Spotlight Author: Darlene Tallman

I love going to signings. One of my favorite things about signings is getting to meet the authors and find new to me authors. Last year I was able to meet one of the most geniune and wonderful people, Darlene Tallman. I got to know her over several signings and facebook. Now Darlene is like part of my family. This is the wonderful part of the Indie community. So I am overexcited to be able to introduce her to you all.

  1. Joe is curious if you have always been a huge cat lover and if that is what inspired Harry?

Growing up, animals were always a mainstay in our home. Cats, dogs, usually both, but we also occasionally had fish and turtles as well. When I was married the last time, I left with two cats (Chance who will be 11 and Chloe who is 10) as well as my beloved Maggie Mae, who unfortunately went over the Rainbow Bridge the day before I left to move to Texas.

Harry came about because I was a volunteer with a rescue in Georgia (Happy Tailz Humane) and after I moved into my own place in 2015 (from my sister’s house), the founder called and needed me to come to help at an adoption event so she could go pick up her then little girl from dance. I went and was sitting next to a cage with four kittens and Harry was one of them. He saw me and went bat shit crazy (no lie) so much so that I finally got him out of the cage to settle the others down.

He then walked across my chest, head butted me, nuzzled my chin, then laid down and fell asleep in my arms. But, I didn’t take him then because I had Chance, Chloe, Timmy, Nabisco and Gracie Lou Who already, and was talking to another rescue about Libby.

Two days later, I dropped off donations from a local PetSmart. I walked in the door and saw Harry and his brethren laying in a huge crate. He was grooming himself but when he heard my voice? He went nuts again and climbed the cage like a spider monkey trying to get out! Still, even though I thought he was adorable, I felt like I had no room at the inn, so to speak.

Two days after that, my friend Vickie called and left me a message and said, “Harry wants to know when his momma is coming to pick him up.” I picked him up the day he got neutered and he’s been with me ever since! As an aside, I also drove to SC to adopt Libby, then fostered the momma who had Duckie Wuckie and he never left and then? I met Rebel McPebble when I went home after seeing Vickie posting pics of him and well, he came home to Texas with me.

  1. Speaking of Harry, how did the Mischief Kitties series come about? It is so different from your other series.

So I’m friends with Cherry Shepard, an Australian author, and we were yakking in chat one night about her son’s idea to write a kids series based on their three cats (Angel, Sammy, Callie) and she was like, maybe your kitties can live next door! Then it was – what if you write them with us? And that’s how the Mischief Kitties was born…hahahaha….it’s supposed to be a kids series, but goodness, adults love them as well! Right now, with COVID, I haven’t been able to reach her as easily to talk about the other books we’ve started, but there are more planned!

  1. Knowing that you write both a children series and then romance, how easy is it for you to switch between the two?

I have to make sure I have the right “hat” on, that’s for sure! But if a Mischief Kitty idea comes to mind, then they’re the ones that are talking, so it’s not as hard as you might imagine!

  1. Which do you prefer between co-authoring and solo writes? Why?

I actually enjoy doing both! Because even though I may be working on one of “my” books, versus one of “our” books, Liberty and I are typically together so if I get stuck or I want an opinion, she’s right there to bounce an idea off of, and the same with her. Co-authoring is a lot of fun because we’re working at the same time in the document and she might be typing something and that gives me an idea and we feed off of one another.

  1. What is the first book to make you cry? Did that influence your writing in any way?

The first book I vividly remember crying to was one I read as a teenager – The Summer of My German Soldier. I think because there was such an austerity to it, even hopelessness, you know? I don’t think it influences my writing except that I want to write characters that will pull readers into their stories and make them feel. Based on the messages I’ve gotten, I have done that many times!

  1. Was there a certain life event that made you want to be an author or was the need to be one always there? When did you first start writing?

The desire to write has always been there. I remember as a teen telling my dad I wanted to either be a teacher or a writer and him telling me that neither would let me support myself. Ironically, I have been a children’s church teacher over the years (something I loved doing) and of course, now I’m a published author. I was always submitting stories to Guideposts and what not in high school and when in elementary school, won a contest for doing a poster for “Stop, Drop, and Roll”! I first started down this path, however, in 2015, although it took a year for me to finish the first book!

  1. What is your writing kryptonite?

There are a lot of authors who have to have complete silence in order to work. I’m not one of them, although I will typically have something on that I’ve watched before just for the noise. I can also handle having music running. What I can’t do without and have been known to toss on a hoodie and jeans if I’m in my jammies is being out of diet coke or cigarettes, although that last thing is going to be going by the wayside in the near future (finally!)!

  1. How do you feel you have grown as an author? Do you feel as though you still have the same passion as when you began?

I think after quite a few books that I’ve finally found “my voice”. Most of my author friends will readily say and I’ll agree to that I can write the sweet fluffy stuff. But I don’t shy away from the hard things that a character has to deal with – whether it’s abuse, PTSD, infertility – because that’s part of the human condition and as such, even though I’m creating fictional worlds, I want my characters to be relatable. Hearing from readers that they’ve checked into some of the things I’ve written about for themselves? Yeah, that means the world and is humbling at the same time. I think my passion has only grown the more books I’ve written. I enjoy the creativity, the world building, the what-ifs and hope that never changes until I’m a very old woman.

  1. What does success look like to you?

While I should probably say financial stability because it’s important and an adult response, for me, it looks like those messages that get posted on my timeline telling me someone stayed up all night reading a book I wrote and they loved it. It’s the private messages thanking me creating characters that they would want to know in real life. It’s author friends who have grown dear to me who are now family. And while financial stability IS important to me as it should be to everyone, I’ve believed for a very very long time that as long as I use the talents I’ve been given, God will take care of all my needs and quite a few of my wants as well, something that’s been shown time and again in my life these past few years. I literally rose from the proverbial ashes with $17.58 in my checking account the day I left my ex-husband. I could’ve stayed down, but that wasn’t how I was raised and with a lot of support and love from family and friends, I finally embraced who I am, a perfectly imperfect free-spirited woman who has people living in her head with stories to tell!

  1. Do you have any advice for other Indie authors or those who are Contemplating jumping into the Indie world?

As I always preface my advice, you can use it, save it or toss it, but coming into this industry, realize several things – you won’t immediately start making money so if that’s your impetus, you may want to rethink it. In most industries, it takes 3-5 years to build your brand and gain followers or in our case, readers, and that seems to be true in my case at least. Also, not everyone who smiles at you is your friend. While most in this industry are very encouraging and supportive, there are those who are waiting to watch you fall. Find your tribe, your people. The ones who will talk you off the proverbial ledge, the ones who will give you good, honest feedback on what you’ve written. Get a good beta team and a good editor; there are plenty who are very expensive, of course, but there are others out there who know what it’s like to write on a budget of next to nothing and they’ll give you a good deal and you’ll get a good, solid job done for you. Check into cover designers; again, there are some who are very very pricey, but there are others who are more budget friendly whose work is just as awesome for a fraction of the price. Never forget that we all started from nothing and had no clue what we were doing and had someone else helping us. Also realize that paying it forward is the best gift you can give to those who may have done that for you, because some months? You’re on top of the mountain due to a hella release and others, you’re counting pennies.

About the Author

I am a transplanted Yankee, moving from upstate New York when I was a teenager. I’m a mom of four and grandma of eight who has found a love of traveling that I never knew existed! I live with the brat-cat pack (all rescues) ‘deep in the heart of Texas’, as I plot and plan who will get to “talk” next!

★★Darlene Tallman★★


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