Today I am here to introduce you to one of my absolute favorite contemporary young adult/new adult authors, Tammara Webber.
I first discovered Tammara Webber about a year ago when I was looking for something new to read on my Kindle and I needed something that was a little cheaper. Tammara’s book, Between the Lines, popped up and I was intrigued by it. It was only a couple dollars (and remains so, and the paperback is only 8.99) and so I decided to check it out.
I was sold SO fast. It tells the story of Emma Pierce, an aspiring actress, who lands a part in a major motion picture with the hot, and super famous, Reid Alexander. I am obsessed with that kind of pop culture, celebrity type of life (I even wrote a novel about it) and so it caught me SO fast. And Reid…Reid makes you fall in love with him so fast.
I consumed the next two novels, Where You Are and Good For You, in a matter of days. They are great books. Then when Tammara’s standalone novel, Easy, was released, I read that as well. Another seriously fantastic novel, Easy has been recognized all over the place for its merit.
Then I started to learn more about Tammara and I felt so inspired about the fact that she had self-published the Between the Lines series and that she had worked her butt off to get where she is now. For a struggling writer who often times doesn’t really see the white picket fence that is publishing a novel, she is a serious inspiration.
She is also what people have started to call “New Adult” literature, which is basically a way of saying, mature young adult lit. Young adult literature that may have more bad words, or (more likely) have more sex in them, and blatant sex, not just suggested sex. In my words, more realistic young adult fiction, because if you think teens aren’t cussing and having sex…well, you poor, naive thing.
Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself. The point is, I read Between the Lines, and noticed the difference in maturity and I liked it because I tend to write like that. My young adult characters say bad words and they have sex, and I’ve noticed a lot of YA doesn’t do that, or if they do, its only hinted at. I was so impressed by Tammara‘s books because of this, and it was like a little lightbulb over my head, ” I CAN write like this for teenagers!”
She remains one of my absolute favorite authors, and when she announced that there would be a fourth and final Between the Lines book, titled Here Without You, I was beside myself with excitement. Its hitting the ebook world on August 6th and the paperback version will be out on August 27th.
Now I’ve had the LUCKY opportunity to interview her and share this awesome interview with all of you :)
Sara: What can you tell us about the next Between the Lines book? Is this story told from a new point of view, or are we going to be seeing Reid Alexander, Emma Pierce, or any of those characters again?
Tammara: Here Without You is in alternating POVs – Reid, Dori, Brooke and one additional (new) character.
Sara: Where did you get the idea for the Between the Lines series?
Tammara: My oldest son was attending NYU (Tisch School of the Arts), when the Twilight films were being made. Several of the stars were in his age range, and he’s wanted to be an actor since he was 10. I began to wonder how he would handle crazed fan involvement in his life and relationships, at an age when he was still defining himself. It made me feel sorry for those actors, and the story started coming to me after that.
Sara: Where do you get your inspiration for your novels?
Tammara: All over the place – usually taking real life events out of their original context (sometimes from my life, but more often from friends, acquaintances, or news reports), wondering about them, taking them a step further or in a different direction.
Sara: What do you think of the term “new adult”? Do you like or dislike it? Do you feel like it helps or hinders your books?
Tammara: I wasn’t fond of the term when I first heard it coined by St. Martin’s in 2009. Now it’s just a term, and I’m used to it. I think it’s too early to tell what NA will turn out to be, especially since it appears that it will continue to be filed under Adult Romance. I wrote the BTL series and Easy with Young Adult audiences in mind. It’s not so much that “NA” hinders my books as the fact that they aren’t quite cutting edge when filed under NA – because NA is adult literature, but I wrote these books as YA. I’m not incapable of adjusting, however – and if my books are going to be called NA and filed under Romance instead of YA, then I need to write to that market if I expect to make a living as a writer.
Sara: What advice to give to aspiring authors? You self-published the Between the Lines series, so what advice to you have for authors who are considering self-publishing their novels?
Tammara: I don’t recommend anyone choose one or the other path, especially since lately, the literary landscape is shifting like crazy. I honestly have little idea of the difficulties facing new self-pubbed authors at the moment, or whether it’s now easier or more difficult for them to thrive. My main advice is do your homework. Read blogs of successful authors – but please don’t write to them and say, “How’d you do it?” If they want to tell you, they’ll tell you (and the hundreds of others who write with the same questions) in posts or FAQs on their websites. Some are super informative and blatantly honest. Find those – that’s what I did. Pay attention to what appears to work and what doesn’t. Don’t assume that because something worked for someone a year ago, it will work now (or vice-versa!). There are many more players in the market now.
Sara: Is this the last book that we will see in the Between the Lines series? What other projects/books do you have planned for the future?
Tammara: Yes, this is the last official BTL novel. I’m working on edits for it now (it will be self-published in the US, but published by Penguin Razorbill in the UK), and also starting to write Lucas’s story. I promised before I even published Easy that it would be a stand-alone novel, and that’s not going to change. I wrote the book to bring awareness to the issue of acquaintance rape, and books with sequels are simply less accessible to readers. I want Easy to remain accessible, so no sequel.
