♥ Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Naomi Tajedler, author of What The Heart Wants.
Hi Naomi, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
I was born and raised in Paris, France, with an older sister, a French mother and an Israeli father, which makes for an interesting education growing up.
What’s certain is that that multiple cultures gave me a hunger for knowledge and for travels.
My parents have encouraged my love for art, and supported my choice to study it—though they did so when I picked a scientific form of art!
Writing online has come late into my life, and writing in a more professional setting has only been possible thanks to Interlude Press and the opportunity they gave me.
♥ Do you have any strange writing habits?
First of all, I need music when I write. Silence has a tendency to freeze my fingers. TV works too, but I find it distracting in the long run.
Second habit : I need things to nibble on. I usually pick dry pretzels, because it doesn’t make too much crumbs and doesn’t grease my fingers.
Third habit : I need to have supplies of something to drink, something that won’t require me to move from my writing spot - bottles, teapots, depends on the weather.
Those were for the conditions I need to write: now for the actual writing process, I tend to act the scenes I’m writing, play the dialogue (with different voices) and move around to see if I’m making sense and if what I’m describing is physically possible!
When I face a block, I need to walk it out—whether it’s running circles around my desk or really take it outside, away from the computer for a moment, and a way to go past the block usually comes to me after a moment of walking.
I don’t know if these are particularly strange, but they are mine!
♥ Just as your books will inspire others, what books have inspired you?
A lot of books have inspired me, so here goes my top 3.
- Michael Ende, Never Ending Story: This description of the pre-teenager’s mind really struck me as a preteen myself, and I keep reading this book over and over again, finding new depths in it as I grow up
- Bernard Lenteric, The Prodigies (La Nuit des Enfants Rois, in French): This book is really hard to describe, but it showed me that a literature aimed at teenagers could be smart, complex and mind-blowing
- Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog: This book is incredibly delicate, and charming, and has some of the best descriptions of food and of art I have ever read
♥ What do you consider to be your best accomplishment (writing or life)?
My best accomplishment in life is tightly linked to my accomplishment in writing, because writing has allowed me to find myself, to figure out who I am and to give me the strength to come out to my family and my best friend.
Coming out feels like an accomplishment because it took me a lot of courage and I have felt like a different, more grown, more confident person ever since.
♥ Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Wow, ten years.
I see myself living somewhere else, with writing being a much bigger part of my life. I have many ideas for novels and stories, so hopefully they will come to light in that time span. I hope I will still have my loved ones with me, and new loves too!
♥ If you had a super power, what would it be?
Oh, definitely mind reading—but under my control!
I tend to doubt myself a lot, particularly in social interactions, so knowing what’s really on the mind of the person I’m talking to would help with some of my anxiety.
Summer Love is the first collection of short stories published by Duet, the young adult imprint from Interlude Press. These short stories are about the emergence of young love of bonfires and beaches, of the magical in-between time when young lives step from one world to another, and about finding the courage to be who you really are, to follow your heart and live an authentic life. The contributing authors have written stories about both romantic and platonic love featuring characters who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, pansexual and queer/questioning. The authors also represent a spectrum of experience, identity and backgrounds.
A campaign volunteer is assigned to assist his high school’s Gay Straight Alliance for the Pride Parade, forcing him to face the students he had previously avoided, and the truth about himself.
Author: Rachel Davidson Leigh is a writer, educator, and small town native who tells stories she wishes she could have read as a teen. Beautiful Monsters is her first published work of fiction. She lives in Wisconsin with her family and two dogs who are spoiled out of their tiny minds.
The Willow Weeps for Us
Jack, the young son of a grocer, falls for a charming piano teacher at the dawn of World War II.
Author: Suzey Ingold is a writer, linguist and coffee addict, currently based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Brought up in a household where children's books are quoted over the dinner table, literature has always had a strong influence on her life. She enjoys travelling, scented candles and brunch.
The Fire Eater’s Daughter
When a traveling carnival comes back to town, Ruth must choose between caring for her mother and a life with the beautiful and mysterious Constance, the fire eater’s daughter.
Author: Amy Stilgenbauer is a writer and aspiring archivist currently based in southeast Michigan. She is the author of the novelette series, Season of the Witch, as well as the Young Adult novel, The Legend of League Park. When she isn’t writing, Amy enjoys all things bergamot and tries to keep her cats away from her knitting.
Logan just wants a summer where he can be anonymous and fit in without labels, but that all changes when he meets out-and-proud Dave at summer camp.
Author: Ella J. Ash is a lawyer by day and an author by night. She has been a writer in online fan communities since 2006. She also enjoys dance parties with her family and cooking experimental vegetarian cuisine. She lives in Toronto with her partner, three daughters and four tropical fish.
My Best Friend
In a letter to his best friend, a young gay man reminisces about their relationship.
Author: H.J. Coulter lives in Winnepeg, Canada, where she works as a respite worker and studies music, in hopes of one day becoming a musical therapist. My Best Friend is her professional writing debut.
What the Heart Wants
A young student discovers attraction and desire through her experience drawing figures in her summer art class.
Author: Naomi Tajedler was born and raised in Paris, where art has always been a part of her life—including painting, restoring books, and working in auctions. She started writing in online fan communities in 2009.
The Most Handsome
Carter, a Cape Cod boy who recently came out as transgender, meets and falls in love with a college student visiting for the summer.
Author: S.J. Martin lives with his partner and their cranky, rotund cat in Washington D.C. He’s a barista by day and a writer by night. He makes a mean cappuccino and lives for good coffee, good books, and good company. The Most Handsome is his first published story.
Something Like Freedom
A boy finds a safe space from which to imagine a new future after leaving his conservative parents’ home, thanks in part to a new friend.
Author: Caroline Hanlin is a full time statistician, a part time stage manager, and an avid sports fan. She currently resides in Boston, where she enjoys writing during her commute. Something Like Freedom is her first published short story.
On the Shore
A young woman retreats to her parents’ beach house to nurse a broken heart, but instead meets a vivacious girl who helps her find joy again.
Author: Rachel Blackburn is a writer, musician and librarian based in central Ohio. When free from work, she enjoys cuddling with her cats, drinking tea, and baking more cupcakes than necessary. On the Shore is her professional writing debut.