Blood Is One is branching out! While we started out as strictly a hip-hop blog, I am hoping to expand our reaches in to various elements of popular culture. That doesn't mean the hip-hop element is gone, by any means.
The following article is an interview with Tanya Taimanglo - Tanya has been featured in the Pacific Daily News - the primary newspaper for the island of Guam. She is a professional author of romance stories and is currently based in Everett, Washington. Interviewing her was tons of fun - she is a very outspoken gal and I hope that more is to come.
Seen above: Writer Tanya Taimanglo enjoying an episode of Wonder Woman with the appropriate attire.
The article that Sandy Flores Uslander wrote about you in PDN talked about you like an old friend instead of the subject of a newspaper profile. Do you often find that your readers feel that sort of familial relationship from your reading?
Sandy is indeed a friend. We worked on various Chamorro culture projects while I lived in San Diego. I felt immediately connected to her, because she was half Chamorro like me and her mother is a revered artist on Guam, Judy Flores.
I feel that my readers of Pacific heritage do indeed feel a connection to me because many aspects of our culture are similar—family, filial piety and respect being some of them.
Chamorros may not be a well known people but Pacific Islanders, especially Hawaiians, are pretty well known and romanticized. Has that played in to your career as a writer? How so?
This is true, but it’s ever changing. The more our people get out there, find success, continue with creative endeavors, the more we can redirect that spotlight. Being Chamorro hasn’t been easy (living in Anytown, USA), but it’s my life and I accept it. I’m proud to clear up someone’s ignorance on our people. Yes, I get tired of someone saying, “Wow, Guam? How did you get off the island?” Or, “You don’t have an accent?” I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard this. I take it in stride now and just work to inform them. I’m also happy to share our delicious dishes. Have you tried my latiya? Tasty Guam dessert that gets me invited to parties.
But, Chamorros are everywhere in the mainland. We do many great things. I hope that my debut novel, Secret Shopper will make non-Chamorro readers curious, informed and entertained by our culture. I hope they find that in the search for love, we really are all the same.
Why the move to Washington state in particular? California is also mentioned in the PDN article - did you spend time there?
Indeed, we lived in San Diego, CA for 8 years. My husband is active duty Navy. He’s Chamorro too and my biggest supporter. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to hone my writing without the life he’s given me. We were friends on Guam at the age of 12, pen pals at 16 when he moved to California and then lost touch. When we saw each other again at the age of 28, well, let’s just say cupid did his or her magic. So, moving to Washington State last fall was a Navy transfer and our family embraced the change of scenery. Being in Washington has been liberating and given me more opportunity to write.
Before, my Navy wife life, I only knew Guam. I was scared to leave, but I feel that I’ve adjusted well after nearly ten years.
We met through the group "Guam Geeks Nerd Herd." What do you think makes you fit the description of "geek" or "nerd?"
I love that Shawn Mesa created the Guam Geeks Nerd Herd on Facebook. I love many pop culture icons and comic heroes, you know my idol is Wonder Woman. Imagine if I didn’t obsessively post Wonder Woman art on the page, we wouldn’t be conducting this interview now. I like how things like that work, one thing connects you to another.
I’m proud to be a geek, nerd, fangirl-- because, I appreciate the need to escape, the need to believe in a hero/heroine who can move mountains, because then it makes us believe that we can do the same. That belief is what fuels my writing. I love creating alternate worlds. I like creating my own heroes. Secret Shopper’s main character is Phoenix Lizama Farmer. Her first name is testament to my geekhood. I’m also crafting another novel called Wonder Summer with guess who as the focus. So, after I look into the legalities of actually using Wonder Woman in my book, I hope to release that in a year or so.
Before I left San Diego, I made it my goal to attend Comic Con. So I did that twice, in 2011 and in 2012. My brother, Sonny Chargualaf (illustrator of my other books, Sirena and Attitude 13) stands on the geek wagon with me and I was happy to have him attend in 2012. He met Stan Lee and Jim Lee and I relished in the joy in his face. If I won the lottery, I’d attend every Comic Con in every major city for the rest of my life. I’m happy in that crowd. Would a geek sit in a line for 12 hours to see her heroes? Yes. I did that. Twice. I’m a geek, hear me roar.