This issue, Writers4Higher features
Talya Tate Boerner
Hi, Talya. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!
1. Tell me about yourself. Your book(s), your life, your inspiration.
Here are a few things about what makes me tick and why we should be friends. I’m not afraid to drink from a regular garden hose or eat raw cookie dough. Unless I’m buying books or plants, I don’t like to shop. I love freshly ground coffee and logo t-shirts. I know how to make mud pies and snow cream and play dough from scratch. I can type fast without errors—an invaluable skill that has served me well.
I love interesting writing, some poetry, old movies, and hardback novels, especially southern classics. I don’t use semi-colons. If you find one in my writing (and you will), it’s because an editor insisted. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Baylor University, and once upon a time worked for the previous owner of the Dallas Cowboys. My husband is often mistaken for Alec Baldwin. My two grown children are the best people I know. I hope to be like them someday.
Clutter and incessant chatter make me crazy. I’m an extroverted introvert and need my quiet time. I’m inspired by music and nature. Sometimes I have vivid science fiction dreams, but I never write them down. I have a butterfly garden in the backyard, two schnauzers that rule the world, a stray cat living on my porch, and an armadillo burrowing under my house. Milkweed is my new favorite plant.
I enjoy cooking and believe most any meal can be improved with a side of collard greens. I love Arkansas and the South and think the Ozark Mountains are as gorgeous as any place on Earth. I’m a farmer’s daughter who really was raised in a barn.
My book, The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee, is southern fiction set in the 1970s near the banks of the Mississippi River. Mark Twain was right when he said, “Write what you know.”
My protagonist, ten-year-old Gracie Lee Eudora Abbott, is the daughter of a hardworking cotton farmer who, in Gracie’s words, drinks too much beer, is mean as the devil himself, and is probably going to Hell. As she sets out to rescue everyone in her path, she saves someone unexpected in the process.
Themes of the book include coming of age, loss of innocence, man versus nature, family struggles, end-of-life issues, isolation, and salvation. There’s laugh out loud humor, too. As described by New York Times bestselling author Jeff Guinn, “There’s magic here, in a wonderfully told story that will find a special place in any reader’s heart.”
2. Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?
I have no idea and that’s a fun thing because there’s very little surprise left in this world. I have several other projects in the works that I plan to finish, including two completely different novels and a children’s book that is ready to be published. (Anyone, anyone?) I plan to continue freelancing. I enjoy writing about the uniqueness of Arkansas and educating people on the delta. And since you asked, I see my future self having a book signing event at Magnolia Market in Waco (of Fixer Upper fame… hello! fellow Baylor alums...), preferable during the weekend of a Lady Bears home basketball game. I plan on writing for Garden & Gun Magazine, too.
3. How do you use your talents/time to help others?
I believe in paying it forward. As a relatively “new” writer in a world of endless information, I try to soak up everything I can about writing. There’s always room for improvement, and I never want to become formulaic and unimaginative. I am thankful for the help I’ve received along the way and will always help new bloggers and writers by sharing what I know and mentoring when I can.
Literacy is my cause. I tutor at the Ozark Literacy Center, an organization that helps adults learn to read and write English. The thought of not being able to read makes me sad. The thought of never writing letters long-hand makes me sad as well, but that's a different topic.
Ideally, I hope my writing jolts a fond memory, reflects special in the ordinary, and helps folks realize we are all very much alike deep down where it counts.
Would you like to find Talya?
Check out the links to this talented author:
Fiction with a Southern Twist