Interview with Tye Jiles

What are you working on next?
I'll be working a collection of short stories next year. The stories are going to be about the lives of a group of friends who are all living with different kinds of abuse but never tell one another. The group includes two sisters who plan on leaving their husbands and develop a relationship they never had growing up. It will be inspiring to women who have suffered in silence with any type of abuse whether verbal or physical. I've seen so many stories about women going through this and coming out victorious. I feel that the stories will help a lot of women. It is a beautiful journey of endurance and strength.
Who are your favorite authors?
The list is so long! My biggest inspiration is Maya Angelou. She was just an amazing person and writer. I have read so many of her books more than once. Next would be Amy Tan, I love her storytelling! I lose myself in her words every time I read one her novels. I am like a huge fan girl when it comes to her! Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Anne Lamott, Zadie Smith, Frank McCourt, Lisa See, the list could go on and on. I am a fan of many great authors.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My love for my family and my work. I love being a writer and an artist. I design and write daily. It is something that I have done my whole life. I love being a mother and watching my children grow and change. I also love how I am growing artistically everyday. I love discovering new things about myself creatively. It makes life a wonderful journey.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Designing. I am also a textile designer. I create patterns for fabric, wallpaper, and fashion. It is my other talent and passion. I also spend time with my children and husband as much as possible.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I often see what's new in my favorite genres. I also keep track of what's coming out through Goodreads and NetGalley. I love book reviews although I like to read most of the books even if the reviews aren't favorable. I think every reader has a different perspective so I often like something that others may not. I look through new releases and pretty much go from there.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes I do! I was in elementary school, I believe third or fourth grade and I wrote about an ant that had died and his funeral. I even drew a picture of the ant and his casket. He was stepped on by a passing parade and died, very dark for that age but I got a good grade on it.
What is your writing process?
I typically write at night when everything is quiet. I like to outline and stick to that theme. I write as I see fit, I don't force it because nothing good comes from trying to write with no sense of direction. It is really easy to get a new idea and run with it.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I can't say I remember the very first story I read but I do remember how I fell in love with reading. I had a librarian who was very animated when she read to our class. She made me love storytelling and from that point on I read everything I could get my hands on. I remember there were a lot of stories that had an impact on me so I can't really pinpoint one specific story.
How do you approach cover design?
Well I designed my own cover because of my background in design. I wanted something to be representative of who I am and I think that my cover does that perfectly. I am a woman of many different heritages that I recently discovered and I wanted my book cover to represent those different faces. I am not sure if I will design the next one, it all depends on what direction I want to go in.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Oh this is torture! I have so many favorites I can't pick just five!

I would have to go with Maya Angelou's Mom & Me & Mom, it was a great look in her life and everything she overcame. I just loved the story and her relationship with her mother.

The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan. I just loved it! Again her storytelling is stellar. I love the close relationships between the family and I could relate to how secrets among the older generation are kept from the children. It is a huge testament to what women carry and their strength.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker. There are just so many things that I could relate to and so many things I couldn't even imagine. Very moving and impacting, I think I know the dialogue better than anyone!

The House at the End of Hope Street. All the references of writers, the magic, and the self discovery just all the feels! I read it in one sitting and read it again. I even reached out to the author to let her know how much I loved it!

Stolen Lives by Malika Oufkir. It was by far the most riveting memoir I have ever read. I couldn't believe that it was a true story because it read like a movie. It was just so unbelievable that things could happen like that and parts of it was happening as we were all living our daily lives.

Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones. Another one of my favorite writers! The story was common in our community and I could relate to it in so many ways. I loved it from start to finish.

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt. I had to add this one because it was such a great story of his life. I am drawn to stories of triumph and this story was so moving. I was so sad when he died because he was one the brains I wanted to pick besides Dr. Angelou.
What do you read for pleasure?
I love historical fiction and memoirs. I like to read about how things were in the past. I love the Harlem Renaissance era because I think I would have thrived there. I love reading about that time period as well the people who contributed to it. I would have loved to live in that time!
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I like my apps that I can read from my phone mainly. I have a Kindle Fire but I wouldn't say I have a favorite. As long as I can read from them, I'm fine with whatever works.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I had a pretty good childhood but of course I had normal challenges. I grew up in the 90's when everything just seemed to be so much fun. The music, the fashion, the TV and the movies that were coming out. It was just a great era to grow up in. It influenced my writing because it helped me to identify with my culture and appreciate it. I had so many great role models around me that I can say I gained a good sense of character. I hope that I can translate all of that in my future writing.
When did you first start writing?
I've been writing for as long as I can remember. I think because I was so quiet as a child, it was my outlet. I wrote poems, stories, plays, movie scripts and music. I know now that I was an introvert but never really identified with it or knew what it was to be one. I totally embrace that now but it helps me to understand why I was so drawn to writing. I used it to be the voice I couldn't be publicly. I hated attention so writing was my way to connect to the world and not be seen, if that makes any sense.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Revealing Layers is just a coming out book for me. It was complied over two years worth of experiencing life. I went through a tough period in life where I just wrote my heart out. I wrote about everything that was going on with me, in the world, in life and love. It was just time to let my voice be heard through the outlet that has shaped me.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The freedom of being able to control when and how I share my art with the world. I can determine what outlets I want it to be seen and as often as I'd like. I think it is very empowering to be able to work freely without stressing over deadlines or whether or not your work will be marketed. I like having the control of the release date, when I feel it's ready. There are so many reasons but the freedom is the main reason.
What authors would you like to interview?
I would love to sit down and talk with Tayari Jones, Amy Tan, and Anne Lamott. I think they are awesome writers but from watching their interviews they seem very interesting. They are passionate about their craft and I think having a conversation about what motivates them and their lives would be amazing.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy is being able to say what I want in a way that hopefully inspires. Telling a story through words whether it be true or fictional, is very empowering and satisfying. I have always wanted to be a writer and being able to fulfill that dream now has given me great joy.
What is something you fear?
Certain species of animals. I am going to run if it is not an animal that I feel safe around. My husband tells me all the time that I have irrational fears but they are very rational to me! I don't like bugs or anything that can potentially harm me. I love dogs though if they're friendly.
What would you like the readers to know about you?
I want them to know that I am looking forward to engaging with them about my writing and I am excited to start this journey with them all! I hope that they love my work and I can't wait to give them more over the years.
Published 2016-11-14.
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