An Interview with Tiana Warner
Congratulations on releasing your latest book, The Road Trip Agreement! What did your writing process look like for this story compared to your other series’?
Thank you! This story was inspired by a road trip I took along the Oregon coast, so the process kicked off with some real-life setting research—which is obviously quite different from writing fantasy books. I began the draft while on the trip and finished it fairly quickly while the setting was fresh in my mind. Compared to writing fantasy, I find contemporary romances to be quicker because you don’t have to spend time creating or researching the fictional world(s) and magic rules.
As a bisexual woman writing and publishing much needed sapphic stories, what are the struggles that you’ve faced within the industry?
When I first started publishing, there weren’t a lot of LGBTQ+ publishers or even that many LGBTQ+ novels, so I remember being unsure whether there would be space for my trilogy about a girl who falls in love with a mermaid. Now, there are more options than ever for sapphic literature, which is amazing! It’s lovely to see the genre grow and become more mainstream. I’m lucky in that I haven’t had serious struggles within the industry, other than the occasional bigoted one-star review. But those people don’t deserve my mental energy. Overall, the book community is a wonderful and accepting place, and I’ve definitely felt the love.
Do you think there are differences between writing adult sapphic romances and YA sapphic stories?
The only real difference is in the age of the protagonist. YA protagonists are teenagers, and adult books have adult protagonists—simple as that. For my stories, there is also a difference in the heat level of the romantic scenes, but that’s not necessarily a rule. There are lots of adult stories with closed-door romantic scenes and YA stories with more graphic scenes. Same with violence levels and the intensity of the subject matter.
Staying on the topic of genres, do you have a preference between writing adult sapphic novels or fantastical mermaid and valkyrie stories? Is there a new genre you’d like to try out?
I alternate between writing contemporary adult romance novels and YA Fantasy novels, and I love being able to do both. Fantasy novels are so fun to write but take a lot longer and are more mentally draining because of all the worldbuilding involved, so it’s nice to break those up with something that takes place here and now. Both genres are equally fun to write and have their unique challenges! As for trying out a new genre, I’ve always wanted to write a psychological thriller (à la Gone Girl, my favorite book), but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. One day!
Are there any books coming out in 2024 that you’re looking forward to, and why?
Oh, Ylva Publishing has a lot of sapphic romances launching next year that I can’t wait to read. I’m also always excited for whatever Kate Quinn’s next book is—she’s one of my favorite authors. She has a new one coming out in February that I can’t wait to get my hands on.
I noticed that you’ve had books optioned for film—that’s amazing. Which of your stories would you like to see on the big screen?
I’m still trying to pitch my Mermaids of Eriana Kwai trilogy to Hollywood! The world needs this story in cinematic form, and I know the audience is there—I just need to convince the studios. Really, as a writer, seeing any of your work on the big screen would be a dream come true.
If you could give one, general piece of advice to aspiring authors out there, something that they should follow to the ends of the earth, what would it be?
Being an author is super tough and a solitary career, so connect with other writers! I have a critique group that I owe my sanity to. I met them through a local writing group on Meetup.com, and we’ve been friends ever since. We meet in person once in a while to read excerpts and get feedback, and generally are just there for each other in a group chat. It’s nice to have people who are going through the same struggles, who you can go to conferences with, exchange drafts with, talk about the industry, and celebrate your successes together. Try checking out local writer conferences or joining various online spaces.
What can we look forward to from you in the future? Do you have any other stories you’re working on right now? Any other projects?
2024 will see the launch of my next adult sapphic romance, Snowed in with Summer, which is inspired by a dog-sledding trip I took in the Yukon. There’s also the third and final book in my Sigrid and the Valkyries trilogy, a young adult sapphic fantasy that takes place in the nine Norse realms. I’m also drafting several other stories in the meantime! I invite readers to sign up for my newsletter and/or follow me on Instagram to stay up to date with all of my new releases.