Welcome to another "Trendy Tuesday!"
Today I'm joined by Tara Woods Turner,
Author of "Beyond Good Manners: How to Raise a Sophisticated Child" and "20 Minute Manners"
Unlock the key to creating a cultivated life for your child with this precise parenting guide. You will learn how to raise an engaging, accomplished and sophisticated child, one who gets noticed for all the right reasons. From fine dining, travel and art appreciation to navigating social media with integrity - Beyond Good Manners: How to Raise a Sophisticated Child will show you how to take your child to the next level. Whether your child is 5 or 15 this is the one book you will reference time and again for advice and techniques that are relevant, practical and insightful.
Thanks again for joining me today, Tara!
If you could go back and re-write a novel, or re-experience writing a novel of yours, which one would it be and why?:
I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on Wuthering Heights. The masochism and abuse in that book makes me shudder and I can not understand why it still endures as a romantic classic.
Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?:
I have always wanted to be a writer even though i have and do pursue other career opportunities. Writing is something that will always be a part of who I am and I can’t imagine feeling so passionately about anything and not eventually writing about it.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
I wrote my first short story in the 4th grade. it was a story about the conversations and relationships between all of the toys in Santa’s sleigh. This was decades before Toy Story so the concept was fun and different at the time. My teacher asked me if i would like to read the story to the second graders during their Christmas party. I was thrilled and said yes. It was a lot of fun and quite fascinating to see the effect one’s words can have on others. I was hooked. I was 18 the first time I was paid for my writing. I wrote an article for Contemporary Christian Magazine and was paid $300 - a fortune at the time. I felt unbelievably lucky.
If you could take a character from your novel on a date, where would you go and what would you both do?
As a non-fiction author I am going to use a bit of creative license and pick a date from one of my favorite novels. It would definately be Christian, the Duke of Cheveux from Laura Kinsale’s “Flowers From the Storm” He is a super sexy, whip-smart, passionate alpha male who has suffered a stroke. I would probably take him for a carriage ride and picnic in the Welsh marcher lands followed by a leisurely walk as the sun is setting.
What was the publishing process like for you? If you self-published, what obstacles have you come across in the process of publishing?
Publishing was relatively simple because the Kindle Direct Publishing platform is quite easy to use. Learning little things along the way, such as pricing, timing promotions and countdown deals etc were a learning curve for me but spending a lot of time on forums and writing communities taught me a lot and kept me from making a lot of costly mistakes. marketing and promoting is much more difficult than writing and publishing, in my opinion.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
My latest book is Beyond Good Manners: How to Raise a Sophisticated Child - take your child to the next level of learning and maturity and they will definitely stand out for all the right reasons! That’s 21 words - I am an untamed, independent soul lol.
If you type into Google “Your Name” – what is the first thing that comes up?
My goodreads page lol. Who knew?
Do you have any future books planned or in mind?
Absolutely. i am currently working on a curriculum series for non-profits and educational organizations as well as a sequel, of sorts, to Beyond good manners: How to Raise a Sophisticated Child. I would love to finally work on some of my fiction ideas but perhaps in the fall i can indulge in that hope.
Do you have a favorite character from your books? Why?:
Again, I’m non-fiction at the moment so i will just say that I love Rochester from Jane Eyre, anyone from any Laura Kinsale book and Bagoas from The Persian Boy by Mary Renault.
If we were to go to a book store together, where would I find you?:
Digging through the lifestyle section chucking armloads of etiquette, decorating and cookbooks into my basket. Next I would head over to the classics followed closely by either historical fiction and biographies.
What is your favorite character’s favorites? Give us a list!
hmmm...well I am just going to give you a list of my composite, dream character’s favorite things since i am the non-fiction girl at this party.
Leather bound books
21 year Bushmills scotch
Sandalwoods aftershave lotion
Sterling silver letter openers
Chamomile tea after 10 pm
Banana bread with gingered whipped cream
Undercover charity work
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?:
I have been writing since I was a fourth grader. Seeing the reaction printed words could invoke fascinated me since my uncle taught me my name at the age of three. I was reading and writing a year later and was reading chapter books by first grade. Writing was a natural extension of my love of reading.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?:
I can’t write a single word if music is playing lol. I exist on chamomile tea when i am writing and I basically shut out the world for a few weeks. When i am tired or lack inspiration I cook - it is relaxing and somehow gets the creative juices flowing.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books? – Why or Why not?
