LaToya: Hi Taneisha, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Taneisha: Hi and thank you for this opportunity. Well first I am Taneisha LaGrant, I came from a single parent home but my mom was my first inspiration for writing when I read her poem “Black on Black Crime.” I used to read all of her poetry. I was born in Florida but I lived in North Carolina for quite some time also. Now with the military, I have traveled a little. My husband enjoys traveling and hopefully our two little girls will too.
LaToya: What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Taneisha: I currently have my sights set on getting my stage plays produced. Eventually I want to publish my first romance novel and thriller. These are current projects that I am working on in my free time. Ultimately I want to be a New York Times Bestselling author.
LaToya: Which writers inspire you?
Taneisha: Currently I am inspired by Brenda Jackson, David E. Talbert, Je’Caryous Johnson, N’Tyse, and so many more. The more I read, the more inspiration I find especially with being able to connect to some of the writers and have them give me feedback or advice.
LaToya: What are you working on at the minute?
Taneisha: Currently between writing papers for school I am working on my first Christian romance called “The First Time” which the name may be subject to change. Then there is getting a staged reading of my play “Finding God” and finally my thriller which doesn’t have a name but the main characters’ name is Detective Hook.
LaToya: What genre are your books and why?
Taneisha: I write romance and thrillers. I have always loved talking about love but at the same time growing up I wanted to go into law. I was really big in reading psychological thrillers growing up and only recently branched out into romance novels.
LaToya: In 10 words or less can you create a quote that describes you and your writing? Taneisha: Passionate about writing and always evolving as life changes.
LaToya: Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
Taneisha: Hmm, that’s a tough one. I know who I could see in my play but for my book, maybe Ebony Wilson who is up and coming but I’ve worked with her before. She’d be great for Detective Hook. The verdict is still out on who would be Kayla in “The First Time.”
LaToya: When did you decide to become a writer?
Taneisha: I decided to become a writer around the age of 9, although I wouldn’t actually publish until much later.
LaToya: Do you write full-time or part-time?
Taneisha: I write part-time but my goal is to write full-time.
LaToya: Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
Taneisha: I wish I could say that my day is structured but with a six month old and nursing, my set time is off for now. Early in the morning or late at night usually work best though.
LaToya: Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
Taneisha: No, only when I have time off from school which currently is a one week break between classes.
LaToya: Where do your ideas come from?
Taneisha: Life. I get inspired by things I see but a lot of what is pushing me forward is reflecting over what has happened to me in my own life or things that I have wanted or think would be cool to write about.
LaToya: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
Taneisha: I do a little of both depending on how strong the inspiration is. Some stories don’t go according the outline I initially write. When I run an idea by my husband, he usually chimes in with what he think will or won’t work.
LaToya: How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
Taneisha: That’s a great question, I have changed where I used to write solely from a place of hurt to writing because I love writing. It doesn’t take getting hurt for me to find inspiration like it did in the past. I hardly ever wrote happy stories or poems which can be seen in both of my published books.
LaToya: What is the hardest thing about writing?
Taneisha: The hardest thing for me is making time to sit at my computer away from my phone. I will write and brainstorm on my phone or in notebooks and go from idea to idea. So now to overcome this challenge I force myself to sit at a computer and type. I had to get rid of my excuses, especially since I sit at a computer all day at work.
LaToya: What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Taneisha: The last thing I completed was a stage play, I’m still working on my books. The hardest thing though was finding how to end it. I literally took a break from working on it for a year while I edited my first novel to republish it.
LaToya: What is the easiest thing about writing?
Taneisha: The easiest thing about writing is the beginning and the end. The middle is where I usually get stuck.
LaToya: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Taneisha: Well my first novel took me about six months. However, it was poorly written and had a plethora of grammatical errors now that I look back at it five years later. Since I haven’t completed a book since, I can’t really say. We can go with a year for now. I’m sure it’ll be shorter once I finish school and use my extra time to focus on writing outside of family time.
LaToya: Where can you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
Taneisha: In 5 years I would like to be in the process of filming either a stage play or a book. I’ll have a minimum of 3 published novels and working on more.
LaToya: What advice would you give to your younger self?
Taneisha: Don’t put off what you can do today for a later time. Never stop dreaming and don’t give up. Push harder and write as much as you can but also enjoy life.
LaToya: Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
Taneisha: That’s a tough one because it’s only one. (lol) I’d have to go with Brenda Jackson. I would want to pick her brain on how she wrote so many romance novels and continues to find inspiration on her characters and keep them in the same family? How does she find inspiration for new characters without using the same storyline?
LaToya: If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Taneisha: None, I know that every writer has their own voice. I want readers to know mine and get to know me.
LaToya: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Taneisha: Rejection is okay. Your writing isn’t for everyone. Know that this okay and keep writing. If you choose to self-publish find a good editor that will be able to work with you and keep your story in your voice, not the book they want you to publish or wish they could’ve written. Find your voice and write.
Connect with Taneisha:
Facebook: Author Taneisha Grace-LaGrant
LinkedIn: Taneisha LaGrant
Amazon Author Page: Taneisha LaGrant
Goodreads: Taneisha Grace-LaGrant