Dr Niamh On The Plum Tree

Childhood Imagination Sows Seeds of Future Brilliance

Author’s Corner: Who’s On the Plum Tree?

Today, I want to introduce you all to a very inspiring, dynamic and magnetic lady: Tahlia Newland. She is one of those people that hardly seems to sleep ~ always creating, always generating interest ~ someone with a vision, with passion and commitment.  Tahlia writes books in the same genre as me ~ Magic Realism/ Metaphysical Literature. We have long debated whether books in these categories do as well as other categories, as few, these days, seem to know what these categories really mean ~ anyhow, that is a subject for another time.

Tahlia has created something which I am proud to be part of. I will let Tahlia tell you about her new, exciting venture…

Who Am I?

By Tahlia Newland.

Hi, I’m Tahlia Newland and I set up the Awesome Indies site.

Niamh asked me to write something about myself, so I headed up my blank page, ‘who am I?’ That title sets off a philosophical contemplation that brings me a great sense of freedom and humour but doesn’t tell you what you want to know.  So, that aside . . .

I used to be a clown and I love to laugh. I used to be a dancer too, and when I watch dancing, I feel as if I’m dancing as well. For twenty years I created, performed in and made masks for visual theatre shows. I still sell decorative Papier Mache masks, but now I paint with words. My stories appear like movie scenes in my head, and my task is to bring them from the creative reality into our reality as fully as I can.

I’ve always been fascinated by the workings of my mind and how my thoughts affect my reality, and for twelve years I spent three hours a day meditating and studying Buddhist philosophy & practice. I prefer not to begin sentences with I, but it’s unavoidable when people want to know about that ‘I’.

I have a terrible habit of seeing what’s needed and moving to fill the gap. It’s terrible, because once I get inspired, I commit myself totally and spend a lot of time on whatever it is. Being creative and serving whatever cause I’m involved in is more important to me than earning money (or doing housework). Fairness is important to me as well and that leads me to the Awesome Indies.

I’m an avid reader—always have been—and one day when I sat down to meditate, the story that became the Diamond Peak Series poured into my mind in a series of vivid images. But the story of writing that story & eventually deciding to ditch my literary agent and go indie is another story.

When I bought an ereader, I discovered some great indie books and some really terrible ones. Several times I paid for books that should never have been published, either because they were poorly crafted or just plain mediocre. I soon realised that most of the people who wrote reviews on Amazon and Goodreads either didn’t know a poorly written book when they met one, or they didn’t care, but I did. I hate to see the English language desecrated.

Who likes to watch dancers who can’t dance? Who wants to listen to singers who can’t sing? Who wants to read books by authors who can’t write? Not me.

When I found a professional product, I wanted to yell to the whole world, ‘look this person has done it well!’ And when I found something really different and creative, I wanted to shout even louder, ‘hey, look, this is where it’s happening!’

So I set up a site where readers like me who don’t want to sift through the slush pile of shatter42medsubstandard books can find books that are different to the mainstream but guaranteed to be of the same standard. It was a completely selfish endeavour in that I wanted a list of quality reads, but I also wanted to help promote those authors who created them.

To make sure that evaluations for listing on the site were based on craftsmanship, not on whether someone liked a book or not, I decided to use the opinions of people with professional qualifications in writing or in the publishing industry.

Only after I set up the system did I realise that A Matter of Perception my book of short stories (the only one I had out at the time) actually passed the test. I remember going through my reviews and being delighted when I realised that one of my 5 star reviews was written by an editor who worked for Omnific publishing.a-matter-of-perception-3

The same thing happened with the Seal of Excellence. I set it up, then nibbled my nails as I checked my reviews. Did my novels, Lethal Inheritance and You Can’t Shatter Me have three 5 star reviews written by someone with the right qualifications? They did, phew!  I had actually won an award. You Can’t Shatter Me also won a B.R.A.G medallion for an outstanding independent novel.

My books reflect the ‘I’ we’re talking about here in that they’re highly imaginative, deeplyLethal Inheritance metaphysical, painted with a light touch and coated with a sheen of romance. My stories dance on the edge between fantasy and reality. They challenge perception and illuminate reality.

