Welcome to Live Free Creative, the podcast that provides inspiration and ideas for living a creative, adventurous, and intentional lifestyle. I’m your host Miranda Anderson and I hope that each time you listen you feel a little bit more free to live your life exactly the way you want to live it.
Hi there friends. You’re listening to episode 93 of Live Free Creative. I’m your host Miranda Anderson and today I have a fun episode for you. I’m interviewing debut author Tiffany Rosenhahn about her creative process and her upcoming young adult novel Girl from Nowhere.
Fun backstory. I grew up with Tiffany before she was a Rosenhan. She and I went to elementary school together, lived in the same neighborhood. Actually her older sister was one of my good friends when I was eight, nine, ten years old. So we ran in the same circles for a long time and have a lot of similar friends.
A couple years ago when I still lived in Texas, I was hanging out with my neighbor and really good friend Cara, and she mentioned that she had been previewing and reading a manuscript by our mutual friend Tiffany. Cara raved about this book and how excited she was for Tiffany pursuing publishing.
Here we are, a couple of years later and Girl from Nowhere is going to be released in July. I know that things like this sometimes feel like they just happen overnight and that’s never ever the case. I love talking to people and hearing their background and their stories and how their creative hobbies and passions and pursuits lead them down a pathway to maybe sometimes an unexpected outcome.
I also couldn’t wait to get my hands on an advanced copy of this young adult novel and I have to tell you I was not disappointed. It is an action packed spy thriller with a little romantic twist and a strong, confident, brave young female lead.
I’m so excited to share with you this candid conversation that I had with Tiffany about her book and about life and about her creative process. As we were chatting. A couple of things jumped out at me that I just wanted to point out before I jumped into the interview.
Importance of Curiosity
The first is the importance of curiosity, how sometimes just paying attention to the small things that really interest us, that we don’t even know why they interest us, but they do. Those can have an impact on what we do and as we follow our curiosity with creativity and with some confidence that we can discover new things about ourselves and maybe even create things that didn’t exist before.
Power of Perspective
The second thing that really jumped out at me from our conversation was the power of perspective. Several times throughout our interview, Tiffany talks about how this is so fun and it’s been such a wild ride. It is such a big deal to have this book coming out. She’s been working on it for years and years and finally we’re at this point and through all of that, it hasn’t ever been the thing that was most important and being able to maintain her perspective on her family and her role as a wife and as a mother.
This has enabled her to feel peace even as things in her life and in this creative pursuit of becoming a published author have gone up and down. It was such a good reminder to me of how little we can control about our circumstance and how very much we can control about our perspective, our thoughts and how we see ourselves within lives that we sometimes can not control.
Okay, friends. Sit back and relax and enjoy this fun conversation I had with my friend and debut author Tiffany Rosenhan.
Interview with author Tiffany Rosenhan, Girl from Nowhere
Miranda: hello Tiffany. How are you?
Tiffany: I’m fine. How are you Miranda?
Miranda: Good. It’s so great to talk to you. I’m super excited to have you on the show and to be able to ask you all the questions, learn all the things about your new book.
Tiffany: Well, thank you for having me. I’m super excited to share it. So we’re, I’m happy to be here. Thank you.
M: Yeah. So for my listeners who are unfamiliar with you, I would love for you to just give us like a little background spiel on who you are, where you’re from, and how you got to this place right now, where you’re on the cusp of your first book being released.
T: Oh, okay. So I am Tiffany Rose and Hahn. I am an identical twin, which is kind of a fun fact. I live in Salt Lake City, Utah, and I have four daughters whom I have stayed home with and raised.
I was very young when I graduated college with a degree in political science. I was twenty years old and I was married and about to have a baby, so I just decided to stay home with my daughters. And I did, but I never stopped engaging and I just love to read and I love to write and it just kind of evolved over time.
And now I have the novel coming out, which was kind of fun. So they all kind of happened organically. I’d never had any ground plan. I feel like I maybe should have and but I never did. I just enjoying my time being home and writing on the side.
M: I love that. So hindsight is always a little bit 20/20 with these things. Although, do you feel like because of the steps of the journey being what they have been and we’ll get more into what those look like, because I don’t even know if you could be where you are without having gone through all of the different, you know meanderings and phases. Could you give some steps?
T: Absolutely. Yes, I feel as though, creatively, the process had to evolve really organically, but there was a lot of logistical and technical things I could have rearranged to make it a little smoother process if I’d wanted to publish a young adult fiction book by a certain amount of time.
I think things could have moved quicker. But I also think the story kind of just evolved and I’m so happy I’d never published sooner because if look back at previous drafts and other versions, it was never what I wanted. So in some sense, yes. I think for anyone that wants to be a published author, there’s so many ways to take that happen a lot quicker.
