Today I’m pleased to welcome author Leila Tualla to the blog. I hope you enjoy getting to meet Leila and don’t forget to check out her book.
1. What is one weird fact about you we wouldn’t find in your biography?
I have a strange obsession with feet pictures. In every new place, I’ve ever visited – the zoo, museums, a restaurant, a new park, etc – I have to take a picture of my feet. No worries, I’m wearing shoes. Mostly. My first blog was titled, “Misadventures of Lei’s little feet,” and it would be pictures of where my feet have been. That blog doesn’t exist anymore and I still do take feet pictures but now, it’s mostly of my children’s feet.
2. What inspired you to start writing?
My grandfather was the story teller in my family and his stories were about people, and their fears, whether real or imagined. He could spin a tale! For a long time, I believed his story about being a cook for the Japanese army during the battle of Bataan in the Philippines during World War II. It turns out he went into hiding with his entire family in a bunker. But his stories seemed so believable. I think he wanted to sound braver than having a story about hiding. I didn’t look at him any differently, though. I wish he was alive today so I can write down his stories! Stories with faith, and the human spirit, motives, and the truth behind people’s characters are inspiring to read and that’s what I want to do. I want to write about something a little more real.
3. You have a YA Christian romance novel, Love, Defined, and were a part of an anthology to raise awareness for mental health issues, Letters of May. What is it like to write different genres?
It was fun and interesting! For Letters of May, I had written a letter for a mom with a baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). I had written something similar for a girlfriend of mine about a year ago whose baby was born at 26 weeks and was just beside herself. I lived in a different city and wanted to comfort her but when you’re in a situation where everyone tries to comfort you, you kind of get sick of these “I’m sorrys,” and “it’ll be okays.” I wrote her a letter saying that I don’t know what will happen to you or your baby, but this is what I know. It’s scary. It sucks. You’re going to cry a lot and you may not be okay……and that’s okay. It’s perfectly okay to ask for help, or ask to be left alone. I wanted her to know that I’ll be here no matter what she decided. There was a lot more tears doing Letters of May than Love, Defined.
4. What is your favorite Disney movie?
Aladdin, hands down….. well, the Lion King is a close second!
5. If you could go on an adventure with one fictional character who would it be?
This is a hard one!! I’ll say Harry Dresden from Jim Butcher’s the Dresden Files only because my husband is practically in love with the guy (both the fictional character and the author). I’d like to go on an adventure with Dresden just to know why he’s ‘the man.’
6. What is the best advice you would give to young writers?
Find a mentor and then, be one! This writing community is huge and you can easily get lost in the crowd. Find someone that you can talk to about being in the community, and try to help each other as much as you can. It’s easy to read and review someone else’s work. It’s easy to do a tweet or share something of theirs on your Facebook page. I believe in karma. Your success may not be what you pictured but to someone else, you’re already living their dream. So, be nice. Be kind and when you can, help another writer buddy.
7. What can readers look forward to from you next?
I’m in my editing phase of my memoir. It’s a collection of journal entries and poems about my experiences with preeclampsia, premature babies, the NICU journey and my bout with postpartum depression. It was a healing project and somehow I ended up with all these poems for a collection. I don’t know when it’ll be done though.
I’m also editing another Christian YA novella called, Letters to Eleanor. That one, I hope to release in the fall.
About the Author:
Leila Tualla is a Filipino American writer, poet, and Christian author. She is a preeclampsia survivor and advocate, and blogs about “life after preeclampsia,” at www.tuallaleila.blogspot.com. After her second baby, Leila had postpartum depression. She is thankful that her family and those who supported her, stood with her and helped pull her out of her darkness. Her faith in Christ was, and continues to be, her daily lifeline. Leila is humbled daily by God’s saving grace.
When she’s not writing about her preeclampsia or postpartum journey, or chasing after her tiny miracle bosses, she can also be found buried in books. Leila reads various novels throughout the year and her book reviews can be found at www.leilatualla.com.
About the Book:
In their final summer before graduating college, three childhood friends expect an uncomplicated transition to adulthood…but learn they all still have some growing up to do.
Alex Makapulo is facing a crisis of faith.
Raised a Catholic, Alex is considering becoming a member of her best friend Jack Page’s church—against her family’s wishes—but she can’t quite take the final step of baptism. Jack loves Alex and doesn’t understand her hesitation, and Alex wonders if Jack’s love is a blessing or a distraction to test her religious conviction.
Lori Hanson embarks on the trip of a lifetime.
For her twenty-second birthday, Lori’s grandfather presents her with a summer vacation in England. While preparing for her adventure, she meets British musician Colin Watson online and quickly falls for him. They plan to hook up when she lands in London, but her grandfather forbids it. Due to complicated family dynamics, Lori must regretfully comply with his wishes, though she vows never to forgive him.
Andy Taylor is looking for love in all the wrong places.
When Andy runs into an old crush, she decides she wants a more meaningful relationship with sexy Miles Webber. But when she confides in Alex, her friend warns her Miles only wants her for sex. Andy becomes angry and devises a reckless plan to distract Alex’s attention from her relationship. Things don’t go quite as she expected, though, and Andy is left facing a crushing moral dilemma.
As the summer unfolds, three young women learn love and faith go hand in hand, not everything is black and white, and sometimes in a fast-paced world you have to slow down, breathe a little, and find your own definition of love.