About the Author: Nita Tyndall is a tiny Southern queer with a deep love of sweet tea and very strong opinions about the best kind of barbecue (hint: it’s vinegar-based.) In addition to being a YA writer, she is a moderator for The Gay YA and a social media coordinator for WeNeedDiverseBooks. You can find her on Tumblr at nitatyndall where she writes about YA and queer things. She lives in North Carolina. She is represented by Emily S. Keyes of Fuse Literary.
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Nita Tyndall: Honestly, I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I always loved making up stories as a kid, and I got into fandom in middle school which made me want to write more. But reading Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak in eighth grade cemented it. It was the first book I read where I was like, “I want to write something like that.”
NT: Some days, just getting my butt in the chair to write is a challenge. It’s so easy to get caught up in anxiety about social media, tweets, publishing, and forget to actually write. So, I try to cull distractions where I can. Definitely, the ups are when I go to local book events to support other authors and I feel like I’m there to support them as a fellow author, not just a reader.
NT: Laurie Halse Anderson is a perpetual favorite as are Courtney Summers and Nova Ren Suma and Mindy McGinnis. I also really love Whitney Gardner’s You’re Welcome, Universe, which features a Deaf protagonist and will be out in March.
NT: Both! If I’m stuck reading an e-book I’ll switch to paper—it’s refreshing to see the actual physical progress I’m making in a book.
NT: As a queer woman, I’m definitely conscious of including queer characters in my works. When I was growing up there weren’t that many LGBTQIA books—well L and G, hardly any of the other letters—and I remember feeling so lonely because I couldn’t find myself in books. I don’t want a teen reading my own work to experience that.
NT: Understand that this is definitely a process, not a one-time thing. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t happen as fast as you hoped, especially if the people around you are advancing. That’s the best thing I can say, really. Jealousy in creative types can be awful, but remember, your time will come. I promise.
NT: I fell into it! I’m on social media a lot for my own author work and I was approached by WeNeedDiverseBooks to help out with their Tumblr, and I agreed. (It really is who you know.) I have an English degree and I definitely think that’s helped me in terms of having a general background to work in different facets of writing and publishing.
NT: Definitely to have empathy. Include diversity in your stories, talk to the people you want to write about. If you can’t empathize, you can’t write a good character. Empathy is so important in writing regardless, but especially when writing about characters who aren’t like you.
PRR Writer, Kat Sherwood