It didn't happen. This site, where I've been extremely active for months now and spent a lot of money, declared they don't showcase digital authors... See, they can't make a profit off of me.
So, now, I have this lovely interview that both India Penwick and I spent hours writing up...with no where to go. So I'm posting it here.
Tara Chevrestt is a young writer, but an old soul. She has written a number of novellas and an autobiography. Tara is hearing impaired, and has perhaps for that reason become an advocate for equal rights. She also writes under the name Sonia Hightower for her more steamy work. She is also an editor. Recently, she has left her job as an airplane mechanic, to focus full time on her writing and editing.
It may seem a little odd for us to be interviewing an author who has work that is strictly in digital format, but we felt that so many of us are utilizing e-readers that we should pay attention to those books as well. I would like to thank Tara for agreeing to this interview.
First off will you tell us a bit about yourself?
You summed it up pretty nicely. J But let's see, I love dogs. I have three of them, all girls. They inspired my Dog Tails. I love motorcycles. It was my love of motorcycles (and my husband's desire to visit Sturgis) that led to Ride for Rights. I love airplanes (also in two of my works). I enjoy traveling and playing with new recipes. I love reading.
When did you begin writing?
I've always been a writer. I was in Honors English and loved doing essays and book reports. Through my teen and young adult years, I was always writing down poems and songs on stray pieces of paper or napkins. I penned my first real book, however, in 2010.
Your first book was very cute and funny, based upon your dogs will you tell us about Dog Tails?
That was my first book released, but not the first I wrote. Ride is the first I wrote. Dog Tails…it's kind of cute, actually, how that came about. I was sitting in my recliner one day, down and depressed due to some serious problems at work. Lola, my Peke, was on my lap. I said to her, "I wish I could trade places with you, and you could go to work tomorrow and deal with the jerks, and I'll stay home and eat, sleep, and lick myself." And just like that, the idea for Thank Dog It's Friday was born. That's the first story in the book.
Well, Pudgy and Jazzy, my other two little dogs, kept giving me these sad looks, and I started feeling guilty. How could I write a story for Lola and not them? So I vowed that all three would have their "tail," and I wrote Pugnacious and Tail of Terror.
I just read Ride for Rights, can you tell us about this book, and why Y/A historical fiction?
My husband dragged me to the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum where I found a display about the Van Buren sisters. They rode their Indian motorbikes across the U.S. in 1916 and had a lot of bad luck and even got arrested for wearing pants. I found this fascinating and jotted their names down. As soon as I got back to my computer, I said to my husband, "I need to find a historical novel about these chicks!" Well, I couldn't find one! So I wrote one! LOL
The book is inspired by the real life sisters, but a work of fiction. The reason it is YA is because it's clean, and I specifically wanted to target young women to inspire them to be all they can be, to not let people put them down and tell them they can't do things simply because they are girls. Don't be a housewife if it's not for you. If you want to be a lawyer, do it. If you want to fly planes, do it. Women can.
I also read your A Facebook Affair, would you tell us about it?
It is my first contemporary romance. The idea was born when I joined Facebook. I got to thinking about how you could find someone on there.. .and one thing led to another. It's about a hearing impaired woman trying to find love, while at the same time, old demons from school bullying rise up to haunt her and possibly hurt her new relationship and newfound self-confidence.
My goal was to educate as well as entertain the general public about my disability and all it entails and also educate parents about school bullying. I hope that after reading it, some people may talk to their kids about how they may be treating handicapped classmates.
Is A Facebook Affair a bit autobiographical?
As far as location, yes. They say, "Write about what you know." I've lived in Oklahoma and Utah mostly so I made the locations what I was familiar with. Except for the hearing impairment issues and school bullying, no. The only things Kelly and I have in common are the need for closed captioned movies, love of wine, the vibrating alarm clock… LOL
The school bits, some of them were my memories. I'd say the little Kelly was me. The grown Kelly, no.
You as Sonia Hightower have written a couple of erotic novellas, can you tell us about them?
