17 Questions with Taversia

By Holon Staff Writer Brandon Cook

Writer... Model... Vigilante: it would seem that the authoress of “Viscountess” is set on creating a persona that she can call totally and wholeheartedly her own. Last week, Holon Publishing attempted to delve into the heart of the secret life of Taversia in seventeen questions (or bust). 

INTERVIEWER: If you could choose any ideal fantasy world to live in, what world would that be?

TAVERSIA: I have had a dream about this since as far back as I can remember. It would be me riding sidesaddle over this serpent, or some sort of phoenix, in the sky. Just riding it through the clouds, and there’s this castle below me, with these green rolling meadows, and the sky is blue, with a waterfall in the distance. And suddenly I throw myself from this phoenix that I’m riding and I’m just slowly falling watching the ground come closer and closer to me and everything below me is this lush land with all these fantasy beings…and I’m coming towards them. The dream in my head was always to become apart of that land…apart of that reality.

INTERVIEWER: How many McDonalds do you think there are in Indiana?


INTERVIEWER: Nuclear destruction, alien invasion, or zombie apocalypse? 

TAVERSIA: Zombie apocalypse. Because they’re f@cking awesome.

INTERVIEWER: I saw the cover of Viscountess, with the big key. Does that take any inspiration from Kingdom Hearts?

TAVERSIA: I get that all the time, and the answer is no. I actually found the key—the key exists—from a thrift store. I bought it for 99 cents. That key is really that size. That was the big inspiration, really. It played a significant part in my idea for the story. 

INTERVIEWER: If you were to have a duel to the death with any person, living or dead, who would it be?

TAVERSIA: See, that’s not something that you can really just think of offhand. You have to consider: what’s a challenge, but not so challenging that it would be out of my physical power completely?

INTERVIEWER: It can also be, like, a political statement, for all those people out

TAVERSIA: I’d fight V. V for Vendetta. Because I love him and I respect him. And I feel that he could make me a better person. And I think he’d give me an honorable death.

INTERVIEWER: Which conspiracy theory do you think most likely to be true? 

TAVERSIA: I don’t pay too much attention to conspiracy theories. Perhaps the Big Bang, how it all came to be? That's not really a conspiracy theory though, is it...

INTERVIEWER: If one moment you woke up to find yourself transformed into an animal, what animal would that be and why? 

TAVERSIA: A porcupine. Because whenever anyone wants ‘dat ass, I can always back ‘dat ass up, and then suddenly they’d have a face full of quills instead of ‘dat ass.

INTERVIEWER: We’re having this conversation when suddenly a moose walks through the door wearing a bowler hat and monocle. What’s the first thing you say?

TAVERSIA: Some kind of club.

INTERVIEWER: If I gave you one million dollars with the stipulation that you had to buy only one thing with it and you couldn’t donate it to charity, what would that be?

TAVERSIA: The world’s biggest underwater village. I would construct it. Like the one that’s the underwater equivalent to the Smurfs; I think they're called the Snorks.

INTERVIEWER: What’s your favorite dish to cook?

TAVERSIA: I believe it’s called Italian Wedding. It’s a soup. My best friend taught me how to make it.

INTERVIEWER: What two celebrities would you choose to be your parents?

TAVERSIA: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. 

INTERVIEWER: You’re sitting in a crowded movie theatre when suddenly, halfway through the film, your phone rings. For some reason, the silence button is stuck and you can’t switch it off. What do you do?

TAVERISA: Throw it. Arbitrarily in the distance. Because that would be humiliating and I’d rather lose my phone than be in that situation. I’d probably say something to the effect of “phones in the theatre are rude” and then everyone in the theatre would think that it was someone else’s that I ripped from their hand. Obviously I would garner applause for that feat.

INTERVIEWER: What sexy icon do you find that you most resemble: a nurse, a librarian, a schoolteacher, or a nun?

