Author Spotlight: Cherry Tigris
Author Spotlight: Cherry Tigris
Cherry Tigris is an artist, humanitarian, author, ghostwriter, musician and all-around exceptional woman. We released her latest book Un-Selfie-Ish just a few weeks ago and she’s also joined our team as a ghostwriter and banner-creator. Little did I know when I first interviewed Cherry on Writestream about her haunting memoir of child abuse and survival, Toilet Paper People, she’d become a wonderful friend and collaborator. She inspires me every day.
Cherry recently took the time to answer a few questions for our readers. Check out the article below and be sure to visit her at CherryTigris.BlogSpot.com and UnSelfieIsh.BlogSpot.com.
1. How do you define an “unselfish selfie?”
The unselfish selfie is a picture taken of oneself with the intention of recording a moment in time that the selfie-taker will reflect on later. The unselfish selfie is not a picture that you feel inclined to share on social media right away, nor is it a perfectly staged picture that is overly edited. The unselfish selfie is a picture taken by yourself and for yourself with the goal being to capture what makes you or a life experience unique.
2. What inspired you to write Un-Selfie-Ish?
We have all heard about the study that revealed a link between selfie-taking and mental illness, specifically narcissism. While that link may still exist, I believe the results REALLY have more to do with the act of selfie sharing and less to do with the act of taking a selfie. Being a survivor of child abuse, I felt inclined to represent those of us who need to take selfies as a way of documenting important moments that otherwise would be lost. When the intention of taking a selfie is to preserve our narrative, the behavior shouldn’t be labeled a selfish endeavor, it should be labeled a necessary one.
3. How have readers responded to Un-Selfie-Ish? Did anyone surprise you with new insights?
I have been encouraged by the response to “Un-Selfie-ish.” Many have emailed me directly with praise about the new and healthier perspective on selfie-taking. I am happy that this new perspective has opened the door for people who have refrained from taking selfies out of fear for what others might think about it. The book has also given other child abuse survivors the okay to get to know themselves better in a new and more forgiving way.
4. You have overcome tremendous challenges from a very young age. How did you find the strength to do it? What advice do you have to offer for others dealing with their own hardships?
My strength came from tapping into the creative parts of life. Those creative behaviors I believe were a gift from God. Everyone is offered this gift, no matter what the hardship. Whether I was creating dolls made out of toilet paper, or taking creatively inspired and thoughtful selfies, the behavior of finding beauty out of the real resources at my fingertips is a behavior that has sustained me and revealed my greater purpose in the world. We are all entitled to a more peaceful existence. When we make the decision to be aware of the beauty within life’s darker moments, we are better able to obtain the lives we were meant to have.
5. You’re a multi-talented woman. In addition to your books Toilet Paper People (available in paperback, ebook, and audio) and Un-Selfie-Ish, you write for others as a ghostwriter. How does that differ from writing your own books? Tell us about one of your ghostwriting projects.
Being a ghostwriter is really no different than writing for myself. Whether the story I am telling is mine, or someone else’s, I select projects that have a greater purpose. My first ghostwriting project wound up becoming a co-authorship publication because of my willingness to speak publicly about the serious issue of teen dating domestic violence. I was blessed to write in first-person as Anna Lynn Hurd, a teen who was viciously murdered by her boyfriend in Minnesota. The writing of this book taught me many lessons about life’s unfairness. While writing the book, I became obsessed with investigating all angles of her gruesome murder in an attempt to answer the why’s and how’s something like this could happen in such a small and close-knit town. I was fortunate to work with Anna’s mom, a mom who was able to suspend her mourning for the sake of telling her daughter’s story so that she could educate the general public about the plague that is teen dating domestic violence in this country.
6. You are also a humanitarian and a musician. Tell us about your work in these areas.
Being a humanitarian requires my strict adherence to my own personal accountability. I feel God gave me the gift to write and, like any other gift or talent, that gift/talent requires a responsibility to use that gift for the greater good of humanity. My writing is always inspired by the intention to get it right for the sake of others. I refuse to write anything without that pervading intention. My music and vocal performances hold the same amount of personal accountability and humanitarian focus.
7. As a blogger, what is your advice for others who write blogs. Is this a good marketing tool for authors?
Authors are only as good as their willingness to share their material and to engage WITH their audience. Don’t be afraid to post your educated opinions on life’s serious matters. As long as you are willing to maintain your curiosity and your earnest desire to understand your audience’s perspective, you will be fine. Readers want to be part of the dialogue and they want to be heard… not just preached to. Blogs are an excellent way of opening that dialogue with your readers.
8. What are some of the biggest life lessons you have learned? How do you apply them to your current life?
My life lessons are still becoming apparent to me. Some of these lessons are best revealed when I am ascribing to these signs of progress:
SIGNS OF LIFE
- When you can truly appreciate and accept the presence of birds and insects.
- When you KNOW your neighbors and really accept them for their differences.
- When you finally hear laughter. Not just the laughter of children, but your own… laughter is the first sign of healing.
- When strangers make it a point to tell you about the rainbow residing right over your shoulder.
- When you feel inclined to compliment someone on the one thing that irritated you the most about them, realizing that the irritating trait would be something you would sorely miss should that person not be around anymore.
- When losing your job is no longer the end of the world because you have allowed yourself to be convinced of the unique purpose that awaits you.
- When chocolate chip pancakes become a perfectly reasonable choice for dinner… no guilt, no apologies.
- When you feel suddenly inclined to talk to those you might have wronged once upon a time with the sincere desire to say, “I’m sorry” with no expectation you will be forgiven.
- When you FINALLY accept a compliment without hesitation… gone are the days of diminishing a compliment because of your own insecurities.