Tawna: I'm probably the least funny member of my family. I grew up with everyone around me cracking jokes at all times—graduations, weddings, funerals—you name it, some relative could find a way to make it funny. I just happen to be the one writing stuff down.
Tawna: Television isn’t really my thing. I don’t mean that in the “only a couple hours a night” sense—I mean that while there is a television in my home, I have no idea how to operate it. I’ve caught the occasional standup comedy routine that made me laugh (Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen Degeneres, Steven Wright) but since I have the attention span of an ADD mongoose on speed, I just don’t spend much time watching movies or TV or—hey, look…the cat needs brushing.
What were we talking about?
I travel a lot and have had tons of interesting life experiences, but I’ve found that just taking the dog for a walk gets my creative juices going. There’s something about fresh air and beautiful scenery and picking up poop in a little bag that stimulates me as a writer.
Stimulates. We’re back to the sex thing again, aren’t we?
Tawna: I’ve been writing for my supper my whole life—first for college scholarships, then for newspapers and post-college marketing jobs. I even won my wedding by writing about how I wanted to get married at center-court at a Portland Trail Blazer game (why yes, I did tie the knot in front of 21,000 screaming fans and sweaty athletes). Fiction was a big switch for me, and I didn’t really take a stab at it until about eight years ago. I knew right away I’d enjoy it, but there was that initial moment of terror where I realized, “wait—you mean I get to MAKE STUFF UP?!”
Me: In two sentences, describe your current book or work in progress.
Tawna: I attended an event several months ago where authors got to meet with librarians and persuade them to stock our books. I was surprised at how often writers struggled to describe their work. The one-paragraph blurb you use for a query letter or a book jacket is very different from a conversational pitch. If you and I were sitting down for a glass of wine and you said, “tell me about your debut novel,” I’d probably say something like:
Alex’s sleazy boss kicks him to the curb and steals his pension, so he and three colleagues head to the Caribbean to intercept the boss’s illegal diamond shipment in the most dysfunctional pirate mission in history. Things get complicated when Juli – who’s supposed to be dumping her dead uncle’s ashes at sea—has an allergic reaction to seasickness pills and accidentally stows away on their boat.