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Author Interview: Titania Tempest Chats about Paper Daffodils

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Get ready to learn more about the book Paper Daffodils in this discussion with sapphic author Titania Tempest.

Join us for an exclusive peek behind the scenes as we quiz Titania Tempest about Paper Daffodils, writing, reading, and more.

This book is part of the Beach Reads category in the 2024 IHS Reading Challenge.

Why did you write Paper Daffodils?

Paper Daffodils is about joy, about really LIVING life, and about making the best of things. I wanted to write a story about connection – about affection, respect, and humour. Most of all, I wanted to celebrate that women are amazing creatures, bright and vibrant at any age.

Who is your favorite character in the book?

Liz, one of the side characters, is probably my favourite. She’s great fun, and is someone I’d probably be good friends with. The character I identify with the most, though, is Rosie.

What inspired the idea for Paper Daffodils?

The seed of the idea came from a very sweet (and unexpected) scene in the movie Death on the Nile (2022). The idea of two older women falling in love really struck me as something I’d like to write, something with humour and heart.

What part of Paper Daffodils was the most fun to write?

All of it, to be honest. I enjoyed writing every scene for different reasons, but probably the ones where Dawn and Rosie are getting themselves into a bind were the most fun! The ending to their Lake Windermere outing was especially fun (what can I say, simple things amuse me).

How much research did you need to do for Paper Daffodils?

A lot more than I expected to, when I began. The story is set in the Lake District (where I’ve never been), and I wanted it to be an authentic experience for the reader. I spent a lot of hours learning about the area, from historic and natural places of interest, to the kinds of wildlife you might happen across in the woods. All of the activities the characters experience are also based on legitimate options for real-life holidaymakers. One thing is for sure, it proved to be such a lovely setting that it’s now on my bucket list!

If you’re planning a sequel, can you share a tiny bit about your plans for it?

Oh, indeed, Dawn and Rosie are far from finished with their adventures! Next, they’re heading off to Africa (to a place I’ve visited often in my life, because it’s a glorious destination that I’d love to share with my readers). I’m sure there will be a couple of other books after that one, too – these two women are utterly incorrigible, and I have a LARGE suspicion that they are not even close to done, yet.

Where do you usually write, and what do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?

I usually write at a small, antique writing desk facing a large, bright window. As for what I need in my space to “stay focused”, gosh, I wish I knew! Writer’s Block and I are old friends, and I spend more time thinking about writing (and “researching” things for a story, down innumerable usually-unrelated rabbitholes on the internet) than I do actually writing.

Do you have a pet who helps/hinders your typing?

Yes – more than one! I have two cats who take it in turns to provide their exemplary assistance (usually paws on the keyboard and a tail in my face). There’s Top Cat, a black-and-white male who technically belongs to my partner but enjoys being in my space ALL. THE. TIME. and Mindy, a cloudy-grey female whom I gave to my grandmother as a kitten, and then inherited back a couple of years ago. I also have three small dogs, but they’re distinterested in anything I write unless maybe it’s a description of dog biscuits. Paxx is a Jack Russel – ancient, blind and deaf but an absolute joy to have around – and Tazz and Skittles are both slightly younger Jack Russel x Daxies, so they’re always getting into mischief!

What animal or object best represents you as an author or your writing style?

Probably the kittens from the Aristocats Disney movie. If you’ve seen it (aeons ago), and you remember them “painting” – that’s pretty much my writing style. Not much rhyme or reason, and I’m always surprised when anything useful comes of it!

When you’re writing an emotional or difficult scene, how do you set the mood?

Music. I spend a lot of time thinking about the scene before I write it, and then I pick one or two songs that fit the mood to listen to on repeat, sometimes for weeks, to get the tone right.

Do you feel bad putting your characters through the wringer?

I’m gonna go with no, because if they’re going through something tough, it’s because it serves the story. Hard lessons build interesting characters in real life, so I don’t feel a book should be any different. I’ve never felt evil glee, though – I find I only ever have compassion for their trials and tribulations.

What type of books do you enjoy reading the most?

I live and breathe the Fantasy genre – there’s nothing quite like a whole new world to explore, filled with fantastic beasts and myriad magical mysteries. I’ve always loved reading fantasy, and writing it. I consider myself a fantasy author because most of everything I’ve ever written is inspired by the hundreds of fantasy books I’ve read over the years, and is in some way based on magic. Well, except for the only book I’ve actually published so far, which is a contemporary RomCom. It’s literally the only exception, and I’m still confounded by how THAT story became a whole actual published novel when I’m tripping over years’ and years’ worth of fantasy drafts.

Are there any books or authors that inspired you to become a writer?

Anne McCaffrey is my absolute idol. I would say her books had the greatest influence on my writing, and I’d die to write a world half as interesting as Pern (the home of her Dragon Riders), or Ballybran (a planet inhabited by Crystal Singers, who cut crystal using tools tuned to their voices and experience all the side effects that go with it). McCaffrey was also a pioneer for female authors in the Science Fiction genre, and was the first woman to win both a Hugo Award and a Nebula Award.

Many of her main characters are women, and one of my favourite quotes from her goes: “I was so tired of all the weak women screaming in the corner while their boyfriends were beating off the aliens. I wouldn’t have been—I’d’ve been in there swinging with something or kicking them as hard as I could.”

Her fire came through in her novels, and it’s something I aspire to emulate.

Meet Titania Tempest

Wielder of pens, writer of lesfic.

Visit Titania’s Website

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Author Interview