Tia Williams Presents “The Perfect Find”
After nearly a decade away from publishing, becoming a proud parent, and pounding the pavement to sell a book to agents who were only interested in characters battling racial issues, Tia Williams is back with The Perfect Find! If you follow the witty wordsmith on social media, you know this was a long time coming. Lucky for us, Tia took time out of her hectic schedule to give us the inside scoop on what I’m sure will be everyone’s fav beach read this summer and beyond! Here’s what she had to say:
In Her Shoes: Your last book, The Beauty of Color, was co-written with Iman in 2007 – and, as we all know, the industry has changed drastically since then. What has been the biggest difference for you?
Tia: Personally, the biggest change is that I’m a mom. Pre-Lina, I was able to set aside a big chunk of writing time and commit to it, daily. I wrote Accidental Diva in a smooth three months. Now I have to juggle a full-time job and a daughter who demands that I choreograph routines to Selena Gomez songs with her before dinner. And then help her with second-grade math homework that I barely understand. I’m exhausted by the time she’s in bed. Finding time to write was hard! I was very undisciplined, writing wherever and whenever I had a free moment. Even on vacation, which you know. I was on my laptop during our entire twirl in Jamaica, back in 2014! This book took me 900 years to write.
In terms of the industry, the biggest change since the last time I was published is the rise of social media. In 2007, there was only Facebook and you couldn’t even “like” a picture yet. The promotional aspect has changed significantly because you have to engage on all these platforms. Before, you’d just do your book tour and some press, and then hope that someone would read it and like it. These days, you’re expected do this – plus engage on, like, 59 social media outlets. And do it well. The scary thing about this is that being a great writer doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a great digital marketing strategist! But you have to figure it out, quick.
In Her Shoes: How you do feel knowing how many of your readers and supporters are anxiously awaiting this book after so many years?
Tia: I was so scared that people wouldn’t remember me, since I haven’t written in almost a decade. But the response that I’ve gotten is the most divine, validating thing that can happen to you as a writer. When women tell me that The Accidental Diva is their favorite book, it blows my mind. It’s the most satisfying and affirming thing. It’s what you write for. You want people to love your words. You want to inspire them.
I was a profoundly awkward kid. All I did was read, and the characters in the books were real to me. So when women say that they’re looking for their “Jay” (Billie’s love in The Accidental Diva), or that Tangie, the teenaged protagonist in It Chicks, helped them get through tenth grade, I know what they’re feeling. To think that I’ve touched anyone in the same way that I was touched by characters is so humbling. My readers are such a gift.
In Her Shoes: What has been your most memorable moment on your journey with The Perfect Find?
Tia: I love taking the messy, mundane fuckery that happens in my own life, remixing it – and making it sparkle and shine, in fiction. It’s so much fun. The possibilities are endless! As a novelist, you get a do-over. You can make that lame conversation so much more scintillating than it actually was. You can make a doomed relationship win. You can make your outfits cooler. The sex (even) better. It’s taking your world and elevating it, and it’s just delicious!
In Her Shoes: We know that in fiction, characters are often inspired by people the authors know. How do you construct these characters so they’re not easily recognizable by your readers?
Tia: All fiction writers are inspired by interesting people they know, but there’s no art in directly ripping off someone’s life! My characters are composites of several different people. You can never just point to one and know exactly who it is.
There is so much truth in the whole “write what you know” thing. I can’t convincingly write a character who’s a complete stranger to me. They all have to be familiar to me in some way. The Perfect Find is a big, juicy, star-crossed love story – and I’m well intimately acquainted with the two main characters, Jenna and Eric! Jenna’s story is inspired by an insane moment in my life about three years ago, when I almost literally lost it all and had to rebuild myself from scratch. And Eric – well, he’s inspired by someone I once knew. But the deeper I got into the story, he totally took on a life of his own! Full disclosure: I have a crush on him. I lowkey wish he’d, like, magically appear and become my boyfriend. I read somewhere that authors can subtly write things into existence. Here’s hoping.
Grab a cup of your favorite tea, settle into a comfy seat and get all the way into The Perfect Find. Click here to snatch up your copy today!
If you’re in the New York City or D.C. areas, Tia will be at a book store near you sprinkling #blackgirlmagic with a couple beauty babes and signing her new book!