This year is the 10th anniversary of my first novel, Telesa. The book of my heart that was rejected by 30+ agents/publishers, so we published it ourselves – has since become the story that has lit a #PasifikaReadingFire in so many worldwide.
I am honored that Telesa has influenced and inspired many other Oceania creatives including artists, fashion designers, photographers, musicians, film makers, poets and more. It’s in libraries and bookstores in many countries, studied at various universities and read in secondary schools, talked about in bookclubs (and sighed over as many ask, where is MY Daniel Tahi?!)
As I look back on the Telesa journey, I am so very grateful for my husband Darren who supported my writing dream and encouraged me to go ahead and publish my book even when so many “experts” in the industry said no thanks.
A huge faafetai lava to all of YOU – the readers who embraced this story, shared it, shouted about it, celebrated it, and helped to take it to places I never imagined it would go. I wrote Telesa for #teenagerMe growing up in Samoa reading every book I could get my hands on, and always searching for a story I could ‘see myself’ in, set in a place and culture that I could connect with. I wanted adventure, romance, humor, messy family dynamics, fantasy, magic and fiercely strong powerful Samoan women in the lead roles of a story written ‘about us, by us and for us’. I wrote Telesa because it’s the book I wanted to read, that had not yet been written…and it continues to amaze and delight me that so many of you have found it to be the book that YOU want to read also.