T. L. Coughlin interview
A little introduction:
My name is T. L. Coughlin, and I am a multiracial SFF author from Canada. I am a dreamer. One who loves to imagine and explore new worlds. I grew up with the understanding that the world is my backyard and I expanded on that notion where the many worlds of books is my neighborhood! I currently live in Canada with my husband Cody and my two doodle mixes: Orion and Kilo. With the wonderful support of my friends and family, I am thrilled to introduce my debut novel Of Us and Them, which was published November 6, 2021 by Darkstroke books.
When did your love of books begin?
My love of reading started very early on, stemming from my father and his passion for reading. It first started with the series The Magic Tree House and then at the age of 12, he introduced me to the Xanth series by Piers Anthony and…well…there went my sleep. I fell absolutely in love with the worlds these authors created and would stay up until the bright hours of the morning before school to devour these books. At that point, I was hooked for life even going so far as reserving an entire room in my house for my library.
When did you start to have the wish to become an author?
I’ve always loved creating stories. My little sister would often climb into my bed, and I would make up bedtime stories for her to fall asleep to (only catch was that we were both so into them that neither of us slept!) It was only until high school that I acknowledged that becoming an author was a dream of mine. I attended a creative writing course where my teacher, Ms. Riddell, wrote a paragraph on the back of my short story assignment. At first, I thought it was detailed feedback, but instead it was a message saying she loved my writing and that I had what it takes to be a writer. I loved writing and knew I would love to be an author, but unfortunately, I thought it was unattainable and never took her message seriously…until last year. I was inspired by my friend and mentor, P. L. Stuart, author of The Drowned Kingdom, who had just published his book and now that I knew a published author, I knew my dream could be made real.
I went back to that message from my creative writing teacher and was reinvigorated as I reconnected with that dream. After years reading the incredible stories of other authors, I knew I wanted to deliver that same magnificent and immersive experience. I wanted to pay it forward and write books, focusing on those featuring multiracial main characters so that others could see themselves in literature.
How have you found the process for becoming an author?
It was a thrilling—and somewhat overwhelming—one. The hardest part was learning the lingo/processes for querying, entering this entirely new world that I never knew existed, and ultimately brushing up on my creative writing skills that had taken a backseat for so long. The querying journey was tough and filled with many mixed emotions, but it was amazing to find that perfect match for my debut, especially with its genre-bending being so niche. The editing process was exciting, and I wish I could say I never got sick of my book, but goodness reading your words over and over can definitely be taxing! In the end, however, I’m extremely proud of the resulting work with much thanks to my publisher, Darkstroke, and my editor, Sue. It was an incredible experience to see my dream come true and I’m still pinching myself thinking it was just that—only a dream.
What would you say to those wanting to become an author?
Never give up. It sounds cliché, but it’s not. This is a dream that IS attainable and even starting your journey is an achievement in and of itself. If you have a completed manuscript, congratulate yourself! You’ve accomplished something that not many have done. Take in every moment and celebrate every step along the way because you deserve to be celebrated.
Also, make sure that you find a support group. Among my friends and family, I’m one of a few who pursued becoming an author. As much as your friends and family will be there to support you, it really helps to have friends and connections within the writing community. They understand you, your concerns, and your successes on a completely different level and they played pivotal roles in my publishing journey.
Tell us about your book/books:
My debut novel Of Us and Them is a young adult science fiction novel featuring reinterpretations of global dragon mythology, saviour aliens, a high-stakes whodunit, and a formidable multiracial cast! It follows the journey of Evren, our multiracial main character, who was born for a life already written. Fated to be a vessel for an alien species hidden in global dragon lore, Evren must signal their return to save a ruined world by becoming one of the twelve prophesied Paladins. But when a Paladin is found murdered, she must find the truth—and the killer—in a society built on deceit.
Of Us and Them became a #1 New Release and #1 Bestseller in its categories and is now available on Amazon worldwide at mybook.to/ofusandthem and on Indigo.ca.
I am currently querying a young adult fantasy novel that reimagines the Italian origins of Morgan le Fay. Set in a diverse and inclusive world where the fay are Asian, this story focuses on the character’s journey of being stuck between two worlds and finding a sense of belonging in a world unprepared for who she is, while also delving into the themes of loss, grief and turning promise to power.
What do you love about the writing/reading community?
Ultimately, the most rewarding part was connecting with the writing community on social media and meeting individuals that I would have never had the opportunity to meet elsewhere. To have that support is priceless and the people, their backgrounds, and their stories are so inspiring. I love how supportive everyone is and how easy it is to connect with everyone. We’re all on the same journey and I find that there’s no sense of “competition”, but rather a group of cheerleaders who want everyone to succeed. I have found lifelong friends (shoutout to the Spaghetti Throwers- where we hope something will “stick” in the querying trenches) and have learned so much.
If you could say anything to your readers what would it be?
Thank you so much for reading Of Us and Them! The support is so appreciated. Evren’s story is truly a passion project of mine and I adored writing the first installment. I greatly hope it’s a fantastical but relatable journey and that in some way you can find yourself reflected in one of the characters. The worldwide dragon lore is an immersive world and the research involved was a lot of fun. If I’ve introduced you to something new, then my day has been made! Also, keep an eye out for some easter eggs in the book (*cough cough* where do those coordinates lead?)
A big thank you to Feed My Reads for connecting readers and authors in this wonderful community!
Where can people connect with you?