But for me that was, that was off my radar for a really long time until suddenly it became like something I wanted to do. So yeah, you can. So you can save those of the people who are listening who have an interest in writing a book.
I know so many people are like, I do want to do this. I do have a goal of being a published author. So you can save us and save us some time. You’ll give us some everything. I do just do the opposite. I don’t know as we all do, I really think that’s the only way to learn by trying something. By experimenting.
M: Right. Okay. So I want to just back up to the very beginning when you started writing this story. Was this story that is being published, Girl from Nowhere, the story that you began years and years ago when you were like, Oh I just want to write in my spare time when my kids are napping? Or did it start as something else? Have you written multiple and this is the one that happens to have enough interest or is this the story you’ve been working on since he began writing?
TR: Well, that’s a good question. I feel like the main character, her name is Sophia, she’s been in my head a really long time and it’s funny, I look back and I was actually living in Taiwan. This was years ago. I was 19 and with my twin sister.
We were at a night market, which is a really fun, vibrant, really chaotic city market. And there’s lots of noise and congestion and it’s very chaotic if you’re unfamiliar with it, and even if you are. And I got lost and suddenly I was alone. I’m in alleyway and I couldn’t find my sister. And I’m a very unfazed and uneasily panicked person. But I became very frightened very easily and realized I don’t know how to get home.
And this was pre-internet, pre-cell phones. I didn’t have a cell phone if you can imagine. Somehow I made it my back and I turn a few corners and ended up back with my sister and I was so relieved. But then that moment I had this vision of myself as this girl and I thought, Why? Why am I, who am I? Who is she writing from? Why? How is she going to escape?
And that girl just kind of never left me. I had this sense that she wasn’t a character, she wasn’t just this idea in my head. So on one that hand, Sophia has been with me a long time, but the story came much later.
So I never wrote, I was never a trained writer and I never, I mean my last English classes, AP English in high school, which I think I barely passed the exam, so I never was a trained writer and I never thought, how do I structure a story? How do I tell a story?
I never thought of myself as telling a story. I just liked to get on my computer with a pen and paper at night after my kids were in bed and just write for fun. I think there was a two pronged approach. One approach, I wrote this character as having been married a long time and another approach was that I just wrote for fun for a really long time until this characters started to take shape.
And that was years and years after just writing with my laptop at night for fun. So writing was just a creative escape and just to create an exercise.
TR: In fact the first story I ever wrote, like start to finish, was about this mom staring at her daughter and she realizes she’s named her the wrong name. And we laugh at this because when I named my oldest daughter and we got home from the hospital and I was like, that’s not, that’s not what I named her. And my husband’s like, yeah, it is.
The drugs eventually wore off. And I had clarity on her name, Savannah, and it still is. And my husband loved the name and our compromise was since he named her, and I don’t remember this, I got to name all of our next children.
So that was my first story and it was so silly and you know, kind of had no plot whatsoever. But that was the first story. I was like, Oh, start to finish. It’s a story that when anyone else ever wants to read, but for me it was just, it was just fun to write anything.
It didn’t really matter if it was fiction, nonfiction, creative rap, or even if it was a replica of something that already existed, it just all helped me learn to put words on a page.
M: Yeah, that’s what I like to do. So when did Sophia become part of the story that you were writing and when did she go from being kind of this idea of maybe some characteristics that you found important or valuable or interesting into taking form within the story that she emerged in with Girl from Nowhere?
TR: It’s hard to say. I’d have to look back to pinpoint the precise date, but it’s been years. I mean, I would say five or six. I mean longer probably. I feel like I wrote about her for so long without here ever being created.
I feel like I was always trying to find her voice. So I’d say the first full story where Sophia was like the narrative, the protagonist and there’s a lot of, as an aside, there’s a lot of plot in my story, you know it’s there. It’s kind of like in the world of thrillers and theirs adults play a role and so it was hard to make Sophia the central character of this novel I was creating.
So it’s, it’s definitely a complicated process and I don’t know if it always has to be complicated, but I tend to complicate things the way I write. I dig myself into holes. So it’s hard to say. I mean I’d have to look back like five six, seven, eight, nine, ten years ago. I don’t even remember. It’s been so long. It feels like she’s always been a part of my writing.
It’s interesting the way it becomes a story because, once you start thinking of her as a protagonist, then suddenly you have to spend a lot of time developing other parts of the story, not just her, because it wasn’t a literary piece and it wasn’t a diary.
I like to say she’s just a 15 year old girl with car, complicated life and it was figuring out how those complications affected her. And I mean I could go back and look, but it’s just figuring out how she fits into the story and how to tell a story about her that people would want to read.
