Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Talli Roland Interview!!!!


The wonderful Talli Roland has joined me for her very first interview as a fiction writer!!! I am so honored, especially since this is also my first interview!!! So Let's get started!!!

Thanks for being with us today Talli! I love your blog, especially sweet and salty Sundays where you always showcase some of the yummiest food!

1. I'm very excited to read your book, can you tell us a bit about it?

Thanks, Jen! It’s called The Hating Game, and it’s about a serial-dating woman named Mattie who agrees to go on a dating game show in order to win some prize money to save her ailing business. What she doesn’t know is that the four other male contestants are all very, very unhappy exes! To get through to the end she has to battle their revenge schemes, not to mention an ambitious producer whose career depends on her not winning the money. It’s a romantic comedy – firmly in the genre of chick lit – and it was so much fun to write!

Wow that sounds awesome! I love a good chick lit

2. Whose your favorite character in the novel?

This is a difficult one because there are quite a few kooky characters in the book, but I have to say Mattie, the main character, is my favourite. She’s quite tough on the outside because of difficult dating experiences (and who can’t relate to that!) but inside she’s very vulnerable. In the beginning of the book, she pretty much pushes men away before they can hurt her, but by the end… you’ll have to read the book! : )

What a great teaser! I know I can relate to tough dating experiences! I can't wait to see what happens

3. Do you remember what you were doing when the idea first popped into your head?

Great question! It’s funny; I’ve always been fascinated by reality TV shows (much to the dismay of my husband who detests them) and I’d been toying with the idea of writing something about them. I didn’t know what exactly until one night, after a few glasses of wine (of course!) and as I was about to go to bed, the idea just came to me. I got so excited that I started jotting down a few idea straight away. I originally wanted to call it the Ex Factor (there’s a popular American Idol-style show here in the UK called the X-Factor) but unfortunately that title was taken so we came up with The Hating Game, a play on The Dating Game.

I love the play on The Dating Game! Brilliant idea!

4. How long did it take to finish your first draft?

It took about six weeks of writing each morning. Since I had some other non-fiction projects on the go at the time, I tried to squeeze the 2000 words out of me before 11 am so I could focus on my other deadlines. When I’m writing a first draft, I try to write every day as I find that if I take a break, it’s hard to get back into the flow of things. My first drafts are always rubbish so I don’t worry too much about the words as they come out; I just try to get them out!

Wow look at you writing like a mad woman! My drafts are the same way, messing and awesome!

5. How did you react when you finished? Cry, scream, hug a hobo?

I hugged a hobo of course! Seriously, since this was the sixth novel I’d written, I was just happy to have finished and slightly hopeful something might actually happen this time. The first novel I’d written, I took my husband out to dinner and had him take photos of me with it completed. I was so excited to know that I could actually finish something so huge! I think the first is always a massive accomplishment. By the sixth, you just hope you’re getting better and continuing to learn.

Haha I wish I would have thought about the photos!! My hubs would have really thought I was nuts!

6. How many sets of revisions did you have to go through?

I’m still going through revisions as my editor has given me loads of suggestions and ideas to make the book stronger. It’s exciting but also a bit scary: I just hope I can deliver! I was in a pretty unique position with this novel, as I was already working with the publisher on a non-fiction travel series. As soon as I pitched the idea, they were interested. So I wrote the first three chapters and an outline, got their approval, then finished the draft. I only made very minimal revisions before sending it, as they were quite eager to see it.

Yikes! Lots to do, but at least you are still light-hearted and eager to push through! We are all excited to see the final piece (well I am!)

7. Were you part of a critique group?

I’ve been going to a writers’ group for about a year now. We meet in a pub (perfect location!) and bring three pages of work to read aloud, then we critique. It’s very helpful if you’ve a tendency to waffle on, as the group is always quick to spot it! Also, I find reading aloud helps you with cadence and rhythm. You can tell where your writing is flat or too complex. We always chat and have dinner first, then get down to business!

Holy crap that's like the best thing ever! Beer and critiques, what's better!!

