"I just read the article... Thank
you so much for your sweet kind words. I love the article. ... Thank you from the bottom of my heart. ... I
loved getting to talk with you. Tiffani”
Interview (by Beryl Hall Bray) excerpt from WOW Women On Writing .com
Tiffani Amber Thiessen
We decided on 'Author's Staircase' as this issue's theme, and knew we would be spotlighting
a set of steps like no other. There is no inheriting this staircase and no one could casually walk up them either; it would
take deliberate action and courage to tread up these steps.
interviewed Tiffani, my expectations were met and more. I found a woman that made me feel like we were friends
-- she opened her heart and shared what went into making her successful. You'll find that everything wasn't always
easy. She's talented, a very hard worker, has a great ability to focus, and feeds her spirit by engaging in helping others.
This certainly qualifies her to become an author. Which, of course, is how I found her gracefully setting foot on the
BERYL: How does
writing differ from your other work?
TIFFANI: Writing the Fins & Tales series has required that
I look very closely at the concept, characters and storylines we're creating and how these must interrelate, be consistent,
be realistic, inspire and entertain. I'm constantly considering each and every word for its significance on so many levels.
Even the most simple and unassuming of word choices or character lines impact every level of the book series concept.
As an actress, I try and embrace
and accept the storylines and dialogue I'm given from writers. As a writer, I now try and honor the characters in the
story by weaving a tale that is justifiable and lends itself to building a long running popular children's book series,
as well as the foundation for a possible animated television series spin off.
So, from a writing standpoint, I really look at the possibilities that words can offer
on an immediate and long-term basis.
Every avenue of work you've chosen requires a constant accessing of
your emotions, has this contributed to your personal growth, and how so?
Working in this business, not just as an actor, does require a constant accessing
of one's emotions! This can be a rewarding business, a frustrating business, a benevolent business and a brutal business.
I have to be aware of the environment, be able to respond, be proactive and be prepared. I absolutely am in a perpetual state
of accessing my emotions and keeping them in check!
You've proven a truism accepted releases great power. It's
obvious this isn't blind faith on your part. Along with all the thought you put in prior to making a decision, we're
wondering if you purposely determine your strengths and recognize your weaknesses before beginning on a new venture? Or, do
you factor them in as you go?
I know what I'm capable of doing and I know my strengths
and weaknesses. They determine the projects I take on as an actress, producer, director, writer, wife, daughter, etc. I know
when to jump in feet first and I know when to tread water lightly. Even when last minute unexpected situations arise, I base my actions on what my capabilities are.
That said, we're curious, what's
your favorite motto or quote? Do you have a motto you would suggest for women with unattained dreams?
I read once where Elizabeth Taylor said, "Never buy into your own press." I had always admired her. Not
only did I find her beautiful, I loved her work and admired the roles she played. When I read this comment, I found her to
be even more impressive. People tend to rest on their laurels. They so often get caught up in their own egos and lose sight
of their vision.
lose touch with your authentic self will eventually derail from accomplishing what you truly want and who you truly are.
As for women
who feel their dreams are unattainable, I like the quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: " The future belongs to those
who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
Tiffani, you made this such a great interview, thank you very much. But,
before you go, I have a fun question for you. Since this issue’s theme is Authors’ Staircase,
what would your fantasy staircase look like and where would it lead?
TIFFANI, giving it her customary thought, mused: I’d like a staircase that is made of a strong dark wood so that the staircase
is firmly secured and strong. I would like for the staircase to be separated by a landing here or there -- because any journey
has moments where you need to stop, reassess and take a break from the incline. And as long as the staircase is directed upward,
I’m fine with the ultimate destination.
closing comments: Tiffani is a
naturally gracious woman, very aware of other's feelings. To underscore that beautiful quality, I'd like to share
something that happened. After her agent, Jennifer DeChiara, said she thought Tiffani would be perfect for WOW, and we agreed
she would be ideal for the Author's Staircase issue. I tried to reach Tiffani and left a couple of voice messages.
A couple of days later, I was in the middle of a crisis; I'd just
answered the telephone when the doorbell rang, my visitor entered, talking...and then, my cell phone rang! My friend kept talking and I could barely hear the woman on the telephone.
My frenzied state of mind must have crept into my voice, and I hear, "Is this a bad time? Would you like to give me a
call at a better time?" All the while, my friend was still talking. I uttered, oh so gratefully, "Oh, thank you.
Could I get your number?" As soon as I heard 818, I knew it was Tiffani, and I asked, "Is it the number that we
have?" She assured me that it was. She was as kind as my best friend of thirty plus years when she sees me heading in
too many directions, at the same time.
This first one-on-one contact with Tiffani is what inspired the focus of this interview. I hope everyone who reads this
interview will see the woman behind the accomplishments, because who she is -- is her biggest accomplishment.
"Beryl, you, the woman with an ink pen made me feel so at ease that I opened up to you
as if you were a long lost friend... I enjoyed the interview very much and I hope you feel the same..."
Interview (by Beryl Hall Bray) excerpt from WOW Women On Writing.com.
Do you remember a special time in your life when the world went into fade-out and
your interaction with someone became a close-up on the movie screen? Maybe the interaction or dialogue was mundane, but the
person offered something unique, and the encounter was truly memorable. Now, most of the romantics reading this will be picturing
the fellow that jumped off his white horse—but, remember, it doesn't always have to be a romantic interest—there
are those exceptional people that just emit something special.
