Check out what inspired me to write my book, Vivir el Dream.
In case you hadn’t realized, I wrote a book and published it on May 19th! It is called Vivir el Dream and is a Latino Christian fiction book about an undocumented college student trying to make her way in the world.
You can find it on Amazon for $16.99 in paperback, $3.99 in ebook. Also signed copies are available for $15 (plus $3 shipping if you’re not local).
I was inspired by my friends, family, church family, and community who haven’t given up even when they’ve been through unimaginably difficult circumstances. I wanted to give a glimpse into the life of undocumented people in the U.S.: why they come here, what they have to go through to get here, and what things are like for them once they arrive.
It is also rich with descriptions of authentic Mexican cuisine and culture and has elements of inspiration, light romance, and humor.
Here’s a little more about the book:
The fates of an undocumented college student and her mother intertwine with a suicidal businessman’s. As circumstances worsen, will their faith carry them through or will their fears drag them down?
Linda Palacios crossed the border at age three with her mother, Juanita, to escape their traumatic life in Mexico and to pursue the American dream. Years later, Linda nears college graduation. With little hope for the future as an undocumented immigrant, Linda wonders where her life is going.
Tim Draker, a long-unemployed businessman, has wondered the same thing. Overcome with despair, he decides to take his own life. Before he can carry out his plan, he changes course when he finds a job as a mechanic. Embarrassed about working at a garage in the barrio, he lies to his wife in hopes of finding something better.
After Juanita’s coworker gets deported, she takes in her friend’s son, Hector, whom her daughter Linda can’t stand, While Juanita deals with nightmares of her traumatic past, she loses her job and decides to go into business for herself.
Will the three of them allow God to guide them through the challenges to come, or will they let their own desires and goals get in the way of His path?
Forced to decide between her happiness and her pack’s safety, Rayna Myana chooses to protect those she loves. But when shattered promises and dark magic collide, no one is safe…
For six hundred years, Fenear, a land where humans can take wolf form, has warred with Maenor, its neighboring kingdom ruled by a ruthless dynasty. The possibility of peace emerges when the Maenoren Overlord, Rhael, enters negotiations with Fenearen leaders Bayne and Silver, but their niece, Rayna, is skeptical. Yet, when Rhael proposes to her to strengthen the alliance, she agrees for the sake of her country, despite her family’s objections and a blossoming romance with her best friend. Suspicion of treachery changes Rayna’s decision, but before she can annul the agreement, powerful forces subdue her with a sinister hex. Separated from her pack with Fenear and everyone she loves in danger, Rayna must escape and travel to a distant realm to break the hex. Only then can she save her best friend and her homeland.
Lines blur between heroism and recklessness, dreams and reality, even life and death, and Rayna risks losing herself along the way.
1. Thank you, Taryn, for allowing me to interview me today!!! I am so excited to read your first novel in final form. It was awesome when I read it in draft form so I can only imagine how spectacular it must be now. Tell us a little but about it.
Thank you for having me! I can’t wait for you to read Hex Breaker either, as it has really evolved since those early stages. As you might remember, this novel is the first in the Fenearen Chronicles trilogy. Hex Breaker is a YA fantasy about a young woman with the ability to transform into a wolf who finds herself at the center of peace negotiations between her nation and their long-time rival. When she discovers all is not as it seems, she must undertake an epic quest to save those she loves. At its core, I’d say it’s a story about love, family, and the lengths we go to save those closest to us.
2. How did you get the idea for the book? Have you always loved writing or is this a new thing for you?
The earliest kernels of this story come from games I used to play as a child. I loved to play outside and since my siblings and other neighborhood kids were older and had “grown out” of such things, I had to come up with ways to entertain myself. So, I created characters and stories. A few characters in this book including Rayna, Channon, and Gar got their start out there in the woods. I started writing these stories down when I was in middle and high school, eventually leading to the first draft of this novel. I kept writing throughout college, but mostly short stories and creative nonfiction. But when I graduated and eventually joined a writing club, I decided to become more serious about this novel. A few years later, here we are!