8. Do you have anything else published?

I have two travel books published (London and Paris guide books) under my real name, Marsha Moore (please, no Brady Bunch jokes!). My editor and I decided to go with a pen name for my fiction writing to draw a clear distinction between my work. It’s been quite fun having a pen name, and although I feel slightly schizo sometimes, oddly I feel more comfortable with my inner Talli! : )

I promise no jokes! I love your pen name! I think Talli Roland just rolls off the tongue, and now it feels like you! Maybe I should do the same, Hmmm what should my pen name be? I'm feeling something funky!

9. How was the querying process? How many did you send out?

None for this novel, as I already had an in with the publisher. But I can’t even tell you how many hundreds of queries I’ve sent out for other novels I’ve written. As much as I detest the whole process, I do think learning to summarize your novel in a few key paragraphs is an invaluable skill.

10. What does a day in the life of Talli look like?

Not very exciting, I’m afraid! I get up around 7 am and head straight for the espresso maker. I need the shot of caffeine to get going! Then I crack open the lap-top and scan emails. I don’t check blogs at all because I know I’ll get sucked in and lose three hours without even noticing! I force myself into the office and start writing by 8 am at the latest. I might take a small chocolate break around 10, then carry on writing until 12 when I have a lunch break to watch some of my favourite property shows (they’re strangely fascinating. I’m not sure what it is about real estate that I find so enthralling). I’m back at the desk at 1 pm, usually working on non-fiction stuff until around 4 pm.

After 4 I might go out and forage for some food at the local supermarket, then update my blog and start on my favourite part of the day: reading other writers’ blogs! Since I don’t go out to work, I really enjoy the online interaction. I might have a glass of wine (or two) whilst doing so (sorry for the typos that sometimes occur!). I also watch copious amounts of telly and I’m not ashamed to admit it!

Umm can I be Talli for a day? I love the not so exciting days! Sounds blissful!

11. Were you ever discouraged during all of it?

So, so many times. Sometimes I’d be sitting alone at my desk, while all my friends were at work, watching as rejections trickled in and thinking: What the heck am I doing? Am I crazy for thinking I can actually be a writer? But I tried not to let myself go too far down that path, and I tried to remind myself of all the good things there were about writing. I enjoyed it; I was in control of my output; I was pursuing something I loved! I did have a few major setbacks where I wallowed in my sorrow for awhile until my husband told me to stop feeling sorry for myself and write something new!

I'm glad to know as writers we all feel like this at some point!

12. Anything else currently in the works?

I have a few ideas spinning around in my head for a new novel! I’ll be continuing to work on the travel series, too.

Such a tease, guess you can't share all your secrets huh!

13. Any advice to aspiring writers?

Write because you love it, but if you do want to be published then try to soak up as much industry advice as you can. Don’t be sensitive about your work (the hardest one for me!) because if you want to get better, you need to listen to people. Don’t wait for inspiration to strike – just sit down and write!

Wonderfully said

14. How do you feel about dragons? Is there a certain type you prefer, flying or fire breathing? One's with horns?

Ha! Dragons scare me. A lot. I want to stay far, far away from them. But if I had to choose one type, I want one with all the bells and whistles. Fire-breathing, horns, forked tongue, the works!

Wow that's quite the decked out dragon, well good thing you're better than dragons!

Now for random questions... Ready... Set... Go!

Favorite song: ‘Jump’ by Madonna. A great reminder to go for it!
Favorite writing spot: The office in my flat! Where else could I watch people go through the rubbish bins outside while I write?
computer or notepad: Definitely computer! My writing is so atrocious I can barely understand it myself.
sweet or salty: Oh, Jen. You may have stumped me here! Um… if I had to choose: sweet.
snow or rain: RAIN! People don’t know how to deal with snow here. It’s a national crisis if there’s three flakes in the air.
bicycle or rollerblades: Bicycle. I don’t know how to brake on rollerblades which causes some problems.
chick flick or horror: Chick flick, definitely
favorite book right now: Can I cheat and say anything by Sophie Kinsella? I love her writing style!

