T. M. Winters is a mother of three, proud citizen of Columbus, Ohio, and author of the first book in a series: The Clandestine Family: Secrets Revealed. This book tackles issues such as identity, family, power, faith and hope. It intertwines the subject of magic with the anxieties that come with fostering close familial relationships, and when things occur beyond our understanding.
The Clandestine Family has a strong story arc, with a race against time for the three main characters Whisper, Serene and Rajah. Winters keeps her readers on their toes with a thriller-like vibe, whilst still satisfying fans looking for a more fantastical element.
We asked Winters to share with us some of the thinking behind the story and its origins.
Your book is set in Ohio, where you grew up. Why did you feel this would be a good setting for the story you were trying to tell?
I felt Ohio was a good place to begin the story, because it's the state I’ve lived in for the majority of my life. It made it easier to embrace the story I was trying to tell.
There's a strong bond between siblings Whisper, Serene and Rajah. Is there areason these kinds of relationships hold such significance for you?
The characters' relationship are based on the relationship that I see between my own children. They are extremely close, but they still find ways to pick at and play with each other. I’m truly thankful that I was blessed to experience the love they share, and wanted to share that with my readers.
The book begins with a secret being revealed by the mother, Akila, which throws everything into turmoil. What made you begin the story in that way?
I love to read stories that immediately grab you, and throw you directly into everything that is going on, and keep you wanting to know what's going to happen next. The way I see it, there was no other way to begin my story, other than starting with something that would give my readers the same excitement.
Which one of the characters do you most identify with?
I relate more to Akila Clandestine, and momma Sydney Carwen. I am a mother hen to just about everyone when they need me.
Running parallel to the relationships, there is a lot of magic in the book which is both fascinating and surreal. What made you want to focus the story around such a big arc?
I believe everyone thinks there is magic in the world. If you look at the fairytales that we were raised with, most of them were filled with some type of magic. As adults, some of us wish we could have supernatural abilities that would give us the power to do what we want, or even stop bad things from happening. I feel like magic draws us all in in different ways, so it made sense to use it.
What drives you as a writer?
When I was a child, reading was my way of escaping my own reality, and I eventually turned into a serious bookworm. This helped me a lot in my own life, especially when the book was able to pull me into the lives of the characters. I’d like to believe my books will be able to help other people that need an escape their lives, even if only momentarily. Also, like most writers, I have dreamed of becoming a well-known author - if not a bestseller! - since a very young age. My goal is to become a name that is known in many homes, reading groups and even schools.
What message would you like people to take away from The Clandestine Family: Secrets Revealed, and other books in the series that may follow?
The message I would like my readers to take away is that family is important. And that you can get a lot more things accomplished when you work together, than you can trying to do things alone.
The Clandestine Family: Secrets Revealed is available to buy from our shop page. Look out for the next book in the series, The Clandestine Family: A New Point of View!
Feature by Maame Blue