This week I decided to interview Tara C. Allred, the author of Sander’s Starfish, a Covenant Communications publication. I’ve come to know her through our mutual membership of LDS Storymakers and found her to be a truly nice person. From her website we learn that, “Tara was raised in California. Her philosopher/psychologist father and artist mother provided a critical thinking and creative home life. Their influence helped Tara develop the attributes and belief that she could pursue her writing dreams. In 1992, she was recognized as a California Scholar of the Arts for Creative Writing. Then in 1999, Tara graduated in Psychology, with a minor in English, from Brigham Young University. Sanders’ Starfish was released in 2004 and is her first novel.”
Enjoy getting to know Tara a little better.
1. What prompted you to become a writer?
Every since I was young I knew this is what I wanted to do with my life. There is something magical and rewarding in being able to share stories with others.
2. What is your genre and why did you choose it?
My genre is suspense fiction and I did not choose it–it sort of chose me. I wanted to write about relationships that people encounter in all circumstances of life and I felt like using psychology concepts that in a fiction story would be powerful. However, I discovered that I value stories that are great page turners and that keep the reader always guessing. So I aim to write stories that are unpredictable and that challenge the reader in some fun way.
4. Tell me a little about the books you’ve written.
My first novel is Sander’s Starfish which is a suspense novel about a doctor who is trying to help patients find a better life than what they currently are experiencing. However through a series of events he finds his beliefs challenged and learns he must use great means to uncover truth while helping to rescue and prove the value of another person’s soul.
My second novel is a sequel and is in the completion process. It is about a woman who in the past has struggled with mental illness but has been in a very healthy frame of mind for some time until delusions reappear as well as strange letters. Now she and her former doctor must go through a series of challenges to uncover what truly is reality while a special family is being attacked. The running title is Unauthored Letters.
5. What do you have on your website and why did you choose those particular topics?
My website goes over basic information about me and my book, sample chapters, and other resources for aspiring writers. I also have a section about how I speak to others about reaching for their own dreams. I have spoken at schools, libraries, enrichment meetings, sororities, and a number of other places to encourage others to let go of the things that are holding them back from achieving their own aspirations and goals.
6. What advice do you give to those struggling to become published?
Never give up. Also keep your focus on the true reason God gave you the talents and desires that you have.
7. Who are your favorite authors and why?
My favorite authors are always changing. I like any author with fresh ideas, whose story line is unpredictable, challenging and fun, and who writes exceptionally well. I also love books where facets of truth are cleverly ingrained in the storyline and the reader feels like they are uncovering a valuable treasure.
8. Is it difficult to maintain your standards as a writer in today’s market? Why or why not?
I always thought it would not be hard, but the temptation has surprised me. Nevertheless, I know the values I hold dear and what I have promised to maintain. Therefore, it is easy to stay true, because the decision is already made. The world certainly needs creative works that are based on higher standards than what has unfortunately become the norm.
9. How does your faith play into your writing?
My faith is everything. I have learned that without the faith and conviction that I have I could not write. The truth has already been given to us, and as a writer my only job is to use that truth in a fun storytelling way with the trust that honest seekers will recognize that truth.
In regards to my ability, when doubt and fear creep into my mind my writing suffers. When I believe in the gifts and talents I have been given then I find that I have the power to share what I need to share.
10. What is your funniest memory in recent years?
I am really pulling a blank on this one. All I know is that everyone needs a lot of good laughs to get through life. I have wonderful friends and family that keep me laughing, sometimes until my side hurts, and thanks to them they have made life fun and worth living.
Learn more about Tara at www.taracallred.com.