Today I’ve interviewed Tiffany Christina Lewis, author of the Michael Taylor Series.
Tiffany is one of the most supportive authors in the Writing Community so let’s learn more about her and her thoughts.
When did you begin writing?
I wrote a screenplay with some middle school friends in 1998, I think it was my first “major” step into writing. In high school, I joined the school newspaper and was quickly promoted to editor in chief. This teacher was the first one to point out my talent as a writer. After that, I didn’t really write again until I was an adult!
What and/or who are your influences?
Stephen King was the first author to inspire me. I read Carrie and there were multiple chapters that were just one page, or one paragraph. It was riveting for me. It really opened my mind to the freedom of writing. I had never seen anything like that in the other books I’d read… horror or otherwise.
From there, I moved on to Crime Fiction authors such as Tess Gerritsen and Walter Mosely. Both of their book series (Rizzoli and Isles, and Easy Rawlins) had strong, admirable characters who solved crime and avenged their victims, characteristics and motivations which I wanted to create in my characters as well.
Favorite movie and book?
My favorite movie is Basic, a military crime movie starring John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson. This film is an excellent example of mystery and crime fiction writing. It is one of the very few military movies that I like and it is because of the strong writing, unique character development, the crime element and the excellent acting by all involved.
I have two favorite books. In fiction, my favorite book is Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley. The book feels like I’m running through a maze with the main character leading me. This “adventure” he is on never seems to stop but he eventually brings us to a satisfying ending.
In Non-fiction, my absolute favorite book is The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking. I make it no secret that I have anxiety. It is an un-medicated part of my life that I work on managing every day. This book, which I often listen to as an audiobook, discusses the benefits of thinking negatively about situations that bother us. I know this may sound counter intuitive but actually, as the book illustrates, thinking about the worst-case scenario and understanding our troubles, is much healthier than turning away from and trying to ignore them. Being a natural born pessimist, this book absolutely helps me focus my energy and analyze my anxiety in a way that calms me.
What drew you into the crime genre?
My first experience with crime books was with Tess Gerritsen and it must have been perfect because Rizzoli and Isles have been inspiring me ever since 2008! Although my first crime novella has a male main character, it was the stories from the Rizzoli and Isles series that really got me interested in writing crime. During the same time, a lot of true crime shows were being made popular and that did a lot to feed my fascination with criminals and crimes.
Where do you see your genre going into the future and in how would you like to help get the genre there?
Honestly, Crime Fiction is a well-represented genre so it has already broken so many barriers. One thing that I am really interested in doing, personally, is crossing crime into multiple genres. As an author, writing gritty crime scenes and detectives has been my norm, but what about crime in the middle ages? Or sci-fi crimes? I’m very interested in crossing genres. It will allow me to learn more about other genres and enhance my creativity!
What is a goal that you have as an author?
Sometimes goals can be hindering (from The Antidote) and I have learned that, for myself personally, and for my anxiety, it is best that I not set strenuous goals. However! We all want to improve and that is what I would say my “goal” is as an author. I have been engaging in lots of writing classes and reading books about the craft. Each tip and trick I learn, new words and circumstances, all improve my work. This is something I can do without stressing myself out or setting unrealistic expectations.
If you weren’t an author what would be your dream job?
I am a serial entrepreneur so running my own business is the dream job! I am not particular about what business I would like to do and have thought of numerous ideas of the years. I do consider writing a business so being an author and running my own publishing company would be awesome!
What is in store next for your fans?
I have been writing non-stop since releasing Stitches. I currently have 5 manuscripts complete. One is in editing for the Michael Taylor series, one is being beta read by a few awesome volunteer readers, and the others are in the queue for editing and release! There are 4 crime fiction novels complete and one is an EROTIC crime fiction novel. It is my first publication completed that will cross genres.
I think the most exciting thing to announce is that I have some strong female characters to introduce! One will be the main character in her own private investigative story which I intend to turn into a series.