Recently I had the pleasure to catch-up with Tiffany Baker, Marin County mother of three and author of a new novel, The Little Giant of Aberdeen County.
Q: Your first book, The Little Giant of Aberdeen County tells the story of Truly Plaice who is born larger-than-life and continues to grow to amazing dimensions. When her mother dies shortly after her birth, Truly is left in a household with a beautiful older sister and a drunkard father. How did you develop your story/characters?
A: I started with the idea of writing about an outcast woman in a small town. But when I got Truly’s voice in my head, it was a big voice. So I thought, “Well, what if I make her a big woman?” The irony of Truly is that she’s so large, you can’t miss her, but everyone in this dying, little town refuses to see her. She’s sort of an invisible woman. The other, really fun, thing about writing this book was writing all the secondary characters: the snooty school teacher; the down and out August Dyerson, who raises tragically untalented racehorses; the villain of the story, Robert Morgan; and, of course, Truly’s love interest, Marcus Thompson, who’s as tiny as she is large.
Q: You’re a mom with three young children; does being a mom inspire your writing?
A: I think any woman with kids knows how deeply being a mom inspires and changes you. For one thing, being a parent really enforces how connected we all are in this world. I may have nothing personally in common with someone all the way across the country, for instance, in terms of geography or religion or politics, but if we’re both mothers, then there’s still a bond.
That being said, it’s still sometimes incredibly difficult trying to juggle three kids with a career, but it’s also extremely rewarding. I think any working mom knows that, too.
Q: Is becoming an author your onramp? What did you do before you had children?
A: It’s more like a dream fulfilled. Before I had kids I taught humanities at the university level. I have a doctorate in Victorian Literature, but in the back of my mind, I always wanted to write novels. When I got married and moved to England, I gave up my job in the states, and that’s when I decided just to go for it.
Q: When will you release your next book?
A: April, 2010. Right around the corner! It’s a story about three women living on a salt farm, and they’re all involved with the same man.
Q: Do you have any advice for women that want to share their story and become an author?
A: If you’re going to write a book, you need to treat it like any, other work. Set aside a workspace if you can. Set aside time for yourself, even if it’s only a little on the weekends or at night. Chip away at it every day. And when you get rejection letters, read them, consider them, then throw them out and keep right on going!
Great advice. Thanks Tiffany!