Tanya Benoit is the author of Violet’s Storm, Heathen’s Hurricane, Caitlyn’s Rapture and the anticipated, Still the Thunder.
"Right from my early years, I have always cherished the written word. My folks had a bookcase on the upstairs landing, and I remember sneaking out of my room to choose one of the Harvard Classics, instead of going to sleep…like a good girl should.
"I could get lost in those poems and stories with Keats, Tennyson, Austen, and the Bronte sisters. While I couldn’t quite grasp the words, fully understand their hidden meanings…. It seemed there were no limits to where my imagination could take me. With so much inspiration swirling around in my adolescent mind, I began journaling – at first, the same boring account of a child’s daily life – then, short stories, poems, and songs began to emerge. I learned to play the guitar, and with much encouragement, I played those songs for my family and friends.
"Then, something happened. Somehow my life had taken a drastic turn into uncharted territory. No longer was I the sweet daughter, a lover of literature and song or the innocent little sister…no…I had become the stereotypical rebellious teenager. With a baby daughter at 18 and a high school dropout, I had given up. It seemed I’d lost my way. But my family, they did not give up on me.
"Throughout the chaos of the early days where I had to scrounge and save to put food on the table and clothes on our backs, I bartended and played music in the clubs around town…yet, I still I journaled. Everything I have ever done up to that point had been recorded! Can you imagine reading that? I do not recommend it. You cannot go back in time and slap the idiocy out of your 20-year-old self.
"I’d begun writing on an old rebuilt computer, my cousin had repurposed for me in the corner of my kitchen, where characters like Brady Kelly and Violet Ryan took root in my mind…it all began with them. I’d completed, if memory serves me, something like 16 or 17 chapters…these characters were relentless, forcing me to tell their story. Then disaster struck. Mom was sick. I was angry and bitter. There were no happily-ever-afters coming to mind. Brady and Violet would have to wait.
"After my mother passed in 2003, it was like something took hold…shaking me…screaming at me 'Life is too short! You deserve better! Be the best YOU you can be. Your little girl is depending on you!' And so I went back to school. First, to attain my high school diploma and then, to the Mining and Mineral Technology course. Those 3 years would test everything I thought I knew about myself. I learned that, Yes…I could do it. Yes…I can indeed, learn. And …Yes…if I cross my fingers hard enough, I can get a good job and be the best ME I can be.
"I was hired at a mining company in 2007, met my husband, and spent 4 years driving an ore haulage truck. Then, I accepted a bid for a Laboratory Analyst position in 2011. It seemed everything was coming up roses…but something was missing.
"That niggling feeling…you know, when you’re forgetting to do something? That was hitting me in full force. So, in 2013, I finally decided to dig out that old manuscript and dust it off. But, to my disappointment, it was missing. My husband, Fabian and I looked everywhere…it seemed it had been misplaced when we’d combined homes. I hope the bears at the dump thoroughly enjoyed it.
"But all that didn’t mean I’d give up. I’d vowed years ago, to never give up on myself again, and so, Brady and Violet came back from the dead.
"With the encouragement from my friends and co-workers who were hanging on to every word I wrote, I published the first edition of Violet’s storm in 2014, quickly followed by Heathen’s Hurricane in 2015."
Tanya tells her life story, wearing her life's lessons as her shield from failure, she strives to keep writing, keep playing music and as of late, paint a picture or two, regardless of how terrible she is at it.
If you'd like to connect with Tanya, and perhaps receive a little gift, sign up for her newsletter here!