Mocha Girls Read is taking time out to chat with published authors. We have asked HonMag PR to help us get in contact with authors and see if they would be willing to sit down and chat with us.
This morning we are pouring a cup of tea and sitting down to chat with author Talia Hibbert.
Who is Talia Hibbert?
Talia Hibbert is a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author who lives in a bedroom full of books. Supposedly, there is a world beyond that room, but she has yet to drum up enough interest to investigate.
She writes steamy, diverse romance because she believes that people of marginalized identities need honest and positive representation. Her interests include makeup, junk food, and unnecessary sarcasm. Talia and her many books reside in the English Midlands.
Welcome, Talia. Thank you so much for joining us today and I am so thrilled you are here. Congrats on all your success with your latest release. We have a few questions we would love to ask you. The rules are simple. You MUST answer 10 questions. You can pass at any time and we will pull another question but you must answer 10 of them. OK! Here we go.
MGR: So first we want to know. Does writing energize or exhaust you?
TH: I think it does both. When I’m knee-deep in a great story, I’m alive with this authorial excitement that turns me into an Energiser Bunny. I can’t wait to see how the book will turn out, because I know it’s gonna be good. So I power through on the promise of that ultimate satisfaction.
But the physical act of writing, and the mental work of building new worlds—that takes it out of a person. So writing, at its best, energises me spiritually but exhausts me in every other way. Which is worth it.
MGR: In your opinion, does a big ego help or hurt writers?
TH: This is another question where the answer, to me, is both! In order to improve our craft, writers need to be humble. We need to see the flaws in a story we love and have poured ourselves into. We need to accept criticism from experts, editors, the people we trust to guide us when we can’t be objective.
But a healthy ego is important, too. You need that ego to push you through the wobbles of confidence when you’re like, “This book SUCKS, no-one should EVER READ IT.” We all have those moments, and they’re usually not true.
MGR: Pushing through life’s wobbles at times is a thing too. Have you ever gotten reader’s block?
TH: All the time! Especially lately, with so much on my mind and so few ways to expend my energy. There’s nothing worse than reading a good book that you should enjoy, but feeling nothing. Sometimes you just can’t focus enough to reach that ultimate immersive state. Sometimes your mood is all over the place and nothing will please you. When that happens, I usually daydream or go for a walk instead.
MGR: Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
TH: I do write under a pseudonym! Although it’s not a ‘secret’ pseudonym, so I don’t know if it counts. My legal name is apparently difficult to pronounce, and I hate hearing people mangle it. So I write under my dad’s surname instead.
MGR: Really! It works!! Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
TH: I think romance is a genre that lends itself to connections. My readers will leap on any interesting side character, wanting to see that person’s happily ever after—and of course, I try to make all my side characters interesting.
One thing I love to do is set separate series in the same universe. There are little hints and Easter eggs proving that the characters all live in the same world, but it’s not explicitly stated.
And of course, another thing my books all share is the essence of what I love to write: kindness, inclusivity, and a certain sarcastic humour.
MGR: I love books with Easter Eggs. It’s the gamer girl in me. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
TH: Splurging on a great desk set up, from the adjustable chair to the laptop stand that keeps my screen at eye-level, has been amazing for my health! And the better I take care of myself, the more I can write.
MGR: How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
TH: Ugh, too many. I like to let ideas percolate, like to try them out in different forms—slotting this character into that story to see if it works, and so on. Sometimes a major idea comes to me, but I don’t feel experienced enough to do it justice yet. So I put it away and come back to it when I’m ready.
MGR: What does literary success look like to you?
TH: To me, there are two parts of literary success. The first is genuinely loving and believing in the book I’ve produced. I know books, and I’m my own worst critic, so if I’ve satisfied myself I’m halfway there.
The second thing is knowing I’ve pleased my readers. I’m writing for them—for the people who enjoy the same worlds I dream of. If my readers are happy, I feel like I’ve done something worthwhile.
MGR: How many hours a day do you write?
TH: It varies. About two hours a day when I’m still getting to know the book, still falling in love with it. Then, when everything clicks and I reach that state of excitement, I’ll write from four to six hours a day.
Of course, that depends on my health, too. Some days I can’t sit or type that long. You have to listen to your body and your creativity.
MGR: Do you believe in writer’s block? Have you had it?
TH: Definitely. I mean, if people experience something, who am I to say I don’t believe in it?
I’ve personally faced two different kinds of writer’s block. I’ve found that if I’m struggling in life, either physically or emotionally, it becomes more difficult to create. The body isn’t going to funnel energy into anything other than what it needs to survive. So sometimes, writer’s block is part and parcel of a spiritual or mental block.
Then there’s the kind of writer’s block where a particular story just isn’t working. I feel bored when I’m writing, or I genuinely don’t know what the characters might do next. That usually means I need to take a break, then come back and rethink the whole project. Tweak it until it excites me, or put it away for another time, or tear it down and completely rebuild. That kind of writer’s block is actually a blessing; my writer Spidey-senses are blocking me from producing some nonsense.
MGR: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
TH: I prefer not to, but sometimes I have to read reviews in order to market my self-published books. I try to treat that as an impersonal exercise and pretend I’m the marketing department rather than the author.
I believe that reviews are a critical work in their own right, and they have nothing to do with me. They’re for readers, and they’re a matter of personal opinion. I get my story critique at a specific stage in the writing process, from specific sources, so I don’t need reviews for that.
However, I try to let readers know that they can reach out to me if they feel strongly about something. I hope that if I ever messed up and harmed my readers, they’d feel comfortable expressing that.
All in all, I try not to focus too much on reviews—good or bad. The negative ones will always exist, and they’re valid, but they don’t mean my book has zero merit or that I’m a bad writer.
Similarly, I try to remember that positive reviews are one person’s opinion, so I shouldn’t let them erase my humility. Just because someone enjoyed my last book, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t work hard to level up for the next one.
MGR: Thank you so much Talia Hibbert for joining us today. Please let the readers know how to find you on social media.
Books by Talia Hibbert
Other Authors We Have Interviewed
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