As people wrap their holiday presents, I am posting the final Layla Writes Love author interview for 2019. I am thrilled to introduce readers to Tiffani Velez. I met Tiffani through a mutual author acquaintance via social media. I became an immediate fan after reading her book, A Berlin Story, which was called “hauntingly beautiful” by Geekwire. Her ability to write a solid stream-of-consciousness piece garnered my respect. So much so, that I passed my first novel to her before publishing.
Tiffani, who holds an MFA, has been a freelance writer since 1996. Her articles have appeared in Pennsylvania Magazine, Yahoo! News, Country Discoveries, Conde Nast, Bolder Woman, and many more online and print magazines and newspapers in North America and Europe. Her fiction has appeared in Toe Good Poetry and The Feminine Collective. Tiffani’s novel Budapest was featured in the New York Book Festival, and her war fiction book, All This Time was a noted book in The Big Thrill Magazine. She is the author of one nonfiction book about writing and a college ESL instructor.
Yeah, she’s pretty damn prolific. I have her book All This Time in my Kindle. Check out the blurb.
Available at Amazon
Syrian-American Lydia Fadoul has spent a year waiting for her fiance’ to return from war in Iraq, only to discover that he is broken by trauma and the devastating effects of PTSD. Just when he finally agrees to seek help, he takes his own life and leaves behind a story of murder, betrayal, and mystery. In her second, contemporary fiction novel since Budapest, Tiffani Burnett-Velez weaves a fast-paced literary tale about the rumors we believe and the prejudices we create in order to protect our hearts from the truth
Tiffani shared some of her perspectives on writing and publishing.
What is the first book that made you cry?
To Kill a Mockingbird was probably the first book that made me cry, but I’ve read so many books that have made me cry that I can’t be sure.
What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
Telling bad writers that they have a chance at huge success and making good writers pay to have their work published. The racket of four big houses is also unethical. It’s so wrong that great writers have to get stuck in a funnel when submitting their work. I don’t think the slush pile has any reason to be as big as it is. If anything, self-publishing and independent publishing have proven that.
Some subsidiaries and smaller imprints within larger houses work harder for the little guy, but it’s soooooo hard to get inside. That’s nuts! Traditional publishing is not as special as it thinks it is.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
A big ego hurts everyone and everything in every situation. Kindness will get you everywhere, in this life and after. So, writers who are good to fellow writers will go far.
Do you have another profession besides being a writer?
If so, what is it, and how does it contribute to your writing? Yes. I’m a college ESL and English instructor. I love what I do. It can be exhausting, but it’s so worth it to see my students succeed. All of my students are immigrants, many newly arrived. I get the privilege of helping them navigate this American life. I firmly believe we’re only as strong as our immigrants in this country, so I consider it a gift that I get to teach them.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
No. I believe writer’s block is just a manifestation of an unwillingness to work in the moment. It could be from grief, illness, fatigue, stress, laziness, or any number of things. However, even a simple writer’s prompt will dislodge writer’s block. If you’re writing, you’re not blocked. It doesn’t matter what you’re writing.
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