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Young Adult Award-Winning Author


Tanya Ross


All About Tanya

Tanya Ross was born and raised in San Diego County, her “happy place.” Although Southern California is a particular kind of paradise, she desires a world where everyone is kind, compassionate, and upbeat, which became one of the themes of her first novel, Rising Up. For thirty-two years she was an educator of English, history, AVID, and student leadership. She loves teaching and kids, her students a daily inspiration. Her exit from the educational arena allowed her to indulge her hopes, dreams, and goals in what she taught for so many years–writing. This first novel began her lifelong dream of writing meaningful novels for young adults. When she’s not creating new worlds, you can find her reading, spending time with her husband and two kids, or walking her golden retriever, Honey. Discover more on her website:


Release Date:


Welcome Tanya to Jeny's TattleTales

I understand today you are doing a character interview here on the blog and we talk more about your book and writing on the podcast. Who is your character?

Xander Noble

How would people physically describe you?

Jet black hair worn in a rock star style; flamboyant, bright clothes; brown eyes; 6 ft. tall; lean, but muscular; light skin; extremely attractive

What’s your backstory? Where did you come from?

I was born in the domed city of Tranquility to a very respected family. I am an only child because that’s the law there. I’ve been a rebel since my very early years, so much so that my parent sent me to an exclusive school for reform. However, that did nothing to change me. I hate having my emotions monitored, which is the requirement for all citizens. Because of that, I was counseled multiple times, labeled a REM (which stands for Resisting Emotional Management)  and finally sent out of the city to The Outside, where I decided to make my mark as a leader. I gathered the survivors at the base in The Outside and we formed a revolutionary unit to take down the Tranquility’s leader, the Magistrate.

What do you think of Tanya ? Did he/she portray you accurately?

Tanya Ross did an amazing job creating me. I happen to know I’m her favorite character, so we have quite a bond. All my dialogue reflects my firey side and weird humor. She definitely captured my sarcasm and cynicism, along with my intense desire for Ember Vinata, who really is the main character in this series. In Book One, Rising Up, the author made me appear almost as if I didn’t have a heart, but she revealed a lot more of my inner self in Book Two, Facing Off. I think her readers will find me even more interesting.

What is the most inspirational thing you’ve ever done in your life?

I was able to survive the rigors of The Outside, create an entire group of revolutionaries, and take over the main communications center in the city of Tranquility.

If you could map out the next five years of your life, what would that look like?

I would live in a transformed city of Tranquility, where Ember and I are a couple, and we help make the city a place where emotional freedom is permitted.

What actors would you like in the main roles if your book were made into a movie?

For myself? I’d love for Felix Mallard (currently in Ginny and Georgia on Netflix) to play me. He has enough sass. For my rival for Ember’s affections, it would be Danny Griffin (currently in Fate: The Winx Saga on Netflix). For Ember, it would have to be the most beautiful redhaired sixteen-year-old in the world because that’s what she is.

What do you do for fun?

I haven’t had much time for fun. I do like going to the Fun Zone downtown, eating in expensive restaurants, and going to clubs.

Life advice for the masses?

Be fearless. Be yourself. Love like there is no tomorrow.

Every one is made up of both good and bad elements. What are your best qualities and what are your worst qualities?

My best qualities are my bravery, my clear-headed look at the realities of life, my talents at leading any type of people, my ability to design and sew clothing, and my passion.

My worst qualities are my jealous nature, my cynicism, arrogance, and lack of patience.

I’ve heard you say that you badly want to kill the Magistrate. Why such hatred?

First of all, he personally threw me out of the city, only because I didn’t want to be someone I’m not. He also makes it impossible to live a normal life with the unrealistic expectations he has of people. He has no tolerance and is a narcissist. Ember Vinata, the girl I love, is someone he wants for himself, and that is just disgusting. He’s old enough to be her dad at least. He’s also done some horrible crimes that he has hidden from everyone.

