Getting to meet my fellow indie fantasy authors is one of the perks of the job. In this author interview I sat down with Tahani Nelson to talk about her books and latest release due out on November 16th.
- Hi, Tahani. Tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write?
I’ve always loved fantasy, but growing up I had trouble finding heroines that I could connect with. Women in classic sword and sorcery are often love interests or damsels in distress, and I grew tired of that quickly. Even when I could find books featuring strong, amazing heroines, it never seemed to last for long. You’d get halfway through a story and the protagonist would meet a guy and that would become her sole ambition. Even 14-year-old me couldn’t stand love triangles anymore. So, I started writing all the characters that young me looked for. As it turns out, I wasn’t the only person searching.
- What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?
Anything is possible in fantasy. Any creature or world or society you can think of is within reach. There’s magic that can bend the world to your will or twist the very threads of fate. It’s amazing. I love the freedom and magnificence of fantasy and the ability to face real-world issues in new settings. It’s empowering and beautiful.
- Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together? (include release date etc here)
I started the Faoii Chronicles back in 2017 and hit every snag possible in the indie publishing scene. Scams, delays, imposter syndrome and a general lack of knowledge really keep me from hitting my stride for several years. But I have the most amazing army at my back, and together we’ve overcome every obstacle. Now the final book in the series, Faoii Ascended, is releasing on November 16 and I can hardly believe it. It’s been such an honor to tell these stories. I can’t wait to share the end with all of you.
- What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them?
I specifically write female-led military fantasy and I love it. I love women leading armies and wearing armor that covers all their vital organs. At this point I don’t know how much of myself I’ve put in my characters and how much of who I’ve become is because of them. But I’ve definitely changed in the five years since I began writing. I call my readers the Faoii Army and am honored to lead them. I wear armor to all of my events, readings, and signings. I’ve built something grand from nothing, and I think my characters would be proud… once they stop hating me for everything I’ve put them through.
- For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?
Don’t compare yourself to other authors. Especially the parts of other authors you can see on social media. That’s a fast train to despair.
Listen: There will always be people who write more than you each night or who have more books out or more reviews or higher royalties. Social media accounts are cherry-picked highlights and your rough draft/blooper reels will never compare the way you hope they will. And that’s okay. Because there’s a version of you in the past who never thought you’d get this far. Who would be so amazed if they could see how far you’ve come. They’d be so proud of you.
If you must compare yourself, then focus on that person you were a year ago. Or five. Or ten. You’ve done such amazing things since then. Imagine what Future You will think of Current You if you keep going. I can’t wait to see.
- What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?
This is probably going to sound like the opposite of an answer, but I make smaller goals. Tiny goals. Goals that other people laugh at. But I also hit them every single night and that adds up.
I write 200 words a day. That’s it. 200 words. A lot of people think that that’s so small that it shouldn’t matter. I’ve heard many, MANY times that I should be writing thousands of words each night. But those big numbers are intimidating, and often seem impossible. I used to aim for the big word counts. The giant goals. 2,000 words. A 7-book series. A movie deal. Whatever. And often, those giant goals were so intimidating that I wouldn’t even start. So I broke them down. 200 words a night. And I hit it consistently. Sometimes it’s enough to break the dam and I’ll write entire chapters. Sometimes I only hit the 200. But my word count is always better than the 0 it used to be, and this has gotten me through three 100k book and an additional anthology. Small goals work.
- Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?
Panster. I often don’t even usually know what’s going to happen until three paragraphs after it’s over, and then it’s a surprise for everyone. But I like it, too. I don’t have very much control over my characters. I can only present them to the world around them and then try to keep up as they do their own thing. It makes the writing process a lot of fun, though I often have to erase entire chapters after they get themselves killed.
- What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?
I don’t know what I’m going to do now that the Faoii Chronicles are finished. This series has been at the center of my existence for years now, and I never really considered what would happen when that wasn’t true. I’ve learned a lot about the publishing industry—mostly, that I knew nothing about it before. I might take a break from writing. Or I might start a series about dragons. Who knows? The world—many worlds, actually—are open to me.
- With the world the way it is at the moment what sort of tales do you prefer? Ones with heroes where good triumphs over evil or ones that take a darker approach?
Both. I like seeing people stand up against demons and societal issues and to watch them drag injustice into the light. I like that idea that maybe things might be okay; that we still have a chance at turning things around. But I also feel like we’ve passed the time of a knight in shining armor slaying a dragon. Our demons have shifted, and they wear our face. Stories have to be darker for us to relate to them, because we live in a darker world. But I also like to see that darkness being banished.
- What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?
I like all of these for different reasons. I think out of the three listed here my favorite would be Lord of the Rings.
Stephen King’s Dark Tower Series is probably my all-time favorite series, however.
Get in contact with Tahani through social media –