And you know what? I think she’s an image system for what I want my girls to believe about themselves. I want them to be brave and confident and take hold of their own future and opportunities. Even if other people treat you in a way that you can’t control. And that was the character I saw in her.
M: That was my next question. You shared a couple of them, maybe you could elaborate even more. What are some of the defining characteristics or values that Sophia has that you love in her and how do you feel like you find those in yourself? How are you alike and how are you different from this character?
TR: Oh, I’m so different in so many ways. Someone asked me what I hope people get from the book? And I think for me, addressing your audience, I would say hope the young female readers see the best in themselves when they read about Sophia.
She is just a 15 year old girl with a complicated life and she has insecurities and she has vulnerabilities. Yet she also has the resources and skills to challenge herself and to fight through hardship to become her best self.
And I think there’s a level of resilience and determination that she has that I would hope for my own daughters. And I know I don’t probably don’t always articulate it well, but that’s at least how I view her in my head.
M: Yeah. Yeah. No, I love that.
TR: I hope that resonates with young girls because they don’t have to be perfect to be brave. They just have to act bravely when it’s needed, right? And I would definitely think her confidence and bravery at times of crisis is, I think I would, I hope to have and hope to inspire young among young readers.
M: Yeah, I love that. She definitely is as strong teenage female lead, which is interesting because she’s so young in the book, but she exhibits a lot of characteristics of an older, more mature person just because of her very unique life experiences.
TR: And that’s something, it’s hard to navigate, isn’t it? It’s a hyper-reality. It’s not a true story. It’s not nonfiction. I’m not trying to write something that doesn’t exist. It’s just I want it to be fun and playful and at the same time have authentic elements to it.
M: Yeah, that makes sense. Something I was so impressed by when I read it, I mean read it in two days and if I didn’t have children it would have been in one day because my children needed to eat. So I took time off from reading to like take care of that and then jumped right back in.
I was absolutely drawn in from the first chapter. I was super impressed with the level of detail of the reality of these places.
Now the book doesn’t take in one location, it takes place either actually physically all over the world or in memory all over the world in like really specific ways like the streets and types of clothing and cultures and food and buildings and bakeries. And I was like, Whoa!
I’m so curious and I’m so excited to ask you. Like, I know that you’ve spent a lot of time traveling. How did you do the research? I mean there’s so much of this from personal experience or did you just do a ton of research? How did you create this world that is the real world in such detail without having, I don’t know that you’ve been to all of the places that are listed in the book. I would expect that you haven’t. I don’t know if have you been all of these places, have you?
TR: I have been to many. I have not been to all. I wish I’d been to all. No, that’s very, that’s very nice of you to say. I try to replicate places I have been, like I said, I haven’t been every place. There’s quite a few I hope to go to, but I have been to many of them. If not one place I mentioned I’ve maybe been somewhere similar.
It’s nice that you could say that it felt real because that was hard to do. I want it to, I wanted you to recognize the location for more than just a name. I want it to be something and feel something real.
What I’ve noticed is when I’ve travel I love to go to a grocery store. I’m like, well, what is it their oatmeal look like? What or how did that, what kind of container do their strawberries come in? If they have juice, what does it look like? Is it fresh? Is it canned? Is it frozen? I mean, these things have always fascinated me.
And as a little girl, I used to read geography books at my grandma’s house. I can remember every one of those group collections. And she just had every section since like 1948 and I loved reading them.
And so I think it’s the combination of a lot of research, a lot of like primary source research and compiled by applying my own experience in a similar environment. But it’s really hard to do. And I think one thing that’s really helped me is reading a lot of nonfiction travel books. And just peeling like layers away of a city.
It’s not just, it’s not just like the top 10 places to see, but where are those nooks and crannies that really identify a certain city, whether it’s Vienna, Istanbul, or Paris or Prague. What makes it unique and stand apart from other environments because each culture has created their own beautiful physical, physical identity, right?
You know, the stones they use in one city are different than the stone these in a different city. And why is that? Oh, because you know this rock quarry nearby has this type of stone and stuff when they start to recognize buildings by location based on the raw materials use in there architecture. So that’s always been interesting to me. I have no idea why, but it is.
M: I love it. Well that comes out so fully. Just like, I mean it’s interesting to hear that you’re that detailed oriented in your life and travel as well. And I totally related to that because I love to travel so much. I have traveled and like I feel like, hearing you talk, I’m like, yes, that’s the way I feel.
I want to not hit the top 10. I actually want to avoid the top 10. I want to go to the places where the people who live in the city are and like see it from their point of view in the way that you can’t as an outsider.
I think that, I mean it’s probably impossible to actually, unless you really truly do live somewhere to get that feeling. But, but I love exploring underneath the thing that’s the same everywhere.