Rising Up Blurb & Excerpts

A city under glass. A girl under pressure. When secrets come out, which one will break first?

Sixteen-year-old empath Ember Vinata is devastated by her mother’s mysterious death. But in a disease-free domed metropolis where happiness is electronically monitored and enforced, expressing her grief means exile to The Outside.

The only person who can help her is a smoking-hot government agent.

When strange prophetic dreams compel her to investigate, and she discovers the source of the fatal illness, Ember is stunned to discover the perfect city in which she lives is nothing like it seems.  And when her new boyfriend appears to be torn between seeking justice and remaining loyal to his oaths, she fears there is no one she can trust…

…Or would her world be rocked by a criminal from The Outside?

Ember’s quest for the truth could set her free – or make her a captive pawn.



“Em…ber.”  The word was weak, barely audible.

Ember’s head whipped back around. “Mom! I’m here, Mom! You’re talking!” Ember cried.

“Don’t wear…” Talesa’s voice faded out to a whisper.

“Mom!  What? What shouldn’t I wear?”

“No…time…” her mom’s eyes were still closed, but her mouth quivered.

“Mom!  Please!  What are you saying?” She implored her mother to help her understand.   “I need you to fully wake up, Mom…Mom!” A whoosh from behind distracted Ember from her mom’s labored whisper.

The unanticipated rush came from the automated door blowing in a stubby nurse with red hair cut in a smooth bowl shape.  Go away. Ember’s heart was tumbling once again — an intrusion. Right when Mom was trying to tell her something important!

The nurse, wearing a bright yellow uniform, stomped in. “How’s she doing, darling?  We want to make sure her medication is high enough that she has pleasant dreams, you know.”  Nurse Redhead, or whatever her name was, walked briskly to the bed, turned up the medication sliding into the tube, checked her mom’s vitals being measured on the Alt on her wrist, fluffed the pillow, and smiled.

Ember was ready to burst. She jumped out of her chair and ran to this new person. She’d interrupted, but maybe she could help. “Nurse! My mom talked! I haven’t been able to talk to her for two weeks, and she actually spoke!” Tears blurred her vision, and her whole body vibrated with nervous tremors.

“Ah.  Sometimes that happens…and it’s a blessing,” Nurse Redhead murmured. Her eyes, twin puppy-dog orbs, bore sympathy, but her face was tight.

“Yeah.  But it’s not just a fluke.  She’s coming back.  I know it!”

Ember pushed down a rising instant hatred for this woman.  The nurse could help, but it was clear she wouldn’t.  What kind of a nurse was she, anyway?  Ember clenched her fists, her frustration getting the best of her.

“Can’t you just…can’t you at least look at her Alt?  If she spoke, there’s emotion.  She’s still alive – feeling stuff!”  Ember rushed over and picked up her mom’s wrist but saw nothing on the Alt’s screen.  How could there be darkness when her mom was full of light?

“You need to understand…there’s nothing to change your mom’s situation. It won’t be long now, dear.  She needs to rest, so let your mother enjoy her peace. You just be happy!  She’s not feeling a thing.” She moved toward the door, her shoes squeaking against the floor’s shiny tiles.  She turned as if she had a last-minute thought. “Those who can,” she paused for a beat, “die… without feeling sad… are the luckiest people.”  Nurse Redhead then slipped out the door, but not before offering Ember a “thumbs up” and a radiant smile.

Ember forced a weak smile in return but was totally confused.  Didn’t this woman fathom what miracle had just occurred? In spite of the nurse’s warning and her lack of help and hope, Ember was ebullient.  Maybe her mom would yet speak again! Everything suddenly seemed to be looking so much better!

Ember turned back and keenly watched her mother. But, to her dismay, Talesa had now slipped back under heavier medication. She was deeply sleeping.

Yet, Ember was convinced her mother could still hear her. “I know you wanted me to hear something important, Mom.  What did you try to tell me?”

