Welcome, Tara Elizabeth! Thank you for being a part of BOD’s author spotlight interview. We’re so happy to have you and get to know you better.
Thank you so much for having me. I was very excited to receive an invitation to the group.
Let’s start off with a little introduction. Can you tell us where you’re from, how and when you became a writer, and what interests you about dystopian writing?
I’m from south Louisiana – land of crawfish & southern hospitality. It’s been a wonderful place to grow up. Writing only came to me in the past five or so years. I’ve always loved reading, but I was so intimidated by the types of books I was reading. It wasn’t until I discovered YA that my imagination took off. The dystopian genre has endless possibilities – no boundaries. I love it!
What book(s) or writer(s) have most influenced your writing?
After reading Amanda Hocking’s Trylle Trilogy, I thought, I can do this. While her words are simple, she tells amazing stories. I love to read for entertainment, and Ms. Hocking’s works absolutely fit the bill for me. So, while I’m no wordsmith like Stephen King or Jane Austen, I hope that people love my stories.
My favorite YA author is Richelle Mead. I love the relationships she creates and her humor.
I’ve had the opportunity to read your book “Zoo.” It’s a fascinating book. I love the comparison you make between humans and animals in a zoo, whose lives are micromanaged by more intelligently advanced beings. Can you tell us a little about the story and where you came up with the idea?
The story for Zoo came from visiting a local zoo with my then two-year-old son and husband. I’ve always struggled with my feelings about zoos. I know the benefits and enjoy going, but still can’t help feeling sorry for all the animals. The idea popped into my head while watching a cheetah pace its enclosure. I could feel its desire to run free on open land. It was heartbreaking. I tried to put myself in his place. What emotions would I experience? Would I fight or accept my fate?
There are some definite religious overtones in “Zoo.” Especially the concept that there is a god-like figure who is controlling our lives. How do you think this concept most resonates with your readers?
That’s the first time I’ve heard that. Religious overtones weren’t intended, however, I think we all experience these types of controlling figures in our lives; whether they be religious figures, parents, bosses, etc… When faced with these people, we learn who we are.
“Zoo” isn’t the only book you’ve written. Can you tell us about your Exalted series? What’s it about?
After the fall of mankind, the Exalted became the protectors of the people. As an Exalted trainee, all Mena ever wanted was to be strong, to serve and to fearlessly protect the people of the United Republic of the Saved. All Exalted feel the same. In fact, that’s all they feel.
This trilogy follows Mena and her friends as they search for the truth of their world. There is fighting, love, friendships, loss… This series has everything dystopian lovers are looking for.
The third book in Exalted just came out. What can you tell us about United without giving away what happens in book 1 and 2?
United has some great surprises regarding the characters. You’ll end up loving characters that you may have disliked and vice versa.
If any of your books were made into a movie which one would you like to see on the big screen, and who would you like to play as your main characters?
I love this question! Obviously, I’d love to see them all turned into movies, but I think Zoo has the most potential for the big screen. Claudia Lee from Hart of Dixie would be a great Emma. I love her sassy personality and soft look. I have yet to find my perfect Kale.
Are you working on any other writing projects, and if so can you tell us about them?
I am currently working on Rebel – Book 2 in the Enclosure Chronicles (Zoo). The book will follow Kansas’ story. We’ll get to see more of the future world.
What are some of your other talents and hobbies? And when you’re not writing, how do you like to spend your time?
I have a degree in graphic design and work as a designer by day. I design all of my own book covers and some of my friend’s covers. Recently, I’ve really gotten into Crossfit. Mena really inspired me to improve my physical strength. I love feeling strong!
Time . . . When I’m not working, taking care of my kids, or going to the gym . . . Well, that pretty much takes up all of my time. So, when I have free time, I write.
Thank you so much, Tara, for sharing a little bit about yourself, and thank you for being a part of BOD!
Thank you as well! I feel so honored to be part of the group!
I hope you all enjoy my stories and look forward hearing from you. Make sure you follow my Facebook page for giveaways, updates, and fun posts.
I write Young Adult Fiction, mostly Dystopian/Sci-Fi novels with a splash of Romance and a hint of sarcasm. I’m also a graphic artist, wife, mother, and Red Vine lover. I grew up in the Deep South surrounded by bayous, magnolia trees, crawfish and great people. My culture is a huge part of my life, and you can see some of those details in my writing.