You spent last year, a couple months last year, traveling with your four girls and your husband, I believe as well. You took some time off. How do you feel like that experience has played into your family culture and, and why do you think that travel is so important?
TR: Well, I think I’m gonna answer that question two folds. First travel is important because I think you remove your family from your typical situation and insert yourself into an environment where you’re forced to be together, act together, work together. And that’s always been really special for my family.
In particular with my husband’s job before he’s taken a break, semi-retired after, after a stroke, and I think for us it was always just removing ourselves from the daily expectations we place upon ourselves that enabled us to just focus and make eye contact and enjoy each other’s company and slow down and our lives were at a point where they were so, so busy.
Only when we traveled and were away from our environment, it didn’t matter where we were, but it was, I traveled a lot, whether internationally or domestically, just to way from the demands we had on our time. And it wasn’t until this past year that we realized how many demands we’ve placed upon ourselves.
The traveling has really enabled us to see that from a different perspective and being away together as a family was really amazing. It’s definitely changed the culture of our family and it’s interesting now because by the time my girls may be returned to school in September, they will have spent two of the last 15 months in school.
The rest of the time, I’m not really homeschooling. They’re doing their scores from their school. But in Europe, the last four months we called it no schooling. And the reason we did that is because our family dynamic wasn’t working, trying to homeschool them in a vigorous way. And they were very, they’re very independent learners.
I’m lucky. They love to read, they love to do their work, but it didn’t work to have me be really intense about it, that altered our dynamic, and it wasn’t a positive experience. So yeah, I think, but they still learn so many things when left to their own creativity.
My girls love to explore outside. They love to do art. And I think the more freedom I give them, the better, the more capable they can become at learning. And I feel as though if they learn how to learn, they will always be okay. And that’s something we’re really been inspired by the people that travel is, I think your kids learn how to learn for themselves, how to ask questions, how to find answers.
And I think of all these small experiences that we’ve had. Like when we were in November in France living there for eight weeks in this house, there was massive flooding and we got a phone call from our landlord saying, don’t leave the house for three days.
And we’re like kind of like what is going on? And we could see the floodwaters banked the river and it was kind of traumatic for them. But we knew we were safe and things, things tapered off and we were okay. But it prepared us for this experience.
Being together as a family feels really peaceful and it feels right and it feels like our children are, we have become very adaptable. And that’s something I really value in my children’s being adaptable, being good learners, not always being well behaved.
We’re learning how to navigate, how to navigate that together. So I’m not sure I quite answered that question.
M: Yeah, no, I love that. So what I pulled from your answer is that travel gives you as a family and opportunity to spend time together that you otherwise might not have. And I totally echo that for my own family. And it’s almost like when you reflect that back sometimes you’re like, well that’s weird. Why can’t we do that when we’re at home too?
But for whatever reason, when we all go away together, we’re all away. And that creates like this unity. And then I also love what you talked about, no schooling, the idea that instilling a love of curiosity, like figuring out what the problems are or what the questions are and then finding the solutions or the answers.
That is what learning is. That’s what we do. And what matters in general education is that we become problem solvers and critical thinkers. I think sometimes in a truly academic environment, they don’t have that freedom. They don’t actually get the chance to ask the questions and to find the solutions in the ways that might be more true to them.
And so when I look back on my life and growing up traveling, I was lucky to live in a family where we traveled a lot. You know, some of it was like going to Southern Utah, going camping and hiking and backpacking and some of it was going to Mexico or you know, going to South America.
All of it created a desire in me to learn more about the world and about other cultures and peoples that otherwise might not have been there. And understanding that I was just like one piece of this global community. And like all of a sudden, I mean in this, like you were saying when you were in Taiwan before the age of the internet, before having cell phones, before being able to, you know, watch a live of someone in China or whatever, like the world seemed so much bigger, but as soon as you travel and visit it, then it gets smaller and you feel connected to other people.
And that’s something that it’s really hard to do in other ways. There’s a humanity that comes with witnessing other people’s ways of life. It can be different. And still be good.
I think that in reading your book, Sophia growing up all over the world, which people who read that will will experienced pieces of that with her settling down in Montana and this normal kind of high school. What most of us would consider like a pretty normal life is the adjustment. It’s like, Oh this is what high school is like, this is what normal teenagers do. This is what life can be. So interesting that she has so many experiences that that normalcy is what actually feels new.
Okay. Let’s dig in for a few minutes on the actual publishing journey cause I know that it’s that this is, these are pieces that people are super interested in. So when did you decide that you wanted to pursue traditional publishing with this novel? Like you knew this is this is the story that I want to actually publish or, or did it even look like that? What did that look like for you? The decision of like, okay, I have a book. I’ve been writing for years and years and years, but this is something that I actually want to make available on the mass market.