Sinful Urges is a novelette about adultery and its repercussions. It's an erotic noir with a surprising twist. Afterburn is a military interracial romance . I got to get into my mechanic mode for writing that one. It was fun! Sonia also has a sexy scary Halloween tale coming out in October called Taking It Too Far. It's about a husband who gets too "involved" in his costume…
So many writers seem to be writing erotica, why did you decide to turn your hand to this genre?
Sinful Urges just bit me on the arse and wouldn't let go until I put the idea in the computer. Not sure what happened there. Sometimes, Sonia just takes over. LOL Afterburn isn't really erotica. It is just a military romance with some steamy sex. I didn't want Sonia to have only one work to her name, so I made it a Sonia book. The Halloween story was just a very disturbing thought I had.
Do you ever worry that someone won’t buy your more mainstream work because you also write
No. Different names, different things. I'm not the only author with a pen name.
Safe sex seems to be a theme in your books, has anyone told you they find this unromantic in a story?
Yes, but too bad. Unless the couple is married, they will be practicing safe sex. It's a huge pet peeve of mine to read contemporary romance in which the otherwise smart characters are engaging in stupidity, such as having unprotected sex with someone they barely know, someone they suspect of a crime, or in the woman's case, risking a career that doesn't permit her getting pregnant. In real life, we have to think about this stuff, so why shouldn't our characters?
Also, what kind of example are we setting for the more naïve, fresh out of high school readers?
I wanted to ask about Deaf Isn't Dumb, what inspired you to write your memoirs? You’re still a young woman.
Discrimination; I have faced so much of it. Also, I am tired of people judging me. They think I'm rude when I just didn't hear them. I want people to be more aware of us. I figured the best way of going about this was to write my story.
You write about strong women, having read some of your reviews you’re not a fan of shrinking violets. Why is that?
Good question. I'm not sure why, but I've never been able to tolerate weak women. Even as a little girl, I was obsessed with strong women. Joan of Arc, Helen Keller; I have a lot of strong women in my family. I have an aunt who works in a prison and yells at men all day. My mother was in the military. I have a female cousin who is going to be the first in our family to graduate from college. Yep, first one is a female. J Lots of cool women in my family.
But I think, having fought so much due to my gender and my handicap, I'm just drawn to women in history and in literature that fight too.
Your work is available on digital media only; do you believe this is a good way for new writers to get their foot in the door?
I do; Lots of people buying Kindles now.
I want to ask about marketing your work, so many authors find this a challenge, have you found this to be the case?
Yes, I do. It's hard. You don't want to be a broken record, and I still haven't figured out how to get beyond the 120 people on my FB friend list. I figure they are sick to death of hearing about my books. I can only hope that friends and family help by word of mouth. Also the support of PBS community would be immensely helpful (I'm laughing over this now.)
I always ask what books a writer read as a child; would you tell us what you liked to read?
As a child? NANCY DREW!!!!!
Do you have any authors that inspired you?
As an adult, many authors have encouraged or inspired me. Christina Courtenay, Bev Pettersen, D.F. Krieger.
What do you read, are you drawn to a specific genre?
Historical Fiction is my favorite because I love history. I feel I live in the wrong time. I love to go back to the past. Love classic movies too.
Will you tell us about your upcoming books?
Afterburn is by Sonia Hightower and comes out March 23rd. It's a military romance about a woman mechanic and a fighter pilot. It delves into sexual harassment on the job and interracial dating.
Deaf Isn't Dumb is my memoir, a book of short stories about incidents in my life that have to do with my hearing loss. April 27th is its release date.
Telling Tatiana is appearing in two different breast cancer anthologies. It's a short story I wrote in honor of my mother, a survivor of the disease. It appears in a print edition in July and an ebook in August. Both separate books, both donating funds to charity.
Taking It Too Far is a shortie to be released around October 12. It's a bit scary and sexy. It's a Sonia book.Operation: Enduring Santa is coming out around Christmas. It's about a woman fighter pilot stationed in Iraq and a Christmas surprise. It's a shortie.