Thursday, November 29, 2012

Someday Stars: Meet Tiffany Demings

What’s your name, and where are you from?
My name is Tiffany Demings. In the writing world I like to go by TA Demings because I think it makes me sound writerly and sophisticated...otherwise I generally go by Tif. 

I'm from Richfield. If you don't know where that is, it's the belly button of Utah. Check a map and you'll see what I mean.

How long have you been writing?
I've been writing at least since the kindergarten when I learned to write out my name. I learned cursive in the third grade and have slowly combined cursive with an ugly scrawl that I can't even translate most of the time. I've been writing professionally since the 11th grade, which was when I won third prize (and consequently $25) in a BYU high school rewrite contest. Not long after that the New Era Magazine purchased one of my non-fiction short stories for $20, which they took about two years to actually publish. 

What genre(s) do you write?
I write a lot of things. I love to write poetry, and I was even a contest winner for a podcast called Word of Mouth. The funny thing about that is Charlie actually told me I won before the official contest people did (she was also a winner in that contest). I especially love non-fiction poetry, which if you think about it is most poetry. 

I've written some personal essays and had a couple of them published in student journals, but I don't write much of that anymore. 

My love is contemporary young adult fiction. It's my favorite stuff to read and has, thus far, been my favorite to write. 

My dream is to write picture books...someday. 

What’s your current WIP? Can you tell us about it?
I have two current WIPs. The first one is about a fourteen-year-old girl who has done something pretty awful and scary, but she's trying to keep it a secret and move on with her life...a little unsuccessfully. It's in what I call "chopped line," because it's not prose and it's not verse; it's just sparse (like I said, she's trying to keep a big secret). 

The second one is my NaNoWriMo novel, which is about a sixteen-year-old boy who wants to be part of this group called the Dare Devils, which does crazy tricks and stunts. I'm still figuring this one out, but basically he does everything to get into the club, even if it means abandoning some of his friendships, giving up his favorite sport, and doing something absolutely horrible to his best friend. I'm hoping he learns something at the end of it all, but like I said, I'm still working through it. 

What’s your current day job? How does it help or hinder your writing?
I'm really lucky because I don't really have a day job right now. This is probably the only reason I committed to doing NaNoWriMo, if I'm being honest. In the summers I work as a wild land firefighter and fire investigator. I make a lot of money because I end up working a lot of overtime, so I'm hoping I can go a couple more months without finding a "real-person" job. My goal, eventually, is to spend my summers fighting fires and my winters writing and revising my novels. If I can manage to do that then my day job will definitely help my writing because it'll give me a whole season to work on it. But, during this past summer I feel like I didn't get any writing done at all--again because of all those overtime hours. 

Who is your favorite author?
That's a hard question. I have multiple. Joan Bauer is one of my favorites because I love her fun, honest characters and because I wrote her an email once while I was in high school asking her how she started writing and if she had any advice for me as a writer--and she wrote me back!! She told me her story and told me not to get discouraged. To just keep writing.

I love Carol Lynch Williams--probably partly because she was my first mentor in novel writing, but also because she is a really good writer. Check out Glimpse and The Chosen One to see what I mean. Carol taught me to despise adverbs, and gave me a solid foundation in good novel writing. 

Along with Carol is Ann Dee Ellis. She has written two books that are very much like my fourteen-year-old girl story, which is how I learned of her. I showed my writing group some new writing experiments with the chopped line and they loaned me one of her books saying it was similar. The next semester I took a class from her. She is funny. And she's so good at taking a heavy issue and making it an easy read with funny and light-hearted spots. 
Finally, there's Virginia Woolf. She is just awesome in so many ways. If you want an easy access to her just watch The Hours--but I have to say that movie will make so much more sense if you read the book Mrs. Dalloway first. That book changed my life because there's a spot in the book where a man kills himself and around the time I was reading it I was in London and the exact same thing happened--a man threw himself onto the subway tracks and there was a very similar reaction from the group I was with in London as there was from the characters in the book. Also, a room of one's own--I"m still working on getting a room of my own so I can really, truly write :) 

Favorite book?
The Awakening by Kate Chopin--that book was the beginning of a big life-process for me, but I find it so intriguing because I hated every single character. How is that possible? 

I also love Mary Had A Little Lamp. It's a picture book and is brilliantly written--absolutely BRILLIANT. 

What other hobbies or activities do you do outside of writing?
I love to hike. Winter is hard for me, but I'm learning to hike in the winter too. And to go snow shoeing. Because of my Dare Devil novel I'm learning to long board, which has been a little scary, but very exciting. 

What is something unique about yourself?
I have a scar on my lip from my brother throwing a cat at me when I was young. 

Oh, and I have a duck named Clyde who I take on adventures with me. He has his own facebook page and has been to three different countries and about a dozen different states in the U.S. 

Do you have a blog, Twitter, and/or Web site we can link to? 

I'm TA Demings on Twitter , and my website is


  1. I had a friend in college who worked for the forest service, which included fighting forest fires. She was so much fun to talk to. Good luck on your wips!

    1. Thanks! fighting fire is awesome. One day I may even write books about's definitely an area that needs more literature.

  2. What an unique seasonal career you have. The stories you could tell. Wow!!

    And if you ever do get into the PB crave, Susanna Leonard Hill is a great resource to check out. I just love her!!

    Wishing you much success :-)

    1. Thanks for the recommendation! I'll definitely look her up. And thanks for the wishes :)

  3. Great interview!! And Charlie is right... we're all jealous of your jobs, summer and winter!

    1. Thank you!
      My only goal is to make money at my winter job!

  4. Charlie, LOVED the interview with Tiffany. I love meeting other writers. And I can't believe she's from Richfield! My parents lived there for a few years before moving up to Salt Lake. Small world!

    1. It really is a small world, isn't it. :)
      Most of the time when I say Richfield, nobody knows where that is. It's fun to make odd connections.

  5. Hi Tif! Nice to meet you. I love the sound of your WIP about the 14 yr old girl, and that it's in a "sparse" style. Good luck with it, and with your NaNo story!

    Thanks for the great interview, Charlie and Tiffany!

    1. Thanks! and I will get working on my "sparse" novel starting tomorrow! I'm excited to go back to it. I'm hoping to submit it to agents by, who knows it may actually be published in a few years!


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