Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Interview with Tamera Alexander - day 2
These two Southern series will intertwine, detailing the "real life" history of two of Nashville's most famous homes and their intriguing families. A Lasting Impression was recently named a 2012 Christy Award finalist (an award honoring excellence in Christian Fiction) for Best Historical Romance. Tamera is currently writing the second book in the Belmont Mansion series (releasing spring 2014), followed by the second book in the Belle Meade Plantation series (releasing fall 2014).
As Tammy was growing up, she carried a copy of a poem in her Bible. She still remembers reading it for the first time, feeling convicted, and then cutting it out of a church newsletter to keep it close at hand. Every time she opened her Bible, the poem was there, challenging her whenever she fell short of the mark.
That mark is a complete surrender of self in favor of God’s glory. The poem is entitled, “Dying to Self,” author unknown, but the words have long inspired Tammy to press toward that goal, shrug off the stumbles along the way, and take each humble step in gratitude as a blessing from above.
That humility shines from every smile Tammy shares, and every word she speaks when she talks about the joys and triumphs in her writing career. Her deeply-drawn characters, thought-provoking plots, and poignant prose have earned her devoted readers worldwide. Her books have won both the RITA and the Christy, two prestigious industry honors. Yet, what matters the most to Tammy is her readers.
“Winning awards is a wonderful affirmation, but the deepest joy of writing for me comes in interacting with readers and discovering how their lives and hearts were changed by one of my stories. That’s beyond fabulous! I don’t read reviews about my books. I read EVERY reader email or letter I get, but I don’t read reviews.”
Tammy’s novels are about ordinary people who take extraordinary journeys they wouldn’t have chosen on their own. Who would knowingly choose pain and conflict if another option existed? But that’s the substance of life, and of great novels. The personal journeys of pain and loss on which God has led Tammy, as well as the physical journeys she and her husband Joe have taken through the years, tend to end up somewhere on the written pages of her novels. It is said to “write what you know.” So Tammy does.
She wrote all of her Colorado books while still living in Colorado, traveling to all the places she used as her settings. For A Lasting Impression and To Whisper Her Name, her family had moved to Nashville just as she began to write Southern fiction.
“The timing was perfect! I love working closely with the mansion staff and the descendants of the families who lived in the mansion to get the nuances of the setting and real history correct. That’s crucial when you’re writing historical fiction.”
And it takes a team to see a book through from start to finish. Writing might be considered a solitary occupation, but there’s nothing solitary about the journey. Tammy, herself, travels each year to Idaho to join ten other writing friends for a weekend retreat of brainstorming, plotting, fun, laughter, and memorable moments. And she posts weekly on a team blog called Writes of Passage, which she shares with eleven other multi-published Bethany House authors.
One author-friend is Deborah Raney, Tammy’s critique partner and one of many authors from whom she’s learned a great deal.
“I'm in awe of Tammy's talent as a writer and storyteller––and the gift of her friendship. I've never known anyone with a more generous heart. I count it a blessing to have walked with Tammy through these last ten years––not just as a critique partner, but as a friend. We e-mail or text each other almost every day...with lots of laughter."
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Please leave any comments with your email address in the form of name[at]domain[dot]com to qualify for a free autographed copy of Tamera's latest release, To Whisper Her Name, or her upcoming release, A Beauty So Rare, releasing in March 2014.