I did in the beginning - one can’t really help it but I no longer closely follow reviews. There is simply no need to obsess about what is out of your control. There is something to be said for learning from both positive and negative reviews but at some point you realize that the praise and/or criticism has hit critical mass and has just become redundant. Then it is okay to stop reading every review that comes in.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?:
As a non-fiction author I do use names, occasionally, to illustrate a point and i just shoehorn in the names of family and friends. They get a kick out of it!
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?:
Since I have outlined my fiction novels I feel it is not cheating to answer this question. My characters, so far, are based on people i know or are familiar with. They look physically different but basing them on people i understand really fleshes them out for me - they speak, think and behave in ways that almost write themselves. it is up tome to create their world.
What is your favorite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?:
My favorite books of all time are jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (read 9 times) and Flowers From the Storm by Laura Kinsale (read 3 times) A very close third is The Persian Boy by Mary Renault (read 2 ½ times) I love these books so much because i feel a sense of emotional honesty from the writers that is clean, pure in an elemental sense and brave, actually. This is the writing that comes across so sublimely that you almost underestimate the skill involved.
Your favorite food is?:
OMG, like, everything. I’m kind of obsessed with sushi and I love the Southern comfort foods I grew up with, of course. my husband is a phenomenal cook so whatever he makes becomes my favorite for about a month or so.
Your favorite singer/group is?:
Can’t get enough of James Taylor!
Your favorite color is?:
What sparked the idea for this book?
They say you should write the book you want to read and that was very much the case here. As an etiquette consultant I began to realize that once the basics of good manners are instilled in our children there was really no concise roadmap to get them to the next level beyond the usual books about academic or psychological success. There was really nothing out there that was covering more than one or two bases in a way that could help parents raise all around polished and sophisticated children.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
Having recently lost my mother to a fight with cancer nearly every part of this book was difficult to write. She instilled such amazing values in me and her life was one I strive every day to emulate. So many beautiful memories floated to the surface for me because when you write a parenting book your own upbringing naturally informs your work. I realized how fortunate I am to have had the mother i did and i wanted to mae her memory proud as i wrote the book. So it was bittersweet and difficult at times but in the best possible way.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I want my readers to walk away from this book feeling empowered as they raise their children to be poised and confident, articulate, well-mannered and sophisticated. I want them to know they have an ally and that they have what it takes to accomplish such a worthy goal. most importantly, i want them to see that it is not as daunting or difficult as it seems and that my book makes the entire process rewarding and a lot of fun.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
I would advise any aspiring writer to clearly understand why they are writing and exactly who they are writing for. This provides invaluable clarity and purpose and prevents your book from trying to be all things to all people. You should literally have an idea of where they shop, what websites they visit, what they do for fun, what their family life is like etc. Know your demographic, even if it changes from book to book.
If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
I would love the ability to read minds - not so much to spy but to really understand what people want and need even when they are too shy or politically correct to express it. Most people really are wonderful people at heart but don’t want to inconvenience others.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
My most rewarding experience since being published was having my book endorsed by the Center for Parenting Education under the character and moral development category. They vet their books extensively and being approved of by educators was the proverbial icing on the cake.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
You should read my book because it will 100% guide you as you raise a child who is engaging, socially intelligent and confident - a sophisticated child!
What’s your favorite season/weather?
I love the raw beauty of autumn. Everything is in transition in a way that is less literal than spring. Things are wrapping up, slowing down instead of budding and opening up and there is something cozy and calming about that. The light is more filtered and diffuse and the air has a delicious chill that always reminds me of jumping in leaves with my siblings as a child.
What is your favorite thing about writing?
I love the process of developing a concept to the point where readers “get” what i am trying to convey. It is a beautiful thing when you share what’s in your heart and mind with strangers and they connect with you. Writing is so powerful when it emphasizes our common goals, hopes, dreams and desires. I love starting a new project when the ideas are coming so quickly I can barely get them down on paper, as well.
What is your least favorite thing about writing?
I don’t particularly enjoy the necessary evil of marketing and promoting my books. As an indie author that is the one aspect I would gladly surrender to a traditional publisher!
If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
Easy. I would be the New York Times literary critic for one day ;)
Favorite Superhero ? Or if you could be a superhero, who would you be or what super power would you have and why?
Oh, I would totally be Wonder Woman. I love her strong female backstory and, of course, if you’re into boots like I am...a natural fit!
Thanks Tara so much for all of your answers! They were really answered well, and I plan on reading your book, so that when I do become a parent someday, I can raise them to be sophisticated! Congratulations on all of your accomplishments, and I can't wait to see what else you bring to the world!
If you'd like to learn more or follow Tara, be sure to check out all of her links at the top!
I hope everyone has a fantastic day today,
and be sure to stop by next Tuesday for another Trendy Tuesday!