Tiffany, when did you discover a passion for writing?
Writing stories is one of the first things I remember doing. I always loved reading books and I think I just naturally started writing my own stories. My first stories were usually about my pets. Writing has always been an outlet for me during hard times in my life.
Pets make great characters. What did you have?
I had dogs, rabbits and hamsters growing up but mostly wrote about my border collie and my hamster. I usually wrote stories where my dog was the character's pet too or just stories where my dog was the main character.
How has your passion for writing turned into a career?
A few years ago, I was told I would never be able to work due to ongoing health problems. When I tried out for jobs no one was interested in me because I had disabilities and had to occasionally go to hospital. Suffering from chronic pain, fatigue and illness made it hard for me to do normal everyday things. But writing was something that always helped me cope with all of that. It took me away from the pain and after doing a creative writing course and getting good feedback from that, I decided I might as well have a go at publishing one of my novels. So you could say writing and publishing a book actually gave me the confidence to start pursuing a career and having a job for the first time. This helped me to go on to become a professional editor and copywriter.
Besides feeling better, has writing had other benefits to your health or benefits in general?
Ooh, that's a tough question! I think writing has made me a bit more confident and it opened up a lot more possibilities for me. Writing itself did come physically difficult for me over the past few years as my disability affects my hands and makes it very hard sometimes for me to type. So instead, now I have an adapted keyboard and a Dragon (voice recognition software) which types for me. After not being able to find a job and giving up my dream of studying law, I decided to pursue my other dream, which was to always be an author. I thought a publisher might be put off by health problems so being an Indie works great for me. I can control everything and do things in my own time without the pressure of having to answer to someone else. Don't get me wrong, it's been a steep learning curve but as I said writing enabled me to do so many things I never thought I'd be able to do.
You're also a blogger. How does that assist with your writing goals?
I think blogging really helped me to start establishing my author platform. When I first started blogging I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about outside of my fiction. Blogging really inspired me to want to help other authors and opened up the love of writing non-fiction writing – which is something I never thought I would do.
As a non-fiction author, I have to ask why not?
Writing non-fiction was something strange to me as I'd always written fiction before and it was something I never thought I'd be good at. When I first started doing a creative writing course, I tried writing articles but never really liked the style of them. The style of writing never appealed to me until I started learning how to be a copywriter and I really got into blogging. I do actually enjoy writing articles now too and I find non-fiction to be a nice change when I don't feel like writing fiction.
How often do you post?
Usually once or twice a week at http://tiffanyshand.com/.
What type of posts do you find most satisfying?
I love writing how-to posts and things that would hopefully help and inspire other authors.
What do you like about your blog?
I like that it’s the main hub for my readers and a way for me to directly connect with them. I also like the fact that it gets me writing something, especially when I’m in the middle of revising my own books or editing books for my clients.
Do you feel it’s important to capture emails or subscribers? If so, what's your preferred method?
I’m fairly new to email marketing, but yes, I think it is important to capture email addresses. Having an email list is a great way to directly connect with your readers and share news with them, perhaps in more ways than a blog is as you can sense something directly to their inbox.
How do you engage comments or attempt to, which can be extremely challenging?
I usually ask questions at the end of a post then share the post on social media. Facebook groups can be a really good way of getting traffic and getting readers to engage in comments.
Any advice for a newbie blogger?
Choose a topic you love to write about and it can be more than one topic. If you’re an author don’t just write about yourself all the time or your books as that would quickly become boring to you and your readers.
Couldn't have said it better. What's next for you in publishing?
My second urban fantasy novel comes out the end of March and I’m currently working on the first book in a short novella a series. After that, I’m planning on writing my first non-fiction book on how to build your author platform.
I'll look forward to seeing it. What's the best link for readers to find your books?
I'd like to learn all about Dragon, but that sounds like another post. Thank you, Tiffany!