expose it. It’s more interesting to me as a writer.
- About Ryan’s Bed now: What triggered the writing of this book? You turned my world with this one and in my review I said: “Kudos to you Tijan because you tackled some really heavy topics here: grief, suicide, death and all the ways to Sunday to cope or not with it. You wrote that this book changed you. I can tell you it overflowed me like a tidal wave of sadness. By the end of my read I was stunned by unforeseen twists the biggest being the ending and I’ve been left with a whole new appreciation of your talent. I already loved your books but now you’ve really won my utmost respect for the intelligence and the raw truth of this story.” So yes I am really interested to know the story behind the story if you’d agree to share it with us. And I bet you were a “mess” after writing this story and needed some time to recover …
Oh my goodness!! To say I was a mess is a huge understatement. I wrote the first eight chapters of that book pretty fast, but then had to hit pause. I had other projects due, and I also wanted to take my time with it. I knew I really needed to tread carefully and just be smart with what I was going to do with it. I didn’t want to be reckless and when I came back to Ryan’s Bed a year later, it wasn’t planned. I was trying to tackle another project, one that kept eluding me for months until I finally just put it aside. The characters didn’t want me to write them, and I have no idea why but I was drawn back to Ryan’s Bed. And yes, I was a mess. Every single chapter was heavy for me to write. I had to take days to recuperate and by the last third of the book, I sobbed almost every time I wrote it. It was a good cry, but man—it was super heavy on me. If you read the letter at the end of the book, you know that I was also terrified to publish this book. The subject matter is taboo and I just didn’t want to cheapen or write ‘less’ of it, like sweeping it under the rug how sometimes it happens. I think watching Thirteen Reasons helped give me permission to back to Ryan’s Bed. I know there’s controversy over that show, but when I watched it, I felt the show truly showed the travesty of suicide. I was angry at the end because it didn’t have to happen. But all the controversy affected me too and I tried not to write the book. I did. I tried twice, but I just couldn’t. I felt it was wrong inside of me, so I just really thought about the people I know affected by suicide and keeping them in mind, I tried to write with respect, if that makes sense?
- Now let’s speak about your latest book Bad Boy Brody. Could you “sell” the book for us? What do you want to highlight in this story? What is dear to your heart? What message do you want us to get?
Morgan was who I dreamt about being when I was little. We had horses ever since I was little. I wasn’t the best at riding consistently, but I was riding horse by the time I was seven or eight. I was super little, and I trusted our mare so completely. Thinking back, I was trusting my dad probably the most, but I’ve always loved horses. I was kicked by one when I was on top of one once too, and I couldn’t walk for two weeks afterwards. That instilled some fear in me with horses, and I never forced myself to get back in the saddle. I think writing this story was my homage to that fear, to that regret of not doing it again. So writing this book, I was reliving my old fantasies of being Morgan, but also the mixing of two such different worlds. Fame and Hollywood with how isolated she is in the wild. I know there are reviews saying it’s not realistic, but I’ve known people who can live in the woods like she did. I wouldn’t have written it unless I had some facet into that world. And to an extent, this book was my childhood dream so I wanted to write it, whether it’s realistic or not.
I think another underlying message is that love heals.
Love brings you back to yourself, no matter how far away you go, it has the power to heal. And I think I wanted to convey to people that sometimes it’s not about the money, fame, power, etc. Sometimes the best feeling is being out there with the wilderness. I think I also wanted to write about how wondrous animals can be. Equine therapy is a very real thing for a reason. Horses can be magical and healing, and I hope everyone leaves reading this book feeling that way!
- How did you flesh out Morgan? She is so different from other heroines so was it another process? More difficult or easier?
I started a book idea about a girl who was more comfortable with horses than people years ago, and I think I just pulled that same character into this story. Though, I made her a bit more feral than that original girl. Maybe Morgan should’ve been more difficult for me to write, but she wasn’t. She suffered something so traumatic that it had her turn her humanity off, and she went to the ones who never left her. I know someone in my personal life who did this. They’re family member was an animal because their family turned their backs on them. So, in some essence, I might’ve had that person in the back of my head, but I don’t know. I think if people get so hurt by others in their world, sometimes it’s easier to ‘turn it off’ to cope, whether that comes out in the literal sense like with Morgan or how others ‘turn it off’ where they stop trusting people, or they stop caring about people, or they stop caring about themselves etc.
Morgan is different, but I’ve written another character like her. The differences is that that character was the first one I ever wrote, and she turned her humanity off to become a killer. Morgan turned her humanity off to survive. She retreated into the mountains whereas that first character constantly struggled between retreating into becoming a cold-blooded assassin versus still caring for her family. (That book was never published. It’s too horribly written! Lol!)
- This story is like an onion we have to peel: first layer is the bad boy act, second layer is Morgan being kept a secret, third layer the villain “in plain sight” and the “hidden villain”, fourth layer the truth of what really happened years ago. So many dimensions into the story: was the writing and the building of the plot a different process from your others books? Another experience entirely?
I don’t think so. It just seemed like another book I wanted to write! There was some mystery involved, but it’s not my first foray to that world. I did it with Jaded. To an extent (whether I do it okay or not), it’s just a book written how I would enjoy reading it! I tend to write what I feel is right first and then think later about any ‘rules’ I might’ve not followed. Lol!!
- As we are speaking of actors…what would be your dreamcast for bad Boy Brody?
Oooh!! Brody!! Maybe . . . I don’t know. I’m a huge Charlie Hunnam fan, even though the hair is different. Liam Hemsworth? That’d be delicious. Ian Somerhaulder. So many gorgeous and smoldering men!
- This will be a hard one but who is your favorite character so far? And which female character would most likely look like you? (ok two questions in one …sorry!)
Favorite character—probably the first I ever wrote (that haven’t published yet!) Shane Chen. I also really love writing Summer from Antistepbrother. She’s super random and funny. Logan. Mason. Sam. Oh man. So many. I loved writing Morgan when she was with Shoal. Mackenzie has a special place in my heart, Ryan too. SO MANY!!
So that’s it even if I have at least ten more questions 😊
Again a huge thank you for your time and for your books!!!!
THANK YOU!!! I hope all these answers are okay?! And THANK YOU AGAIN!!
See why I love her so much????
Thanks for reading!