Now if you are looking for Talli's Non-Fiction books here is the information:
24 Hours London, Marsha Moore (Prospera Publishing, November 2009)
24 Hours Paris, Marsha Moore (Prospera Publishing, May 2010)
More information can be found from the Prospera Publishing website:

So if you aren't following her blog you should be so check it out here!!! Thanks again Talli for one awesome interview!

Ask a question and I'll do a follow up tomorrow if Talli has time!


Talli Roland said...

Jen, you are awesome. Thank you so much for my first fiction interview. I can't tell you how much this means!

I must have some wine to celebrate... if I have any left!

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

That was so fun and interesting to read! Thanks for sharing Talli! I'm so excited and happy for you. Oh, gosh, I want to be published too!

Can I ask a question for Talli? How many years of writing and querying, and how many more novels did you write until you found a publisher?

Christina Lee said...

GREAT interview!!! The premise of the book sounds fantatic and I liked hearing about her writing process!

Paul C said...

Interesting interview format and profile of a writer's day and thoughts. Complete with the dragon with all the bells and whistles.

Jen said...

Talli - You must have wine! The day would not be complete without it!

The Alliterative Allomorph - Great question, I should post the follow up questions tomorrow on my Truth Thursdays blog!!

Christina Lee - I loved learning more about her, it was a ton of fun!

Paul C - Thank you, I love all the bells and whistles, that's my favorite part!

Alesa Warcan said...

Yeah, I second Alli-Allo (again)...
That was a lot of fun and interesting to read!

Good job on the interview Jennifer!
Congrats to Talli/Marsha for her ongoing journey forward in her professional writing career.
(I knew I recognized you from somewhere, I had stumbled onto your not fiction blogs).

No I think I'll write a little something about dragons...

Tangentially, Jennifer, have you read the "Dragons of Light" anthology edited by Orson Scott Card? Published by Ace books in the early eighties... It's a collection of dragon themed short stories by some heavy hitters (Zelazny, George RR Martin, Greg Bear) and by some unknowns (who in some cases did as well or better, so I thought, that the "name" authors: eg From Bach to Broccoli, by Richard Kearns).

Christine Danek said...

Great interview, Jen! Loved all the questions.
It's great to learn more about you Marsha, I mean Talli. ;)Can't wait for the book. Sounds great!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Awesome Talli! I would so love to have one of your days! Wow...that's awesome!

And your MC sounds just like I was...even when I met DH!

I need to find a critique group like yours!

Joanne said...

Thanks Jen and Talli, for sharing Talli's story here. It's always great to read about another writer's journey. They're all so varied and unique to each writer, with much insight to share!

Theresa Milstein said...

Jen and Talli, awesome interview! I love hearing where writers get their idea, how/where they write, if they belong to a critique (I wish I belonged to Talli's), how long they've been writing, how many rejections they've received, and how many manuscripts they've written. It's all covered here!

I wish you much success, Talli!

Ellen Brickley said...

Great interview, guys! Talli, I love the sound of your working day and I really respect your motivation :D I'm not sure I could be so focused if I was alone with my laptop all day!

Aubrie said...

Great interview! You have a nice work schedule. I write in the mornings as well.

Congrats on your sixth book, wow! (I'm on my fourth). I'm going to buy it. :)

Mason Canyon said...

It might have been your first interview, but it was great. Thanks for giving us some insight into Talli and her writing.

Thoughts in Progress

Old Kitty said...

What a great interview!

Thanks for this Jen. It's always fab to read about how writers work and how they triumph after lots of setbacks!

I am most inspired, thank you.

Take care

laurel said...

Awesome interview! My follow-up questions are this:

How has the discipline of non-fiction writing helped Talli write fiction? I'd love to hear about "non-fic skills every fiction writer needs".

How did Talli go about choosing her pen name? I bet it is a great story and I'm dying to hear it! :-)

India Drummond said...

Congrats again, Talli! I'm sure looking forward to reading The Hating Game!

Susan Fields said...

Awesome interview - I've been loving Talli's blog for a long time, it's great to get to know more about her. I didn't realize Talli was a pen name - very interesting!

Matthew Rush said...

Great interview Talli and Jen! Thanks for sharing.

