Tanzania Glover lives in Chicago, Illinois. She is a blogger, pop culture critic, amateur chef, and tiny house enthusiast. Find her on all social media platforms as TanSaidWhat.
“I am a writer that creates stories and characters for black girls and women who never got to see themselves as the protagonist. Whether you were told that your skin was too dark, your hair was too nappy, your body was too big or too tall or all of the above, I’m here to tell you it was all a lie and I have something written just for you. For us.”
1) First, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most?
No, thank you for being patient with me! I can’t thank you enough for that.
I knew that I wanted to be a writer when I was very young because even though I loved reading, I also loved coming up with different endings and scenarios to my favorite books. More than anything I enjoy connecting with readers about the things that I write about. For a long time I truly believed that I was the only person who thought certain things, but getting contacted almost daily from people who feel the same as I do on many topics is very heartwarming.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
Anyone looking to find out more about me can go to www.tanzaniaglover.com or find me on any social media sites as TanSaidWhat and currently all of my books are available on Amazon in Ebook and paperback (audiobooks coming soon). My first series, The Soundtrack Series, was a critique of contemporary fame culture, Hollywood and the music industry that also touched on topics like colorism and dating in the social media age. I wanted to write about the glamorous and not so glamorous parts of black womanhood when we’re put in the spotlight and how it can affect relationships. My most recent series, The Faded Fairytales, I wanted to give black women the fairytales that we missed out on as girls because so often we were told that Happily Ever After wasn’t for us. I’ve also collaborated with four other super talented authors on a nostalgic nineties romance series called ‘90s Kinda Love.
3) Where do you draw your inspiration from for the stories that you manage to weave together and the characters that you create?
In general when I already have an idea I get myself in the mood to write by playing music. As far as finding ideas, I get inspired by everything around me. I can read an article, see a commercial, overhear a conversation, and before I know it I’ve drafted an entire book. I also put a lot of myself and the people that I know into my characters in order to humanize them and make them seem more real and relatable.
4) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel? What projects are you currently working on?
I don’t have a strict schedule for writing because I never want my books to read as forced. I do make sure to take notes daily because I’m always being inspired by something around me. I’m also a Plotter which means that I have to heavily research and outline to know exactly where the story is going before I begin seriously writing. I’m always open to new ideas that come up, but if I don’t generally know what happens next then I can’t really get anywhere. Depending on the length it has taken me anywhere from one month for a novella to four and a half years for my longest book which was over 900 pages before being divided into two separate novels. I am currently working on closing out my two series The Soundtrack Series and The Faded Fairytales and also looking into doing another novella and a standalone novel.
5) What’s the first book you ever read that really moved you emotionally? Who is your favorite author to read? What book are you currently reading?
I’ve always loved reading anything I could get my hands on, but it wasn’t until middle school when believe it or not fanfiction for my favorite boyband at the time was what made me decide to really try writing a book. Like other teenage girls I was of course obsessed with the heartthrobs but also very impressed that other girls my age were penning good quality full length serial novels so I wanted to do it too. My favorite Black romance writer of all time is Terry McMillan. Her work has reached millions and she’s checked off just about every goal I have as a writer. I grew up seeing her books lying around the house and the women in my family always celebrated the on-screen adaptations like Waiting To Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back. But my favorite book of all time is Cheaters by Eric Jerome Dickey. Every time I read it I find something new to love and it just feels like I’m catching up with old friends because the characters and themes are so timeless. For the last few years I’ve consciously read books by mostly indie authors so I’m always reading the latest release from other black romance authors like Tia Love, Kema B, Samantha Strahan, Cion Lee and dozens more that I don’t have room to mention here.
6) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
I’m a very simple person so for me the most significant achievement as a writer has been holding physical copies of my books and being able to place them on my bookshelf next to authors that I grew up reading. In the next five years I hope to still be writing about topics that I love and also I want to have adapted at least one series or book into a film or television show.
7) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career? What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry is drastically changing in terms of traditional and self-publishing?
So far I think I’ve been very lucky because I don’t think I’ve encountered any rejection in my writing career. Because I’m indie I don’t have to answer to anyone but myself (and some of my enthusiastic readers) about the decisions I make for my books and my author brand. And as an independent author of course I love that the previous gate keeping of publishing is being brought to its knees by determined authors like myself. If a new author has the right work ethic and skill-set, they can get their books into the hands of the same readers as large publishing houses and I’m very proud to be a part of this positive shift.
8) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work. Do you ever enjoy reading your own work back to yourself?
I actually love reading my work over and over again. I do cringe at certain parts and dialogue that I may have forgotten about, but for the most part it’s a very pleasant and enjoyable experience to get lost in my own words and worlds.
9) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
I don’t really believe in a “late start” when it comes to writing because I think we all pick up the pen or crack open the laptop exactly when we’re ready to. With that being said ageism is real in most industries including publishing, but writing can even the playing field most of the time because your average readers just want to read good books. They don’t necessarily care if the author is twenty or sixty. As long as it flows well and keeps them engaged, it’s a win.
10) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
Well I could be wrong, but personally I feel that my purpose is to empower as many black women and girls as possible. My number one priority as an indie black romance author is to tell authentic stories about black women being loved fully and without conditions. I figure that since life imitates art just as much as art imitates life that maybe if I put positive imagery out into the world, stories where we’re treated well and respected and given room to grow and fall and fail then get up and succeed, then maybe it’ll become reality someday. I believe that Black women are the most powerful beings on earth and I think it’s a shame that most of us don’t also believe it, but I plan to make believers out of my readers one story at a time.