Taaji Rauf is a native of Los Angeles, California. She is a graduate of Crenshaw High school and Howard University. At Howard she majored in English. These two institutions nourished her love for reading and writing books. She currently lives in Los Angeles after making the District of Columbia home for many years. She is writing more books to contribute to the literary movement. Visit her website http://www.taajirauf.com/
How did you start out your writing career?
I was in middle school when I first started writing and I haven’t stopped since. I started writing as a reader first. I used to read the Babysitter club series books and dream of writing. Then one day I wrote a poem in a notebook. The release felt amazing. I used to write poetry, but stories made me feel more fulfilled.
What did you learn while writing this book?
I learned that I am a very determined writer. I enjoyed developing each story and character. I also learned how to end a project. I put myself on a deadline. My characters come to me at the most random times. I just listen and write whatever comes to me on the nearest piece of paper I can find. One time I wrote something a character did around the edges of a flier and on napkins.
What did you hope to accomplish with this book?
I want my work to show the complex simplicity of life. I hope to tell a story about human emotions and feelings based on the different aspects of life. As human being we all have different events and circumstances that mold our lives. I wanted to tell stories that showed people dealing with life under the surface.
Which character did you have the most fun writing about?
I had the most fun writing about Bilal from the title story Before Life. Even though he wasn’t even born he was filled with such wonderment and hope. I also liked writing about Jocelyn in A Broken Vow. She was a piece of work, but an extremely complex character.
What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
I am now an instant business owner because I published my first book. Its fun, but I have to do something toward the promotion and marketing of my book daily.
What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?
I love the quiet time and having my characters rattle around in my brain until I tell their story the way they want. I hate final edits. It’s such a time consuming arduous task, but needed.
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
I wish I had known to release my e-book a few months before my print edition. They work well together, but it looks like the e-book helps the print sales.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
Do get your book edited. Don’t rush anything.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
I wish that non-writers understood that we writers write for readers. We write alone, but we want others to read with us.
If you could be a character from any book you've read, who would you be?
I’d be Always from J.California Cooper’s Always collection of short stories.
When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
When I’m not writing I teach Integrated Math and Algebra 2. When I’m not teaching or writing I like to socialize with friends. I also like to laugh until my ears burn.
What do you do to interact with your readers?
I have a Readings and Poetry event every third Thursday of the month at Lolo’s boutique in Carson, California. I have fun on my twitter @crownkindqueen and I have my own book club.
Our theme for this month is Online Marketing. What online marketing have you found works well for you?
Twitter is amazing.
This is SORMAG’s 11th Anniversary online. Would you like to offer us anniversary congrats?
Thank-you for talking with authors and sharing the beautiful world of authorship. Continue your great work and congratulations!
Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?
I know I have to dream big, live well, laugh often, and the sky isn’t the limit anymore.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
It’s a story of a young lady trying to become a better person, but her past is so familiar. Love is her anchor in all her relationships. ~ That’s all I can give because the characters are still being put on paper. They are not ready to be all the way revealed fully at this time. HA! I will be finished by the end of this year. Look for more info about my upcoming novel on my Face book or Twitter page. I’d share the title, but I need to get my copyrights back before I just go telling folks the name of my first novel.
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
Barnes and Noble: Nook: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Before-Life/Taaji-Rauf/e/2940013116290
“Before Life” - The unborn spirit of a child named Bilal talks to his Angels in a waiting place in heaven. The life he gets is a surprise to him.
“The Smoker”- Tessa finds comfort in smoking cigarettes. She meets a young man named Sinica that she pushes away.
“To Love in 1840” – Man used slavery to keep them apart, yet divine intervention brought them back together on a North Carolina plantation next to the Atlantic Ocean.
“A Broken Vow” - Jocelyn grew up motherless after her mother died when she was very young. Grief holds her captive as she turns away from loving her children.
“The Commuter” - A nameless woman is plagued by a reoccurring dream after 9/11. Her subconscious mind replays the same nightmare every night.
“Toxic Urine Boy” - Two girls create a manipulative and devious plan to free Tanya from Toxic Urine Boy.
“Black Robin Hood”- Ellis serves drugs in all four quadrants of the District of Columbia. The street where he began his drug empire is the same street where he dies.
“Our Attic” – Patricia keeps the secret of Adam’s biological father hidden in shoeboxes stacked away in the attic.
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