TAVERSIA: All of the above, with an emphasis on nun. One of my sexy photo shoots actually had me dressed as a nun. 

INTERVIEWER: Why the nun?

TAVERSIA: I went to a private Catholic school for a portion of my middle school/high school era and it left a very big imprint on me. (Raises forehead, assumes snooty tone) I believe I sexualize it as a coping mechanism to deal with the traumas that came of living through the Catholic school system. 

INTERVIEWER: Assuming that your second life is that of a crime-fighting vigilante, what article of clothing is essential for your uniform?

TAVERSIA: I’ve done this before. The article was the breastplate. Not bulletproof or revealing. The costume was pretty tight though. I looked pretty good in it; I felt that the pants hugged my ass quite nicely.

INTERVIEWER: So every superhero needs a good ass-hugging breastplate?

TAVERSIA: We’ll go with that. I like that better. 

INTERVIEWER: Any one song, it can be a Disney song, to summarize your life?

 TAVERSIA: The one Megara sings in Hercules. “I Won’t Say I'm In Love.” 

INTERVIEWER: If you could rate the preceding questions on a scale from 1 to 5 what would you give them?

TAVERSIA: I am… one for room for improvement in the same way that an art teacher never gives out A+’s. 

INTERVIEWER: Was that meant as a buffer so that the answer doesn’t hurt my feelings?

TAVERSIA: It’s a five. I just wanted to comment on how much I disliked those teachers with their "art is subjective" nonsense.

Taversia and Holon Staff Writer, Brandon Cook.   Photo by Jennifer Smith

Taversia and Holon Staff Writer, Brandon Cook. Photo by Jennifer Smith

Brandon Cook, Holon Publishing,    The Brandon Blakely   .    Photo by Jennifer Smith.

Brandon Cook, Holon Publishing, The Brandon Blakely.  Photo by Jennifer Smith.

Taversia, author of Viscountess.   Photo by Jennifer Smith.

Taversia, author of Viscountess. Photo by Jennifer Smith.

Viscountess - A Novel by Taversia

Mute and psychologically disturbed, the sheltered daughter of a sky ship captain prefers to keep to herself; but a mysterious cloaked man has different plans for her. She is plunged headlong into a quest to recover twelve lost gemstones scattered about a ravaged earth with the power to unlock a legendary castle in the sky.

Equipped only with her family’s heirloom key and the mark of her noble birthright, she embarks on a journey of passion, danger, and self-discovery through the barren lands of a post-apocalyptic world. Lines become blurred as she grows to find that things are not always what they seem, and some things are only as real as you make them…

For more of Taversia's legacy, visit Taversia.Net

Or... buy the book!

Interview with Margaret Clark, by Brandon Cook

Interview with Margaret Clark


by Brandon Cook

“I left my Heart in Harlem”


Your experience is about you growing up with twelve people in the house (twenty one total). Tell us a little bit about that.


You’re talking about twelve kids, and then you come down and you’ve got the parents and the grandparents; you’ve got almost fifteen, and then another four children. Eventually it just became twenty-one people in my life.


What was the experience like? What was the attention like?


We had some older [siblings] than me and some younger, so we used to try and fight the older ones. It was hard living, but we could bear each other.


Did you have an alliance of the older versus the younger?


Yeah, and I wanted to beat the older ones up who kept on telling me what I could say and what to say. [Eventually though] I got to the point that I agreed with them.


What provoked you to finally write your story?


You’ve always got something to say. I wanted to leave my experience there. Even though I took the title “Harlem” from New York, everything else was basically the same: you’ve got an uptown and you’ve got a downtown. I had to write about something that I knew…and I had been to New York too so I knew what it looked like. It just shows you how some people even though they’re down and under. In the ghetto, they get out. Some get out. And they actually make it successful.


Was it a realization that you had to write this down, or did someone tell you that you should?


Well I was going to Weightwatchers, and someone would say: “write me two more papers…write me three more papers” and I got so into it I wound up doing it. I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t stop after I got into it.