3. If your book was made into a movie, what actors would be in it?
Haha, yes, one day perhaps Hollywood will come a-knocking and I’m sure the casting director will be happy to know I have this Pinterest board filled with ideas. Certain characters I’ve always sort of envisioned as specific actors. For example, I have always seen Seperun as Idris Elba and Kellan as Ben Barnes. Other characters though, including Rayna and Bayne, I have a very specific mental image for, and I’ve never quite found an actor that matches. Maybe that means the actors destined to play them just haven’t been discovered yet 😉
4. Have you always loved animals?
Yes, absolutely. I drove my parents bonkers I’m sure with all my requests for various pets and my tendency to find strays and wildlife in need of rescuing. I was obsessed with Animal Planet growing up and the first job I ever remember wanting to be was a veterinarian (ended up as an anthrozoologist, so pretty close). I was lucky to live in a rural area with lots of wildlife and have many pets (mostly cats) over the years, and for me that love for nonhumans never faded and has become an integral part of my writing and my career.
5. You recently graduated. What did you study and what is your 9 to 5?
Yes I recently graduated with my M.S. in Anthrozoology, which is essentially the study of human-animal interaction. I specifically am interested in understanding and helping to address instances of human-wildlife conflict. This built upon my undergraduate study in psychology and biology. I will be starting a PhD program in the fall, this time under the label of environmental science but plan to continue my anthrozoological research. One day I hope to be a professor but have held several animal related jobs over the past few years. I’ve worked at wildlife rehab centers and an animal shelter, and now I have a really fun job as a dog swim instructor!
6. If you could wake up as any animal, what would it be and why?
That’s a tough question. My first instinct would be to say some kind of bird, because birds are absolutely fantastic animals with better eye sight than us and the ability to fly of course, but I also have studied birds enough to know how strenuous their lives can be. I’m not sure I’m hardcore enough to hack it as a bird! My second instinct is to say a wolf or a fox, but they also lead very intense lives, and as someone who only eats plant-based food, I don’t think I’d transition into killing to eat well either. So if we’re being honest, I think I’d do best as some kind of large herbivore, if I had to make the change permanent. If, however, I could shift back and forth like a Fenearen, I think I would have my other form be a wolf or fox 🙂
7. What else are you working on right now? Will there be more Fenearen Chronicles coming soon? And will those also be submitted through “The Tamara Effect”?
Right now I just finished up my Master’s thesis (yay!) so am decompressing for a couple of weeks. After that, I’m going to be working on Twice Blessed, the second in the Fenearen Chronicles trilogy. I hope to publish that sometime next year, and indeed, if she’ll have me, I hope to work with the fabulous editor Tamara Shoemaker once more! The Tamara Effect turned my first book into something far more amazing than I could’ve hoped, and I can only imagine the wonders it will do for my second. Besides this series, I am working on some short fiction and a science fiction project, but those probably won’t see the light of day for quite a while as I focus on finishing this trilogy and starting my PhD.
Thanks so much! This was really fun, and I feel I learned stuff about animals in the process! So excited to read your book!
Here’s where you can find out more about Taryn and her books!
Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest handle: @tnkloeden
Find Unleash the Inferno on Amazon!
INTERVIEW WITH TAMARA SHOEMAKER
Why hello, dear Tamara. So lovely to have you back on my blog today. Our last interview was when you released the second book the Heart of a Dragon series. Tell me a little about your newest release, Unleash the Inferno.
After the Battle at ClarenVale, Kinna Andrachen unites those who spurn King Sebastian’s tyrannical reign, mustering a rag-tag army of soldiers and creatures to face Sebastian’s far larger Lismarian army. Victory is elusive and allies are scarce, but Kinna’s tenacious spirit cannot succumb to injustice. Her fiery heart must learn to lead.
At last mastering control of the four Touches of the powerful Amulet, Ayden finds himself at the center of an epic struggle to destroy the corruption that has tainted the throne of Lismaria for centuries. As time runs out, his options for survival fade, surrendering him to a dark destiny.
Tied to a fate he does not want, Cedric Andrachen resists his inheritance, fleeing the lust for power it sparks in him. As war looms, Cedric faces his choices: will he turn his back on his throne and his kingdom? Or will he enter the struggle against tyranny, bringing the freedom his people have so long sought?