TR: I had a friend, a mutual friend of ours, Cara giving you a shout out. She had an early copy. We’d always kept in touch. It’d be email. I’m a Chi Omega, that was my sorority in college. And when we graduated college, we all moved away and we’d kept this email and that was the way we kept in touch.
We didn’t have, I mean I think we did have Facebook. I know she did, but we didn’t, none of us really use it. But we did email and Cara found out I was writing and just said send it to me, send it to me. And I was too embarrassed cause I’m like, no, I’m just working on something for fun.
And she just pushed me and pushed me to send it to her, of course, that’s a good friend. She’s just like, this is amazing.
And you know, and I was like, Oh no, no Cara, you have to say that you’re my friend. But she kind of didn’t let it go and she kept reading drafts and I had an simultaneously a few other individuals that were reading it. I kind of gave in to the confidence that other people read it just to understand like, what have I done? What am I doing? I don’t, I don’t know.
And Cara and a few others are the ones that said, Why aren’t you publishing? Why don’t you try to publish? And so I thought I’ll publish. And publishing is interesting if you’re not coming from publishing and the reason is you only get your information third, fourth, fifth hand. And I think things have changed in the last five years, but they’re still changing. And I would say publishing is still a very traditional industry.
And so many of the processes seem to almost keep out an outsider, right? But there’s a traditional agent. You have to have an agent in order to, in order to submit to a traditional large publisher and even some smaller publishers. But I knew all along that with my skillset as a writer. I wasn’t very well trained at all. Not very practiced. I knew that in order for a fiction book to succeed, I personally felt like the only way to make that happen was to go with a traditional publisher.
I didn’t have the resources to publish myself, to hire the editorial staff necessary to produce something and I felt personally like it wasn’t worth my, the strain, like the mental strain to pursue self publishing, knowing that the outcome would be so much different than the outcome of books that have a traditional publishing house behind them.
I also knew creatively I couldn’t get it to where it needed to be. I needed, I needed a publisher and I wanted a support staff around me, encouraging me, motivated me, and most importantly giving me the editorial feedback I knew the book needed. I knew from the moment I decided to pursue publication, I would only publish traditionally and I think there’s so many other avenues for different types of books.
I think children’s picture books, I think a lot of nonfiction cookbooks, there are so many books that do very, very well outside of the traditional publishing world. For a young adult fiction, it felt almost impossible to tackle the industry itself and the methods of distribution and review processes. They’re also ingrained with one another that I knew all along traditional publishing was what I wanted to do.
M: So what, so what did it look like to like how did you go about getting an agent? I guess that’s the first step. So you create a proposal, I mean I know the steps, but create a query letter, you send it to a bunch of agents. Did you get it? Find an agent first round?
TR: No, not at all. In fact, when I first tried I was under the impression, this is again, my research was so limited. I mean I was going to the library and researching online like what do you do? And I retrospectively realize my manuscript was nowhere near finished. And my query was basically just like a, Hey, do you wanna publish this book? Great. What do you think?
It was more casual and I didn’t know what I was doing and so no, no, no. I got no, I got like no contacts. I got nothing. So I just kept working on the manuscript and I wasn’t super concerned with querying because I kept circling back to the manuscript and also being afraid because I knew the manuscript wasn’t ready.
So at some point I went and I had a cousin living in New York city and he introduced me to a contact who by some turn of events introduced me to a man who later became my agent.
And so like so often happens in publishing, it ends up being just a unique turn of affairs that, so I got to meet it that way. Connecting the right person and me, after not knowing how to query and not understanding how this process worked.
I got a phone call and my current agent: I’ve read the first two pages and I want to represent you and this is a specific kind of what I want from you and this is the expectations.
Like, I knew the manuscript needed to work and he knew it needed work and so I was totally okay to work on what needed to be done. And, and that was that. And then when I rewrote the material, pretty much all of it, he submitted it in the Summer of 2018 to publishers.
And then I guess that’s maybe the next part of your question, but that’s how I got my agent. I feel so nontraditional based on a formula and yet the more authors I talk to, the more I realize it’s the much more common path.
M: Yeah, there’s like two degrees of separation. It’s very seldom that you’re just sending it out to the world and that it gets picked up. It’s like getting involved, knowing people, talking to people, talking to people who have contacts, like becoming immersed in it and like rather than just standing outside, like throwing things at the dartboard.
TR: Well, and that’s what I was thinking. You know, it’s funny you learn if you go, but had I been less secretive. It was just, to me, writing was just a hobby. I didn’t tell people about it. I didn’t express like I didn’t identify as a writer. I didn’t identify as an author.
I mean, I still have people when I tell people that the book is coming out, you know, two months ago that had no idea I’d ever written anything. It wasn’t that I was ashamed of it. It just felt private and personal and there was just something I did in my own time.
