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Tanya Eby: Writer, Reader, Teacher and Blunderwoman

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Author Tanya Eby

Author Tanya Eby

First novel, "Easy Does It"

First novel, "Easy Does It"

Reader reviews of Tanya Eby's first book, Easy Does It use phrases like chick lit, addictive as a bag of Doritos and cute. The reviewers also write that it is wickedly funny and insightful. Reviewers claim to laugh out loud.

All of this pleases Eby and she says the reviews are pretty accurate. She is totally happy in this place with her writing, but adds this caveat for chick lit fans: "I don't write about fashion or money; my characters, they're not beautiful."

"I have a specific comedic voice that's clear in all of my writing. I have quirky, nerdy characters and awkward situations. That is the one thing that links all the books," said Eby. But each book stands alone. Her second book, Blunderwoman was published by Champagne Books in 2009 and last month her third novel, Pepper Wellington and the Case of the Missing Sausage was also published by Champagne. Pepper Wellington is a comedy mystery, a new genre for Eby. The main character Pepper is likely to return in upcoming books. "She's a fun and vibrant character and she's still in my head, along with a couple of other characters from the first book so I think she'll be back," said Eby. While it is a humorous mystery, the latest book- and all of Eby's books- wraps around the theme of identity. "There's a theory in writing that every writer has one story to tell and they tell it over and over again. My theme would be either longing or identity," she said.

Her readers, many of whom she has relationships with via social media--Facebook and Twitter--helped encourage her as a humorous writer as well as connect her with new audiences. "Readers would tell me that a section of something they read was funny and they wanted more. That helped me get comfortable with being funny," said Eby.

In addition to her books, she's written poetry, plays and short stories. "Even as a kid I was writing books," said Eby. In her Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Southern Maine she focused on literary fiction and then went on to novel writing. "It is more satisfying. I can slow down, take time with my characters and get to know and develop them," she said.

Her fourth book, titled "Foodies Rush In," is complete after she wrote the rough draft in a month for National Novel Writing Month. She's been re-working it for two months and is getting ready to show it to editors and agents. The novel is a story of sisters, a food conference in Las Vegas and an Elvis-officiated wedding and its aftermath.

Not all books she writes manifest themselves in a month. Her first book took a year, the next took six months and Pepper Wellington was a three month endeavor. "I'm trying to train myself to be prolific," she says with a laugh.

She is continuing to write a blovel (a blog novel) on her website. The story was started online last summer and has 17 chapters so far. "I asked my readers to tell me what they wanted me to write and they chose a gothic historical, which is not my genre, so it is coming slowly. It is set in the 1930s at the state hospital in Traverse City," she said.

Eby also writes, co-writes, casts, produces and appears in radio plays which can be listened to from her website or downloaded through iTunes.

When she's not writing, she's teaching. Eby is a full time temporary professor at Kendall College of Art and design. She is currently teaching courses in essay and creative writing and gender studies.

If it seems she's not busy enough writing, teaching and being a mom, she also narrates audiobooks for Brilliance Audio in Grand Haven. She describes that painstaking and sometimes painful work in this audio interview.

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