by Tiffany Golden
In the magical land of Shina, Midnight is the Keeper of Dreams and Protector of Children. On her nightly journey down the river of dreams, she meets the Red Family, whose child is going with Midnight for the first time.
The dark cloud of sadness that consumes their house confuses Midnight, and the entire family must embark on a journey to find out why an angry father can show no kindness to his only child.
There is a land called Shina so far away that the only way to get there is to close your eyes and dream. It is a land where magic’s mystery makes itself known. Where the light of LIFE, the gift of the MOST HIGH, burns in everyone’s eyes. Where the Spiritfolk live and walk amongst the peoplefolk, and it is where you can find Midnight, the Keeper of Dreams and Protector of Children.
Now, everyone agreed that Midnight was the most beautiful spirit to ever be born to the land of Shina. She had the richest, blackest hair with the richest, blackest skin, and the richest, blackest face you ever did see. And without a question, she had the richest, blackest eyes known to her land. Eyes so deep, that when she opened them, she eclipsed the sun, calling forth the richest, blackest night. And when her work was done, she rested her melanin-filled eyes, letting the sun once again shine brightly on the land.
Now Midnight, just like everyone who lived in Shina, had a job or a duty called upon her in order to keep the land in balance. Midnight’s job was to guide the sleeping children down the Ndoto River, the river of dreams, taking them to Asili, the most mystical part of Shina—where rainbows were made, where stars got their tickle, where butterflies got their colors, and where each child was blessed to enjoy the magic of childhood, a marvelous gift from the MOST HIGH.
Writer/Director Tiffany Golden was trained in Motion Picture Production at the Academy of Art University. She has worked creatively with school-aged youth for 15 years in an effort to support their voices being heard and shared. Her work with young people has led to dozens of her students being published, having their films featured in festivals, installations in major museums, and the highlight of many community-based events.
“I have worked with children for a long time, and I have witnessed firsthand their magic and resilience. I wanted to create a legacy that holds them sacred, reminding us all of the true gift that they are, so they may be cherished. This story was channeled out of complete love; inspired by individuals, and written with an open heart for the collective ‘we’.”
AMAZON BUY LINK: http://www.amazon.com/Midnight-Man-Who-Had-Tears/dp/1497560438/ref=pd_rhf_se_p_img_2
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m originally from Seaside, California, a small town in the Monterey Bay Area. I moved with my mother and older sisters to Oakland, California when I was nine, and have lived there since. I’ve always had a love for storytelling and writing, my parents always did the “voices” during bedtime stories. There was something very special about my formative years; love and family surrounded me. I think I always try to recreate that magical feeling in my work.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
Well, Midnight and the Man Who Had No Tears is the first published volume in the Midnight Story Series. I’ve been writing on the series off and on for a little over ten years. As a soft-hearted person, I am deeply impacted by seeing others in pain; whether it’s through personal tragedy, loss or even the nuanced effects of systemic oppression. We all have our individual journey, but collectively we make a larger story that impacts all of us. The MSS is a way for me to process the painful things I’ve experienced or observed from our collective story with a lens of healing being possible.
I had written two other stories in the series early on, and it shows that they’re early work. Characters were still being learned, voices weren’t all the way developed. So, by the time I got to MMWHNT, I understood Midnight and the cast of characters very well. I understood what setting they were in and the advantages/limitations of the setting. I understood the story I wanted to tell explored the intergenerational impacts of harsh upbringings and the erroneous notion that anger is an acceptable emotion, but sadness (vulnerability) isn’t. It felt like I had something very special in my hands.
I shopped it around for a while in the traditional marketplace, and while there was interest in it, traditional houses weren’t sure how to market it. So, I decided to independently bring it to the marketplace. My work with school-aged youth for over fifteen years had let me know that the market was there and the work was needed.
The good thing about going the independent route was being able to choose my illustrator. Midnight is an expression of all the beautiful things about having darker hued skin, tightly coiled hair, a fuller figure and a nurturing heart. So, it was important to me to find an illustrator who understood that and could depict it lovingly. When I first saw ADOFO’s work (of Adofo Illustrations), I knew it was him immediately. His work hit something in my heart, and I felt the depth he illustrated his characters with. As we worked together and I saw my ideas coupled with his expression of character, it was magical.
How do you create your characters?
Generally, they’re composites of people who interest me, make me feel something, whether painful or inspiring. They have to be characters I don’t mind spending a lot of time with, since I’ll be working with them for a while.
Part of character development for me is what story do I want to tell? As I begin to figure that out, I need to define which characters will be able to tell that story. I love over the top, melodramatic characters. They make me laugh, so I tend to always want at least one of those characters in the story, especially when dealing with heavier material. I sit with that for a while and see who comes through.
What inspires you and what got you started in writing?
Stories of triumph always inspire me. The human spirit is truly resilient. I always liked to write short stories, especially in high school (so melodramatic, lol). But, as I went to college and realized that I could create the narratives I wanted to see instead of just complaining about the lack of “Tiffany-Approved” narratives, then the game was forever changed.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
My favorite place to write is a little café by my house that my Aunt Bonnie took me to before she passed. I love the big windows; it’s always bustling in there and has an eclectic mix of customers. When I’m writing at home, it’s a whole other can of worms. I need my Stevie Wonder music (1970-1980 only), especially if I’m writing an emotional scene. I need some spiced hot chocolate, I have to dance around to get in my body and sing loudly. It’s actually very fun.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
Like character creation, most of my ideas are through observation of the collective narrative. I process what I feel is missing in the social commentary—especially if it’s compassion. I also want it to be an idea that, like characters, that I will be able to be with over a long period of time. Anais Nin’s quote really resonates with me, “The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say.”
What would your advice be to authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
My advice is simple: find a story that your heart needs to tell, and tell it with as much mastery and passion as you possible can.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Thanks for the opportunity to share my work with your followers. It means a lot.
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