Summer Contest 2nd Place Winner—Tiffany Chartier

Tuesday, October 02, 2007
WOW: Congratulations, Tiffany, for your 2nd Place Win! How did you react once you learned?

Tiffany: When I found out I placed 2nd in the WOW! Women on Writing Summer 2007 Flash Fiction Contest I immediately jumped around the house and started doing the happy dance. I am a passionate and purposeful writer who sincerely appreciates the opportunity WOW! has given me to challenge my writing skills and showcase my work. Thank you!!

WOW: Well, we’re excited for you, too. Of course, now we want to know what encouraged “The Pale Yellow Vase”?

Tiffany: Looking around my house at the pictures and decorations that adorn the walls and furniture, I have come to understand that my style doesn’t fit into any one category; rather, I am a combination of my memories and dreams – a collection of trinkets and captured smiles that surround my family as we live in the rooms that make up our home. These memorable times and feelings represented within tangible souvenirs is what encouraged me to write “The Pale Yellow Vase.”

WOW: What a wonderful inspiration! That says something about you, too. But let’s get to know you a little better. In your bio you mentioned that you’ve just finished your young adult novel. Do you care to share a little or a lot about it here?

Tiffany: I would love to share with you the young adult novel I recently finished writing! I have just started the process of trying to find the right agent for this project. I would certainly appreciate any help, guidance, or advice you are able to offer!

Page by page, this 49,164 word young adult novel, The Walking Stick, is a smart, captivating, and surprising discovery filled with magical realism and inspiration that will leave the reader cheering for more! Pearl Winters knows something is terribly wrong. The only thing that seems clear is that her dream of becoming an artist is no longer obtainable. At the age of fifteen, Pearl is told she is losing her sight to an eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa. While on a camping trip the summer before tenth grade, Pearl discovers a mysterious stick hidden in the roots of an ancient tree. This stick becomes Pearl’s cane, mental crutch, and ultimately, the key to exploring a life she never thought possible. On the same trip, Pearl has a brief encounter with the ever-so-handsome Landon Livingston. Pearl berates herself for being attracted to Landon, telling herself that someone that wonderful would never be interested in her if he knew she was going blind.

As Pearl’s vision digresses and her senior year fast approaches, Pearl retreats both physically and mentally from the outside world. In a surprising twist, Pearl’s walking stick jolts her out of seclusion. The result is an unlikely encounter with the most popular girl in high school - Katherine Sparks. Their time together teaches them how much they have in common regardless of first-impression differences. Katherine introduces Pearl to Landon – the same Landon Pearl met a few years prior. But something is drastically different, Pearl is now completely blind. Will Landon still find Pearl attractive? Will Pearl be willing to find out? Pearl’s story culminates in a courageous moment during senior prom when Pearl lays down her walking stick, embraces Landon’s hand, and boldly takes center stage.

This novel has an authentic voice because I have Retinitis Pigmentosa, and I persevered through many of the teenage challenges Pearl battles in The Walking Stick.

I am positively thrilled about The Walking Stick and hope to put it in the right agent’s hands soon!

WOW: Tiffany, your book sounds positively engaging and intriguing! You’ll have to keep us posted on your progress and let us know when it gets published. So, tell us, how is your agent search coming along?

Tiffany: Searching for an agent has proved to be a more challenging task than what I first imagined. Regardless, I am hanging in for the long haul. As Churchill said, “Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” I have definitely not lost my enthusiasm for The Walking Stick. I believe in this story, and I will see it through with gusto!

WOW: You have a type of enthusiasm I’d love to harness and channel into me! Kudos to you. Since you’ve quoted Churchill, I’ll move right into the next question. Have you found inspiration from other books or authors you could recommend?

Tiffany: I enjoy all types and styles of books. Three of my favorites are as follows: “Living, Loving & Learning” by Leo Buscaglia, “The Enchanted April” by Elizabeth von Arnim, and “Driving Over Lemons” by Chris Stewart. I am inspired by these authors’ simplicity and sophistication – they are obviously passionate about their topic, making me want to turn the page.

WOW: From all your answers to this point, I’d have to say you’re a passionate person in general. This trait will serve you well. So, please tell us, do you have any other specific goals for your writing career?

Tiffany: I made a New Year’s Resolution several years ago to have my first book accepted for publication before my fortieth birthday. I have five more years to go, and I am determined to make this dream a reality!

WOW: I’ve never known a person to be that far ahead of her goals! You’re well on your way. Plus, we learned in your bio that you’ve met other goals. Could you tell us a little about your short stories?

Tiffany: Writing short stories is like eating chocolate cake to me – I love it! Writing takes me to another place, outside of the daily routine and stresses. I get lost in my imagination, and delight in putting a short story to life on paper. Most of the short stories I write have an inspirational, Christian base. I write as a thank-you for His unconditional love.

WOW: I think many writers share your delight. But we know you’re a parent, too. How do you balance parenting with writing? Do you only write when they kids are asleep?

Tiffany: Being a parent of an 11, 9, and 4 year old makes finding a quiet place and time to write a creative work of patience and persistence. My family comes first, and I have an amazingly supportive husband that recognizes when I need help. We are a great team, from the oldest (my husband) to the youngest (my daughter). The time they are with me is primarily devoted to them. After they are in bed or at their activities is when I begin typing. My husband and kids are very supportive of my desire to write, and they encourage me to follow my dreams!

WOW: I’d say you have a fabulous family! You definitely have much to be thankful for! And your answers, by themselves, are a source of inspiration. Your attitude just shines through. I wonder if I could ask for one more--could you end on some motivating words to our audience of writers?

Tiffany: There is always work involved in making your dreams come true. Surround yourself with people who support you, and keep your focus on the positive. It only takes one “yes” to turn it all around. A little faith can make a world of difference. Decide that you are worth the effort, time, and fight – go for it!! The process only stops when you decide to quit.

WOW: Tiffany, thanks so much for your motivating words, your upbeat attitude, and your willingness to share. You’re an interviewer’s gem!

If you haven’t checked out Tiffany’s winning entry, go to The Pale Yellow Vase.


Angela Mackintosh said...


Congratulations on your winning story! It's beautiful and heartfelt. I love the message behind the pale yellow vase... it's very true.

And congrats on your YA novel! I'm sure you'll find a home for it - the story is unique and I'm sure the message is something that would help a lot of other teens who are going through the same thing.

Have you tried e-mailing Jennifer DeChiara? She handles YA, and picked out your story as a winner, so I wouldn't hesitate to approach her. Mention who you are as a winner and ask if she'd like to review your manuscript. You can find her email addy on the interview we did with her:

Best of luck! And congrats again!



Chynna said...

I remember this story. Just beautiful.

I would do what Angela suggests. You already have a foot in the door if an agent gave your story the "thumbs up" because she knows and likes your writing style! Give it a shot and let us know how it turns out.

I'm sure whatever you do with your writing from here on, you'll be successful. You already have fans here at WOW! ;o)

Good luck, Tiffany.


Becky Andrews said...

Congratulations - what has happened since this award? I also have RP

Tiffany Chartier said...

Becky - Would love to hear more from you regarding your journey with RP. Reach out via (select contact us)

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