We had the pleasure of interviewing Tahiana Larissa, Author of Fortress’ Song. Here are the excerpts from the interview.
Hi Tahiana, Great to have you with us today! Please share with our readers about your journey.
In the rich and vibrant world of historical fiction, I am known as Tahiana Larissa – a storyteller born and bred in Asunción in 1980. I am a novelist, journalist and short story writer. After completing my studies in Communication and Journalism at Universidad del Norte (Uninorte), I continued to pursue my love for the English language by earning degrees in both ESL (English as a Second Language) and TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) at Suffolk Community College in New York. As a proud member of the Associated Paraguayan writers (EPA) and the Paraguayan Writers Society (SEP), I have devoted myself to the world of literature. I founded Gaceta Parnasus, a digital literary magazine that has been published from New York since January 2021, where I now reside with my family.
My published works include Sin Laureles Sobre Sus Tumbas (Intercontinental 2020), a historical novel that portrays the last days of the campaign of Humaita (1868) during the war of the triple alliance (1864-1870). This work has been translated into English as Fortress’ Song (2023). I have also contributed to several anthologies, including La Sombra de Nuestros Muertos: Cuentos de la Guerra Guasu (Servilibro 2021), Memorias y Escritos de Verano (2022 Editorial Rosalba), La Otra Epopeya (2022 Servilibro), and Memorias y Escritos Otoño-Invierno (2022 Arãndura). I am also proud to have contributed to E.P.A 25 años Escribiendo Juntas, which was published by Servilibro in 2022.
While writing has always been my passion, I also work as a copywriter for Énfasis Visual.
Please tell us about your book, Fortress’ Song.
Fortress Song is the untold tale of Humaitá Fortress in Paraguay, a story of heroism and sacrifice that history has all but forgotten. In July of 1868, as South America convulsed in the bloodiest war of its time, Marshal Francisco Solano López left his army and entrusted the defense of his beloved nation to Colonel Paulino Alén. Alén, a proud warrior and patriot, carried the weight of his country’s honor on his shoulders and waited with bated breath for his next orders. But as days turned into weeks, the relentless pressure and ceaseless danger took their toll, and the Colonel found himself slipping into madness, making fatal mistakes that would change the course of history forever and alter the lives of Colonel Francisco Martínez and his wife Juliana Insfrán. Their fates became entwined inextricably with the tumultuous events of the War of the Triple Alliance, a battle that pitted Paraguay against three of its neighboring countries – Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. Driven by the fierce motto of “victory or death,” the Paraguayans fought with unparalleled valor, paying the ultimate price for their unrelenting bravery.
Please tell us about your journey.
Since I was a little girl, the written word has held a powerful grip on my heart. I would lose myself in the pages of books, transported to distant lands and magical worlds. As I grew up, my passion for storytelling only intensified, and I began to craft my own tales, pouring my heart and soul into every word. When I moved to the city that never sleeps, I continued to toil away at my writing, day and night, until finally, my hard work paid off. My debut novel, “Sin Laureles Sobre sus Tumbas,” was met with critical acclaim and soon my name was whispered among the literary elite. I received invitations to join writing associations and participate in other literary endeavors, such as anthologies, plays, and magazines. It was a dream come true, to have my words out in the world, inspired by the rich history of my country.
What are the strategies that helped you become successful in your journey?
In the beginning, I discovered the true worth of perseverance. Writing can be a daunting task, and it is all too easy to succumb to self-doubt and discouragement. But I refused to succumb to those feelings. I embraced my voice and style, recognizing that writing is an intimate and personal form of expression. As I developed and refined my voice, I discovered that my work resonated with readers on a deeper level. I learned to trust my own instincts and to remain true to my vision. As a writer, I understood the importance of investing in my own education and growth. I read widely, immersing myself in the works of the greats and drawing inspiration from their techniques and styles. I sought out feedback and critiques, no matter how harsh, to push myself to improve and evolve. In doing so, I found that belief in myself was critical, but it was equally important to build a solid foundation of perseverance, self-discovery, education, and risk-taking. It was through this journey that I discovered the power of my own voice and the depth of my own creativity.
Any message for our readers?
I encourage them to expand their horizons and explore the rich cultural histories of other countries. There is so much to discover, so much to learn, and so much to appreciate. When we step outside our comfort zones and open our minds to the experiences of others, we can gain a more in-depth understanding of the world around us. Through the pages of a book, we can be transported to far-off lands, immersed in the traditions and customs of cultures vastly different from our own. We can learn about the struggles and triumphs of people we may have never even heard of before. There are countless tales to be told and lessons to be learned from the histories of other countries. I encourage them to pick up a book about a culture or country that intrigues them. Allow yourself to be transported to an unfamiliar place but no less fascinating. Learn about the people, their traditions, and the events that have shaped their lives. You never know what you might discover, and the knowledge you gain may just change your perspective on the world.
Fantastic! So, tell us, how can people find out more about you?
You can find me on Instagram @tahianalarissaoficial, where I share snapshots of my life and my passions. You can also read me on Twitter @TahianaLarissa, where I engage in lively conversations with fellow thinkers and dreamers. But social media is just the tip of the iceberg. To really get to know me, visit my website, where you can explore my work, read my stories, and learn more about the causes that are near and dear to my heart. And if you’re looking for something to curl up with on a rainy day, check out my magazine, Gaceta Parnasus, where I share stories of fellow writers and their work. Let us connect and share our stories and our dreams.
Thank you so much, Tahiana, for giving us your precious time! We wish you all the best for your journey ahead!