Oh to spend the whole day writing, what a joy. I must admit I'm jealous. I'm sure it's not as wonderful as it sounds but hey, one can dream.

Candyland said...

Loves me some Talli!!!!! Great interview!

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Awesome interview Jen. :)

Jaydee Morgan said...

This was so great - thanks Talli and Jen!! I can't wait until this book comes out :)

Tara said...

I've said it before, but: I love the premise of this book, Talli. So fresh and new, and very appropriate for the "reality" times we are living in. I cannot wait to read this!

I enjoyed getting to know more about you.

Thanks for the great interview, Jen :)

Jayne said...

Jen - you are a fab interviewer - great questions! And Talli/Marsha (hee!) - it was fun reading your answers. Both your names have a lovely ring to them - good idea I think to keep a seperate ID for different types of writing. Your writing group sounds really good - pub, chat about words, glass of fizz - perfect!

Talli Roland said...

So glad you're all enjoying it! Jen had some awesome questions... I'll answer all your follow-up q's here tomorrow!

Summer said...

Talli is the best. And I love her pen-name, though I'm slightly sad that it is one. Talli Roland is a perfect author's name, though--good job choosing it!

Great interview, Jen!

Christine Fonseca said...

Jen - great questions! Talli, awesome answers. Nicely done ladies.

Piedmont Writer said...

Congratulations on a fabulous interview, both of you.

And you have a pen name, now see I never would have thought that. You absolutely 'look' like a Talli Roland.

Creepy Query Girl said...

Awesome interview!

I wanted to ask Talli- why do you think your first books didn't get picked up? When you go back and read them now, do you still think they have potential? And in that case, would you consider resubmitting them to publishers once your first fiction comes out??

The English Writer said...

Jen, that was brilliant and inspiring. It's fascinating hearing about the life of writer's and how similiar we are! It's also got me skulking back to my lap top to finish novel 2 as I've been a little slack since coming back from my hols. Fab stuff! K xx

The English Writer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stina Lindenblatt said...

Great interview! I love Talli's pen name. Beer and crits? I don't think I could do that. I'm a cheap drunk. ;)

Rosalind Adam said...

Brilliant interview, Jen. I do admire Talli for working through so many books and not giving up. You're an inspiration. Congratulations.

Anonymous said...

Jen, I must be honest and admit that I did NOT skim over any of this author interview. Excellent! I hope you do more in the future.

And insight in Talli's life was very inspiring.


Carol Kilgore said...

Great interview. Fun to know more about you. Your book sounds wonderful.

Gina Leigh Maxwell said...

Wow, very thorough interview, Jen! It was nice to get to know a new author. Very interesting! I'm off to check out Talli's blog. :)

Elana Johnson said...

Great interview! And I'm so glad there's someone else who thinks reality TV should be transferred to books. I need to write a book that includes reality TV...somehow.

Angie Paxton said...

Yah to both of you for a great interview! Talli, congrats again. I'm so impressed you cranked out your first draft in six weeks! That's amazing. I need to be more disciplined. I can't wait to read this when it comes out. It sounds so fun.

Shannon said...

Excellent interview. Jen, your questions were relevant and well-thought out and Talli your answers were perfect. (Why do I feel like Simon?)

You're both amazing women. Seriously.

Thank you.

Ann said...

What a great fun interview! Loved it. Witty and interesting. Maybe that is what I need to help with writing time, a chocolate break. Dark chocolate of course.

Patti said...

What a great idea for a book and the more I read chick lit. the more I want to write it.

I loved her quote: Don’t wait for inspiration to strike – just sit down and write!

I need to adhere to that.

MBW aka Olleymae said...

Great interview! Ahh...I would love that schedule! Congrats to Talli!!

DJ Kirkby said...

Great questions and great answers! As Talli knows, I love the title to her novel! I had absolutely no idea Talli was Marsha Moore, der. I won't know what to call you when we meet up at Caroline's launch on the 25th! I too adore watching reality shows, so glad to learn that there are other writers out there like me :)

Karen Lange said...

