I am over the moon to welcome Tanya Bullock to my blog today 🙂
Those of you who follow my blog and Facebook page will know I recently met Tanya at her book signing in Waterstone’s, Walsall. This was a lovely event and I even ended up in the newspaper with the lady herself…..
Tanya is a lovely lady and a very talented writer. If you haven’t read any of her books yet, you should give them a go.
Here’s Tanya’s Q&A. Enjoy!
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
Of course. I’m a college lecturer and mum of two from the West Midlands. I teach Drama and Media in a Special Educational Needs department, which is actually my ideal job. I’m very lucky because every day I get to be creative with words and ideas and to work with enthusiastic and inspirational young people. I’d always wanted to write a novel, but never found the time. Then, when I was on maternity leave in 2011, I missed the creativity of my job so much that it pushed me to sit down and write. It was hard work because obviously I was caring for my children, but I was so determined that I managed to coordinate writing time with nap times! My first novel, ‘That Special Someone’, is the story of a young woman with a learning difficulty and of her mother’s quest to help her find love. It’s all fictional, but was inspired by some of the amazing young people I’ve worked with over the years. My second book is a novella called ‘Homecoming’. Like ‘That Special Someone’, it’s a twist on the traditional romantic novel. I suppose that’s my genre, really… the ‘unusual romance’!
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
With my first two books, I was inspired to write about groups of people who are often neglected by the mainstream. I get my ideas from being really passionate about social injustice. If I think a person or group of people are being denied a voice/their human rights/justice then I’ll jump into the argument brandishing my pen!
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
I’ve been inspired by real people, but have been careful not to write about them. The idea for ‘That Special Someone’ came to me about twelve years ago when the mother of one of my female students told me her daughter wanted to get married after she finished college and that she intended to find her ‘a suitable boy’. Although I’ve never found out what happened next, this conversation really got my cogs whirring. Similarly, ‘Homecoming’ was initially inspired by conversations I’d had with my paternal grandmother and maternal grandfather about their past lives, achievements and adventures.
How do you pick your characters names?
I don’t think I do. The names just come to me as I’m writing. Funnily enough, afterwards I realise that I’ve subconsciously picked a whole host of names of people I actually know and then wish I’d picked different ones.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
Firstly, I have to be HUGELY inspired (by a person, group of people, theme or event). If I’m not inspired, then I can’t write…at all. I’ll go for months and months without picking up a pen when I just focus on my work and my family. Then, when I’m motivated, I feel an intense impulse and the words flow out of me. For a few weeks after that I’ll behave very strangely (e.g. pull over when I’m driving to make notes, wake up in the night to scribble down thoughts, duck out of conversations to speak a memo into my phone) until I get all my ideas together. Finally, I have to find the time in between working and being a mum to string my ideas together into a comprehensible final copy. This part of the process can be quite tiring as the only time I usually find is when I actually should be sleeping.
Do you have a favourite author?
My dad, Keith Bullock. He writes short stories, poems, novels and film scripts. He’s writing a feature film script for a director friend of mine at the moment. He’s been telling me stories since the day I was born and I wouldn’t be a writer today without his influence. I’m a big fan of Russian and French literature. I read most of the great authors as a young woman; Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Flaubert, Balzac etc.
If you could meet any author, who would it be? And what would you ask them?
I saw Salman Rushdie do a talk at the Hay festival a few years ago. He’s a jaw-droppingly good public speaker. I’m very nervous with people I don’t know, so if I met him face-to-face I would probably ask him for advice on public speaking.
Were you a big reader as a child?
Yes I was. I was obsessed with The Famous Five and read and reread all their adventures. Then later, I loved to read the Sweet Valley High series, about the life and loves of teenaged Californian twin girls. After that, my parents discreetly put a few classic my way and I never looked back.
When did you start to write?
I’ve always been a writer. As a child I kept a diary, as a young adult I wrote poetry and short-stories, when I went travelling, I kept a journal, as a mother I make a note of my children’s milestones and, in my job as a drama teacher, I write scripts on a regular basis. I really can’t remember a time when I didn’t identify myself as a writer.
What are you working on right now?
I’m writing a detective novel. It’s very character driven and the protagonists are rather eccentric. I’ve written about forty pages so far.
When can we look forward to a new release?
Not for a while. I haven’t worked on my detective novel since March, but I’m hoping to get a bit of writing time in during the summer holidays. Life is pretty full on for me, so writing a novel is a very slow process. I’m not complaining, though – being a published author is a dream come true!
How can readers keep in touch with you?
Big thanks to Tanya for answering my questions. I’m looking forward to the release of your detective novel!