The minutes ticked by to the familiar swaying of the clock’s pendulum on the wall. Ember sat watching… and hoping. A tear escaped, and she quickly wiped it off, as if the Alt couldn’t see it. She checked her Alt to gauge the random teardrop.  Her pulse quickened as she again saw a dip in the readings.

Ember knew she was going to need all the strength she could muster to get through whatever was going on here. She simply could not lose any more Alt points today! The best course of action was to meditate on the imagery she had been taught. She dreamed up a fifty-yard race in her mind, where she crossed the finish line and won the ribbon.  It was one of her “go-to” simple emergency responses. The deeper she could go into the dream, the more the Alt readings would level out.

But, as hard as she tried, she couldn’t get deep enough into the meditative state to refresh her mind and spirit. Her mom’s face — and words — continued to enter her thoughts.  She again squeezed her mother’s hand hanging motionless over the side of the hospital bed.  With her finger, Ember traced the pale line where her mother’s ring had once graced her finger.

Suddenly, a bell chimed merrily through a speaker above Ember’s head.  It played a modernistic carnival-like tune. It was obviously some type of alarm…It had an urgent sound because of its tempo, although the bells were soft and insistent. Ember gazed around the room. She couldn’t read the medical monitors under their willowy shrouds. They picked up every little change; they were the most precise pieces of equipment designed by science. Perhaps—probably? —in spite of Nurse Redhead’s comments, the medical staff had realized her mother had spoken?

 In the hallway, the flurry of beating wings turned out to be footsteps marching to the beat of the alarm. In a matter of seconds, an assembly of young men and women, reverently entered the room.  More nurses? she thought. The noise of the alarm faded to nothing, and Ember felt a chill creep like a bug up her spinal cord.

 Ember glanced around, turning her head, hoping to find answers somewhere — anywhere. Her eyes filled up, the tears silvery drops of misery. The team approached her without words, pulling her by the arms into a circle with them, placing her carefully in the center.  Each of the six put their arms on one another’s shoulders.

“What’s this?  What’s happening?”

 Ember gazed desperately around the circle, her eyes scrutinizing the faces of these newcomers for answers to her confusion. Their faces seemed happy, yet oddly disturbing. All were smiling, but the emotion didn’t seem sincere. She yearned to yell, scream, demand answers, but she stood frozen in place, unable to utter a word.

Then, each of them released their hands, and in the same way they entered, began to file out the door.  For a moment, Ember stared after them, too nonplussed to even move.

“Wait!” she was finally able to cry. But the door was already closing. “You’re needed here!” Where were they all going?   It was clear that the alert chime was to notify the medical staff of a great change. “Come back!” Frantically, Ember turned back again to her mom. 

  The bed was empty. the way forward, obscure.


Xander turned to the entire group of twelve, reenergized.  “We’re rollin’ out today, REMs!  Goin’ out east to the alleged burn site first.”  Xander pumped his fists in the air, seeming to stir the dry wind rustling the dead vegetation scattered about. Today the air was cold, its bony fingers grabbing their bodies like a tomb raider. But Xander was hot under his skin, his ambition and unsuppressed resentment igniting his entire being.

By the time they had made it another few miles, Xander had sufficiently roasted each member of the clan, and spirits were high.  I almost feel I’m doing a Plauditor’s job—keeping my guys in a good mood in this god-forsaken territory. How ironic is that.

They trudged ahead, scanning the horizon for smoke from the top of a massive hill littered with a pile of what appeared to be incinerated black rocks and massive boulders. The group stopped for a breather, joking about rolling down the hill to get where they were going faster.  At the peak’s base, yawning ravines and gorges were outlined in craggy stone. They created a deep space for water, but the area held only shadows.

Xander mounted the vast pile of rubble, jumping to the top notch, a boulder the size of a small car. “Hey, hey!  The ‘Pinnacle of Success,’ right REMs?” The monolith provided a great vantage point, but Xander saw no vestige of smoke from the spectacular vantage point.  Disappointed, he climbed down. On his way, he found a treasure half buried in the dirt.  It was a metal pike, six feet tall, which he decided was far too heavy to carry along in their journey. He looked at it longingly, then dramatically kissed it goodbye, to the amusement of the crew. They made the journey down, picking their way carefully among the rough obstacles.

