...Mainly because they come from somewhere far far away like Cornwall, Ontario or Timbuktu?
1. What's the best thing about being an author?
Being able to do what I love. All day. Every day. (Well, in between trying to be nice to my children.)
2. When you’re not writing/making soap/raising 5 children/baking/being a Domestic Goddess, what else do you do?
When you list it all like that, I feel quite tired just reading it…I read a lot. I start a new diet every other week. I force myself to go to the gym and then look for excuses to leave early. I watch ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ fanatically. I do a lot of family history research – I’ve compiled ancestor charts for both me and the Hot Man’s families, going back twelve generations. Heck, I could write ten books just on all our scandalous family stories alone.
3. What books have influenced your life the most?
As a kid, I basically lived in Narnia. Climbed into wardrobes everywhere looking for a way in to C.S Lewis’ world. Those were the books that first enthralled me, made me want to be a writer and create worlds just like Lewis did.
4. If you had the choice to get rid of that screaming red and yellow SAMCO uniform, what would you replace it with?
You’d have to be very brave to try and get rid of that uniform… Shorts and a plain t-shirt. Cool and comfortable. But all the boys who look like Daniel should have to go shirtless. (Mandatory uniform rule.)
5. Is there a student from your teaching days that you think of when you’re writing your Telesā characters?
This question could get me into trouble… yes, most definitely. A lot of the book takes place at Samoa College and as I wrote, so many of my ex-students would come to mind. As a teacher, I always remember the really ulavale students, the super naughty ones. Usually they were boys. I’ve taken pieces, fragments of different students and blended them into my characters. The character of Maleko in the book is a classic example of the funny, outgoing and fia-bad student that I would often come across. There’s always at least one in every year. Oh, and who hasn’t had the misfortune to know a beautiful bitchy girl in high school? I made sure there was one of those in the book too.
6. What are your plans for the future?
Lots of writing. I’m trying to finish Book Two in the Telesā series so I’m chasing a deadline with that one. I have a collection of my short stories coming out in December, ‘A True Samoan Woman.’ I also have a chick-lit comic-romance novel that I’ve started and whenever I hit a wall with Telesā I turn to that. All my ex-students need to be VERY afraid because they just might see themselves in that book! It’s about a first year English teacher who goes to teach at a private school in Samoa. It charts her struggles with her bossy mother, with cheeky senior students that stalk her at the V-Bar and of course, there’s romance with a fabulous man. ( or two.) I’ve already met the main male lead in my mind… he’s the quiet, unassuming, computer wiz type. The best friend who you totally flip out over at the end of the book when you ‘accidentally’ fall in love with him, he takes his shirt off and you suddenly realize…damn this ‘geek’ is a total BABE!
7. What are the challenges of being a new writer and a Samoan woman writer?
1.Building my audience. Writing experts say that you shouldn’t cross genres but I’m not very good with following rules…My first book was narrative non-fiction. Serious stuff. My second is YA fantasy romance. My third will be a chick-lit comedy novel. Three very different kinds of book with very different audiences which can be tricky.
2. Coping with fear. Worrying what people will think of me when I let them into my imagination. Having the confidence to write the kind of books that I enjoy and not give in to the inner critic that tells me I should be writing ‘Great Pacific Literature’ full of deeply philosophical meaning…
8. In a perfect world, if you could have your choice of any ‘celebrity’ model for the book cover, who would you choose?
I would choose Ezra Taylor again. He’s Samoan, beautifully and faithfully in love with his wife, articulate, intelligent, committed to hard work to further his sporting career, tattooed in all the right places. And of course he makes great eye candy. Does that not fit Daniel perfectly?! There’s another male lead in the Telesā book though, called Jason. Mmmm, very manaia… And I would give up Diet Coke forever if Ryan Reynolds acted the part of Jason in a Hollywood movie of Telesā !
9. What was it like to write the schmexy scenes? Where did you find the inspiration? (:
Ah yes, the oh-so-schmexy love scenes…sigh… I wish they could have been ‘schmexier’! LOL But
I was writing Young Adult fiction and not erotica. The schmexy bits were the easiest ones to write actually. I think everyone can remember what first love feels like. That thrill the first time that a boy holds your hand. Asks you out. The way his smile would be enough to make your day light up with color and wonder. And of course your first kiss. *Everybody sigh here* I was fortunate to have some great memories to draw on of my own ‘first love’ experiences so that was a big help with writing the romance in Telesā.
9. Telesa is considered sacred to some families in Samoa. Do you anticipate any negative feedback from them?
I would hope that people can accept Telesā for what it is – complete fiction. There’s a disclaimer at the front of the book stating that I am not an expert on Samoan culture/mythology/traditions etc and everything in the book is a result of a very overactive imagination. I respect that telesā is sacred to many but the women I describe in my book and their supernatural powers, are nothing like any of the legends or family histories portray. Having said that, I’m still planning to go into hiding in my hermit cave when Telesā launches in Samoa! (Just to be on the safe side.)
Thank you for having me visit your blog! I am your biggest blog stalker.
Telesā:The Covenant Keeper by Lani Wendt Young is available for purchase and download in all electronic formats from Smashwords For those with a Kindle Application, it is also available from Amazon. Price: $5.99
The print version of Telesā:The Covenant Keeper will launch in Apia, Samoa in October.