Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I’m introducing you to Tammy L. Grace. I really enjoyed this interview and getting to know her better. She’s the first author I’ve had on here who talks about interviewing her characters! I think that’s fascinating. And, well, I love anyone who loves typing on a keyboard like mine. Tammy is giving away a copy of her latest Christmas release. Read on to see how you can enter to win!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. I’m Tammy L. Grace and I live in my hometown, a rural community outside of Reno, Nevada. I’ve always loved to read and with the help of my middle school teacher discovered the joy of creative writing. I started writing stories and wrote a column for our local newspaper throughout my middle and junior high school years. At the time, I never considered a career in writing and instead got my MBA and worked for local and state government. I retired in my mid-40’s, excited to start a second career as a novelist, my dream job.
I published my first book in my Hometown Harbor Series in 2014 and am working on my fifteenth novel now. I write best-selling women’s fiction with a hint of romance, Hallmark-style Christmas romances, and an award-winning private detective mystery series that is on the cozy-side. I also write for Bookouture under my pen name, Casey Wilson, and will be releasing two dog-centric books in 2020, both of which will appeal to those who love stories like Marley and Me.
Speaking of dogs, I’m a huge dog lover and include canine companions in all of my books to date. My husband and I have one grown son and a new golden retriever puppy, who keeps us on our toes.
Tell us about your current release. My new release, The Magic of the Season, is a heartwarming Christmas novella set in the fictional town of Silver Falls, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It’s the sequel to last year’s Christmas release, A Season for Hope.
The inspiration for the first book came to me in a chance encounter I had with a woman whose car broke down in my hometown during the holidays. After hearing from readers who enjoyed the story and wanted to know more about the characters in Silver Falls, I decided to write the sequel this year. They center around a huge Christmas festival that takes place in the quaint mountain town.
They are both stories of family, friendship, small-town celebrations, and the kindness of strangers. My hometown has some wonderful Christmas traditions and I’ve borrowed many of them for these novellas.
What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? I find stepping away from my project and doing something physical usually helps. I come up with lots of ideas on walks or while vacuuming. Other times, I’ll take a break and binge watch a series or movie, just to let my brain go into neutral. That seems to be when an idea clicks and then I can go back to the project with a fresh outlook.
What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? Retirement actually inspired me to approach writing seriously. It offered me the freedom to spend my days writing and learning about the industry, without having to depend on it for a living. It’s difficult to make a decent living writing, so most writers start out, at least, working a regular job and writing in their off hours. It made retiring from a job I loved less scary, because I was so looking forward to embracing this second career.
Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? I always have my characters fully developed and use an interview process to make sure I get to know them well before I begin a book. I like to live with them for a bit and get to know them in my imagination before I dive into writing. For my mystery series, I usually have every detail outlined and plotted, but for my other books, I start with a loose outline and often develop more of the story as I write and let the characters string me along with them.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Each time I’m asked this, I encourage anyone who is interested in writing a book to attend a writing conference. It’s the best way to learn more about not only the craft, but the business, publishing paths, and marketing aspects of the book world. Not only that, but the ability to chat with other authors and professionals in the industry is priceless.
What is your preferred method of writing? When I start brainstorming ideas, it’s always with pen and paper. There’s something about actual writing that I enjoy and I love pens and pencils. I have way too many of them! Once I have fleshed out my ideas on paper, I begin writing and am most comfortable in my home office on a desktop computer. I’ve worn out several keyboards and finally splurged on a mechanical one that lets me change the backlight color and it’s so pretty, it makes me want to type.
What is your inspiration for writing? I tend to be inspired by travel. I came up with the idea for my Hometown Harbor Series while on a ferry to visit the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington, which is where the series takes place. A trip to Nashville inspired my quirky detective character who lives with his wealthy aunt in Belle Meade. For my Christmas books, my hometown and the beautiful area I live in near Lake Tahoe were the driving forces behind them.
My own golden retriever, Zoe, who is featured in my first book, was the inspiration for all the dogs I’ve included in my work. She was my writing buddy and I was devastated to lose her in 2017. I’m hoping my new puppy, Izzy, will become my new writing companion.
Who do you envision your typical reader to be? I think my typical readers are women, although I’ve had several men tell me how much they enjoy my mysteries, with a male lead. My female readers are usually over forty, enjoy escaping with stories of friendship and family that transport them to places they would love to visit or live, where they’re introduced to characters they’d like as friends. Chances are if you’re a fan of my books, you’re a fan of Hallmark and authors like Debbie Macomber.
Here is where you can find Tammy online:
Subscribe to Tammy’s monthly newsletter and get a FREE interview with the dogs from her Hometown Harbor Series: https://wp.me/P9umIy-e
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/AuthorTammyLGraceBookBuddies/
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCei5GUWLSuD3tLBl81-Fa9w
Tammy is giving away both ebooks in her Christmas in Silver Falls series to a reader! See below how to enter to win:a Rafflecopter giveaway