Talia Vance Interview

Said | Feb 12 2012

Good morning! Today we bring you an interview with an author who “has the distinction of having sold two different debut books – SPIES AND PREJUDICE and SILVER – to two different publishing houses – all on the same day!”

Here’s a little about Talia from her author page at Greenhouse Literary: Talia Vance is a practicing litigation attorney who lives in Northern California with her family. Before law school, she worked as a freelance writer, drafting scripts for corporate training films, and also as a horse trainer.

1. If you had walk-on music (a song that plays when you enter a room), what would it be? Why?

I don’t have walk on music, but my characters do. Brianna Paxton’s (SILVER) music is My Best Theory by Jimmy Eat World. It’s perfect for a girl who tries to explain everything with science and doesn’t seem to have much choice with what’s happening to her. Berry Fields from SPIES AND PREJUDICE would walk on to I Don’t Wanna Be in Love by Good Charlotte. The dark message in an upbeat dance anthem expresses her exactly.

2. How does your career as a litigation attorney inform your writing?

Trying cases is about telling stories. It’s finding the human element that people can connect with and presenting it in a persuasive way. I’m required to write every day. I get to meet a lot of people from diverse backgrounds, investigate their backstory and basically figure out how to present their stories in court. I actually came to law through writing- I was a witness in a trial that occurred around the same time I had a play produced in college. The experience reminded me of theater, but with more improvisation and higher stakes.

3. With your past as a script writer, was it easy (as if it is ever easy) or difficult to write a novel?

Dialogue was fairly easy for me. I could throw two characters in a scene and let them fly. It takes me several drafts of a novel before I get to details like setting and interior reactions. But to answer you, no. Writing a novel is hard. In the best possible way.

4. Congrats on having two books launching in 2012! What was/is the process like to prep for two book birthdays?

I have no idea. I’ll let you know when I get there. SPIES AND PREJUDICE has been pushed back to Spring 2013, which gives me a little more time to plan. Which is good, because, um, I have no ideas.

5. You describe SPIES AND PREJUDICE as Veronica Mars meets PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Where did the inspiration for this novel come from?

My dad is a private investigator, and I spent the summer before law school working for him. I went on stake outs and everything. For the most part, the stakeouts involved sitting in a parked car for hours, trying not to look too creepy. I knew I wanted to write about a teenage private investigator with abandonment issues. I figured a girl who spent her childhood chasing down cheating husbands would have to be dragged into romance kicking and screaming. The perfect guy for the job was a modern day Mr. Darcy. I actually hadn’t seen Veronica Mars until after I wrote the book, but Berry and Veronica would definitely hang out.

6. The protagonist of SILVER, Brianna, spends a good amount of time feeling/being invisible, something most teens can relate to. What do you hope readers take from her story?

Be careful what you wish for. Brianna wants so badly to be seen, but in many ways she was better off being invisible. I hope that readers take away that being wanted is not nearly as important as figuring out what you want and having the courage to go after it.

7. What drew you to Celtic myths and culture?

When I first started researching for SILVER, I was amazed at how many of our modern day superstitions came from Celtic myth. Ireland, in particular, has such a rich history, with a seemingly irreconcilable dichotomy between modern Christianity and its Pagen roots. I was drawn to a story about how the gods was driven to the underworld by a group of strong men, a myth that is based in the reality of the Crusades, where mysticism and polytheism were quite literally driven underground. This myth forms the basis for the mythical conflict in SILVER.

8. Your books are very different in genre and content. Do you find it important to vary what you write or do you gravitate toward one area in particular?

I definitely gravitate towards YA. One of the things I love about YA is that it’s acceptable to write in different subgenres within it. All my stories involve strong female characters facing contemporary challenges, with a bit of the fantastic thrown in. And kissing. Lots of kissing.

9. I imagine you are pretty busy! Is there a WIP you’re working on?

I’m currently writing the sequel to SILVER. It’s called GOLD and I’m having a blast writing it. I can’t say much about it, partly because I’m still discovering it myself and partly because it involves some SILVER spoilers. And kissing. Lots of kissing.

10. What events do you have coming up?

On April 21, 2012, I will appear with the rest of the YA Muses at the North Central California region of SCBWI’s Spring Spirit Conference. We’re doing a panel on revision. I will be talking about my revision checklist, which basically is a step by step guide to filling in the layers around dialogue heavy scenes.


Kelly Barwick

I'm a born and raised Chicagoan, so mountains that aren't made out of landfills are fascinating to me. I'm a graduate of Columbia College Chicago's Fiction Writing program and am working on my Masters of Arts in Teaching. I write YA stories when I should be sleeping. I'm trying to make "bags under the eyes" a fashion statement.
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10 Responses to “Talia Vance Interview”

  1. Congratulations to Talia! Selling two books at the same time, quite a feat!

  2. I love the tie you share between theater, storytelling and law. I’d never really thought of them as sharing that thread of “presentation” but it makes perfect sense. Great interview!

  3. Talia Vance says:

    Thanks Lisha! I still can’t quite believe it. Elle, I find that law, like writing for publication, is equal parts craft and art, with long hours behind the scenes going into the bits that the world sees.

    Thank Kelly, for the great interview questions!

  4. I love all the different talents and interests you bring to your writing, Talia! And yes, your dialogue does just rip from the pages. Can’t wait to see more!

  5. I love the Celtic aspect. Love me my Irish men (and women).

  6. Cari Cari says:

    I find myself writing in layers, too!
    Congratulations on your double debut, Talia. :)

  7. Talia Vance says:

    Katherine, you are so sweet! Thanks for saying so. Sarah, there are definitely Irish men in Silver. Hot Irish men. Cari, I am getting better at the interior reactions now that I think of them as a type of internal dialogue between the character and the reader, but setting and descriptive paragraphs are the last things I add.

  8. What an awesome story! You’ve got so much depth as a writer! And we all know how wonderful and important it is to have layers in all aspects of life! Congratulations and wishes for much success! Keep on rocking!

  9. I can’t get past the two sales on the same day! Amazing! I’ll be looking out for these books.

  10. Talia Vance says:

    Kelly, I can’t believe it either. It was a crazy, unexpected thing!

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