TJ Whittle

I met TJ Whittle a little over a year ago. She wrote to me to tell me how much she’d enjoyed my story, Sunset Island. We began corresponding about writing and about life. We became FB friends and have been sharing our stories with each other ever since.

It is amazing that we became friends. She lives about as far away from me as she possibly can, in New Zealand. So if not for my book, we would most likely have never met each other. She is about to release her first novel, Without Your Courage, through Desert Palm Press, sometime in May. I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce readers to the newest DPP author, TJ Whittle.  Here’s her bio. The interview follows.

TJ WHITTLE BIO: A bit about me. I come from a little country at the bottom of the world called New Zealand. I’m very proud to be a Kiwi. New Zealand is a beautiful country and home to a diverse and multi-cultural society. I feel I am lucky to have grown up and live in a country where I am surrounded by amazing nature. The crowning feature for me is that there are beaches everywhere.  I love the beach. The sounds and smells are so alive and revitalising. 

I’m proud of a number of things I’ve achieved so far, but none more so than my children. I understand most parents feel their children are special, but trust me, mine are. So far I’ve managed to raise three people who are caring, sensitive, thoughtful, funny, intelligent, and polite individuals.

I’m also the mother of two dogs, three cats, and two Indian Ringneck Parrots. I’d like to say all were as polite as the kids but that would be stretching the truth a little.

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AJ: Hello TJ. Welcome.

Hi AJ. Before we get started, I wanted to thank you for this opportunity.

AJ: You are very welcome. My pleasure. Okay, here we go. Let’s start off with some easy questions…coffee or tea?

Neither. I really don’t like the taste of either of them. On the odd occasion though, I will have a hot chocolate or even better yet, a Milo.

AJ: Mmm. I like milo. It tastes a bit like our malted milk. Do you prefer dark or milk chocolate?

Milk hands down but as you know, my downfall is M&M’s.

AJ: We’d never fight over candy. I’m a dark chocolate woman all the way!  How about pets— dogs or cats?

I love both and really couldn’t pick. I have 2 dogs, but did have 3 cats as well and miss them very much. I would love to have another cat someday.

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AJ: You and I have talked at length about your favorite tree. Tell the readers about it.

It is the tree shown on the cover of my book (below), Without Your Courage. My favorite tree is the Pohutakawa Just thinking about them makes me smile. They are a native New Zealand tree and are also known as our native Christmas tree. For us, Christmas time is in the summer and during this time the Pohutakawa trees bloom. They often have very old and twisted looking branches that spread out wide. Some are low and provide the perfect seat, close to the ground while others are higher and offer the perfect place to lie under, offering shade from the sun. Their flowers are a bright red and look a lot like a bottle brush. Only, as much as they look like they may be wiry, they are very soft. The contrast of the vivid red with the deep green of the leaves offers the colours of Christmas, hence the name. The thing I love most about these trees is that they always look as though they would have lots of amazing tales to tell if they could talk.

Translated to English, Pohutakawa means sprinkled by spray, which is very fitting seeing as they are found in abundance along the coastlines.

Sorry, that was probably a bit long but I can’t help myself when it comes to the Pohutakawa.

AJ: Tell us a bit about your first book.

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Without Your Courage is the story of four women, two living in today’s society, two in the forties, and shares with us the decisions and encounters they must navigate, in order to find and have love. It is set in New Zealand and shares some of the country I love so much.

AJ: This is your first published book. Do you have more coming after this one?

I sure do. I’m writing my next one as we speak and have a number of others lined up and ready to be brought to life.

What about you AJ, will we be seeing more from you sometime soon?

AJ: I Love My Life was just released in May. I am in editing now for the next one that’s tentatively titled A Journey To You. Although it’s still a romance, it will be a bit different for me because it is set in the not too distant future, following a catastrophic worldwide event.

Living through publishing a book for the first time, have you found the writing process to be what you expected it might be?

Honestly, I had no expectations. I rediscovered the joy reading could offer me, a little over a year ago now. In fact, it was your book Sunset Island that ignited my desire to read again. Then as I was reading more and more, I had so many thoughts and ideas racing through my mind, all I knew was I had to get them out. That’s how this whole amazing adventure began.

AJ:  What has been the easiest part for you, and what has been the most difficult?

The easiest part has been the ideas. They just flow into my mind. The hardest part, not being able to get my hands to type anywhere near fast enough to keep up with my brain.

What about you, what areas do you find easy or have difficulties with?

AJ:  Being an author, I love the writing part, but get a bit impatient waiting for the rest of the process to unfold. Waiting for the editor to get her corrections back to me sets my toes tapping. Then there is another wait while the publisher does her part. Finally, there is a final proof and another wait for the big day of the release. Getting the idea and writing the story is the easy part.

Do you write an outline for your stories, or just sit down and let it emerge?

I write a very basic outline, while the idea is in my head. Then, when I have more time, I can go back to that and add to it. Having the basics down allows me to remember just what I had in my mind the first time the idea emerged.

AJ:  Were you surprised at how much work is involved in writing a novel?

LOL yep, but I must say, you did warn me. There is a lot more involved than I was aware of to begin with. But for me, I love the entire process. I am learning so much and I thrive on this. It brings me to life.

AJ:  Tell us about where you live/NZ.

Well, as you mentioned earlier, we are about as far away as you can get, other than Antarctica, LOL. New Zealand is a small country made up of two Islands: The North Island and the South Island. I live in Auckland, which is closer to the top of the North Island. Auckland is our largest city and is very wide spread. We have a total population of almost 4.5 million people, with 1.3 of those people being in Auckland. We are surrounded by coast and are very lucky to have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. We also have stunning country for hiking, fishing, and camping.

AJ: If you could change one thing about yourself, or your life, what would it be?

I wouldn’t change anything. The experiences I’ve had and who I am, as I am, are what have brought me to where I am today. I have an amazing partner and kids, a loving family, supportive friends, and I have finally discovered something I have a passion for.

I’m curious though, what if anything would you change AJ?

AJ: I know you will laugh when you read this, but I am a much more patient and forgiving person today than I was when I was younger. I’d love to go back and live my life all over again as the person I am today, with the knowledge and understandings I have today. I would also have traveled more, I think. You’re planning a trip to the states and will be attending the GCLS Con in July. What are you looking forward to most there?

Seriously, I couldn’t pick one thing. I’m a quiet kiwi coming to the States, and with my partner will be getting to see some of your stunning country, and on top of that get to meet and learn from authors I admire, along with many other people from within our writing community. And all of this will happen in New Orleans, a city so alive and vibrant.  I can’t wait.

AJ:  This has been fun. I hope the readers will enjoy getting to know a bit about you and will look forward to the release of your new book around May 15th.

Again I’d like to thank you for this interview. I’ve really enjoyed doing it with you. I’d also like to again say thanks for the wonderful books you’ve written, stories that have at times given me somewhere to escape. I will be eagerly awaiting the release of A Journey To You as it is currently named.


Contact information for TJ Whittle:



© JEN 2014