Name Tasha Turner

Age: Under 50 … LOL don’t you know it’s not polite to ask a lady her name?

Where are you from  Tasha (Malka Esther) Lennhoff’s imagination

A little about yourself `ie your education Family life ect

 Tasha Turner was born full grown as it is a pen name. It also became my professional name overnight. The Satmar Vampire may turn out to be a bit controversial in the Orthodox Jewish community. I thought taking a pen name might be a good idea to hide my identity. Unfortunately I am no good at keeping secrets so within a month everyone knew Tasha Turner was Tasha (Malka Esther) Lennhoff. But I had also made almost 500 Facebook friends. My Lennhoff friends would talk to Lennhoff in chat about personal things and at the exact same time talk to Turner about writing and book publishing. So it was clear that I was meant to be Tasha Turner now that I am working again. And that is the story of how I came to be.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I’ve mostly recovered from being hit by a Mack truck in March, 2012. My funny short Jewish vamp story is coming along.  I may be starting up a virtual blog tour business with a couple of partners to add to my social media coaching business.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

 1st story I have is called dog planet. It’s from 1st grade I think. I have 2 versions of it. My mother saved it I have no idea why. It is… yeah… not something I’d want to post up as a shining example of my genius.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

In my 20s I started writing as a technical writer. Since then I’ve been writing mostly technical documents. Resumes, proposals, how to guides, software training manuals, help docs for software.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I’m currently writing my 1st short story and have an outline for my 1st book. They were both started by the same incident. Beth-Ann Mason’s mom came up with an idea “why not have a Chasidic Jewish vampire?” Beth-Ann mentioned this in chat and we thought why not write it together as I have the Jewish knowledge and she has more fiction writing experience.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

Not yet. Well my technical and blogging style are specific. With technical writing I write for 8 year olds. And blogging I try to stay on topic and share useful information.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

Because I decided to base the book around the original Satmar Rebbe it seemed right to call the book The Satmar Vampire.

Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

 That every action has a consequence and that anyone can choose to be good or evil.

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?

Not much is realistic. Parts are based on the real life of the Satmar Rebbe. Parts are based on the Satmar Jewish culture. Parts are based on biblical and Jewish mythology. But most of it is a story I’ve made up based on the simple premise given to me “Why not have a Chasidic Jewish vampire?”

Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

 I do not believe so.

Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? I

 grew up on Louisa May Alcott, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Trixie Belden by Julie Campbell, and JRR Tolkien.  As I got older I got into Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, Christine Feehan, Mercedes Lackey, David Weber, and Robert Jordan.

Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? I

 can’t pick one. My mother, Zoe Guernsey (teacher), and Beth-Ann Mason

Fiona: What book are you reading now?  For the Love of Old Bones – and other stories (Templar Series) by Michael Jecks, Life Goes On by Pam Logan, and All Who Wander Are Lost (An Icarus Fell Novel) by Bruce Blake

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

 Tara Chevrestt is my currently my favorite new author, followed by Kristen Lamb, Alivia Anders, and B. Throwsnaill

Fiona: What are your current projects?

 My current project is without a name but is a funny Jewish vamp short that hopefully will be out 2012. After that I will be tackling The Satmar Vampire for real. Right now I just get to work on it a few minutes here or there.

Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

 Beth-Ann Mason one of my best friends and my co-author of The Satmar Vampire is probably the person who has supported me the most. A close 2nd to that is Tara Chevrestt who has become my writing partner and makes sure I write at least a few nights a week.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career? T

echnical writing was a career. Fiction writing is a hobby. I prefer coaching authors in using social media to sell their work more than I do in writing fiction.

Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

 I’m early in the writing stages of the book so I can’t answer at this time. We should revisit these questions when the book finally comes out.

Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

 I wrote stories as a kid. The technical writing happened when I was a switchboard operator and was bored and asked around to see if anyone had any extra work. Two people took me under their wings and taught me to write proposals and customize resumes. When I was laid off I went back to secretarial work. I was always helping people with things on the computer. I had a 3 time rule. The 1st time I helped someone we would write down how to do something. The 2nd time we’d go through the instructions and see where I’d left out steps. The 3rd time someone had to prove to me the instructions did not work. I was taking a number of computer classes required where I worked and several of the trainers suggested to their company that they hire me after seeing how I worked quietly with the slower students adding notes to the instructions manuals they brought with them. They hired me. I went to night school to get my degree and eventually became a manager of a technical writing group.

I ended up sick with an unknown cause of chronic fatigue which stopped my career.  I was able to use a computer so for 10 years I have been all over the net helping people with everything from computers to Judaism to Facebook games to social media. Beth-Ann Mason mentioned the book idea and at the same time asked me to work with her on her at Tri Destiny Publishing. I found that while I enjoyed helping authors with social media, publishing was not for me. I’ve been trying to split my time between the business and the book while recovering from a severe car accident for the last few months.

Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

 From the Satmar Vampire: Shalom and Yom Tov don’t know it but it is December 4, 1944. They found a hole in the fence and are running for their lives. They know if they escape from Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and get on the train that is taking the Satmar Rebbe over the Swiss border they might live. All of a sudden machine gun shots ring out, but they awake alive as Jewish Vampires!

Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I’m very lucky. I have 2 editors who are working with me to teach me the craft. Thanks to my early training in technical writing I don’t mind getting redlined work back instead I get excited that someone cared enough to be honest although some of the changes are hard to learn. Technical writing is 1st person present tense and every step is obvious. Fiction is past tense and you have to pay attention to whom is doing what (so you know who can be seeing things) and how they get to places.  I do a lot of “magically appearing” (I’m told I forget to do scene set-up). I’m also working hard with dialogue and dialogue tags (he said, she said is sooo not the way to write). Showing versus telling is also very hard. In technical writing I’m telling “click this, type that” … in fiction I need to show things and it is taking longer than I expected to learn to make the change.

Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

This is a tough one. When I’m in the mood for romance it is Georgette Heyer. Her work is full of strong heroines; strong heroes that almost always do the wrong things in trying to rescue the heroines, and lots of humor.  When I’m looking for fantasy it is Mercedes Lackey who has so many books out there is always something new for me to read. For science fiction it is David Weber who is now moving into the YA market. I’ve still not read everything he wrote. One things all of the writers have in common is strong female characters, lots of things going on to keep my attention (some would disagree on Heyer), humor, and books big enough that I’m not done with them in an hour or two. There is also not a lot of swearing or graphic sex in any of the books which is a big plus. All deal with human emotion, that people can be good or evil, that people can change, that even in the hardest of times some people can keep their moral compass.

Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

My book starts off in Germany towards the end of World War II and ends in Brooklyn, NY. I personally won’t travel much but I will have to do research on various areas based on the timeline for my characters.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Covadonga Palacio Perez designed the cover for The Satmar Vampire

Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Sitting down and writing it is turning out to be the biggest problem. Trying to write fiction for the first time while starting up a new business and getting hit by a truck may have been a bit much to tackle all at once.

Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

 The more you get into the habit of writing the more you will find yourself able to write.

Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write every day. Find a writing partner who will write at the same time you do so you both are accountable it really makes a big difference.

Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

 I promise the book really is coming.

Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?

 I’m not sure what I would have done instead of technical writing. I loved it for a while. I love blogging and helping people. Coaching people is really what I love to do. Helping them see the potential within themselves and bringing it out. There is no feeling like that in the world.

Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? if so what is it? I blog at Tasha Turner Coaching http://tasha-turner.com/blog/ . Tuesdays are generally dedicated to social media or writing tips. Thursdays are for book reviews or author spotlights. Other days of the week are days off or odds and ends. Due to the accident and the chronic fatigue my schedule is not always kept to.

You can see the book cover for The Satmar Vampire at Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15727106-the-satmar-vampire

I can also be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TashaTurnerCoaching

And on Twitter you can follow me at http://twitter.com/turner_tasha