- teacher, author, and the leader of the ever-growing Faoii army
Readers, let’s give a good, hearty welcome to this week’s guest!
Tahani Nelson is an author and English teacher in Billings, Montana. With hundreds of 5-star reviews and an ever-growing army of Faoii at her back, Nelson has become a common attendee at author events, Renaissance festivals, news programs, and conventions across the US– always wearing full armor and a face resplendent with warpaint.
While her most notable appearances have been at the Indie Audiobook Awards and Fantasycon discussion panels, she most frequently gives presentations about empowerment and creating strong, healthy female role models in modern media.
Tahani, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most interviews start off with the boring stuff, but I know what readers REALLY want to know.
If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?
I want to say “dragon” but I’m afraid that a dragon would actually be more intelligent than me and I’m not sure which of us would be the pet. Also, my apartment is tiny. Can we put some dragon wings on a cat? I think that would be perfect.
A cat can already be a mischievous thing! Giving them wings seems like a walk on the side of danger!
What do you write? And how did you get started?
I write female-led military fantasy. I’ve always loved magic and speculative fiction. For as long as I can remember I’ve devoured sword and sorcery books. But classic fantasy has not always been kind to women. We are usually the love interest or the damsel in distress, clad in flowy dresses and incompetence. Even in the books where I could find an awesome, badass heroine… it didn’t last. It always felt like about halfway through the story she’d meet a guy and that would become her sole ambition. So I started writing all the characters that young me looked for. Those tales became the Faoii Chronicles and it’s such an honor to empower and inspire everyone that looked for the same things I did.
Those are definitely all too common tropes but know the ones that inspired you. Those are my jam!
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.
’Real’ authors write __ words every night.”
Completely understandable. I can make it work during NaNoWriMo, but it’s not sustainable for me.
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard this bit of advice in the indie author community.
Usually that blank is filled with a ridiculously high number in the thousands, and I always hated it. Because I have never been able to write 2,000 words a night. And most nights I get off work and I’m so tired or overwhelmed that even thinking of a number that high keeps me from looking at my WIP.
No. You want to know how many words I write each night?
200. And during particularly stressful times I drop it down to 50.
A lot of other authors laugh when I tell them that. That doesn’t even seem worth it. But 200 words a night has brought me through three 100k novels and a supplemental anthology. Sometimes 200 words is enough to break the dam and I write entire chapters. Sometimes I only write the 200. But I always hit it, and it’s never 0.
That’s enough for me.
I was just talking about finding a sustainable pace for writers. And that yours will not look like mine. While I can do NaNoWriMo, it’s not a pace that is sustainable for me.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.
That’s the most important thing, and I think that sometimes we forget about it when we get wrapped up in all the other parts of the process. Marketing, editing, imposter syndrome, good practices, bad practices, formatting, outlining, subplots, themes, character development, etc. etc. There are so many things that you can focus on and worry about all the time. And every bit of it seems like it’s made specifically to get in the way of writing.
Just write. Write something that sucks if that’s all you have in you today. That’s fine. Write the story that keeps clawing at the back of your eyes even if it’s not your WIP. Get it out of there so that you can make room for the WIP again. Write fluff and fanfic and things that bring you joy that no one else will ever see. Then, when you can and your brain and heart are with you, write those characters and worlds and grand timelines you want the world to see. It will come if you don’t let it get wrapped up in everything else.
Definitely! Going back to the old classic of “you can’t edit a blank page”. Getting words down helps you find more words, helps you find the right words.
Shameless Self-Promotion time!
The Faoii Order is the shield of Imeriel. Wielding both magic and blade, these women have held back ancient evils and maintained sacred rites for millennia. But when a dark war uncovers secrets that even the Faoii cannot keep hidden, it starts a chain of events threatening the free will of an entire continent.
As old leaders fall and new ones rise to take their place, a warrior, a thief, and a launderer all strive to fix what’s been broken. But none can see how their actions affect the Eternal Tapestry—and all are unknowingly bound to the Threads that the others grasp.
In an intricate tale that spans centuries, the Faoii Chronicles is both empowering and immersive.
Everyone has the power to forge their own destiny—and even the smallest actions can change the
Weave in monumental ways.