Monday, September 7, 2015

Author Spotlight: Fantasy and Romance Novelist Tamara Grantham

Today's guest is fellow Clean Indie Reads author Tamara Grantham. She writes fantasy and romance stories including several titles in New York Times bestselling author William Bernhardt's Shine series. Here we talk about her latest release, what motivates her to write, and her book giveaway. Be sure to enter!  Welcome to Adventures in Publishing, Tamara! Please tell us your latest news.

Thanks for inviting me to speak to your readers, Marianne. My big news? Dreamthief, my first full-length novel, was just released last week! I am over-the-moon excited!

That is exciting! There's nothing like the thrill of releasing a new book.

Can you tell us a little about it?

Of course! Here's the blurb: Visiting Faythander is a nasty business. Forget the fairies and unicorns, most people come back with lost memories and mental problems. Olive Kennedy knows. She's the therapist who treats patients suffering from Faythander's side effects. Despite her empty bank account, she takes pride in her job as Houston's only Fairy World medical doctor. She's never failed to cure a client—until now. 
Traveling back to Faythander wasn't on Olive's to-do list. But she has no choice. The fate of both Earth and Fairy depends on her ability to stop an ancient being called the Dreamthief. To complicate matters, she may be losing her heart to someone who can't love her in return. Saving the world, she can handle. Falling in love—not so much.

As if battling the forces of evil wasn't difficult enough…   

I'm hooked! How did you come up with the title?

After watching the movie Inception, I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if someone could steal dreams? Thus, Dreamthief was born.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Writing has taught me that we all go through trials, and although some are better at hiding their emotions, I think it’s important for everyone to realize that we all struggle with trials. I think we would all be a bit more compassionate if we understood this. I also hope that I related that in Dreamthief

How much of the book is realistic? 
Since it’s a fantasy, not much.

Are the experiences in the story based on someone you know or events in your own life?

Yes. The first paragraph was written after I’d experienced what my main character, Olive, describes. The first paragraph in Dreamthief is… “I don’t believe in karma. Once, I gave twenty bucks to earthquake victims, thinking hey, maybe tomorrow my luck will change, maybe I can pay the utilities this month without sacrificing my grocery money. The next morning, my car broke down. Transmission. Nine hundred bucks. Don’t get me wrong, I still think we ought to help others, but not because we expect the universe to pay us back.” 

A few days before I wrote this scene, I had, in fact, donated $10 to earthquake victims, which was a lot of money to me at the time. I’d also had the same thought—hey, maybe if I give this money to something charitable, I’ll be able to budget the money without seeing red. The next day, our a/c broke, and cost us $400 to fix it. It was a stressful time, but at least I used it to my advantage, and it gave me the first line of my book… I don’t believe in karma. 

What's your writer story?
I started writing on September 1, 2010. I remember the date because it was a beautiful day. The leaves were beginning to change, the summer heat had cooled, and my son had started Kindergarten. I was at home with my two youngest, a 3 year old girl and 1 year old boy. I’d overcome the stresses of buying a new home in a new city, and my husband had started his 2nd year of residency. The past year had been pretty brutal. I was a small-town Texas girl transplanted to Tulsa, Oklahoma. I’d never lived so far away from home, and my husband’s 80 hour work weeks were a killer. Luckily, I was blessed to make some friends who were true kindred spirits.

One of these kindred spirits loaned me a book called Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George. It was a fun, creative story, not unlike the stories I’d created in my own imagination. In her bio, the author wrote that she’d written the book while raising two young children and one on the way.

I stewed on this information for a few days. How did she do it? I couldn’t even find five minutes to check my email. How had she done it? And if I were to write a book, what would it be about? Would it have magic? Romance? What would my characters look like? Where would the setting be? 

I couldn’t leave all the information stuck in my head. I sat down and wrote a ten page outline about a girl named Ivy who lived on a Texas farm. I called it Forbidden. The story was a mix of Anne of Green Gables meets Tess of the d’Urbevilles, with a little magic and romance thrown into the plot. It never got published, but I still have my hopes up.

After I wrote my outline, I was hooked on writing.

I finished the first draft of Forbidden a month later on October 1, 2010.

Oddly enough, I published my first book on September 1, 2015, five years to the day that I started writing.

What books have influenced your life? 

