The rise of Tanya Ross

Ross has won Writer’s Digest Ebook Award for YA, Indie Author Project for California and more.

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  • Ross follows up her successful teaching career with the launch of ‘The Tranquility Series.’

    Photo by Tanya Ross

  • Tanya Ross

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Tanya Ross, former AVID, History, and English teacher from Woodland Park Middle School and substitute teacher at Mission Hills High School became an author of a dystopian book series called Tranquility, a series about a dystopian city in the year 2120.

Becoming an author has always been Mrs. Ross’ goal ever since she was in high school. However, it took her a while to become an author, since she became a teacher first.

“Teaching was my first love, and it took up so much of my time. I also had a family to raise, so it was definitely a ‘dream deferred.’ My goal took priority when I retired from teaching and I could concentrate on writing,” Ross said.

Tanya Ross published her first book, ‘Rising Up’ on Jun. 25, 2019. However, writing and publishing ‘Rising Up’ wasn’t an easy process for Ross as it took her three years to write the novel before she even published.

“I had tons of self doubt, which made the writing go slowly. I would literally doubt everything I put down on the page, so I would erase it many times and start sentences, paragraphs, and chapters all over again. Plus, money is always an obstacle. While publishing to Amazon is free, the costs associated with that are steep: editing, book cover, advertising,” Ross said.

Publishing a book taught Ross that it was a long and expensive process. Once the writing task was finished, she had to hire an editor to revise the book. Ross also had to pay someone to design a book cover and to format it. In addition, she taught herself how to upload the book on Amazon. She did this all on her own, without a publishing house.

Besides the drive to publish ‘Rising Up,’ Ross had a creative way of coming up with the plot through her own experiences. A company called Arbitron in 2012 called Ross and her family to participate in data gathering, and their time would be compensated. They had to carry a device with them about the size of a garage door opener from morning until night. The device collected data from the air waves–all of the radio or television they listened to would be recorded on the device.

“I remembered thinking, ‘What would happen if this measured more than just what I listened to? What if it measured my emotions?’ And that is what began the basis plot for Rising Up. People in the fictional city of Tranquility agreed to wear the device to monitor their emotions,” said Ross.

Ross is inspired by music, her family, and some of her former students. An important inspiration of where she gets her plot ideas from is from her son who was born with Fragile X Syndrome; characterized by frequent mood swings. Her son’s condition influenced her to come up with the inner-workings of the dystopian society of Tranquility.

Ross has won Writer’s Digest Ebook Award for YA, Indie Author Project for California, YA Southern California Book Festival, American Writing Award Finalist, and Honorable Mention for YA – New York Book Festival. She felt ecstatic and shocked, but the biggest emotion she felt was validation.

“I have won a total of 5 awards for my books, but the one I won for my first book is the one I cried about because I never had much confidence in the book. I was proud of it, yes, but there was still always that question, ‘Did I do a good enough job?’ So the award for ‘Rising Up’ was like a message to me: You are better than you think,” Ross said.

Some tips the author suggests for students and teachers looking to be an author are to have a peer group with whom they can share their work with and to be there for each other.

“Be persistent, believe in yourself, and be dedicated to learning the craft. Don’t get discouraged with the amount of learning you have to invest. It does pay off,” Ross said.

Ross is planning on making a total of four books for the Tranquility series. Currently, she is writing her 3rd book since she got done publishing the second book, titled ‘Facing Off’ on May 13th, 2021. Ross can be supported through buying her books on Amazon and local bookstores.