That said, Lucas was one of the most difficult characters I’ve written, because he’s just so secretive and introspective – even with me – which is why Easy was written in Jacqueline’s POV only. I never heard his voice while writing it. I had a typical novelist’s omnipotence going on, of course, but sometimes he did or said things and I wasn’t sure why. Unlike Reid or even Graham in the BTL series, I saw Lucas almost entirely from the heroine’s point of view. It wasn’t until recently that he began talking to me, at which point I realized that he was ready to tell his story.
Sara: What are some of your favorite books/authors to read? What are some authors that inspire you when you are writing?
Tammara: I read a lot of YA. Oddly, I haven’t read a lot of NA yet – except the NA that is sitting on YA shelves – and there is some (ex: Gayle Forman). I love Jennifer Echols. I enjoy a lot of fantasy, paranormal and dystopian YA (Cassandra Clare, Ann Aguirre, Maggie Stiefvater, Melissa Marr), though I wouldn’t read any of those genres in adult literature. I have no idea why that is; possibly YA novels are generally more hopeful, at least at the end.
Sara: Did you always want to be a writer, or did you have other career aspirations? What are some of the jobs you’ve done in the past?
Tammara: I’ve always wanted to write and I’ve always written, though it took me a while to give in to the notion of actually completing a novel. I don’t know if I’d call anything else a “career aspiration” so much as “a way to pay the bills.” I’ve done everything – waitressing, retail, clerical work, working at a tan salon, taking calls in a night-time radiology call center. The closest I came to feeling like I had a career was when I was an undergraduate academic advisor – which is what I was doing when I began writing Between the Lines.
Sara: What are some of your favorite things to do in your spare time, besides reading or writing?
Tammara: Spare time? I watch very little television (Walking Dead, Vampire Diaries and New Girl are it over the past year or two. I like movies, but don’t get to go often enough. If I’m out with friends or my husband, I prefer dinner and conversation to entertainment. I LOVE to read, so when I have time off (or need time off) from writing, that’s usually what I’m doing. My husband loves to read, too, so we’re often sitting together reading (or he’s playing some disgusting video game and I’m reading and trying to ignore the death throes on the screen).
Sara: What is the hardest part of being a writer? What is the BEST part of being a writer?
Tammara: Starting a book is easy. Continuing is hard, especially when I get blocked, which usually occurs at forks in the road, especially if I’m dealing with multiple characters. There’s also a point somewhere in the middle of every book where I loathe everything I’ve written. I see no possible way to finish. I can’t imagine why I think I can write at all, and I want to smash my computer and run away from home. That’s the worst. (I’ve learned to anticipate this now, so I’m not destroyed by it – but it’s still disconcerting.) Next to that is the not-writing business part of writing – whether you’re indie or traditional (I’ve done both now so I know!) is so time-consuming and sometimes just mind-numbing. Sometimes I open a blog post, write gibberish, delete it and sign out. Emails and posts and tweets pile up quickly and become overwhelming. I’ve had times when I was sick, or one of my kids needed me – or just life happened – and when I get back to my computer, it takes me hours or days to catch up, when I really just want to write.
The best part is simple. I get to tell stories for a living. I have to pinch myself occasionally, because I just never thought this would be my life.
Sara: What is the strangest thing a fan has said to you, or given to you? Do you have any funny fan stories?
Tammara: I probably shouldn’t reveal these, lol; those people tend to stalk and read everything. (*nervously looking around*) I love and appreciate my readers, and all their quirks. I’m a quirky, introverted reader… and so are many of the people who read my books! Most of the time, we get each other.
Sara: I ask this question to every person that I interview: Who is your favorite fictional crush?
Tammara: My forever crush is Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. But my strongest current crush is Jace. So many reasons. I recently read the Mortal Instruments series, one after the other, and I am so ready for the next book, and the first film, which has to have the best casting on a YA film series since HP. SO pleased with their choices for everyone. (Please be good please be good please be good.) Here’s the weird part, though: While reading about Jace, I could not stop thinking about my BTL character Reid, because Reid’s an actor, they sound physically alike, and their demeanors are so similar. I kept thinking, Reid could play this guy. Which is CRAZY… because Reid is just as fictional, for pete’s sake. But those cocky, sarcastic, literary Bad Boys remind me of my RL crush – who is my husband. Luckily.
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Can I just that Tammara‘s love for The Mortal Instruments, and the fact that she thought of Reid Alexander as Jace Wayland is just the cherry on top of an already awesome sundae that is Tammara Webber? I TOTALLY thought of Reid too, despite the fact that he is completely fictional.
I love that he is her fictional crush too, because he is totally mine, and I totally like those cocky, sarcastic bad boys because that’s exactly my boyfriend.
And you guys all know how I am about The Mortal Instruments and Jace Wayland (see: TMI tattoo, fave fictional crush, how many times I’ve met Cassandra Clare…)
Anyway, I really hope you all enjoyed getting to know Tammara a little bit more today and I hope those of you who have NOT checked her out, will do so :) You will LOVE her books, I promise you that.
Check out past interviews with authors like Cassandra Clare, Jessica Brody and Eoin Colfer here.