Author Interview with Telma Rocha!
Hi, Telma Rocha, welcome to the Indie Publishing Group website! Introduce yourself to us. Tell everyone who you are, where you’re from, what you enjoy doing, your hobbies and interests.
My name is Telma Rocha, I’m married to my high school sweetheart, and we have two boys. I’m from Southern Ontario but immigrated to Canada in 1976 from Angola during the civil war. I have been here since the age of two. When not writing, I can be found enjoying time outside and sharing meals and laughter with friends and family.
When did you start writing and why?
I began writing when I was young, pre-teen to be exact. But I wrote mostly poems and I never shared them with anyone. Back then, I wrote only for me. Over the years, I have searched deep for the story that would be my debut, and while I started many of them, I never really ‘felt’ them. It wasn’t until 2017 that I started to take writing more seriously and began writing The Angolan Girl.
Which is your favorite book you have written and what gave you the idea for it?
My debut novel, The Angolan Girl, releases this summer in July and as that is the only completed book I have currently, so that is my favourite. My grandmother, Rosa, gave me the inspiration as the story is about her life, growing up in Angola and the civil war.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
This is an easy one. The book is about my grandmother as a girl and into adulthood and set in Angola, therefore, The Angolan Girl seemed fitting.
Who helped you with the cover? Or did you design it yourself? What was your inspiration for your cover design?
My husband is my designer, and he created the cover for me. And I have to say, he did a wonderful job. The cover is an up-close picture of Rosa, the main character and my grandmother, taken 70 years ago. I was adamant about having her face on the cover.
What are some of the themes of your story?
The Angolan Girl covers many themes: Coming of Age, Grief, War, Motherhood, loss, immigration, and mental health.
What’s your process when you sit down and decide to start writing a book and do you have a system?
I’m a plotter, so I outline first. Before I begin writing I have to have most of the characters fleshed out in terms of their traits, characteristics, and personality. I also need to know all the major story beats that I want to hit and of course the ending. I do sometimes change things as I write, but if I have a base, I feel like I can focus on writing more and less on what the next scene will be. For me, this strategy helps to maximum word count in one session.
Who are some of your favorite characters and why?
In terms of other author’s book, I’d have to say, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley. This trio brings everything that I want for myself, laughter, strength, friendship, adventure, and loyalty.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Obviously, J.K Rowling. I also love Khalid Hossieni; he is my auto-buy author. I have read all his books and will continue to do so for as long as he writes them. I also love Nadia Hashimi and of course, Jane Austen for the classics.
Have you got anything you’re working on now?
Yes, I am working on a contemporary fiction, set in Manitoulin island. This story was inspired by a motorcycle trip I took in the summer of 2018 with my husband, sister, and brother in law.
If you could have any superpowers what would they be?
Definitely the ability to fly. I am deathly afraid of heights so I think this superpower could really help me overcome my fear. If I can’t overcome that fear and my feet must remain planted on the ground, then I would want to have the ability to be invisible.
If you could travel to any location in the world where would you go?
Seeing that I was born in Angola and left when I was two, I want to go back and I hope to one day, so that is the destination choice of my dreams.
Where do you hope to be in 5 years’ time?
In five years’, time, I hope to have published my current wip, and another contemporary fiction that I have already plotted. I also hope that by then, The Angolan Girl has reached many readers and helped some that struggle with some of the themes in this book.
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