It wasn’t a job. I had obligations, but had I been more maybe proactive and declaring myself a writer, I’m working on this. Then you open yourself to opportunities and you open yourself up to people contacting you. But if no one knows, you have no chance. So who knows? Maybe if I’d opened up sooner, I would’ve gotten that phone call sooner, but at the same time, it wasn’t my primary focus at the time.
And I’m okay with how that, I’m very okay with how that played out and it’s for the best.
M: Yeah, that’s great. So then your agent sent it out to a big group of publishing houses or just a select few where you just wanted only a few or what was the process.
TR: It’s funny, I actually don’t even, I don’t, I wasn’t really involved in that decision at all. He sent it out to the main publishers and as soon as Bloomsbury came back with an offer that was a hundred percent where we want it to be. It was like my dream publisher.
So I feel really lucky. So as soon as Bloomsbury responded, that was the perfect fit and we felt a hundred percent I personally, because it was my birthday, I felt a hundred percent grateful and very happy with that.
But you know, there’s all these sorts of formulas for sending books out on submission and it works different for everyone. But for me it was, it just was very fortuitous. In fact, this is the craziest thing of all is I, well for me personally it was, I’ve struggled with this being a stay home mother and also writing and what works for me.
And I really wanted to prioritize the time at home with my kids. And yet I was on a trip with my husband and some friends and we were in Pennsylvania and I got home and I knew that Bloomsbury was interested cause we’d had a few phone calls, I had a few phone calls with my agent, but he just, I think for agents, they don’t want to tell you everything because they don’t need to get worked up over anything.
So I knew very little, but I get home from the airport, go straight to school pickup. And this is the first day of my life that all four of my daughters were in school all day. And I get a phone call at 3:00 PM Utah time and that’s the offer. And for me it was so fortuitous that I get this offer to publish this, but the same day, all my kids are in school all day.
And it just felt like the timing was perfect for me. Everything, every delay, every missed opportunity, whatever you want to call them. I am so appreciative because this enabled me to fulfill what I wanted to do, which was to be home when my children were really little and it felt so right to say yes to an opportunity to work when they were all in school.
It was perfect for me and I feel really grateful for that turn of events.
M: That’s awesome. Yeah, that’s a really sweet serendipity. I love hearing about once someone has signed with their publishing house, the process, it’s been a couple years. It’s been a couple of years, right?
TR: No, no. I signed in September, 2018
M: September, so it’s been a year and a half. Right. Okay, so you signed and the manuscript was done at that point, but still had to go through editing. It’s different for nonfiction and fiction because in nonfiction the book isn’t done. You sign with the publisher and then you have to write the book, but it’s done, but it still needs to be worked through.
TR: This is obviously my first book, so it’s hard to have any like legitimate comparisons. But I, my perception is with debut authors, they do get about a two year timeline because it’s a new experience to work with an editorial staff. And I was assigned a brilliant editor and I’m so grateful for that.
But these revisions do take time and I think from their end, they don’t know how an author will respond to revision then. So they want to give themselves some cushioning. And I was at first, I signed in September of 2018 and I knew the publication was July, 2020. And so I thought the same thing I’m like, that is almost two years away. What am I going to be doing?
And now I’ve learned that I first had to work on a lot of sections and make it more structured and cut words and revamped a few characters and just some tweaks here and there. But overall a lot of work and I’m glad I had the time and the runway to take those revisions in my own time so I wasn’t rushed. So they definitely know what they’re doing with these timelines, even if it feels a little bit a little bit odd.
And then the second part of that is no one knows who I am. And I’ve never written a book before. I’ve written, but I have no publications to my name. And so it’s my and Bloomsbury’s opportunity to introduce my name and my book to the world because there’s no one anywhere looking for the next book by Tiffany Rosenhan.
They don’t even know I exist, right? I think that timeline also plays into giving the publisher enough time to introduce me as an author and my book to pop all of their distribution channels. So it makes sense. But that feels like a long, long, long way.
M: Yeah. Well and it’s almost here. So how do you feel with the release so close and like, like you have books that are in hand, you’ve given them to advance advanced copies to readers that are like able, like I was able to read it and like love it and you know, how does it feel now? Like, do you feel the way you thought you would?
TR: You know, I think I’ve had, it’s been such a crazy year for my family, but I feel like I’m just, sometimes I’m disconnected from it all. And so for your readers now, a year ago, last February, my husband had a hemorrhagic stroke and then brain surgery and he’s doing fantastic. But that was six months into my contract and I just kind of put everything else in my life and perspective.
While this book has always been very important to me, my family is obviously most important. And so I’ve had to just, I’m constantly adapting to each day figuring out how do I spend my time, how do I prioritize my time? And luckily, yeah, all works out and I have more than enough time to get done, I need to get done.
