Please welcome my special guest Tanya Masse, also known as Comic Strip Mama. Tanya is the author of the Amazon bestseller, Stairway to AWESOMENESS! – 30 Fundamental Steps to Living a Life of Awesomeness!
“Internet famous” for her humorous and inspirational self-syndicated webcomic about surviving the insanity of life and parenthood, Tanya is a mama, a writer, a cartoonist and an entrepreneur who has faced a tremendous amount of adversity throughout the challenges of her life and has risen above it all. Find out more about her and her work on her website.
Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Stairway to Awesomeness. When did you start writing and what got you into the inspirational, self-improvement, humor genre?
Thank you! I have been expressing and communicating my thoughts, feelings and sentiments through writing since I was able to write. I love to write and I have a natural talent for it. I am confident when I write… Not so much when I speak!
As a parent, I have often felt like my life is nothing but a reality comic strip series. I said this out loud one day and “Comic Strip Mama” was born! I have been “stripping” and blogging away the insanity of life and parenthood as “Comic Strip Mama” through the power of social media since 2012. However, I did not start writing and illustrating as a real-deal author/cartoonist until this year. Stairway to Awesomeness is the first of many reality based comic novels I plan to write about the challenges of life and parenthood.
Did you have a mentor who encouraged you?
Yes. International bestselling suspense author and Imajin Books publisher Cheryl Kaye Tardif is my greatest mentor. She is also my cousin-in-love (cousin by marriage). I have followed and admired her success for years. She is brilliant. When I decided to embark on my reality comic strip venture, I asked her what she thought about me writing a book and she told me to “do it!” and send it to her. Now Imajin Books is my publishing company and the rest is history!
I am a scatterbrain who is easily distracted by “shiny balls”. My lover man often describes my mind like a child in the middle of the most awesome amusement park who wants to jump on every ride at the same time. So yes, I struggled and still do struggle with staying focused on one of the million thoughts that go through my head at any given moment. However, once I really focused on writing my first book, it was very relaxing and soothing!
What was your inspiration for Stairway to Awesomeness?
Many people in my circle of life commend me for being such a strong, happy person who focuses on the positive, the blessings and the humor in life despite the fact that I have been through hell and back. I wasn’t always this awesome person, however. For many years I struggled tremendously and lived in a very dark place. When I finally discovered why I was struggling so much and reinvented myself into the awesome person that I am today, I knew I had to share how I managed to do that with the world. I felt compelled and obligated to do so.
Do you have any plotting secrets? Do you use index cards or special software?
Not really. I start with a table of contents and then I fill in the blanks and illustrate comics.
What do you tell your muse when she refuses to collaborate?
Shhhhhhhh… It’s time to focus! If it’s early, I will give her a coffee or two. If it’s evening, I may give her a glass of wine to relax.
Many writers experience a vague anxiety before they sit down to write. Can you relate to this?
For me, once I am able to focus, writing is soothing and relaxing. I feel WAY more anxiety after I submit my work to be reviewed and critiqued!
Do you have a writing schedule? Do you set yourself weekly goals for your writing?
I don’t have a writing schedule per se, but I do write around my life as a mom and an entrepreneur.
How do you celebrate the completion of a novel?
I celebrated the completion of my book the same way that I celebrate any awesome milestone in life. I let out a big “Wooo Hooo!” with a fist pump, spent some quality time with my special ones, expressed my gratitude for everything awesome in my life and enjoyed a glass of wine… or two.
What do you love most about the writer’s life?
I love writing and I absolutely love the fact that I am able to reach, entertain, educate, encourage and inspire millions of people to focus on the positive, recognize the blessings and find the humor in life. I feel truly blessed and grateful to be living my dream!
Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?
Stairway to Awesomeness is not your average self-improvement book. It is the ultimate self-improvement book that goes against the grain of many self-help/self-improvement books out there. I take my readers on my very real tragedy-to-triumph life journey and explain HOW and WHY I changed my way of thinking about many things that so many of us are conditioned to believe. The 30 fundamental steps that I write and illustrate about are tried-and-true and life changing and I prove that achieving a life of awesomeness IS possible. There is also a very unique and humorous comic twist throughout the book that will make you smile as you make your own climb to awesomeness!