Author Tara Stillions Whitehead Visits Campus

Writer and filmmaker Tara Stillions Whitehead recently visited Penn State Harrisburg to share some of her experiences in her career to young writers. She would then read a few lines from her book “The Year of The Monster” that was just published in September. Tara is originally from San Diego and has been living in Central Pennsylvania for the last nine years. She currently is an adjunct professor for English and Communications at Messiah University. She values coming to speak in front of young writers to describe her atypical path for her career as a writer. Tara choosing to be a professor goes a long way in showing her care for talking to young writers. While she did work with big names in Hollywood, she did not carry the stereotypical Hollywood persona. Tara showed her bubbly personality to the classes that attended. She tries to give students a feeling of comfort as they start their careers in writing. She explained how her career has been nothing close to a straight line and how that is okay! She then gave some professional advice to the students such as finding a routine that works for you when you write. For her it is chips and salsa and a very early rise to get in her literary groove. Tara mentioned that her best advice for young writers was, “Write what you want to read. Don’t write what you think other people would like to read. There is somebody out there who wants to read it.” By doing this, she mentioned how the writer actualizes themselves instead of just imitating another writer’s work. 

She went on to describe her most recent book, “The Year Of The Monster”. It is a novel containing sixteen separate stories. With a whole riot of topics that includes black holes, tornadoes, to Hollywood. All stories have a central theme of monstrosity and the distortion of media in today’s society. She hosted a book reading right here in the library that showed off her writing style while entertaining the audience with a few excerpts from her new book.