For those who don’t already know, I’m a huge fan of author Tammara Webber’s. I absolutely love her Between the Lines series and I’m loving her latest release, Easy, which I just started reading last night.
She is such an incredible writer and really knows how to craft addicting, heartbreaking and amazing stories and characters.
And I am so super excited to have had the pleasure of asking her just a few questions about herself, her books, writing and publishing.
In case you haven’t yet had the chance to meet her, here’s the inside scoop from the bio on her website.
About the Author
I write romantic Mature Young Adult / New Adult fiction.
Reading was one of my first and earliest loves, and writing soon followed. My first book was about a lost bear, but my lack of ability as an illustrator convinced me to abandon that effort and concentrate on passing 3rd grade. I wrote sad romantic poetry in high school and penned my first half-novel when I was 19, for which I did lots of research on Vikings (the marauders, not the football team), and which was accidentally destroyed when I stuffed it into the shredder at work.
Addictions: coffee and Cherry Garcia frozen yogurt. Also carrots, but not with coffee or frozen yogurt, because that would be disgusting. I also love shopping for earrings, because they always fit – even if I occasionally “forget” to work out. I’m a hopeful romantic who adores novels with happy endings, because there are enough sad endings in real life.
Even her bio is awesome, right!?! And I’m so glad that she does not eat carrots with coffee or frozen yogurt. Because, yes, that is disgusting! I mean, would be, disgusting. I’ve never done that….
Anyway, how about that interview….
Q. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? Yes or no, do you remember that first moment you did decide you wanted to write? When, how and what was it?
I’ve been a writer since I could write. I wrote “books” when I was very young, complete with illustrations, of course. I loved to read, and literally read the covers right off of my favorites.
By the time I hit middle school, I’d progressed to poems and keeping a journal. I wrote essays, the occasional memoir-type story, and half of a romance novel (at 19), but the idea of becoming an author seemed impossible. I started another novel in my late twenties, which wasn’t horrible, but wasn’t good. I finished it, gave myself an A for effort, and shelved it. What I didn’t understand was that every bit of that writing was practice. I was finding my voice—which refused to sound like historical romance or literary fiction, though I loved to read both.
I discovered YA when my oldest child was 12/13, and took a YA lit course as part of my English degree, earned during my thirties. The first YA novel I wrote will also never see the light of day, but I knew when I finished it that I’d found my sweet spot.
Fiktshun: Wow, what an incredible journey you took as a writer. Your voice is amazing and I’m so glad that you were able to find it rather than trying to modify it to fit genres you loved.
Q. Do you have a favorite author, character or bookish quote? And if so, what is it?
My favorite bookish quote is from Life of Pi by Yann Martel:
“What a terrible thing it is to botch a farewell. I am a person who believes in form, in the harmony of order. Where we can, we must give things a meaningful shape. For example – I wonder – could you tell my jumbled story in exactly one hundred chapters, not one more, not one less? I’ll tell you, that’s one thing I have about my nickname, the way the number runs on forever. It’s important in life to conclude things properly. Only then can you let go. Otherwise you are left with words you should have said but never did, and your heart is heavy with remorse.”
Fiktshun: Oh that is such a great and meaningful quote.
Q. What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in trying to get your novels self-published?
The first big hurdle for me was the collective mindset against self-pubbing – what it means to the writer as well as to the public when something is “self-published.” I went through the typical agent-searching queries and pitches with Between the Lines (the first book). By the time I gave up the notion of being published traditionally, I’d written the first draft of a sequel. I knew that if I self-published one, I would be self-publishing both.
For a while, I thought I might query the novel I had in the back of my head – which became Easy. Along the way, I realized that I would never query again. Reader approval is what a writer ultimately seeks. Why back up and seek something I no longer need to validate what I want to do? It wouldn’t make sense for me. I’m not closed to the idea of representation—I just no longer need it to consider myself an author.
Fiktshun: It’s so true that there can be a stigma attached to self-pubbing versus going the traditional route. I suppose the same is true with blogging versus reviewing for editorial media outlets. But it’s so wonderful that you are able to feel rewarded by doing what you’re doing without that validation that comes with going the traditional route.
And while I hope to find your books on shelves at my local bookstore one day, if only so that your writing will reach a wider audience, I’m just so glad that there is this avenue to publish for writers as talented as yourself.
Q. Going the traditional publishing route, authors have deadlines they must work under. As a self-published author, do you set self-imposed deadlines? And if so, how rigid are they? How hard or easy is it for you to stay focused?
I absolutely set deadlines, and twice (Where You Are and Easy), those deadlines drove me to work 70-hour weeks for 2-3 months to hit them.
The obvious deadline is the “expected publication” date. What readers may not understand is what that date actually means. Long before the reader downloads that book to her e-reader, my critique partners close-read the finished manuscript and give me feedback. I make revisions, and they go over it again. Then my beta-readers get the manuscript and do the same thing. I make more revisions based on their feedback. Finally, I reread the manuscript closely, and make any revisions I feel necessary. Then comes the copy editor, who looks for grammar inconsistencies, typos, etc. Then the programmer takes the word doc and turns it into epub and mobi files. And then it’s uploaded to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBookstore.
Ideally, I would have the manuscript in the hands of my CPs two months before publication.
Fiktshun: That is a fairly large chunk of time to get things ready for publication. But, I think, absolutely necessary to putting forth a book that shines, as yours do. Though I don’t think I quite realized the time it takes for the conversion process. I always assumed it was as simple as clicking a button.
And while not all self-published authors go through the same steps that you do to get yours to publication, it clearly shows in the finished book just how much thought, care and effort went into producing it. Yet another reason why you’re one of my favorite authors.