Good interview. Liked your questions; they generated good answers. Fun! :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Good for you, Talli! Wish I had that kind of time to write - stupid job gets in the way.

Lydia Kang said...

Hey you two, great interview! And it was in-depth too, not just a four question tidbit. Well done and congrats Talli! So psyched for your success!

Diane J. said...

Awesome interview. Can't wait to read the book.

Milton said...

Ah, see - that's why Muttie isn't writing enough words! She's doing it all the wrong way round by reading other writer's blogs first. Doh!

Great interview and can't wait to read the book either. And yes, isn't Sophie Kinsella amazing.

Milt x

Crystal Cook said...

This was just the funnest thing ever!! I love, love, LOVED it!

And love Talli and jen too :)

So glad you did this, just awesome. And so happy for Talli, she deserves her hard earned success!

Laura Marcella said...

Awesome interview, Jen! It's great getting to know Talli better and I can't wait for her novel to release!!!

DL Hammons said...

Very well done Jen. I'm impressed!!

Hi Talli!! *Waving*

Anonymous said...

Very interesting, Jen.
Oh man, you are going places.


Suzanne Casamento said...

Great interview Jen! And now I can't wait to read The Hating Game. Well done!

notesfromnadir said...

Very nice well-rounded interview style. You asked a nice variety of questions and the readers all learned a lot more about Talli/Marsha. Interesting to know the story behind the new book and how Talli structures here writing day.

Kimberly Franklin said...

That's such a great interview. Nice to meet you Marsha Moore! And how cool is that pen name you have. So cool!! :)

Anonymous said...

Great interview! The Hating Games sounds like such an awesome book -- the premise alone drew me in. Definitely on my TBR list!

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

6 weeks? Holy moley. I wish I could write that fast.

The Hating Game sounds like my normal dating life. lol. (kidding--I have no dating life)

Great interview!

Dangerous With a Pen said...

Hey there, Talli! You whizzed through your first novel interview like a pro! I love the idea of your novel, can't wait to read it and find out what happens to Mattie! Sounds like so much fun. Congrats to you!

Great interview, Jenn! Thanks for sharing!

Jemi Fraser said...

Great interview ladies!! The book sounds just fabulous Talli - I can't wait till it's on the shelves! :)

MissV said...


Eva said...

The book sounds great! I'm so excited to pick a copy up once it's released.

Belle said...

Great interview! Talli's book definitely sounds like a fun read!

Mary McDonald said...

Great interview. I learned so much. Wonderful advice, Talli. I'll try to keep it in mind on my writing journey.

Melissa said...

Awesome interview Jen! I loved all of the questions and really enjoyed getting to know Talli even more:)

And Talli - Wow, I had NO idea that was a pen name!

Jai Joshi said...

Thanks so much for this, Jen. It's always a cool experience to see how another writer goes through the process and especially cool to see them take the next step in getting published!

Talli, massive congratulations on your success!


Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Congratulations on the publication, Talli! I hope that in no time at all you'll be right up there with Sophie Kinsella (who I adore!). The premise of your book sounds super fun.

Jen, what a great interview! Congrats on being the first to interview Talli!

Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist said...

I really and truly cannot wait to read this. The premise is fantastic! Congrats again, Talli!

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic interview Jen. And congrats to Talli :o)

Amy Saia said...

Oh man, again, I love this! Great, great job Jen and Talli!

Talei Loto said...

Hey great interview ladies! :) looking forward to reading 'The Hating Game'!

Debs said...

Thanks for the fab interview. I'm definately going to have to order this book, it sounds brilliant.

Erin Kuhns said...

Jen, that was a fantastic interview! Loved every word of it! Well done! :)

Kittie Howard said...

Wow, Jen, your first interview as a homerun! Like Erin said, loved every word of it!

Deniz Bevan said...

What a great interview! I can't wait to read this book. And 2000 words per day, wow, that's impressive.
Off to see if there's a meeting-in-pubs crit group in my town...

Slushpile Slut said...

What a great interview with a great person!! The Hating Game sounds hilarious and I can't wait to get my hands on it! I love Talli Roland as a pen name...Tres Chic!