Had you ever had passions about writing when you were younger?


I didn’t even like writing. But I really did want to express my feelings. Everybody talks about what it’s like for them. I think I had something that I wanted to talk about. It ain’t always about other people; it’s about you too. And it’s true: everybody has a story. I wasn’t really ever interested in writing but I knew I had to write.


Could you give us a quick summary about your story?


Well I always wanted people to know that even though you’re living in a background that you never think you can get out, there’s always someone there to help you. People do see you for who you are. The story basically talks about a girl and even though all the things around her was unbelievable…and that [she was] never going to do anything, that wasn’t really true. Everybody has a point in their life when they actually do peak but that depends on their ability to want to.

It wasn’t necessarily all about myself. It was the experience: the funny things, the laughs, the jokes, the slang, the dances, the music. It really took you back in doing it. It really gave me purpose. So it was fun. It was really fun.



To what degree is Liz a biography and to what degree is she a fiction?


She’s fiction in a sense that, she is me, but a lot of things that she did wasn’t exempt from her; it was from another person. Sometimes you can’t write a story about other people but you can take some of their characters and personalities. Liz was basically me, but some things I heard and some things I did, so I just took it from there.

Brandon Cook and Margaret Clark,  the Brandon Blakely

Brandon Cook and Margaret Clark, the Brandon Blakely


What can a reader who has no experience of you or your book beforehand expect from your book?


It’s all age. There’s not a whole lot of violence, though there’s some in there. Everything was violent. It actually talks about the girl who ran away. It talks about the situation. Young people have read it and they like it. Old people have read it. There’s no age balance. And it is funny. It’ll make you laugh. Every emotion I had—it came out in that book.


You talk a lot about how a theme of your book is the self-discovery. Could you talk a little about how you explore and develop that?


Making characters. People that I know. Things that they did—the background of each and every one of them.


Did you find when you started making characters that they assumed a life of their own?


They assumed a life of their own in the sense that you took one person’s look and his background, the way he speaks, and you’ve made him a character. So you find who he is through what you see. Everybody’s got their own personality and everybody sees everybody different.


Did you try to keep the personalities of the people you knew as close to them as possible, or did you make it a bit more fictitious.


Well you don’t want to get sued, so you don’t have too much. So you make them crazy if you have to. You give them disabilities if you want to, but you have to grow the character according to what you’ve seen in that person. But you don’t take the whole character from the person.


Who’s inspired you the most?


Friends. My family and my friends…I think about a lady in the cafeteria who gave me the brand new dress that she made.


Could you talk about that story?


I always thought that I was so poor, and we were. But this lady took my face and she took me to the mirror and she said: “look at you. You are beautiful. You are absolutely beautiful.” And she combed my hair and she told me little things about me. And I got the chance to see her before she died to say “thank you.” And we would talk all the time.


What was her name?


Miss Jones. I just felt like I had to keep in touch. I found her—and I just kept in touch until the day she died.


Could you talk a little about your creative process? Was it easy to write? Was it difficult?


Very difficult. You had to either add or subtract, and then decide who would be the dominant player or who you would be the player that you really wanted to oversee. Each character had their own personality. Who’s going to stand out? That was the hardest. I knew Liz was going to stand out, but it was other people in her life that stood out too to make Liz a better person.


Could you describe your feelings when you learned that there was going to be a film version of your novel?


I was shocked. I didn’t believe it’d ever happen. I’d always wanted it to happen, just to let somebody like me be in that situation.


How did you learn about it?


We kept talking and talking about it. And they said: I have to have a movie. I want somebody’s who actually been in that situation—who knows to never give up. 


What advice would you give to readers who might be growing up under similar circumstances or who might have some of the problems that Liz faces?


You have to be realistic. You have to know that you are who you are. Things don’t change just like that. So you have to work on the positive things about you.