I would be lying if I didn’t pay homage to my faith. As a Mormon, The Book of Mormon has probably influenced me the most, next to the Bible. But if we’re talking fun books, then I would say Changes by Jim Butcher, and The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis. They were both books that I would read again and again. And make me teary-eyed, which is what a good book is supposed to do.

How about a little preview of Dreamthief?

My heart broke the instant I laid eyes on my godson. His pale face peeked from his Sponge Bob blankets. He didn’t smile. I guess I’d never seen him without a smile on his face.
Dark magic. I felt it the instant I saw him. Something evil was at work here, and it was my job to find out what.
I walked to the bed and sat beside him. His eyes cracked open an inch, but he didn’t acknowledge me.
“Hi Jer,” I said and took his hand. “It’s Olive.”
His eyes closed. The unsteady rhythm of his breathing filled the room, and his clammy fingers relaxed in my grip.
What could have caused this?
Mrs. Dickinson stood by the bed. “When did this happen?” I asked her.
“Three days ago,” she replied, her voice weak. “I took him for his checkup with Dr. Hill. We came home, and he collapsed. I called Dr. Hill as soon as it happened, and he told me to bring him back in.” Mrs. Dickinson sighed, staring at the ceiling as if she didn’t want me to see her tears. “Carl is out of town. I had to leave the rest of the kids with Nigel so I could take care of him.”
“Nigel Green—Mr. Green—the foster home director. But Sissy refused to leave Jeremiah’s side.” She looked at me, pleading. “He spent two days in the hospital. They ran every test under the sun. Finally, they diagnosed him with depression.” She barked a bitter laugh. “Depression.”
Pausing, she stared at me. “Can you do anything?”
I patted his shoulder, his nightshirt soft under my fingers. Propping my mirror on my knee, I clicked it open and prayed I could help him. The mirror was never intended for children. Visitors to Faythander didn’t struggle with repressed memories until later in life, and I doubted repressed memories were causing Jeremiah to be catatonic.
The fog of Faythander light curled around the mirror’s surface. It touched my skin, warm and full of energy. I spun it around to face Jeremiah. With his face in the mirror, I started the test. If he had traveled to Faythander, he would have been in contact with any number of species. This assessment would prove it.
I took his hand in mine, feeling the familiar, crescent-shaped scar on his wrist from where he’d been bitten by a dog a few years back. Seventeen stitches. He wouldn’t go near dogs anymore. It made me realize how much this little boy had already suffered in his short life.
“What are you doing?” Mrs. Dickinson asked.
“If Jeremiah visited Faythander, one of these figurines should trigger his memories.”
“Fairy world, sort of.”
“Olive, I know you’ve been doing this for some time, and I know Dr. Hill trusts you. But fairy world?”
“It’s a lot to swallow, I know. But if you think about it, we’ve known about the place for centuries. Dragons, elves, pixies—they surfaced in paintings and writings as soon as humans learned to form words. More people have been there than you realize.”
Mrs. Dickinson stared, unconvinced, but I didn’t expect anything else.
I placed Jeremiah’s hand on the first figure, the dragon. I’d painstakingly detailed the pewter piece and placed an actual dragon scale inside the metal. If Jeremiah had seen dragons, this piece would trigger it.
Jeremiah’s eyes remained closed, unchanged except for a slight twitching behind his eyelids. The dragon didn’t have any effect.
The elf came next. I gently moved Jeremiah’s fingers over it and glanced from his face to the mirror. If he found the right figure, I could usually see the memories come to life in the glass. But Jeremiah’s face remained unchanged, the mirror empty.
Moving his fingers, I tried the Wult next. Wults aren’t really a true Faythander species. They crossed over from Earth almost fourteen hundred years ago. In those days, they were called Vikings.
I pressed Jeremiah’s fingertips to the pewter helmet and animal-skin cloak. The Wult statue had the same results as the last two. Sighing, I wondered if I had lost my touch. Usually, I would have gotten somewhere by now.
I glanced at Mrs. Dickinson. She smiled, but I pegged her as a skeptic. I’m sure she pegged me as a lunatic.

About the Author
Tamara Grantham was born and raised in Southeast Texas. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in English from Lamar University. After marrying her husband David, she followed him through his training to become a burn surgeon. Tamara and David have five active, sweet, and almost always well-mannered children, ages zero to ten years. Their two pets, June and Chester help to keep the house lively (in addition to the children.)
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1 comment:

Doris Orman said...

Thank you for posting! <3