Local resident Tanna Marie Angers brings her paranormal/fantasy romance to life in Forbidden, a novel that takes place in the beautiful town of Hope. It’s part one of her four part Wild Sky series.
Tanna was born in Hope on August 6, 1983 at the Fraser Canyon Hospital, and spent some time in Rosedale before she moved back to Hope to live with her grandmother at age 14.
The soft spoken elfin-like mother of three Noah (aged 7,) Casey (aged 6) and Sophie (aged 3) knew that she wanted to be a writer as early as seven years old, when a teacher told her she was going to be famous after reading one of her poems.
“It was something about a rainbow — I remember bringing it up to her and tripping over a garbage can and then apologizing to it,” she told the Hope Standard.
The gifted poetess used to write poems and give them to people.
“I still have people who come up to me 20 years later and tell me that my poetry touched their lives,” she said.
After submitting a four line poem entitled Grizzly Bear, Tanna won first place out of 25,000 Canadian entrants to be published in a Robert Bateman calendar and to attend a concert with him.
“I never really tried to publish anything, I just wrote for myself.”
The dark haired, fair skinned and blue eyed author has Cree and Dutch heritage and her last name is very French, it has a soft pronunciation that sounds almost like angel, not anger.
“I tried to learn Cree — if there was one language I would want to learn it would be Cree. I love how they believe in stuff like nature — there’s a lot of it in my book, when I use nature it’s because it’s there,” she said.
The idea for the book came to her one morning over coffee.
“It was a thing that came into me and I was like, oh, I guess I’m writing a book — it was just an overwhelming feeling, I sat with the sensation for a few minutes, got a pen and began to write. I knew that it was going to be a love story,” she said.
Inspired by “Sweater Weather” a song written by The Neighborhood, the Hope native was compelled to write in a furious and passionate way.
“I couldn’t stop writing, it was an obsession and I wrote every moment that I could and there were a lot of sleepless nights, or waiting until the kids went to bed, or waiting until they were quiet,” she told the Hope Standard about writing as a single mother of three.
The innovative mom wrote her first draft on big sheets of paper and folded them into four, writing the first draft completely by hand.
“I had to eventually put them on the computer, so I kind of learned my lesson — I really try to go to the computer, otherwise you have to rewrite everything.
Aira the heroine in her romance, didn’t reveal her name to the author until later on.
“At first I didn’t even know her name — I basically had to deepen her character and deepen her as a person,” she said. “I wanted to write a female character that was strong and I needed something for people to relate to as well,” she said.
Israel, the love interest of Aira came to Tanna first, as she tried to figure out how to start the story, and how the pair were going to meet, eventually deciding upon a meet cute, which readers will have to find out by reading the book. No spoilers here.
“I gave Aira my grandparents to deepen her character,” she said on the only element she used from her own life to give Aira structure and a sense of realism.
Tanna described the writing process as a healing journey and a responsibility to help others through the real emotional qualities and struggles her characters experience in the book.
“It was my intention to help people in a light way, there is a lot of darkness in the world — the more time you spend with Israel, the more you look at his strengths, and how the darkness went from the outside of him to the inside and back again.”
Inspiration for Tanna comes from experience, impressions, imagination and even local folklore (she spoke candidly of a mystical family that once lived near Alexandra Bridge who were over seven feet tall, albino and stayed separate from people.) Often picturing an entire scene in her mind she writes from the vision, almost like a movie reel in her head.
“When I’m writing something I see the whole thing, all I have to do is sit and start writing — I can see everything around me and I can feel the energy. If a scene is wrong, or not put together properly, I will get this overwhelmingly bad feeling and I won’t leave until it’s fixed.”
Fighting the good fight, Tanna reworked the book several times with her editor. She knew it was good news when her editor said the first draft might not be the next great Canadian novel, but that it had potential.
With the support of family and friends and the love of her children, Tanna persevered and the book was published by FriesenPress publishing in Victoria B.C.
“I needed to be able to do something for my kids — when I wanted to give up, or put it in the garbage I thought about my kids.”
On finishing her first novel, Tanna imparted that it was like putting down something real, something tangible, like a good friend or a warm sweater on a cold night.
“I know they’re not real, but when you’re with them it feels like it, and I’ve never been more excited that they’re my characters. I look forward to every story that I will write with them.”
Forbidden is currently available to order online, or to order from 35,000 different bookstores.