T. L. Cooper began weaving storytelling and social justice at a very young age when she attempted to save a groundhog’s life by creating an adventurous and full life for him in her stories while sitting on her grandpa’s knees.
Throughout her childhood, she wrote stories casting her classmates and herself as heroes and villains. Sharing her stories taught her words hold power as she watched the reactions of those around her.
She often explored teenage angst, friendship, and the choices she and her peers faced as she maneuvered high school.
By the time she started college at Eastern Kentucky University she’d developed a keen interest in human behavior and motivation, so she studied Corrections and Juvenile Services and Psychology. Her written work continued to explore human interaction and motivation.
After college she worked as a counselor with troubled teenagers, a project coordinator, a registrar assistant, and a temp before becoming a full-time author.
She has traveled extensively throughout the world feeding her passion for meeting new people and discovering both the similarities and the differences in the way people live.
Her work has been published in magazines, anthologies, books, and online. She has authored books of poetry, books of short stories, and a novel. She also writes three blogs, Write with TLC, Reviews with TLC, and Vegan Cooking with TLC.
She has served as Master of Ceremonies of a writer’s conference, taught classes and workshops, and moderated panels. In addition, she has participated in poetry readings and media interviews.
Her work continues to explore both the strength and the vulnerability that are interwoven into relationships large and small.
When she steps away from the keyboard, she enjoys yoga, meditation, hiking, golf, cooking, and interesting conversation.
Currently, she resides with her husband and three cats in Albany, Oregon.
What inspires you to write?
I'm inspired to write because I'm fascinated my what makes human beings doing the things they do and say the things they say. I am constantly writing to explore the human condition and the journey of life. I am fascinated by the way two different people can experience the same event so incredibly different. I love exploring the interaction of strength and vulnerability in the way people navigate the world. There's something inherently interesting about both the differences and the similarities people share even when they can't see how both their differences and their similarities contribute to creating a better world.
Tell us about your writing process.
I'm a "seat of the pants" writer. I lose interest if I outline. I like the unveiling of the work as I write. Seeing the words take form on the page to create a story is endlessly thrilling for me. The few times I've tried to outline, the story has felt quite flat to me when it's finished. So, I write to explore, to feel, to understand, and to allow my characters to tell the story they want to tell.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I both listen and talk to my characters. In fact, they often start talking to me well before I ever put any words on the screen. They whisper to me until I listen and pay attention. Then when I listen and allow them to reveal their story, I always find their stories much easier to write.
When I wrote my first novel, All She Ever Wanted, I grieved like I'd lost a friend when I had to write about a character dying. I'd grown so attached to my characters that I began to feel like I'd actually killed the character instead of just writing about the death.
A couple of years ago, I was writing a short story, and a familiar voice popped up. It was a character from another novel I wrote who suddenly told me she needed to be part of this story. I fought it, but she insisted. She ended up in the story, Dare to Love, in my short story book, Take a Chance & Other Stories of Starting Over.
Who are your favorite authors?
At various times in my life I have had favorite authors and there are myriad authors who have influenced me in a variety of ways; however, at the current time I'm making a conscious effort to expand my reading repertoire. I wanted to break free of the reading bubble I found myself in a few years ago, so I've been pushing myself to read books that are out of my comfort zone. Right now, I'm drawn more to nonfiction and poetry than to fiction. I'm sure that will change, but it's what works for me right now. I find that as my life changes, I am drawn to different books and different authors than I was before.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I opted to self-publish my book because I wanted to write work that said what I wanted to keep my message and my stories mine. After being told several times that my subject matter and my characters needed to fit a particular mold that I didn't want to manipulate them into, I decided to just take control of and responsibility for my writing career with all the pros and cons that come along with that decision.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think authors will continue to take control of their careers. They will continue to publish the material they want to publish rather than relying on the gatekeepers to publish their work. I think authors want to expand and explore in their careers. Self-publishing allows them to do this keeping their careers exciting and fresh which will also keep their writing exciting and fresh. I also believe book publishers will continue to publish books as well. I think there will continue to be a mixed system that caters to a larger reading body.
What genres do you write?
fiction, nonfiction, poetry
What formats are your books in?
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All information is provided by the author and is presented as it was submitted so you the reader get to hear the author’s own “voice” in their interview.