I absolutely cannot wait to introduce you to our lovely author today. The moment I read the first chapter of this book, I was absolutely in love. This is the book I desperately need to read in high school, and I can't wait for it to release out into the world this week.
Without further ado, let's meet Tara Ross, author of Fade to White!
Tara, tell me about your book
Fade to White is a contemporary young adult novel with a touch of magical realism and a dusting of inspirational hope. It is the story of Thea Fenton, an anxious teen girl who despite having a picture-perfect life is falling apart on the inside. Wracked by anxiety no one seems to understand or care about, she resorts to self-harm to deflect the pain inside.
When a local teen commits suicide, Thea’s anxiety sky-rockets. Unexplainable things happen, leaving her feeling trapped within her own chaotic mind. The lines between reality and another world start to blur, and her previously mundane issues seem more daunting and insurmountable than ever.
Then she meets Khi, a mysterious new boy from the coffee shop who seems to know her better than she knows herself—and doesn’t think she’s crazy. His quiet confidence and unfounded familiarity draw her into an unconventional friendship (cue romantic subplot).
Khi journeys with her through grief, fear, and confusion to arrive at compassion for the one person Thea never thought she could love.
Absolutely love it! And speaking of love, it's difficult not to love all the characters. Do you have a favorite character?
They’re like family to me now, so it’s so hard to choose a favorite! As far as characters who I enjoyed creating out of nothing, I loved writing about Ashley. It was so much fun writing dialogue for her spirited sassy best-friend persona. I needed a ton of help with getting her Texan accent correct, and fortunately for me, my editor is a Texan, so it will hopefully read as quite authentic.
I also loved writing from Thea’s point of view. Because I resonated most deeply with her, some of her scenes were both painful and cathartic to write. She is also an amalgamation of so many vibrate young women that I know in real life. Although, she also holds many facets of myself, including a love for tea, running and the dramatic arts, beyond her hobbies, anxiety and affection for a furball named Woolie, our stories and lives veer drastically apart.
I agree, it would be really hard to pick just one. And writing really can be a healing process, for sure. Favorite scene to write?
This is another tough question. There are two that stand out right away as being high on the list. The one scene is set within an ice cream parlor in the middle of November. Thea knows that her mother is about to unload bad news on her, as they never go to the Cow’s Pint in the winter, unless there is bad news. I adore ice cream, but can’t eat it myself anymore, so writing this scene was very nostalgic of my own childhood and a reminded me of some of I had at times with my own mom.
The other scene comes later in the novel and a critical plot point. I can’t share it here, as it will be too much of a spoiler, but know that every time I look at framed family portraits now, my eyes burn a little.
That is so sad that you can't eat ice cream. I have a coffee allergy, and so I can relate in part to the sad deprivation at the loss of ice cream in your life. Most difficult part about the writing or publishing process?
Given that I do not have a background in English, the technical side of writing is always the hardest. I have studied passive voice and comma usage multiple times. I have taken courses in syntax and still my brain can’t parse sentences into independent and dependent clauses. Thank the Lord for editors, because, honestly, I love every other aspect of writing from brainstorming and outlining to drafting and revising.
Editors really are super heroes. Any advice for writers?
Oh man, I feel like my advice to writers changes every time I read a new book or chat with a new writing friend. I think the most consistent piece of advice I give is that you can write a book. You should finish your book. Your story is important and needs to be shared.
All the stuff that happen between thinking you should write a book and actually making it happen will vary, but one piece that must happen for you to be successful is a willingness to share your words with others. Find a few people beyond your circle of trust (i.e. beyond your mom, best friend and/or high school English teacher), and let them write all over your first draft with red pen or track changes. It will be painful at first, but you’ll grow so much and so quickly!
Agreed! Finish that first draft! Anything you'd like to add?
Reading changes lives. Plain and simple. You don’t need to read my book if it’s not your thing, but read something. Find a story that moves you, that forces you to think beyond your every day routines. Find characters that resonate with our own life and struggles. Take those struggles and think about them in the real world. Then, after you have digested those fictional lives, let those words change your life. Because it is the people we meet and the books we read that move us forward.
Books have power and I am honoured to be one choice within a sea of possible life changes.
Wow!! So good! Thank you so much for joining us, Tara! Everyone, go check out her book below, and make sure to give Tara a follow. She's the author to watch.
BIO: Tara K. Ross lives with her husband, two daughters and rescued fur-baby in a field of cookie-cutter homes near Toronto, Canada. She works as a school speech-language pathologist and mentors with local youth programs. When Tara is not writing or reading all things young adult fiction, you can find her rock climbing the Ontario escarpment, planning her family's next jungle trek or podcasting/blogging at www.tarakross.com.
FADE TO WHITE is her debut novel.
Instagram: @ tara.k.ross : https://www.instagram.com/tara.k.ross/
Twitter: @tara_k_ross : https://twitter.com/tara_k_ross