But as far as the excitement, I feel mostly just super grateful that I have this opportunity. And I think had a focus of the last 12 months of my life had been only on the book, I would probably feel a lot more anxious and nervous.
But because I’ve had so many other personal family, other family tragedies and certain things going on that and obviously the world situation right now. But yeah, I think I’m really able to put it in perspective that this is a great opportunity I’m grateful for and I’m really excited for the world to meet Sophia at the same time.
I’m mindful of that. That is a unique time for a lot of people and promoting myself and my book is not the primary focus of my life, nor will it ever be. I mean, my children are and my family knows and I think I can share Sophia and Girl from Nowhere with the world and be excited about that and at the same time not let it control my life.
TR: If that makes sense at all.
M: That’s fantastic perspective. I think that that’s absolutely, I mean feels really aligned. It’s really fun to have all of that done. I mean by digging in when you felt like you wanted to, for creativity, for personal value, for spending time and pursuing this passion as a, as a hobby, as a side project.
Had you not done that. Had you thought, um, you know, all of those years I really would like to write a book but never actually do it then you couldn’t be here. No, because you had to do the work for yourself and for fun and now that you’re here at the other end of it where you know, this book is going to be launched into the world soon, for better or worse, right?
TR: But you can just feel like, I mean it’s, so I feel like it, it is a fun perspective to realize that like you’ve done what you needed to do. You know like there there’s, there’s a little bit more, I mean there obviously with books there will always be promotion you can do there but there also is no end to any of that. Like there’s no end to the amount of promotion to the amount of talking about it to the amount of sales to the amount of pitches that it almost feels good. Like great. I can like do as much or as little and there will always be more opportunity for that.
So it’s okay to, even if you need do, you know, and you know, it’s, it’s a peaceful feeling. I don’t feel anxious about it. I mean, I feel nervous that other people are going to read something that has been so personal for so long. It’s definitely a sense of intimidation and vulnerability I’ve never experienced in my life.
I’m not very self conscious. I never had been before. Maybe it’s being an identical twin. You’re just kind of always have a twin and you don’t care what anyone else thinks ever. Right?
I do feel mindful that I have children, daughters, and I don’t want them to be negatively affected and impacted by a story I’m writing about a teenage girl. And so there’s a sense of vulnerability and certainly humility that comes with other people reading something super personal.
But overall over the, my impression of how these next four months will go is hopefully very peaceful and enjoyable. And I said, I just want to enjoy the process. I don’t feel anxious. I feel like what’s done is done. Like you said, I can’t really do anything to change people’s opinion of the story.
They’ll either like it or they won’t and I hope they like it. And if not, it’s just a story and it’s fun and I want people to read it and just feel like it was time well spent and from a reader is just to look back and think, Oh, I’m glad I did that. I’m glad I read that. I’m glad I took the time to set up an account to read a book and not watch a show or play a video game but read, being transported to another, another place.
M: I love it. The book releases, I mean obviously you still are a mother of four and you still are home with your husband, but like writing wise, what comes next?
TR: Well, this is a fun part to talk about because I’m not sure what I’m supposed to say, but I am obviously working on the second book trying to get that wrapped up. I really want to make sure the book is creatively where I want it before we have set publication date and set deadline. And so that’s been really fun.
I feel like I have so many opportunities creatively to take this story almost don’t know where to I was something where to where to end.
M: So are you working on it right now? You’re in like you’re in the middle of it because I have to tell you Girl from Nowhere ends with a cliffhanger. I mean you’re like, no, I won’t say too much, but I’m like you’re okay Sophia, but you have some unresolved issues happening in the world.
TR: I’m really excited. I think it’s actually way more fun to write than book number one because I feel good. I know a little bit more about how I write and how I creatively produce and most importantly creatively edit. I don’t feel tied to anything. I don’t feel attached the way I felt previously to material that I had to cut.
And I feel like I’ve been unleashed in a way with book two because suddenly it just feels like I can take this character. I don’t want to, I’m trying to be careful what I say about this character, to continue to grow and still be herself. And that’s really fun to enables someone to, I’m gonna use the word blossom even though that’s not a very good word, choice.
And even my character really blossoms and come into her own and matures in ways that we didn’t see in book one. So yeah, I’m excited. I’m, so, that’s what I’m working on. That’s a primary focus. I have a few other projects, but my primary focus is figuring out where Sophia goes in book two.
M: Yeah. I’m so curious. Yeah. I’m, it’s like such a, such a silly thing, but I’m like, what do you call book two of girl from nowhere series. Like, girl, I had a friend, I had a girl,
TR: I had a, actually the boy, I’ll try and suggest, um, she’s the girl from nowhere unless you’re from somewhere.