Publisher: Blackbird Digital Books (5th April 2014)
Life as the single mum of a learning-disabled teenager is tough and gets even harder when puberty hits. To Izzie’s alarm, all her daughter Jaya, 18, wants from life is to get married and have babies. This creates a moral dilemma for Izzie. How she can continue to protect Jaya whilst at the same time letting her go?
With little prospect of meaningful employment or continuing education for Jaya, Izzie wonders if perhaps finding a ‘suitable husband’ via an arranged marriage wouldn’t be so crazy. But when Jaya falls head over heels for a teaching assistant in her college’s Special Educational Needs department, it sets in motion a disastrous sequence of events which turns things around in a way that nobody could ever have foreseen.
“Local author’s debut novel manages to combine a sensitive subject with Black Country Humour”. ‘Waterstones Loves’, Waterstones, Walsall
What readers are saying:
“If you enjoy Mike Leigh films you will love this book.”
“Utterly engrossing and innovatively written. The complex issues surrounding learning disability are addressed in an honest and thought-provoking manner.”
“A brilliant debut novel. One regret – it finished too soon! I want to know more!”
“A refreshingly different book – thoroughly recommended!”
“One of the best autism books for kindle out there.”
“Autism fiction: Akin to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time this novel will hopefully inform people, in much the same way, about young people living with disability, and their individual rights and feelings.”
“This is not like any other novel I have ever read – It tackles major taboos head-on, but the author does it in a way which is so sensitive and witty, you wonder why they were ever taboos at all!”
“The lightest, most entertaining, of reads on a serious dilemma facing many parents of autistic teens, single parent or not.”
‘A wonderful, poignant and witty story about the life, loves and struggles of a young woman with learning difficulties.’ JILL FRASIER, Founder and Director of healthcare charity, KISSING IT BETTER
Buy your copy here – That Special Someone by Tanya Bullock
Publisher: Blackbird Digital Books (1st April 2016)
All that mattered to Rosie, all that had ever really mattered, was that she loved Tom and he loved her
Rosie and Tom belong together.
For too long, war and its devastating aftermath have kept them apart.
Now that Tom has finally returned home, Rosie hopes that they will be able to put the past behind them.
But when a mysterious sequence of events unfolds, their love is put to the test once more
With a shocking secret hanging heavily over their relationship…
With circumstances conspiring against them at every turn…
Rosie and Tom find themselves caught up in the biggest battle of their lives.
Will their demons ultimately consume them?
Or will love conquer all in the end?
An intriguing novella by the award-winning film-maker, a finalist in The People’s Book Prize and The Beryl Bainbridge First Time Author Award 2016 for her first novel That Special Someone Awards ceremony 12 July 2016, Sky TV News.
What readers are saying…..
‘A beautiful love story. Quite simply stunning and poetic.’ Adele, Goodreads librarian
‘Read in one sitting. Definitely the strangest love story I have ever read.’ Nats, Goodreads
‘Homecoming…is unique which is truly difficult to find in modern fiction … For originality and excellent character development and for living up to the hype, I rate this novella as 5 out of 5 stars.’ — Amie Gaudet, Amie’s Book Reviews, Top #50 Canadian Goodreads reviewer
‘Just read the book until it reaches your heart … every page you turn, there is something new but very unusual.’ — Laura Prime, Goodreads
‘A novella that falls far from the mainstream love stories we find ourselves consuming these days. Being someone who truly appreciates beautiful writing, it wasn’t hard for me to complete this book in one sitting.’ — Nihaad Gamieldien, Read and Seek
‘This author has a real gift for word craft. Homecoming is a uniquely told love story … a lovely, lovely read.’ — T.S Harvey, Author
‘I loved it.’ Sarah, By The Letter Book Reviews
‘One of the most touching romantic tales I’ve read in a long time … a wonderful surprise; a twist on a well-loved genre that will delight and tug at the heart strings.’ — Shelley Wilson, Author
‘Love weaves through it in colourful strands, radiating out from the funny, plucky heroine to those around her … A beautiful and satisfying read.’ — Sandra Peachey, Peachey Letters Blog
‘This is the type of story that makes you feel a certain way after you read it. For me, it was a bittersweet longing … a lovely story told in an interesting way.’ — Kerrie Irish, Chat About Books **(not this Chat About Books obviously. I wasn’t aware there was another blog of the same name.)**
If you haven’t already and would like to, you can read my review here – Homecoming: Quite Possibly The Strangest Romance Ever Told by Tanya Bullock
Buy your copy here – Homecoming by Tanya Bullock