Interview with E.B. Tatby: 'Wish loud and follow your dreams'

E.B. Tatby was born and raised in Sioux City, Iowa. She is living her life-long dream of being an Author and is passionate about inspiring others (especially teens) to follow their dreams. Above all, she wants to remind them of the power to wish.

I Wish, a YA story, is her first published novel. She is currently working on a sequel.

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About the Book:

All her life, sixteen-year-old Kenza Atlas has heard the stories, but she never
believed them. She never expected the allure of power or, worse, how far the dark shadows could cast. Genies and wishing are for fairy tales, not teenage girls, and especially not in Omaha.

But when a Moroccan jinn with undulating tattoos and mysterious black eyes whisks her 500 years back in time, she witnesses the death of her powerful ancestor and the gorgeous slave she loved. They sacrificed themselves to escape the Caliph, a tyrant named Mazin.

And now he’s after Kenza.

He’s tracked her to her present time. Now she spends her days stealing paranoid glances over her shoulder, obsessing over a slave who died hundreds of years ago, and praying her family will survive.

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Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

Once I had my first daughter, I poured all my focus into raising her and lost the desire to read or write for several years. In first grade, she fell in love with Harry Potter and my love for reading reignited. Together, we read every book in the series. By the time the fifth one was released—the year I was pregnant with my second daughter, my oldest and I decided to write a book together. Eventually, that story (though it has morphed and changed many times into what it is today) became I Wish.

What we loved about Harry Potter—diverse cultures, ancient wisdom and undying loyalty—are all characteristics woven into I Wish.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

Ever since 3rd grade, I dreamed of becoming a published author. Still, with almost no time to dedicate toward writing and a competitive book industry that seems to be re-writing itself, I nearly gave up on my dream countless times. I'm glad to report that I stuck with it. Fortunately, I was inspired by a most unexpected source: the main character of my novel, a girl named Kenza Atlas who is learning to wish.

My advice to others? Whatever it is you embark on, whatever stops time for you and makes you happy—whether it be writing, healing people, innovating new and untried forms of technology, or whatever it is that lights a fire within you—follow in Kenza Atlas' footsteps in I Wish and believe.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I originally planned to go the route of traditional publishing, but over the years independent publishing has became more and more of an opportunity. So that's the route I chose. These days, it's inexpensive and effective to release a book and find web-based publicity. I have also been surprised at how easy it is to schedule book signings in unexpected venues.

Still, whether an author decides to self-publish or goes through traditional publishing, four steps are an absolute must: 1) know your readers, 2) write a high quality story, 3) seek a professional editor, and 4) make sure your book cover professionally reflects your story.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

I wasn't expecting the speed at which a story can speak to readers and reach new ones. During the writing process, I'd always kept I Wish tightly guarded, with the exception of seeking editors and Beta readers. With social media, word-of-mouth helped spread the word about I Wish much faster than I expected. I quickly found people approaching me at book signings, via social media, and even in day-to-day interactions saying they loved it. It has been exciting for me to see so many people having fun with it and truly enjoying the story.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I am currently working on I Could, the second book in the I Wish series. It has a planned release date of late 2015.

I'm also working on is a YA Science Fiction story with no announced release date at this time. For readers curious about this story, the title is subtly mentioned in a scene in I Wish.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

I love spending time online almost as much as I love writing.
  • Google: I probably spend the most time on Google where I can, within seconds, find out about things like what life was like in 1515 Morocco.
  • Social Media: I also spend a lot of time on sites like Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter.
  • Book Sites: I absolutely love apps like Audible for listening to audio books and Kindle for keeping up with my love of reading.
  • Grammar: has turned out to be a stellar resource for elevating the sophistication and vocabulary in my stories.
  • Innovation: Lastly, another recent online love has been Ted Talks. It really sparks the imagination for fantasy and science fiction writers.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

Writing for a YA audience is so rewarding. Readers are full of potential and energy. Looking ahead, I know that they will soon be the leaders of our world and I am excited to see what positive changes they are already creating.

Knowing that many readers are in that important 'coming of age' era in their lives, I Wish imparts a few subtle but powerful messages: explore your world, discover your inner strengths, don't give up, remember to wish.  

Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

Yes. Wish loud and follow your dreams!

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