an interview of author Tanya Savko
The beautiful anthology "Sisters Born, Sisters Found - a diversity of voices on sisterhoods" is finally here and you may get your own copy through this link. http://www.amazon.com/Sisters-Born-Found-Diversity-Sisterhood-ebook/dp/B00QOLD0AQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1424092812&sr=1-1&keywords=sisters+born+sisters+found. I also take this opportunity to thank our editor Laura McHale Holland for this amazing experience. Gracias!
Getting to know the works and the voices of my "anthology sisters" has been an incredibly rewarding experience. Today I am trully delighted to participate in this virtual tour of six of my fellow authors. I feel particularly blessed to have been asked to interview Tanya Savko, an author you will definitely want to read and follow. Enjoy!
How would you describe your mission in life? Your mission with your writing?
My mission with my writing is directly related to my mission in life. I believe that we’re here to enjoy life and take care of each other. We’re here to love and learn to let go. We all experience challenges in our lives, and with my writing I want to help people who find themselves dealing with some of the challenges that I have faced - in particular, living with disorders in the family, such as autism, epilepsy, and bipolar, and how the experience affects everyone.
What is a one sentence synopsis of Slip?
When things will never be normal again, you have to find a new normal, and make peace with it, before you can find peace in yourself.
What inspired you to write Slip?
In 1997, my then-three-year-old son was diagnosed with autism. At that time, many in the medical field still considered autism to be the death sentence of developmental disabilities. The internet was not the resource it is today. I felt completely isolated. In the same month, my then-husband announced that he wanted to separate. I fell headfirst into a debilitating episode of depression and acute OCD while trying to work and care for my two toddlers, one with significant developmental and behavioral issues. Then my parents separated, and I wound up going through a divorce at the same time they did. Life really is stranger than fiction.
Years later, I decided to write a book about my experiences during that time of my life. I thought about writing a memoir, but as the autism rate had increased, I noticed that there were a lot of parenting memoirs about raising a child with autism, and I wanted to do something different while still increasing autism awareness. I decided to write a novel.
What can you share about your beautiful memoir “We Always”?
I am very close to all three of my siblings, two sisters and one brother. As is the case with many siblings, we are all quite different, but we respect and enjoy our differences and support each other unconditionally. We watched our parents get caught up in many family rifts, especially with their siblings, and we decided we never wanted to be that way. We value our relationships with each other and, even though we are separated by 700 miles, we try to get together as often as our lives allow. Our annual rafting trip, described in “We Always,” is an example of that.
Did you share the story with your sisters? Are they supportive of your writing?
I definitely shared the piece with my sisters and brother – they all loved it! They are all very supportive of my writing.
You have a new novel coming, how exciting! What can you share about Enough to Go Around?
I had always been motivated to write this story. When I was eleven years old, I interviewed my father’s parents, who emigrated from Czechoslovakia almost a hundred years ago. They told amazing stories, and I knew even then that someday I would write a book about them. In 2007 I took a trip with my father and sister to Slovakia to do research for the novel, and we had an amazing time walking around my grandparents’ villages (they grew up in separate ones), and seeing our other ancestors’ grave sites. With the help of an interpreter, we had dinner with our relatives and met others we didn’t even know we had. It was an incredible experience.
But Enough to Go Around isn’t just about immigration stories. I also wanted to explore family dynamics from a contemporary viewpoint. One of the other main characters is the son of the immigrants, and one of the subplots concerns his family and his relationship with his wife, who has bipolar disorder. With this book, one of the things I wanted to do was raise awareness about bipolar (which is prevalent in my family). You can read more about Enough to Go Around at this link.
What advice, if any, do you have for young writers?
There are many different forms of writing and numerous ways of writing those forms. Explore as many as you can (for instance, I write articles, essays, blog posts, novels, and poetry). Write with outlines or without. Write it out longhand first, or just start typing away. There are tons of ways to write. But the most important thing to know is that the more you write, the better you get. And read. You were a reader before you were a writer, and daily reading will enhance your writing a hundred-fold.