Q. Which character was your favorite to write for in your BETWEEN THE LINES series and why?
Reid. He was such an annoying bad boy all the way through the first book that I didn’t see it coming. I liked writing him, but I never thought he’d become my favorite. He was calculating and arrogant and mean. I couldn’t make him dishonest, though, and that intrigued me.
Once I delved into what had happened in his early relationship with Brooke, I couldn’t stop wanting to help him find that ability to be that blindly devoted again – but to someone who wouldn’t be so careless with his heart. He kept screwing up, but he learned. That’s what separates a hopeless bad boy from the others—whether or not he can learn. If he can learn, he can change—if he chooses to. If he keeps repeating the same mistakes over and over, he’s hopeless, and that’s as true in real life as it is in fiction. Actually, more so. 😉
Fiktshun: Ah, Reid. He was my favorite character to read. It’s so fascinating that he wouldn’t let you make him all bad. Though he was the bad boy, I found him to be totally sympathetic. And intriguing. And I was ever hopeful for him. I’m so glad you continued his story.
Q. EASY is a darker story than those in your BETWEEN THE LINES series. What inspired you to go a little bit darker with the story?
I spent the majority of my adult life on a college campus, either as a student or an employee. I didn’t have the normal college experience; I observed it from close range. As an advisor, I was privy to some of the darker aspects of student life, and it became obvious that some students simply weren’t informed what to expect.
An article in the campus paper about acquaintance rape, or alcohol poisoning, or a debilitating bout of oh-my-God-I’m-not-ready-for-adulthood depression might be read, might not. Fictional stories, strangely enough, are often easier to swallow. Readers become emotionally involved with the characters, and identify with them.
Easy is a story I’ve wanted to tell forever, but publishers have long discouraged authors from setting stories in the 18-23 age range. When I wrote BTL, I was still trying to attract a traditional publisher. When I wrote Easy, I had no thought in mind at all about trying to get the notice of an agent or publisher. I wrote what I wanted to write, how I wanted to write it.
Fiktshun: I am so thrilled that you were able to write the story you wanted to write without those age constraints. Because these stories are rarely written and can be so informative, whether written in a fun, heartbreaking or realistic way.
And it’s so true that many students have no idea of what to expect when they head to college. It can be a pretty big shocker. I think realistic fiction aimed at this period of time in life could make a huge difference.
Q. Hardcover, paperback or eReader? Yes.
Q. Kindle, nook or Kobo? Kindle.
Q. Bad boys, good boys or not-so-good boys? Yes!
Q. Fiercely independent, totally dependent or heroines caught somewhere in between? Definitely in between.
Q. Judge a book by its cover, judge a book by its blurb, judge a book by a review? I have to admit, a good cover and/or strong blurb are what draws a reader in – including me. I go by reviews if I know and trust the reviewer, or the review is so objectively written that I can tell it’s true. I’m also a HUGE fan of Kindle samples. Everyone should use them! You can weed out books that won’t interest you, and find gems that may seem “meh” on the surface but are beautifully written, or so compellingly written that they immediately suck you into the story.
Q. Star-crossed, soulmates or love triangles? Soulmates.
Q. On the page, on the stage or on the big screen? On the page (that one’s too easy!)
Fiktshun: Oh haha to the “yes” answers. Sometimes it is just too hard to choose just one. 🙂
I totally agree with you about judging a book. Without a great or appealing cover, unless you are actively seeking that book out, how would you even think to pick it up? And I’m similar with regard to reviews. I prefer them very objective – pointing out pros and cons – or incredibly heartfelt or enthusiastic. It’s tough to fake enthusiasm. And even if I don’t agree in the end, I like getting to read books that have inspired that much passion.
And hey, I had to make at least one of those questions easy. 🙂
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions. I loved getting to learn a little more about the author behind the amazing books and about all your efforts to bring your books to publication.
I know I’ve mentioned it before, but it has to be said again. I will buy every single book you write. You are an amazing writer. And you have a fan for life.
So… as a huge fan of Author Tammara Webber and her books, I want to give away a couple copies of her newest release, EASY. But before I do that, here’s just a little bit…
When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she’s single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, stalked by her ex’s frat brother, and failing a class for the first time in her life.
Her econ professor gives her an email address for Landon, the class tutor, who shows her that she’s still the same intelligent girl she’s always been. As Jacqueline becomes interested in more from her tutor than a better grade, his teasing responses make the feeling seem mutual. There’s just one problem—their only interactions are through email.
Meanwhile, a guy in her econ class proves his worth the first night she meets him. Nothing like her popular ex or her brainy tutor, Lucas sits on the back row, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. At a downtown club, he disappears after several dances that leave her on fire. When he asks if he can sketch her, alone in her room, she agrees—hoping for more.
Then Jacqueline discovers a withheld connection between her supportive tutor and her seductive classmate, her ex comes back into the picture, and her stalker escalates his attention by spreading rumors that they’ve hooked up. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy.
What’s up for grabs:
A paperback copy of Easy by Tammara Webber ordered from Amazon to TWO winners.
1. One entry per HOUSEHOLD.
2. There will be TWO winners.
3. You must be 16 or older.
4. Giveaway is International.
5. Contest ends at 9:01 p.m. Pacific on Thursday, June 21, 2012.
6. Winner will be chosen by Random.org through Rafflecopter and announced on June 21st in this post.
7. Winner will have 48 hours after notification to respond with their details.
8. If the winner is located in the U.S., book will be sent directly from Amazon. If located internationally, book will be sent via U.S. mail.
There is no requirement to like or follow. But if you’d like to spread the word that would be awesome!
And if you are viewing this post via email you will have to click the link to enter the giveaway on the blog as Rafflecopter forms do not work through email.
To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form: