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Authors Talk

Straight from the author’s mouth: Writing Tangi’s Teardrops

When Tangi’s father dies, he leaves her nothing but three empty bottles. A kind uncle takes the poverty-stricken girl and her stepsisters in, and for a time life gets better on his farm. But Tangi remains a lonely outsider; her stepsisters tease her for her crippled leg, and the housekeepers use her like a servant.

Just before her thirteenth birthday, Tangi learns the truth about her father’s strange legacy: the three bottles aren’t empty any more. They’re filled with all the tears she’s cried since her father died, and her tears are enchanted. She must use them to travel to Rosevine, the world of her dead mother. Tangi not only belongs there but is necessary to keep Rosevine alive.

Tangi’s tears will save Rosevine, and Rosevine will save Tangi from a cruelty-filled life, except for one thing: Tangi’s lost the bottles.

Excerpt I

Two days after Uncle Thomas left, something blunt poked Tangi in the chest. She opened her eyes to see Lisa, standing beside her bed, an oil lamp in her hand. In the dim light, her double chin jutted out even more.

“Get up,” she hissed. “There’s a lot of work to be done.”

Tangi rubbed away the sleep from her eyes. She shook her head in confusion. “What do you mean?”

Lisa threw aside the blanket and goosebumps rose on Tangi’s legs as the cold morning air assailed her. “Your uncle is not here to spoil you. Get dressed and go fetch water. Be back in time to help with breakfast.” Lisa strode out of the hut.

Tangi stared after the trail of light from the lamp until it disappeared out of sight. Her head reeled with confusion. Was Lisa implying that she didn’t do anything around the house? Even though Uncle Thomas had two housekeepers that did the housework, she still did her share. She washed her own clothes, washed the dishes, swept their hut and carried out other chores that didn’t place too much strain on her leg. But never mind; one day couldn’t possibly do that much harm.

Her eyes adjusted to the darkness. Lisa hadn’t woken Nona and Maria. They continued sleeping, unaware of what had just happened. Not that they’d care.

Let them sleep, she thought, and heaved herself out of bed. Since Papa died, it hit her that people didn’t live forever. She had relied so much on her father’s love and care for her, like leaning on a strong, immovable tree trunk. Now she was afraid to depend on anyone, even Uncle Thomas. Being rejected at her new school also fueled her decision to learn to be strong for herself. She would prove to everyone she could do everything that they could. She wouldn’t let her disability be an excuse, wouldn’t give anyone reason to pity her. She’d get the water from the tap and learn to handle the pain in her leg.

Short Excerpt II

Tangi stopped midstride and turned. As she walked back to the ditch, a little laugh escaped her lips. She reminded herself of Sarah, the crazy woman of the village, talking to herself, hearing things no one else heard.

But what did she have to lose? She would take another look, and if she still saw nothing, she’d leave without turning back.

She bent lower at the waist and peered into the ditch.

All of a sudden, the ditch filled with crystal clear water.

She jumped away, her heart pounding wildly, and then moved closer again.

Then the rain stopped. Sunrays slanted through the dark clouds and the air was suddenly heavy with the scent of roses.

When the water reached the rim, the ditch transformed into a pond. The crystal water shimmered. The mud had disappeared and the green of the leaves seemed more vivid. No sign at all that it had rained just a few seconds ago.

The reflection of a handsome man’s face stared up at her—short, curly hair, big brown eyes, and the whitest teeth she had ever seen. He seemed to be somewhere in his twenties.

“Hi, Tangi, I’m Daryle, the prince of Rosevine. I didn’t mean to scare you. I came to show you a way out of this world.”

Some Goodreads Reviews

Kimberly rated it

Tangi’s Teardrops is a unique retelling of the classic Cinderella story with some interesting twists. It’s author Liz Davis’s first YA novel and her first novel period. For the purpose of not wanting to spoil this darling little book for other readers I’m going to refrain from posting any spoilers and just talk about my overall thoughts on the book.

First off, I really liked Tangi. Though she started off as a young girl I found her character easy to connect to. As a child with a limp Tangi is made fun of constantly by her classmates and has no friends but the teasing does not stop off school grounds. Instead she has to face more ridicule at home from her older half sisters. I personally hate any form of bullying so my heart broke with her because she was such a good, kind soul I could hardly bare to see her suffering at the hands of those who should care for her.

I really enjoyed the story because it was a quick, easy read that made me feel different emotions. Liz Davis is a very talented author. She gave Tangi heart, something that is getting a little harder to find in YA novels. I highly recommend this light hearted read to everyone! The writing is lovely and you can tell the author has a passion for her work.

Sheilagh Lee rated it

Tangi is a wonderful fairy tale based on a true story of strength of character and courage. When I read the book I had no idea of the true story behind it but I can see the writers own experiences gave her the ability to tell us in a way that we understood the suffering of this child.

Tangi’s life has been miserable while her father was alive she could put up with the teasing and the cruel taunts about her one leg being shorter than the other and even put up with having no friends but now him gone she has nothing. Her two older half-sisters have escalated their cruelness and are now getting servants to harm her and make her act as Cinderella. She must do all the chores all the work only to watch them eat as they don’t even feed her and if that’s not bad enough they beat her. Tangi doesn’t know who to turn to, she can’t tell her Uncle Thomas when he returns for fear of someone else being harmed. Tangi then dreams of the world of her mother. In this world she can escape the pain and the tears that are filling up in the three bottles her father left her. .She is told she is needed there and is the only one who can save Rosevine but to get there she needs her bottles of tears but she can’t find them they aren’t where she left them. This book made me see vividly the character of Tangi and weep for the child so cruelly treated and like any good fairy tale gave me goosebumps and made me smile. I won’t tell you anymore of this enchanting story other than to say read this book it’s charming. If you enjoy a good fairy tale or the show such as “Once Upon A Time” you will love Tangi’s Teardrops.

Delphina rated it
I am not even sure where to begin. This retelling of Cinderella was so unique and simply beautiful. I was immediately drawn into Tangi’s world and while it was a sad premise (as are all Cinderella tales), there always seemed a glimmer of hope that made the sadness not so sad. I am just so happy that this book found me. Yes, I believe books find us. Feel free to chuckle ;).

Here are some things I enjoyed about this book:

*The book took place in a culture completely unlike my own, yet I felt like I was there and not just observing.

*This story is one I consider a true YA. I would feel comfortable recommending it to any teen. There were hardships and she faced cruelty, but there was no violence I would want to shelter a younger teen from and absolutely no sex/sexual tension.

*I loved the author’s voice. I can not pinpoint exactly what it was about her writing that drew me in, but it was beautiful.

*I read a ton (too much if you use my Goodreads Book ticker as a guideline). Among those books, were many Cinderella based tales. This is the first one where I was not sure what was going to happen next. I knew would most likely have a “happily ever after” type ending, but I had no idea how it would get there.

*I enjoyed the characters, even the “bad guys”. It was great to see how even through all of the difficulties of her life, Tangi always had someone there who truly loved her and cared about her well being. Even though she felt “less” because of her disabled leg, they never did. The “bad guys”, that was a different story ;).

*I love the idea that good can come from your tears. It is something I wish more people truly believed, especially when hard times are upon them.

This is Liz’s first novel and I am so glad I read it. I read this after reading a string of really bad, poorly edited books. The timing was perfect! I can only imagine where Liz’s writing will go from here. I am looking forward to her adult novel, which is coming out next week. I hope it holds all of the magic Tangi’s Teardrops did.

Brianne rated it

Tangi’s Teardrops is a story about a poor young girl named Tangi, who’s father recently passed away, leaving her nothing but three small glass bottles. She and her mean step sisters go to live with her Uncle. While her Uncle is away for work, Tangi gets treated horribly not only by her sisters but the housekeeper. One night Tanji has a dream that changes her life forever…

Tangi’s Teardrops was such a beautifully written story. You are not just reading the story, you are shown it. I pictured every detail in my mind. Absolutely great writing. The only problem I have with Tangi’s Teardrops is that its too short. I would have love to see more adventures in Rosevine. Hopefully this means that there will be a second book.

Tangi’s Teardrops is a clean book and I highly recommend it to anyone young or old.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Liz Grace Davis grew up in Angola, Namibia, South Africa and Germany. She now lives with her husband in Vienna, Austria.

Growing up, Liz spent most her days in libraries, diving into the world of books. In her spare time she reads a lot, travels, creates jewelry and designs digital scrapbooks. That’s of course when she’s not weaving stories. She’s in her element whenever she is doing anything that requires creativity.

Liz is the author of a young adult fantasy novel, Tangi’s Teardrops, and a romantic women’s fiction novel, Chocolate Aftertaste.

Now your reward: The Interview

1. Can you tell us about Tangi’s Tears? Why did you choose to write this story?

Tangi’s Teardrops was inspired by my childhood. Tangi is actually my third first name (I know, I have way too many names on my passport). You can read about the story behind Tangi’s Teardrops here: http://bit.ly/wWAjj4

I wrote Tangi’s Teardrops as a way to make peace with my past and to create a happy ending for the little girl I used to be.

With Tangi’s Teardrops I’d like to remind readers that sometimes crying doesn’t have to be such a bad thing. It can be so freeing. For Tangi, they were, in a magical kind of way.

2. Give us a powerful line from your novel.

Let me give you two sentences.

She wouldn’t let her disability be an excuse, wouldn’t give anyone reason to pity her. She’d get the water from the tap and learn to handle the pain in her leg.

3. Can you talk about your writing process?

I really don’t have a set writing process. I try to write as much as I can, in between working, studying and designing. During the day I like to do things which don’t require me to be creative and at night I weave stories. Many times the creative part of my brain just doesn’t seem to function during the day. I have tried waking up early before work, in order to get some writing done. For a while it worked, but then I decided that the last few hours of sleep in the mornings were just too delicious to give up. I get a lot done at night but unfortunately, as a result, I end up going to bed very late.

I normally write up to three drafts and then I move on to the dreaded editing stage. I have a wonderful editor but I don’t dump all the work on him and relax. We work as a team, editing back and forth.

4. Any editing tips?

Read the manuscript out loud. I find I catch mistakes better that way.

5. What do you love most about the writing industry? What do you dislike?

I love that the industry overflows with creativity and is filled with people living their dreams.

What I don’t like is that sometimes people look down on self-published authors. I think that’s wrong. I’ve read some amazing books this year from self-published authors.

6. Do you have any other books or new releases that you would wish to talk about?

In April I published my second novel, Chocolate Aftertaste, a romantic women’s fiction.

Chocolate Aftertaste is the story of a woman, Nora, who has a very controlling father. He makes all the important decisions in her life, even when it comes to her love life. All her life she has done her very best to live up to his expectations, sacrificing her own happiness. Until she almost makes a major mistake and realizes it’s time to take back the control. She flees to another town looking for a new beginning and maybe love. She soon learns that starting over and falling in love brings along its own challenges. But what matters most is that she has made her own choices and is ready to enjoy the benefits of those choices and deal with the consequences.

My third novel, Honeysuckle & Jasmine (women’s fiction), will be published in late autumn.

The story is about two African Au-Pairs (from different backgrounds) who meet in Germany and embark on a journey that leads them to the true meaning of friendship. Together they laugh, they live, they grow. And then everything changes. Suddenly their carefree days are over and the struggles that come with living in a foreign country begin. The only thing that can hold them together, when everything falls apart, is their friendship.

You can get a sneak peek at the cover I designed for the novel here: http://bit.ly/Nku67x

7. If you could share one tip you learned with self-published and traditionally published authors who share the same dream of being a successful author what would it be?

Don’t just write because you want to be published, write because there’s something burning inside of you that wants to be released and shared with the world.

Also, make friends with Facebook, Twitter, and get a blog. Once published, your life as an author has just started. Marketing is a whole new ball game.

8. If you could describe your writing in three words what would you say?

Emotional, thought-provoking, original

9. Tell us about the protagonist of your novel?

Tangi is a twelve year old disabled girl who is surrounded by people who hurt her for no given reason. All she ever wants is for others to look at her and not see her imperfections. But they do and they use them to weaken her both physically and emotionally.

In a nutshell, Tangi’s Teardrops is about a little girl who dreams of becoming something bigger than herself, who craves acceptance and love. This is a story of suffering and pain, hope, love and dreams coming true.

10. If you had to live alone on an island with the antagonist of your novel for the rest of your life, how would you cope?

If I were stuck with the antagonist from Tangi’s Teardrops, Selma, I’d be nice to her until she’s nice back. I always find that kindness is less hard work than spite.

Bonus (Answer if you desire)

11. Why should readers go out and get your novel today?

Tangi’s Teardrops is an African fairytale with a twist. If you want to read a different kind of fantasy, it could be for you.

Thank you so very much for hosting me today. I enjoyed answering your questions. I hope your visitors will enjoy Tangi’s Teardrops as much I enjoyed writing it.

Discussion

One thought on “Straight from the author’s mouth: Writing Tangi’s Teardrops

  1. Thank you so much for hosting me today. I appreciate it. The interview was very interesting.

    Posted by Liz | July 28, 2012, 12:35 pm

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