Sebastian sits, at last, on the Lismarian throne, stolen from him twenty years prior. But now the Rebellion, led against him by his niece and nephew, threatens his security from across the Channel, and the Amulet’s promise of power tempts him into even darker shadows. Ghosts of the past brutalize Sebastian’s present until the lines of reality blur with nightmare.
Flames of war ignite between nations. Peril threatens the Andrachen line.
Who will survive the inferno?
Ooh, sounds exciting! Is this the last book in the series?
Yes, the trilogy starts with Kindle the Flame, increases its action and cinematic scale with the second book, Embrace the Fire, and ends in an epic battle between kingdoms with the third book, Unleash the Inferno.
Do people need to read the other books or can they jump into the series at this book?
While I think a well-written book can sort of initiate readers and introduce them to the story without too much of a jar, so much of a trilogy’s rich history is lost if someone begins with the third book. I’ve compared it before to the idea of introducing oneself to the Lord of the Rings trilogy by beginning with Return of the King. You’d get to enjoy the scope and scale of epic warfare and big-screen cinematic beauty… but you miss out on the events that brought you to that point in the story. I definitely recommend reading this trilogy in the order it was written. But if you start with Unleash the Inferno, it won’t be the end of the world.
Heh heh. Or will it? 😉
Oh my. Better read the others, then! What inspired you to write this series?
I’ve always been a fan of epic fantasies, hearkening back to when I was a pre-teen, huddling under my blankets with a flashlight and reading Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring. Before I began my Heart of a Dragon trilogy, I had an urban fantasy trilogy out on the market. I knew I wanted to add a fantasy based in a medieval world with knights and horses and battles and dragons and other fantastic creatures. This was confirmed when I went to New York City a few years ago to pitch an urban fantasy to some agents. One of the agents I spoke with listened to my pitch with interest. She invited me to send her my manuscript, and when I did so, she returned this comment: “I had really hoped for a medieval setting with ladies in impractical gowns and knights on horseback.”
Of course, I didn’t scrap my book based on her advice—I went ahead and published it independently (see my Guardian of the Vale trilogy)—but it did cement my desire to write a medieval-setting fantasy. That’s how Kindle the Flame was born.
What do you hope readers will experience while reading Unleash the Inferno?
Oh, loads of stuff! On a surface level, I just want them to get wrapped up in an action-packed, intrigue-filled plot. Beyond that, I want them to appreciate the nuanced and layered characters that fill the pages. Romance fans I hope will enjoy the angsty Ayden and the green-eyed, gorgeous Kinna. Fantasy fans will love those dragons, I think. Literary fiction fans will find some depth in the introspective soul-searching carried out by heroes and villains alike. Anywhere there is a clashing battle of dragons in the skies, there will be cinematic, big-picture beauty. I hope readers get to experience all of these with clear word pictures playing out in their imaginations.
Why are you obsessed with dragons? And have you seen someone about it yet? 🙂
Ha! My psychologist kicked me out and told me never to come back (just kidding). 😉 I love the idea of “good” dragons. I grew up with Smaug and similar ilk in my literature, so the idea of dragons with sympathetic characteristics was intriguing to me. Really, these dragons I included in this trilogy could be overgrown puppy dogs, just with, you know, fangs and Dragonfire. I love the mind-connection I set up between the characters and their respective dragons. It just seemed like a really cool concept.
Your ability to multitask continues to astound me. How do you juggle being a prolific writer and an amazing editor while being the awesome mother of three?
*Shrugs and looks around for an answer to drop out of the sky. 😉
I don’t know, quite honestly. I take one day at a time. I set goals and work my rear end off to reach them. Some days I succeed, some days I fail, but I never give up. I love what I do. I love being a mother, a wife, a homemaker, an author. I love volunteering my time to things that are important to me. I love embracing life. I have no idea how I juggle it; I just go from one thing to the next, and somehow it all works out. 🙂
What’s next for you? What books/series are you working on now?
