Welcome back to Creekside Café, Tyler Wittkofsky. Tyler is a fellow North Carolina writer, but we actually met through our Twitter group, Shameless Self Promo. Tyler it is so good to have you back at my virtual café.
Tyler: I’m happy to be back Sherri, it is always good to connect with fellow writers, especially ones who have a connection to my hometown.
Sherri: I’m so excited that you could take the time out of your busy schedule to come for a visit. You have a lot on your plate. Tell us what you’ve been up to.
Tyler: Up until recently I was working on the Darkened Veil Universe set of blogs, Legends of the Veil and Myths of the Darkness, both which recently came to an end. My friend and fellow author Rebecca Ridge and I are in the process of rebranding our podcast, so that’s been a lot of fun and work. What I’m most excited for, however, is that I have my third book release coming up. Sunflower Kisses Book 1: The Seeds of Love is my first stab at a romance book and is hopefully the first of a five-book series.
Sherri: Your new book is available for pre-order but goes live June 1st, what was the inspiration for this book?
Tyler: I have always been a hopeless romantic. In fact, my now wife and I lived three hours apart when we first met, so I had to be creative with how I showed her my love. There are parts of The Seeds of Love that are loosely based on my life and my relationship with my wife. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of romance books that tackle long distance relationships, but with the way our world is becoming more connected digitally, those types of relationships are becoming more and more frequent. Those stories need to be told.
Sherri: Tell us about the characters. Your blurb is intriguing. Clay seems to have it all and so does Bailey, so what shakes up their world?
Fresh out of college, Clay Dabrowski is finally in a good spot in his life. Backed by his support systems, he has his sights on a new job and loving friends and family by his side. The future looks bright.
Then he meets fiery-red haired Bailey Childe, a college soccer player from a loving family. Dealing with a rocky relationship, she changes Clay’s world, and quickly shakes up all of his plans. Together they forge a path neither believed was possible. But it leaves Clay wondering, is everything as perfect as it seems?
Tyler: Without giving too much away, nothing is as it seems. I tried to throw in curve balls just when the reader thinks things are getting better. They go through a lot together. It is truly a trying relationship towards the end of the book.
Sherri: In your bio you credit your grandmother as one of the influencers of your writing. Are there any other influences you credit for your writing growth and journey?
Tyler: I would say one of my elementary school teachers, Mrs. Sandra Shuford, was one of my biggest inspirations. She took a special interest in me and helped me grow throughout elementary school. We still stay in contact to this day. I would also say my wife is important for my journey. She loves hearing me read my stories to her and gives me feedback from a reader’s perspective. I have to say, I have been lucky with the support my family has shown me.
Sherri: I noticed from your cover that your new novel takes place at the beach and since I’m familiar with your hometown of Leland, I was curious how much of your hometown influenced this novel?
Tyler: This story actually takes place in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, which is about an hour from Leland. I visit Myrtle Beach a lot since we are so close, especially when I was younger, and I have friends who live there. Much of the inspiration is drawn from real places in Myrtle Beach.
Sherri: You are a mental health advocate. I believe that is an important job especially in the past two years. Do you feel your advocacy for mental health has any effect on your writing?
Tyler: Oh absolutely. Mental health is something I am passionate about and something I believe in being vocal about. My characters typically have some sort of mental illness that they are battling through. While some steer away from mental illness, I embrace it. I want to make my characters relatable, and mental illness is something that needs to be talked about more and made less taboo.
Sherri: What are you working on now?
Tyler: I have a few works in progress. I have started on the sequel to The Seeds of Love, Love and Growth. I also have a fantasy story I started based on one of the stories I wrote for Legends of the Veil, based on the descendants of Ariadne from Greek Mythology and their hunt for the Minotaur of Crete. I’m writing a story for my grandmother as well that I plan to publish. I have a ton of short stories that I write when I’m inspired that I will probably publish one day.
Sherri: Well, Tyler, I know you’re busy, so I won’t keep you. I wish you a lot of success with your new book. Tell everyone how they can find your book.
Tyler: I am exclusively on Amazon right now. You can preorder The Seeds of Love here: https://www.amazon.com/Seeds-Love-Sunflower-Kisses-Book-ebook/dp/B093K877TH/