Tamara Grantham Author Interview
How did you start writing?
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’ll publish my first book on September 1, 2015, five years to the day that I started writing.
A fairy world doctor is such an unusual concept. What inspired you to write the Fairy World MD Series?
The idea started out as a question asked by my brother-in-law. He worked as a military policeman at Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma. Apparently, he’d pulled over quite a few people who were a little off. They also happened to display fairies and unicorns on their car’s bumpers. “Are people who read fantasy books and collect fairy stuff a little weird?” he had asked.
Hmm… Were they? And if they were, then why? These questions evolved into my book’s premise. What if they’ve really been to fairy world and can’t remember it? And
what if their lost memories are causing their societal abnormalities and mental disorders? And if so, who would treat them? A half-elf who can remember both earth and fairy world? After that, I had a fresh new book to write.
Does anyone influence your writing?
My husband was a huge influence on my writing. Every Christmas he bought me several books on writing. I read them all. Some of them I read twice. He read everything I wrote
and gave me critical feedback. And for the most part, he loved all my writing.
How did you find your publisher?
I queried agents for four years. I got some requests for pages, and even a few full manuscript requests. I attended writing conferences. At one conference I had all three
agents request my book, but nothing came of it. After doing some research, I realized that my inability to snag an agent might not entirely be my fault.
The industry was changing.
Self-published and smaller press-released books were gaining steam. These authors were not taking a huge profit pay cut, and they were successful with their sales. I looked into several methods of publishing and found my dream publisher. Clean Teen Publishing did beautiful covers, they had a professional online presence, and most importantly, their authors were selling books.
I submitted Dreamthief, my novel about Olive Kennedy, a Fairy World psychologist, to two publishers. One day later, I had two manuscript requests. And the next day, I had
I signed with Crimson Tree Publishing, the adult imprint of Clean Teen Publishing, on November 8, 2014. It was one of the happiest days of my life.
What does your writing process look like?
I have a goal to write 1,000 words EVERY week day. With five kids, that’s not always easy. But if I make it a priority, and try to get it done early, then I am almost
always successful. When I’m almost finished with a book, I push it a little more to 2,000 words a day, but by then, the story has all culminated to that one point—so it’s just a matter of getting it written.
I also have a thing about drafts. First draft–the ONLY goal must be to get it written. If you started with a detailed outline, and if you haven’t veered too far from it, then
getting it written is less challenging. Don’t think a character is fleshed out enough? Don’t think that dialogue is as witty as it should be? Doesn’t matter. This is the first draft, and as long as the structure is sound, don’t worry about the rest.
If I find myself spending too much time on one scene, trying to make things perfect, I stop myself with the words “FIRST DRAFT!” and move on.
For editing the 2nd draft and onward—this should never be a solitary process. This is when you get to let your trusted and honest beta readers pick it apart. Be encouraged by their criticism, because if you fix it now, that’s one less complaint you’ll have to see posted on the Amazon/Goodreads review sections.
Do you have any words of wisdom/advice for authors just starting?
Don’t get discouraged. As a teenager, I’d tried several times to write a book but failed before I got halfway through. Why? For starters, my outline was never fleshed out
enough. I had certain scenes in my head that I wanted to get to, but never did because my story took a different path and never went in the right direction.
Next, at some point in your book, you will reach the “This is crap” phase. It happens to everyone, so don’t feel bad. Yes, it’s a first draft. Do not compare your manuscript to already published books that have been edited and carefully picked apart word by word until they shine. As long as the first draft gets your character from point A to B without veering too much from the outline, don’t worry! Keep writing.
Also, don’t let your family read it and give feedback, right? WRONG! I hear this all the time from fellow authors and I think it’s hooey. Everyone’s family is different.
For some, this may be very true. You may have a particularly doting mother who saved all your writing since you were three and thinks you will be the next Stephen King. In that case, fine, you may want to take her compliments with a grain of salt.
In my case, my sister, who also happened to be an author, read my first draft and kindly ripped it to shreds. My writing changed drastically after her editing. She was one
of my greatest teachers. Also, my husband, an avid reader, was able to find places that didn’t make sense, didn’t hold his interest, etc., and was and still is my first reader. (He prefers the title Alpha Reader.)
Also, my mom is an English teacher, and her advice on grammar and sentence structure is invaluable. Should I ignore their advice because they’re family members? My answer is
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, which consisted of moving from Vidor, Texas to Galveston, Texas, then to Tulsa, Oklahoma, back to Galveston, and they finally settled in Wichita, Kansas. Tamara and David have five active, sweet, and almost always well-mannered children, ages zero to ten years. Their two pets, June–the Jack Russell Terrier, andChester–a black cat, help to keep the house lively (in addition to the children.)
When Tamara isn’t writing or tending her children, she enjoys taking walks through the woods, eating chocolate, and very infrequently, she enjoys a good night’s sleep.
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…
Olive’s to-do list: Feed the cat. Pay the rent. Save Faythander. Again.
After Olive’s last trip through Faythander, she wants nothing more than a nice vacation. But there’s never time for relaxation when goblin treachery is afoot. When Geth, a goblin Spellweaver, destroys the Everblossom—a tree containing Faythander’s pure magic—the fairy-world utopia begins to die. The bloom of the Everblossom is all that remains of pure magic. Now Olive must travel through Earth and Faythander to find a place where it will flourish.
As a psychiatrist, her skills are top notch. However, her abilities to handle patients with abnormal mental behaviors will be put to the test when she confronts Geth. Nothing has prepared her for what he reveals to her about goblins and elves. As Olive’s quest takes her from her home in Houston through the most dangerous places in Faythander, she learns that history is a muddled subject, especially when elves are involved.
Her only comfort comes from Kull, her Viking warrior sidekick—who somehow negates her bad fortune. Yet how long can their relationship last when his past is brought to light? Olive will be tested beyond anything she has endured so far, as the secrets of Faythander’s sordid and bloody past are exposed—one that could irrevocably alter the future and destroy the lives of everyone she loves.
Shine 6, 10, 11, and 12
In the near future, a few young women manifest extraordinary abilities called “Shine.” Each girl’s ability is different. Some develop extraordinary mental abilities. Some become physically strong. Others have powers that defy description. But the world does
not embrace these Shines. It fears them.