Introducing Tara Willis, author of Carry Me home.

Carry Me Home was written over the course of fifteen years, give or take a little. I think the book was inspired by what I saw, at the time, as a lack of life. I grew up in a tiny Bush village in Alaska. I didn’t exactly miss the outside world because I knew very little about it. But I did wonder. I wondered what the rest of the world was like outside of a tiny Aleutiq fishing community of 100. I had never seen a real city; I had never visited another state. Our life was incredibly isolated from what most people know as modern mainstream society. I imagined other lives, other places, other cultures, people and ways of life. So I began to study with the limited resources available to me. 

Computers were not available in my part of the world in the late 90s-early 2000s. But I didn’t let that stop me. I wanted to find out about what I didn’t know. And I did. I read everything I could get my hands on though available reading material was also quite limited and outdated. I was quickly hooked on learning as much as I could about the outside world, both past and present. 

A lonely, solitary child with few friends, I created my own friends and shaped their worlds. Their worlds became my inner worlds. Like changing the outfits and accessories of a collection of paper dolls, I could change them and make them anything and everything I ever wanted and needed. 

Creating characters and settings and lives became a beautiful addiction, one that has saved my life over and over again and one I would never wish to be without. My main character, Lina Montoya, was myself as a young girl, both who I was and who I wished I was. I believe this is true of many authors that they base their characters on either their real or imagined selves or on people they loved or hated, depending on the character. I was no different.

In a nutshell, this book was first inspired out of loneliness and isolation but it quickly developed into something much bigger and much more beautiful than that. I think many authors find themselves writing about life, not so much as it is, but as they wish it was for them. Within the pages of a fiction novel, the abused discover love and acceptance, the underdog can be a courageous hero, the bullied emerge triumphant; the orphan finds a family and so on.  This book and its characters have become very dear to me throughout the years of perfecting this book over and over, almost like real life friends.

I fell completely in love with Lina and her family and friends.  I invite you to read Carry Me Home and fall in love with them too. J   

Tara Willis
Carry Me Home

Published by Oak Tree Press. Hanford, CA. 


My name is Tara Willis and I was born in 1984. I grew up in the Bristol Bay area of Bush Alaska, the eldest of four.  I like to think I was born with a pen in my little newborn hand. 

As a very young child, I used to “write books,” by drawing a stick figure scene on a page, labeling the page numbers and always including the title on the first page. By the time I was seven or eight, 20-30 page “books” were common.  

Nothing gave me more pleasure than drawing the stories that I was still too young to really write.  At the age of nine, I penned six, short, comical stories, known as “The Durumple Tales.”  

I finally deemed Carry Me Home fit for submission earlier this year, and I am currently in the middle of simultaneously writing both the prequel and the sequel to this novel, Wait Until Sunset and Praying for Dayl

Besides writing, I hold an AAS degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Alaska-Anchorage, and I very much enjoy working with young children. 

At ten, I wrote my first novel, a twenty chapter, historical fiction novel of sorts, then entitled “Captured in Communist Russia.”  My inspiration was a fifth grade history textbook.  This particular manuscript has been rewritten several times, and is now in the middle of an extensive renovation in preparation for future submission. 

I wrote the first draft of  Carry Me Home when I was fourteen years old and have rewritten and revised repeatedly off and on for many years, while I also focused on writing other novels, short story collections and a treasury of free verse poetry, as well. 

While at first I had planned this work to be a single novel, I finally decided that this book should be extended into a trilogy. 

Other passions and interests include studying foreign languages, culture and history which is probably what has drawn me to writing historical fiction novels.  I am also an avid reader and very much enjoy coin collecting, baking, spending time with family and friends, particularly my nephew and nieces, The Three Musketeers and attending plays at Valley Performing Arts.   

The best advice I can give to any aspiring writer is this: “Don’t be afraid to jump; because you can 

Tara Willis

Carry Me Home Blurb:

Following the passing of their invalid father, the poverty stricken Montoya family is barely surviving as, together, they wage a daily war against the ravages of extreme poverty, racism and a system bent on separating and destroying them. Nine months after her husband’s death, his widow makes the difficult decision to accept an advantageous marriage proposal for the sake of her young children. Thirteen year old Celina, the eldest, is hurt and angry about the remarriage which appears, to her, a betrayal to her dear father’s memory. Just as the new, blended family is growing close, a stranger from the past appears and reveals the shocking secret Celina’s mother has kept for many years; a secret that will test the Gonzalez family’s growing love for each other and leave them changed forever. . .


Billie Johnson said…
How nice to get to know Tara a little better...thanks for hosting her, Marilyn.
Tara Willis said…
Awww, thanks, you two! And Marilyn, thank you so much for hosting me! :) :)

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