This week we chat with Tanya Squire - fairy lover and child-at-heart - to discover where her inspiration comes from and how she'd survive being stuck on a desert island...
Who are you? Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi my name is Tanya Squire and I am a single mum of two beautiful children who truly are my world. I work as a book keeper for a lady of a manor and I love to travel at any opportunity I have.
But who am I? It has taken years to figure this out and I'm still learning everyday, but I would say I am hard-working, determined, imaginative, adventurous and certainly still a child at heart.
What first inspired you to start writing?
I have been imaginative from an early age but, although I did drama and singing, I still struggled with insecurities and a lack of confidence. As a little girl I wrote myself off and continued believing into adulthood that no one would be interested in anything I would write and it was all just a fantasy. However, during a difficult time in my life, I found writing incredibly therapeutic. I worried I would be judged if I wrote anything personal so I wrote stories through my fairies.
When my son was little we created our own fantasy world on our adventure walks, we hid in trees away from the dinosaurs, jumped on benches so we didn't sink in the quicksand or fight away the monsters with sticks as swords, but I never wrote the stories down, which sadly are now just a distant memory. It wasn't until my daughter was born and at a difficult time, that I wanted to create a fantasy world with my children so they could escape anytime they felt the need to do so. My son was at an age of tutting at his mum and sister as we would talk about a beautiful fairy world we had created. We would find a crack in a tree or a mushroom on the floor and I would tell my daughter a story, again these were cherished moments... On a family holiday in the Yorkshire Dales, surrounded by beautiful English countryside I felt inspired, and used that moment to write down my memories for the children so we could keep them safe. I had no intention of publishing a book until I showed my writings to a friend who told me, "it would be wasted if you don't publish it."
After a few years of plucking up the courage to have my book published, I can honestly say it was the best thing I ever did, and to receive such beautiful feedback from children from all over the world who have loved my book has truly been the most inspirational thing that has happened to me.
What made you want to work with Rowanvale and be published?
A friend who published her book through Rowanvale before I did knew what this book meant to me. She provided pros and cons but convinced me it was definitely worth it in the end.
When you’re not writing, what are you reading?
I love reading history books, particularly about strong women of the past. I have recently been reading biographies of the women who fought for their rights in the 1920s all over the world, and how badly they were treated at this time. What I particularly love reading is the empowerment they felt as they all united in sisterhood.
Which work are you most proud of?
It would have to be my one and only book so far, A Pocket Full of Fairy Tales.
What’s your best advice for handling writer's block?
You can never edit a blank screen so it's best to leave it and come back later. I really enjoy writing so I never force myself to do it, even now I have lots of stories I have started and notes I can come back to at a later date when I feel more inspired.
What’s one thing you always have with you when you’re writing?
A typical answer should surely be a notepad and pen however, I never write sitting at a desk as most of my stories come to me in the middle of a walk with my children. At times I have forgotten my notepad and pen and had to search through my handbag looking for any scraps of paper... which at times have been a receipt and I've even considered using a lipstick!
What is the one book you would take with you if you were stuck on a desert island?
I'm sure this is an answer you would expect from a practical woman; I would have to say Bear Grylls How to Stay Alive. As I would be in such a beautiful location, I would be inspired to start writing a story about fairies on a desert island. I'm sure the words would be flowing so I would be spending all my time writing. I would certainly need a quick guide book to ensure I can survive!
What is the best part about being an independently published author?
I like how there are no restrictions on what I write about, or publishers pushing for deadlines with everything else I have to juggle in life. I can write whenever the mood takes me.
As I'm still quite new to publishing, and my book was published during lockdown, it has caused me some problems in regards to promotion, so it's nice to have the support from Rowanvale who I know can always help and advise me.
What’s next for you?
I put together a new venture called Domestic Fairy Creations to share love and fairy ideas with all those who think likewise, please take a look. I have also already started to write my next fairy book for, if my first book becomes successful, I am hoping to publish this one too.