Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Interview with Tamera Alexander - day 2

Tamera's first seven novels are set against the rugged backdrop of the Colorado Territory (1860-70s), but she's recently turned her heart--and her pen--toward "home" and is writing about her own Southern heritage. A Lasting Impression, the first of three Belmont Mansion novels, showcases the larger-than-life history of Adelicia Acklen, the richest woman in America at the time, and the Belmont Mansion in the years following the Civil War. Tamera's ninth novel, To Whisper Her Name, the first of three Belle Meade Plantation novels, released in fall 2012, and tells the story behind the most influential thoroughbred stud farm in our nation's history.

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."

* * * * *

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.



Amy C said...

Great, inspiring post with Tamera! She's such a great author.
Thank you!
Campbellamyd at gmail dot com

Lis said...

I really enjoyed Rekindled and Revealed, loved them! To Whisper Her Name is in my TBR pile.

garfsgirl [at] hotmail [dot] com

Angela Holland said...

I enjoy your books not only for the great stories but I love the covers. Thank you for the chance to win.

griperang at embarqmail dot com

Patty said...

It sounds like Tammy has a great attitude and respect for the gift God has given her! I'm sure not all successful authors are so humble.


Barbara Thompson said...

I've truly enjoyed your novels. I become so involved, it feels as if I'm there. I not only love your books, the covers of your books are beautiful.
Barbara Thompson

Abbi Hart said...

Loved this post!

Susan P said...

Lovely interview. I love the covers!
lattebooks at hotmail dot com

karenk said...

a wonderful posting...thanks for the chance to read tamera's latest novel.

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Elyssa said...

Awesome giveaway! I LOVE Tamera's books, and can't wait to read the ones that I haven't read! Thanks for the chance to win. =)


Jenny said...

My daughter and her friend love Tamera's writing! Thank you for the great giveaway!


The Jesus Freak said...

I've never read any of Tamera's books, but I really should... lol! They look amazing, so I'm looking forward to reading them. =)


Emma said...

I am so excited to read Tamera's new book! She is my favorite author and I reread her books every year! Thanks so much for the giveaway!!!


Debbie said...

Although I've never read any of her books, my daughter has told me a lot about Tamera's books. They look really great! Thanks for the chance to win!


John said...

Her books look great! I'd like to be entered into the drawing.


Merry said...

I look forward to Tamera's books set in Nashville, I love learning more about it's history. Thanks for the giveaway!
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Tamera has some fine sounding books and beautiful covers. And I love the Historical Fiction books. I would love to win one of her books. It would be an honor for me. Thanks for this give-away.
MAXIE mac262(at)me(dot)com