I’m finishing up another line-edit (Tamara is also my editor and just finished my line edit!!!) for a client during the month of May, and then I’m planning to lay down the first draft for a brand new YA fantasy featuring fairy-tale settings, political intrigue, and world-travel in June. We shall see if it actually happens or not. 🙂
And now time for my fun/silly question. If you were trapped on a deserted island with only three books, what books would they be?
My Bible, Anne of Green Gables (that, when you open it, somehow magically includes the entire Harry Potter series, all Jane Austen books, Jane Eyre, several Gilbert Morris books, and the Laura Ingalls Wilder series), and How to Construct a Sea-Worthy Vessel and Escape Desert Islands Using Only Pages Torn From Books, Sand, and Palm Leaves. I’ve heard it’s a best-seller…
Haha! It’s been great talking with you, Tamara! I look forward to reading your new book!
Find Unleash the Inferno on Amazon!
Tamara Shoemaker authored the Amazon best-selling Shadows in the Nursery Christian mystery series and Soul Survivor, another Christian mystery. Her fantasy books include the Heart of a Dragon trilogy: Kindle the Flame, Embrace the Fire, and Unleash the Inferno, as well her Guardian of the Vale trilogy: Mark of Four, Shadows of Uprising, and Guardian of the Vale. In her spare time, she freelances as an editor for other works of fiction, chases three children hither and yon, and tries hard to ignore the brownie mixes that inevitably show up in her cabinets.
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Vivir el Dream, my Latino Christian fiction novel, is set to release on Amazon in book print and ebook on May 20th.
It’s been over five years and literally thousands of hours of work to get it ready for this moment. And it’s starting to feel real! I got the cover, I’m picking out dingbats and fonts for formatting, and I’m only six chapters away from the end of the final edit. One day soon I will hold the completed book in my hand (I’m sure there will be a post for that day as well!)
I am thankful for my husband for painting the picture for my cover. He did an awesome job! 🙂
If you want to follow what’s going on with my book more closely and find the buy links, head over to my Facebook author page.
Cook and Prep Time: 20 min
1 lb Italian sausage
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, diced
2 cups fresh spimach, chopped
1 tbsp fresh oregano
1 tbsp fresh basil
1 tbsp fresh parsley
1 tsp fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper
3 cups whey (or 1 cup milk and 2 cups water)
1 package pasta (bow-tie, penne, elbow)
2 cups gouda cheese, chopped
- Cook sausage, onions, and garlic in olive oil in a Dutch oven or stockpot, covered, until sausage is cooked.
- Add spinach and herbs until spinach is cooked.
- Add whey and pasta, covered, let boil for 10 minutes.
- Add gouda and cook uncovered until creamy but thick.
Here’s a pic of my toddler enjoying his meal!!!
A very happy Saint Patrick’s Day to all of Allison’s friends.
I am enclosing below an Irish Dream straight from the little people.
It comes from a home in the big hedge somewhere near Derryhall in County Westmeath in Ireland, where all the men have bunches of shamrocks in there cabeen* caps to keep the little people at bay.
“You got out of bed and did not make your side of the bed,” the leprechaun woman says, as she pulls on the covers. She continues, “Leaving it all to me.” (They are speaking in thick “Irish brogues.”) She went looking for that light white blanket between the sheet and the duvet and finds it all balled up at the foot of the bed. She says, “I see that those legs of yours, with the big calf muscles, have kicked down…”
He talks over what she is saying and says, “Those same legs are years younger than yours. Yours should be in a museum.” He is standing in the half dark, half dressed, as he adjusts his green tie in the mirror, his shiny white small pants and white legs shine in the dark. He adds he is a busy leprechaun and no time for bed-making as he is doing important work.
She says, “doing nothing except making pots of gold…”
He says, “Getting no respect, I am going to down tools*.”
*Cabeen caps are traditional, flat hats worn by Irish men that have a peak in the front with a fastener on it
*Down tools = Stop working (Rose states that phrase was “too Irish” for me.)
My thanks to Rose for this wee bit of Irish humor/dreamwork for St. Patrick’s Day. For more fun and insightful posts from Rose, check out her blog!