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IR Approved Author Tavi Black: “Everyone told me that no matter who your publisher is, you’ll have to do your own marketing. And they were right.”

Where Are We Tomorrow? received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author Tavi Black.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

Where Are We Tomorrow?, published May 31, 2021.

What’s the book’s first line? 

Inside the concrete arena, programmed lights whirred and spun in rhythm; eleven thousand fans watched, mesmerized, as vibrant magenta and violet beams sliced through midnight black.

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”. 

Where Are We Tomorrow?, is about four women working backstage on a rock ‘n’ roll tour, each coming to terms with what it means to be a woman working in a male dominated industry. Alex Evans, a 36-yr old electrician on the tour, discovers through an accidental pregnancy and then the pain of miscarriage that she wants more than anything is to have a baby. But to do so, she’ll have to give up both her career and her boyfriend, who, nearing 50, does not want to have any more children.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event? 

The book began as an exploration of miscarriage and the previously taboo nature of speaking about it in our culture, but as the manuscript morphed and grew, several other themes presented themselves:

1) Even if we attempt to run away or bury the past, we all must come to terms with personal and family histories. Trauma can permeate generations, affecting our ability to find contentment.

2) I am interested in definitions of feminine/masculine, what roles we are expected to play. There is a myriad of ways to tap into our power as females. There is no one trait or mannerism that can define us as feminine (and conversely as masculine). The book explores, through all of the women’s stories, the gap between feminism and post-feminism, between proving that women are men’s equals and women reclaiming traditional gender roles.

3) If the maternal relationship is undernourished or impoverished, a woman’s confidence in family and relationships is at risk. Trust in her own instincts—rather than in her mother’s voice—is essential to identifying her true self (the woman that exists underneath layers of resentment, fear, bravado, etc.).

4) Our culture’s addiction to fame. Proximity to fame generally brings only the briefest of pleasure to the ego, rarely offering any true contentment.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book? 

People should read this book because, as A.J. Verdelle, author of The Good Negress, said: “Every so often, you find a book–against all odds–that changes the way you think. A book that you know you might not have found. Where Are We Tomorrow? is just such a book. Tavi Black has written a story about women who are ambitious, who are talented and who are free to their artistry. The main character works backstage in show business: in the dark behind the backdrop, using tools, wearing boots that protect the feet. When I was very young and still startled by the wonders of reading, I found a book that changed my understanding about how women daily contribute to saving society. Valerie Miner’s novel about nurses in WWII, a novel that changed me, that I have never forgotten. Books can change your mind about life, about what work you might do, about what kinds of other ‘you’s might be out there, working in the world. Where Are We Tomorrow? will change some readers, especially girls and young women who need the critical reminder that not all women wear heels.”

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character?  Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of? 

The main character, Alex Evans, is a sensitive woman who has developed a thick layer of armor in order to steel herself for the work she does. I think many women—or people in general—do this to avoid feeling vulnerable. The most popular character in literature that Alex most resembles is Jo March from Little Women. She’s a mix of feminine and masculine, not afraid of pursuing work that is thought of as ‘men’s’, and conflicted about how she can manage to find love and further her career.

If they made your book into a movie, who would you like to see play the main character(s)?

I would absolutely love Michelle Williams to play Alex. It would have to be made soon, though, as I believe Michelle is 40 and Alex is 36 🙂

When did you first decide to become an author?

I was 7 when I wrote my first story, 18 when I first thought writing a book might be a life goal. But I was heavily discouraged early on by a tutor as well as by someone I considered a friend, so I lost the courage to write—at least to share my writing with anyone. It was a long journey towards believing in myself and my writing.

Is this the first book you’ve written?

No. It’s the first book I’ve published. I have two other finished novels (one historical fiction, one middle grade). I have several other partially finished novels as well.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

Like many writers, I wear a lot of hats. Pre-pandemic, I was the tour manager for Deva Premal & Miten. I also do the books for my husband’s plumbing business and now I’m homeschooling. Previously, I had done a lot of work in the nonprofit sector.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

Every spare moment I have, which, honestly isn’t that much right now. Mainly because I’m having to learn about book marketing. That in itself feels like a full-time job.

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?   

Everyone told me that no matter who your publisher is, you’ll have to do your own marketing. And they were right. It is a whole different world, one that has a steep learning curve. Especially for someone who has no social media platform or knowledge. But there is lots of help out there—IndieReader is a great place to start.

What’s a great piece of advice that you can share with fellow indie authors?

Research, research, research. Start early and decide carefully where to spend your advertising dollars. Ask other authors for advice. And above all, be patient. Publishing a book is a long process, but worth it.

Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling?  If so, why?

It would totally depend on the book, on the publisher, on the people involved. I try to follow my intuition on making those types of decisions.

Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune?)

I am greatly motivated by the pursuit of beauty. I want to be moved and move others by observation, sentiment, and experience. Of course, a small amount of fame and fortune would be nice, but it is art that inspires me, be that in novels, painting, dance or film.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

Too many to list, but I will limit it to a few: Ann Patchett, Emily St. John Mandel, Lauren Groff, Salman Rushdie, Lily King, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi, Charles Baxter. And Padraig O Tuama, a poet and host of Poetry Unbound.

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