M: There you go.
TR: That will not fly. I’m very curious though. I’m excited. But I’m actually curious too. I haven’t been titled yet, so you’ll have to give me some suggestions.
M: Well, I don’t know. You send me the manuscript and I’ll give you some suggestions. I’ll be a pre-reader for you anytime. I love it.
TR: Pre-readers. I can get thinking about editing and people give feedback without even meaning to, and that’s so fun to incorporate because like I said, I think of myself as a reader who likes to write, not as a writer, how it’s most important to me more than reviewers or critiquers or English majors. It’s how the reader feels when they read it. So that’s what is most important to me as a writer and that will probably never change.
M: Well, that’s a really important thing to think about because I think a lot of books are really well written for from a writer’s perspective, but maybe not as interesting to read from a reader’s perspective. So that’s a great, that’s a good perspective to have as a writer.
Oh my gosh. And I didn’t even touch on, I have to ask you that. There’s a romantic piece in this book. I loved reading those scenes and I also, because I know you, and like I hung out with your sister and I feel like I grew up with you in some ways.
And it took me back to high school. I mean it was so well written. I was like, how did she do this? Because I felt like a Skyliner. I felt like I was 15, 16 years old, like seeing the guy from with his tight shirt on that you’re like, Oh my gosh, but my breakfast just ended.
So I have to know like you do go there in your head to get to those scenes. They’re like, well how did you draw back to you? I mean now having been married, having four kids, how do you go back to the perspective of a 15 year old girl falling in love?
TR: You know what’s funny? I guess the answers were simple. I feel like I still am a 15 year old girl. I feel like that was that is that every time of life since I’ve loved, but there’s something so amazing about 15 old girls and this is the part that makes me emotional.
I feel like girls get so harped on for their emotions. And yet I feel like the emotions and the vulnerability and the competence that a 15 year old girl is trying to manage is one of the most beautiful things in the world. And I loved being a 15 year old girl.
I feel like there’s no shame in thinking the boy is cute. There’s no shame in having conflicts with your friends. They’re so shame in, you know, being yourself. And at the same time being kind. And I dunno, I just, I feel like there’s so much beauty in adolescence and so often we focus on all the negativity and my experience I had as while the childhood as anyone.
And I feel as though I loved adolescence and I had, the reason is I had people that loved me and I think it’s just fun to go back. And I think those feelings, those raw, I remember one of the first things I said to someone and they were there as a reviewer pushing back on some of Sophia’s feelings toward Axle and it was, you know, this and that.
Then my response was there is something so raw and primitive about a 15 year old girl’s emotions that I don’t want to shame her for and I felt really good about representing a girl that is still just 15 and it’s okay to feel 15 you don’t need to feel 20 or 50 you can be 15 and that’s okay.
And that’s, I guess, that’s where I was. I still am a fictional girl. Those raw emotions are so important to our development and I hope girls read about them and think it’s okay to be a 15 year old girl. It’s something that’s beautiful and cherished every minute, even when it’s hard and even when it’s rough.
M: Gosh, I’m so glad that we went there because that what a beautiful, what a beautiful thing to finish on. Thank you so much for sharing.
Oh my gosh. It’s been such a treat to just like be able to dig in and hear your background and your stories and your experience.
TR: Thank you so much for having me.
M: You’re welcome. I’m super excited to see this book launch into the world. Hopefully everyone listening can go pre-order. Right now it’s available on Amazon and everywhere, right?
TR: It’s like anywhere you can buy a book.
M: If you want to, you can go to your bookstore and have them preorder it for you. I do that a lot lately. Here in Richmond there’s a couple little stores that are so fun and I can go tell them I want this book and they’ll order it so that when it comes in they’ll just call me. I go pick it up. I can pay for it ahead of time and so you can do that that way.
I just wish you all the best. I’m so excited and I’m serious about reading book number two, so you can pop that in my inbox and I’ll help you come up with a title.
TR: Thank you so much. It’s been so fun to chat with you. I’ll talk to you soon.
M: Okay, bye.
Wasn’t that a fun interview? I was so inspired by hearing about how Tiffany started out just doing something that she loved because she loved to doing it, giving herself that space to write and be creative. Not for an end, but just for the process.
You hear me say over and over again in this podcast that the purpose is the process. All of the checking boxes and accomplishing things is just bonus. If we can live our lives every single day, giving a little bit of space to the things that matter most to us, even if no one else understands or or it doesn’t matter to them, we will feel more fulfilled.
I hope that you are inspired to create space for the things that you love in your life. Thanks so much for being here. Make sure that you subscribe if you are not already so you never miss an episode. They come out every single Thursday.
I wish you a wonderful week and I will talk to you again later. Bye. Bye.