Chiara Talluto is The Author of The Week
Hello Chiara, welcome to BrandEducation! What’s your favorite word and why?
Each year in January, I come up with a word as a reminder to challenge myself in becoming a better “me”. For the last several years, I’ve started off with these words:
- Restart – 2020
- Reset – 2021
- Revive – 2022
- Stretch – 2023
I was on an “R” streak for the last three years, and this year, that all changed. The one word that has been creeping into my mind is “Stretch”.
I’ve been growing and nurturing myself in many areas of my life: my health, my writings, my family, my relationships, and most importantly, my faith in Jesus Christ. I don’t know what God has planned for me this year, but if it includes the word, Stretch, hmmm… well, I better get flexible very soon because I have an inkling that the Lord is leading me on a journey where all these facets will be tested.
What’s the last book you read?
I’m currently reading “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. A recommendation from my teenage daughter. I’ve been reading that book for a few months now. I love to read and wished I could read faster, but life is very busy and so it takes me a bit longer. I recently did a sidetrack reading, and read a sermon by Jonathan Edwards, an American Revivalist Preacher, titled: “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”. It was several pages long, but well-worth the read. Very convicting.
What’s the book that changed your life?
In January of 2019 I began reading the Bible (NKJ version) in chronological order of events. It took me two years and two weeks to finish, completing it from cover to cover in February of 2021. I have to tell you it was not an easy read. I enjoy inspirational/Christian fiction because that’s what I write. I’ve dabbled in historical fiction; I like some crime/government conspiracy fiction as well. What this incredible book of over 900 pages offered me, no other book ever can. There was mystery, elements of miracles/mysticism, inspiration, gore and death and tragedy which I can’t always stomach, but there was something else. The Bible offered the remarkable accounts of God’s purpose for our existence, his detailed construction of our humanity, his undeniable love for each and every one of us. His jealous rage for when we move away from Him. His fatherly wrath for when we disobey. His continuous call for us to return to Him, and all the heroic messengers/prophets/apostles who helped spread the WORD all over the world. This book changed me from the inside out and made me who I am today.
What’s your favorite thing about being a writer?
I write for the euphoric desire and need to transfer spiraling thoughts into words that move people emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I love taking everyday life situations and circumstances that people encounter, struggle, and conquer, and turn them into creative storylines.
How do you generate new ideas?
It depends. Sometimes, I have the character names, like Tulipia in “A Tribute to Tulipia” and other times, I have the storyline in my head, like a childless couple in “Love’s Perfect Surrender”. I’ve been inspired by events and circumstances, like “She Made It Matter” and still other times, I have a bit of both. I also have to handwrite all my notes first in notebooks, including outlines, diagrams, and pictures, etc. It’s my process.
I have used sticky notes, I’ve talked into my phone, I’ve written on my hand, I always have a little pad of paper or small notebook in my overstuffed purse because you never know when ideas will hit.
What’s the book that made you want to become a writer?
I was a very imaginative child. Played alone and role-played a lot. And I read books to escape reality. I began writing poems and keeping a journal at the age of eleven. My love for the written word was sparked by reading the Nancy Drew series and Hardy Boys books. It wasn’t until my late teens that I discovered Danielle Steele novels and began my hand at short stories. In high school, I started writing poems for the school newspaper, had a few poems in the yearbook. I progressed to short stories/plays. Wrote the two plays for my Italian class in my Junior and Senior year of high school.
I continued writing longer prose in college, and as much as I could during a prosperous career as a Human Resources Recruiter, and then as an Instructional Designer. I received many awards and accolades for my accomplishments, and my work responsibilities grew, but there was something missing. I began to devote less and less time to my joy of writing. And soon, my creativity began to suffer. It wasn’t until after much soul-searching and some tough family decision-making that I finally left the corporate world to start writing full-time. That was eighteen years ago, and I haven’t looked back.
If you were a superhero, what powers would you have?
I grew up watching Wonder Woman. She’s my hero. Being able to transport myself in many locations at the same time especially when it comes to chores and cooking, and having the strength to fight teenage evil and drama in the world. If I can be as strong as Wonder Woman and possess super multitasking skills, well, sign me up.
If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be?
Dear Younger Me,
If you can gaze from where I’m standing, you’d be amazed in seeing what you accomplished in your writing career. Yes, it was a slow progression, similar to a courtship, but with words. Ah, words, how you love stringing words together and making sentences. There’s a song called “Symphony” by Christian artist, Switch. The refrain goes like this:
Cause even in the madness, there is peaceDrowning out the voices all around meThrough all of this chaosYou were writing a symphony, a symphony
My dear, you’ve written four symphonies and a fifth one in the process of coming into fruition. Celebrate your perseverance to carry on in expressing yourself. Never stop pursuing the dream of storytelling. Use this gift of writing that God has given you to help others in their doubts and tumbles toward victories and triumphs. Always listen to God’s voice.
What inspired you to start writing?
I often tell people I have two addictions: reading and writing. I feel restless and empty when I can’t read fiction, write my deepest thoughts in my journal, or even write down story ideas. Writing calms me, centers me, and provides a healthy outlet for my communication with imaginary friends.
I’m not a bestselling author. I’m just a “nobody” who uses stories as my communication tool to encourage others to find their purpose.
My writing influences have flourished over the years:
- In high school, it was English classes, the Classics,
- In my mid-30’s, it was Literary authors,
- Now, I’m influenced by Bible stories. The parables of Jesus Christ. It is important for me to keep my faith strong in ALL my writings.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Oh boy! My first of many dreams was to become a Police Officer. I was a tomboy and I have many male cousins; I think I was influenced through them over the years. It then changed to being a movie producer and director, which then changed to being a schoolteacher, and then with all the reading and writing I did, I found I too, wanted to start penning my own tales. I had to make a living, so I pursued Instructional Design after falling into Human Resources, which then led me back to writing.
Writing has always been a key focus. Any type of communication, email, correspondence, I always wanted to connect and communicate well with my readers, whether they were clients, employees, customers, etc. I believe it was inevitable that writing would become my craft. I love words and I love seeing them on a page.
Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft.
Read many different types of books and authors. See how others weave a tale. Write all the time too. Hone your craft. Make your words and story, YOURS, and yours alone. Practice does make progress. And give yourself Grace to stumble because that will only make you a better human.
What’s the key lesson you want everyone to take away from your work?
I’d like to use my stories to encourage readers to explore their faith and believe they are worthy of this life to make a difference. Those readers who aren’t afraid to be challenged in everyday life. Those willing to sacrifice for the good of others, those readers who are struggling with decisions and want to be inspired to change, grow, and leave tire marks. After all, we have just one life to live.
Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?
I’d love to hear more from my readers than just reviews. When I post blogs, or do book reviews, or even post anything on writing, I do hear from readers on how they enjoy reading what I write. And I’m grateful for that.
I’ve been told from others about my writing that I ”delve into challenging, emotional topics like miscarriage, adoption, challenged/physical disfigurements, alcoholism, bullying, going against family authority…” My editor says my writings are “tone-setting and picture-perfect.”
However, I don’t want to get distracted by accolades. Yes, they’re wonderful. However, I prefer to write for an audience of ONE. God. Through Him, I trust to reach those readers.
You can also read Chiara’s article in The Relatable Voice magazine. Grab your free magazine at : /https://www.relatable-media.com/