How do you develop your plot and characters?
My stories tend to be about life’s unexpected detours and characters who need to find the strength to recalculate their journeys and grow from disappointment. Life is messy; although we are surrounded by filtered images that can often make us feel less-than in many ways, the truth is that we all face struggles in life and can either grow from those experiences or ignore the life lessons that they offer. The choice is ours. So, in a nutshell, I like to write about life and all of its little hiccups.
Tell me about your protagonist. What's your favorite trait and/or weakness?
My latest manuscript has four protagonists, but I’ll focus on the first one who makes an appearance. Lily is flawed, but not hopelessly so. Her biggest weakness is limiting herself to the projection of what others see; her biggest strength is that she has the self-awareness to acknowledge her weakness and make the conscious decision to change. She went from living her dream life to driving a U-Haul back to a hometown that she thought she’d never see again. The “going back” theme runs throughout my books; sometimes we have to take a long, hard look at what brought us here to figure out where we’re going.
What are your current/future projects?
I’m trying something a bit different these days. Although most of my prior books/manuscripts are soul-searching journeys and can be classified as “beach reads,” I’m working on a manuscript with a bit of spook factor. I love books that provide a thrill and have decided to challenge myself to write one. I’m only about 35 pages in, so we shall see. I’m from a beautiful Mississippi town in Iowa and am drawing inspiration from its Victorian houses that sit on the bluff overlooking the town below.
Do you have a routine you follow when writing?
My routine is based on what I know about myself and when I write the best. I only write in the mornings because that is when I feel the most creative; I use the rest of the day to think about the next few chapters and where I want the characters and story to go, taking notes to refer to the next day. I never outline an entire novel because I believe in letting the characters tell the story and sometimes they take me places that I would have never expected.
Oh, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.
What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you? (website, blog, social media?) Please include links.
I love to connect with readers! They can follow me on Instagram (@tiffanykilloren), Facebook (@tiffanywkilloren), Twitter (@tiffanykilloren) and on my website (www.tiffanykilloren.com) and contact me via direct message on those sites.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
It’s the same advice that I give myself every day – never give up. As a writer, the most important thing is to surround yourself with a trusted group of people who believe in you and provide honest and constructive feedback. If you have a great support system, a literary agent who believes in you, and a tough as nails mentality, you will be able to see the rejection emails (and there will be plenty) simply for what they are – one publisher’s determination that a story isn’t right for them. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t right for someone else. If you have a story to tell, then tell it.