You can visit me on my weblog where I write on reading, writing, reviewing and metaphysical matters, or join me on Facebook , Twitter, or Google+. You can even fan me on Goodreads

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About Dr Niamh

When I was a little girl (a very, very long time ago), I used to love learning new, really big words like ‘discombobulate’. As I grew, my love of words grew too, until I loved them so much, I could not stop writing them down. One day, as I was scribbling a particular word, a very peculiar thing happened. The word shouted at me, “Stop! Don’t put me there!” As you can imagine, I was shocked and nearly fell off my chair. When I recovered somewhat, I said to the word, “Could you stop shouting, please? I am not used to it.” Can you guess what happened next? No! I thought not. The word said, “I might be small, but I will misbehave if you do not use me properly. I will not tell the story you would like me to tell. I will say something entirely different!” I dropped my pen. I hoped that by dropping my pen, the word would stop talking. Alas! It did not. It carried on chitterchobbling, even after the ink had dried. I was in a pickle. I could not allow my words to run away with my story, now could I? I don’t know about you, but when this sort of thing happens, there is only one thing left to do if you prefer not to spend your time arguing. “Very well,” said I. “I will do as you ask if you will just be quiet and allow me to concentrate.” Since that day, I have been paying special attention to every word I invite into my stories. After all, a story should say exactly what it means to say and not be led astray. With love from Dr. Niamh, Ph.D in Learning Through The Imagination and Founder of Dr Niamh Children's Books. www.drniamhchildrensbooks.com

10 comments on “Author’s Corner: Who’s On the Plum Tree?

  1. the secret keeper
    June 16, 2013

    This is an exceptional post and what an innovative idea Niamh to have “Author’s Corner” On The Plum Tree. I recently acquired Tahlia Newland’s book “A Matter of Perception” and I do want to read “You Can’t Shatter Me.” Through you Niamh I discovered the author you put forward today. I am fascinated with Magical Realism and Metaphysical Literature, not only from reading your books Niamh but getting started back in college years reading Hermann Hesse. I find what you have written about yourself today, Tahlia Newland, to be quite imaginative in your realism. Your use of language rather trips off of your tongue through your fingers onto the keyboard and makes it here for us to enjoy reading with enthusiasm. Your writing has a rhythm to its flow which I enjoy. The life you have lived till now has been such an variety. The Dance, I am thrilled by and what you have accomplished creatively and artistically are to be praised. So brave to venture out and create something new. Just as Niamh is doing with Plum Tree Books. Both wanting to exhibit books of high quality and independent from the mainstream is an honourable endeavor. This is an incredible first post for Author’s Corner. I do look forward to hearing from more authors and I do look forward to reading your books Tahlia Newland. And without hesitation, I say the same is true of your books Niamh, I look forward to reading more whenever the become available. This has been a joy. Thank you both for your brilliance. Jk

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      June 16, 2013

      many thanks, jennifer for all your support. Tahlia will be delighted to know that you have bought her book.

      Like

    • Tahlia Newland
      June 17, 2013

      Wow, what a lovely comment. And a great start to my day. There’s nothing that makes an author’s heart sing more than appreciation. I visit your blog sometimes & am a subscriber, so we’re definitely like-minded people. I hope you enjoy my work as much as you enjoyed my post. I certainly enjoyed your comment.

      Like

  2. BUTTERFLIES OF TIME
    June 16, 2013

    Very glad to meet and know more about this talented person. All the best Tahlia Newland for all your new venture!

    Like

  3. thiskidreviewsbooks
    June 16, 2013

    What a great post! Actually, sadly, I think a lot of the songs today are by singers who can’t sing super well, but I guess people like them! 😉

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      June 16, 2013

      Many thanks, Erik! Tahlia will be delighted with your comment, as am I!

      Like

    • Tahlia Newland
      June 17, 2013

      It’s the old, ‘I don’t know what’s good, but I know what I like’, thing, often quoted by visitors to art galleries, and it’s fair enough, we can’t all know about everything, which is why people need those who screen for quality to weed out the singers who sing out of tune. Thanks for your comment.

      Like

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