No less than five minutes later, the guys stopped in their tracks. A blood-curdling snarl rippled through the wind.  The hair on Xander’s arms stood up, his brain echoing with alarm.

“What was that?”  A girl toward the back of the group squeaked the question, and it hung, suspended, in silence.

“Shh.  Listen and don’t move.”  Xander stood stock still, only his head whipping around, looking in every direction.  Whatever it was, it was close enough to hear, but not near enough to see.  “I don’t see anything but have your weapons ready and stay close.  We move forward.”  Xander began surveying the geography of the area for a protected space. Vegetation was nonexistent.  And it looked as if there had never been a city or anything else there. No structures decorated the landscape.

“Not another word.”

The members pulled their best weapons from their knapsacks, most carrying knives, but some boasting square hammers of steel. They were equipped with some fearsome deterrents, but their band was unwieldy and inexperienced.  They moved mutely along, their faces creased with abstract fear.

The snarl came again, louder, an evil omen of something vicious.  The creatures they knew—those they hunted and ate to survive—were docile and half-witted. None of those growled or revealed their presence; they hid themselves in a desperate effort to survive an already-hostile environment.

 The party turned warily in the direction of the rumble, their accelerated, drumming hearts almost audible.

 A Greelox raced from the west toward their group. Even from its distance, Xander noted its eyes, alight with a jaundiced glow. Its teeth dripped with saliva, crimson from a recent kill. Bared jagged fangs, razor-sharp, held the evil promise of ripped flesh. The creature loomed eight feet tall, its body a muscle-bound, fibrous hulk.

Xander had heard about Greelox. But the rumors he had heard about these animals didn’t come close to what he was seeing. As the beast drew closer, the scritching of its paws along the uneven terrain emphasized its clawed talons, each several inches long with needle-sharp tips. Ten-to twelve-inch spikes along the top of its head trailed down its neck and shoulders, stopping for a merciful break along its compact back.  Smaller spikes protruded from its hindquarters, continuing down to the start of a furless lion-like tail, the tuft at the end it’s only softness. Black tiger stripes on its sinewy skin were a promise of the darkness within.

A roar thundered from the cat’s deep chest as it landed in front of the group, its final leap a deadly challenge. Oh my god. Let my team be up to this. In an ironic answer to his thoughts, all but his three officers, Jasper, Graham, and Bixby, turned back the way they had come, running for dear life. Their screams led their journey to the hill they’d traversed just minutes before.

 I can’t let my destiny be devoured by this freak of nature. Frikkin’ Shazz! Fight! Xander attacked, adrenaline flooding his limbs. He stabbed at the beast with his knife, reaching—stretching—for its leathery chest. A swing, and the blade missed. A plunge of the knife into a skeletal dent under the chest did nothing. The blade seemed like a mere feather in his hands. Xander eyed the spikes along the being’s back, realizing that there was no way to penetrate the spine of the animal, even if he could jump high enough.

Meanwhile, Xander saw Jasper, Graham, and Bixby spread out several feet away from the Greelox. They threw rocks from their satchels at the beast’s head and flanks. The six-inch rocks hit their target, time after time, repeatedly. The mutant tiger screamed. It was being hurt, and it bled from raw cavities in its flesh, but it did not stop snapping its jaws and lashing its claws. From the corner of his eye, Xander watched Graham bravely recover the REM’s rocks now scattered around the creature. The other two continued their assault, the Rock Masters in the competition of their lives.

It’s now or never. Xander knew the plan forming in his mind was risky. For a moment he agonized…I either die here or try to protect everyone else. I hate like hell leaving my three guys alone. But no time to hesitate. It has to work. This is our only chance to bring this monster down.


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