This describes the day I met
Linda Wang, a lovely, kind and unique young woman, at a pet charity event in a pet store for the "Orange County Pet Adoption
Day.” Now, I would love to say that I was so lovely, kind and unique that Linda wanted to talk to me. But, alas, the
truth is she couldn't pass up my incomparable, handsome and very smart Shih-Poo, Abda. Linda gently smoothed the unruly
hair on his face as she stared into his eyes and told him—he looked punk-rockish, very 80's style and giggled. As
we talked her heart and intelligence beamed through her intense eyes and I learned about a love in her life, Billy the kid Wang, her Golden Cocker Spaniel friend that
had since died.
The more we talked and emailed, I knew I wanted to interview Linda and
share with you just one of many important elements—reading—that makes her the remarkable woman she is today.
Let's welcome Linda to WOW!
Everyone knows at WOW! they love and
support readers (the recipient of all the efforts in the writing industry). That makes Linda the perfect woman to represent
them--since reading is especially influential in both her personal and professional life, as an actress.
Please join me in various moments in time
with Linda, as we talk about how she embraced reading and the benefits she continues to reap.
BERYL: Linda, we're definitely interested in the
role books played in your personal growth; but before we go there, you are about more than ‘book learnin'. What
was your childhood like? Where were you born?
LINDA: I always say, I was “made in Taiwan” but almost all of my memories are here in America. So, I'm a proud American. I grew up in a two-family Victorian brownstone in Queens, New York,
three blocks away from Queens
I was a Latchkey Kid. Each day after school my brother and I stayed home. Him downstairs, me upstairs—in separate quarters...I
grew up with a household of animals such as dog, cat, birds, fish, turtles, frogs, spiders, iguana, and even a chick once
(given away)... I had so many pets because my parents built a home that kept us interested and busy; so my brother and I won't
run out and play and get kidnapped... My parents were very cautious; it was a big city and we were little kids.
My bedroom windows were facing a side street where I had a great view of the trees and the uneven sidewalk pavements below.
Two squirrels built a nest on the tree facing my window. As a child, each morning I would talk to the squirrels as if they
could understand me, and they were my friends. I'd feed them nuts and apple slices, then I would read to them, as if they
were a couple of the characters I happened to be reading about.
They created a ‘hideaway' for you that most children would love to have. I can see you
sitting there with your two ‘friends' and think I have to work that scene into my novel-in-progress. Would you let
me do that? (Thankfully, Linda shakes her head yes, sporting a big grin.)
One thing that really struck me when we met was the expressiveness of your eyes, which far exceeds the number of years that
you've lived; so your passion for life, people, and animals must have been fed by your reading.
When did you fall in love with reading? What sort of books did you ‘cut your eye-teeth on'--sorry, I couldn't
resist that. I'll reword that, what books did you start out reading?
Linda laughs: I developed reading at a young age
due to the fact that my parents both worked and weren't home. So, all that I am talking to you about is really from books—not
TV shows. We had one of the old-fashioned console TV that my parents kept locked, except for rare occasions.
Beryl, now, everyone is going to think we're the Amish family from Taiwan.
To answer your question, one of my favorite writers was Laura Ingalls Wilder. Out of all of her books, my favorites were "The Long
House on the Prairie," and "Little
Town on the Prairie."
Every time I read a book
I would imagine myself as part of the storyline. I would go to my backyard behind the house and plants tomatoes, bell peppers,
eggplants, etc. thinking I am Laura and her Pa working in the fields...I even requested my father to go camping in the woods;
because a city kid like myself wanted to know how it felt to live in the woods. But, after camping out where I was attacked
by evil, massive killer-Pennsylvanian mosquitoes, it sort of ended that fantasy. (Linda acts out beating the mosquitoes off.)
Another favorite author, S. E. Hinton. Books such as "The Outsiders," "Tex," "Rumble
Fish," and "That
was Then, This is Now." I often pictured myself as the characters and because
of the books I was a huge fan of actor Matt Dillon, a die-hard METs fan like myself. S. E. Hinton's book brought the teen-rebellion
fantasy within me to life.
I also loved Alice Walker's "The Color
Purple." I just fell in love with the character "Celie", I learned about forgiving from Celie, just opening your
own heart and just letting all that negativity go by working on yourself, plus learning that it's alright being the ugly
one in the family, as I grew up with a very handsome sibling...
Linda, with all sincerity, I have to say it's
hard to believe you could look in the mirror and not see your beauty. But, it is a powerful statement regarding “perception
That must have moved you into reading even more. While reading, what was it about
Billy the Kid that inspired you to name your dog Billy the kid Wang?
My Billy the Kid
was given to me as a gift by my brother because he knew I loved the cartoon "Lady and the Tramp." At the time Billy was given to me, I was going through a phase, reading
about the "Wild Wild West." In my mind, I wanted to move to Texas and be a cowboy...I was fascinated by Billy the Kid aka Bill H. Bonney. He was a rebel without
a cause, a teen outlaw from the South, in the Wild Wild West. Although, he took lives—in my eyes he wasn't a cold-blooded
Killer—but, a kid who happened to grow up in an era or environment where anything could happen to anyone...
envied that he had such freedom--unlike me at the time—because my parents were so protective. I had to stay home and
let my imagination run free through the books I read.
If you ever had a chance to view Billy the Kid's photos, a blonde with big eyes,
and that "yea, go ahead, make my day" expression, then you will realize that my Golden Cocker Spaniel actually looked like him (at least in my eyes).
I even put on a bandana on my Billy the Kid, along with a cowboy hat for him...
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