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JJ Barnes The Table Read

Written by JJ Barnes

I interviewed author Tayla Jean Grossberg about her writing career, what inspires her, and the creative writing process behind her latest book, Bittersweet.

Tell me a bit about who you are.

I am a woman who has a huge passion for stories and being creative. I believe in living life to the fullest, seeing and experiencing as much as I can.

Tayla Jean Grossberg, author of Bittersweet, interview on The Table Read
Tayla Jean Grossberg, author of Bittersweet

When did you first WANT to write a book?

I wanted to write my first book when I was in kindergarten, after reading a children’s book that I really liked.

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When did you take a step to start writing?

In kindergarten. I decided that I wanted to write my own book, so I stapled a stack of papers together, drew pictures on them and wrote a few words. This flimsy stack of papers was my first novel and the beginning of so much more. I think it was about horses.

How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?

My first real book, not just papers stapled together written in a child’s handwriting, took me about three years. I wrote it in three months and then it took two years before sending it to publishers and finally getting published.

How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?

+- six months.

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Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write Bittersweet?

My latest release, Bittersweet (something like a Nicholas Sparks love story) was inspired by my first love, events that happened in my life and my crazy imagination. I decided to write this story, because it was so close to my heart, but turn it into a work of fiction instead of a true story. The book is filled with metaphors for things that really happened and which I experienced. I was also very inspired by Nicholas Sparks, one of my all-time-favorite authors, books.

What were your biggest challenges with writing Bittersweet?

Writing this book came easy and naturally – as most of my stories do. My biggest challenge was saving enough money to hire a professional editor who could review the completed manuscript.

Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?

Bittersweet by Tayla Jean Grossberg, author interview on The Table Read
Bittersweet by Tayla Jean Grossberg

My protagonist (Chelsea) was inspired by myself. She looks like me – blue eyes, brown hair, round face and short. We share similar characteristics like having a great sense of humor, being an empath and being witty. She loves reading, especially Nicholas Sparks books, like me, and strives to fall in love like his characters do.

Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?

The antagonists in my novel are mainly Jasper and Spencer. They were inspired by my first love’s internal demons. I look those bad emotions/things that got him down and turned them into characters. In other words; they represent things like self-doubt, anxiety and depression.

What is the inciting incident of Bittersweet?

Chelsea’s parents die in a car accident, which leaves her behind and alone. That’s when she and Peter connect and become friends.

What is the main conflict of Bittersweet?

Peter has an incredibly big secret that he has never told anyone. This secret has changed Chelsea’s life forever and he fears that if he tells her, she will hate him. Throughout the books he tries to build up the courage to be honest with her, but he fears the consequences with all his heart.

Did you plot Bittersweet in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?

I never plot a book in advance, because if I know what will happen, I will get bored when writing. And I figure that if I am bored when writing, the reader will be bored when reading. So, I make up my plots as I go along…

Bittersweet by Tayla Jean Grossberg, author interview on The Table Read
Bittersweet by Tayla Jean Grossberg

Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Bittersweet need?

I got support with line and copy editing. The story didn’t need any changing but sentence structure or the way I’d say and describe things did.

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What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?

If you believe that you can do it, do it!

Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?

Oh yes! My next novel is currently being edited. It will be a part of my Silver Kingdom series. This book is called The Lone Wolf.

And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?

Yes and yes! Writing is my passion and I plan on creating stories the rest of my life.

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