Writer Wednesday: Meet Tamara Shoemaker!

Tamara ShoemakerWelcome back to Writer Wednesday! It’s so good to see you all again. You’ve no idea how I treasure our Wednesday meetings, especially when I can bring you someone like Tamara Shoemaker!

Tamara and I are good friends in real life, which is awesome because she’s pretty darn cool – and it shows how writing brings people together, since we met in our local critique group. Wahoo!

Tamara’s got not one, but TWO YA fantasy series she’s penning. Today she’s here to tell us a bit about her and about The Guardian of the Vale, the third book in her Guardian of the Vale series – the series I’ve called The Last Airbender meets Harry Potter. Take it away, Tamara!


Love and journalTypically, in a romance (or in your case, a romantic fantasy), halfway through the story, you’ll have a pretty good idea of who is “supposed” to end up together. You buck this tradition for your Guardian of the Vale trilogy. Why?

Good question. If it helps, I’ll say it’s not my fault. 😉

When I wrote the outline for Mark of Four (the first book in the trilogy), the romantic leads were who I intended to put together by the end of book three. However, as the story progressed, so did the characters.

By the time I wrote Guardian of the Vale, I had created a monster–that is to say: this character that I had created was so very strong, he wouldn’t let me pigeonhole him into the nice, neat portion of the story I had intended for him, and he insisted on becoming the romantic lead.

As much as it messed up my outlines and plans, I kind of liked it. It’s so much easier to write a character who takes the initiative than one who melts like so much flaccid ink onto a page with nary a struggle to be seen. Such a character may moldable, but there’s no depth there.

 

janeyereWhat type of romance do you love most and why?

I feel very … torn about this question.

Undoubtedly, the type I love the most is the happily-ever-after type where character A meets character B, and, after finally conquering the “problem” that keeps A from B and B from A, they finally declare undying love for one another, and voila, kiss, wedding, the pitter-patter of tiny feet, followed by “The End.”

On the other hand, while I love those, the stories I remember the most–the ones that never leave my head and usually burrow deep into my heart are the ones that are bittersweet, where something of great importance is lost in the struggle for great gain:

  • Gone with the Wind (don’t get me started on how much I dislike the main female lead; why, oh why, do I remember this one so well?)
  • Jane Eyre (sure, they lived happily-ever-after, but only after he was blinded and maimed, and they spent a year and more apart while they learned equal shares of pain) 
  • Redeeming Love (a husband who loves his wife even through adultery and prostitution and any number of times she tries to leave him, and yet. And yet. Oh, that book makes me bawl my eyes out.)

I don’t know if there’s a way to say I love one kind of romance more than the other kind. They both affect me differently, though no less powerfully, I suppose, for those differences.

Continue reading Writer Wednesday: Meet Tamara Shoemaker!

Embrace the Fire! – Interview with #YA Fantasy Author Tamara Shoemaker

Fair_MegafonWahoo! We’ve got Young Adult Fantasy author Tamara Shoemaker swooping in on the wings of dragons to share with us about her latest release, Embrace the Fire.

She’s a hoot (dragon sex, anyone?), always wildly entertaining, and so I invite you to sit back with favorite brew in hand and read all about … the chocolate preferences of her characters? Yes, and MUCH more…


Embrace the Fire is the second in your Heart of a Dragon trilogy, the follow-up to Kindle the Flame. What do you find the most challenging part about writing the middle book in a trilogy? What is the most fun?

 

KTFCoverThe most challenging part of avoiding that middle book syndrome is finding a good balance for your overall story. You have to carry a storyline that keeps flowing, doesn’t grow stagnant, maintains and builds the plot threads and the romantic chemistry and the character development and the rising action and the tone and the voice and the structure… all without tipping over the precipice into the land of “resolved” yet, because hey… there’s still another book to be written, and you have to save something for then. 😉

The most fun part is everything I just listed. Sure, it’s hard, but who said writing a book was ever easy, and if it were easy… would I enjoy it? I love the challenge of throwing myself heart and soul into a project, tearing out my hair, sometimes even crying over my inability to make plot threads meet—but, oh boy, the adrenaline rush at the end!

Some people jump from planes for the amazing feeling of accomplishment when they land on the ground. Me… I just write books. 😉

Which character from this trilogy do you most enjoy writing, and why?

 

Beautiful exotic young woman in lingerieI enjoy the wide variety of the cast; there are so many and varied tastes and textures. It’s like an artist’s palette, and I get to choose a brush and make a stroke along a canvas whenever I break out into some of the descriptions.

I just added a new character in Embrace the Fire that I didn’t have in Kindle the FlameAshleen. I’ve totally enjoyed exploring the depths of her character. She’s nearly opposite me in personality—unafraid and absolutely self-confident. She makes a nice contrast to Kinna, my female lead, who struggles with discovering who she is and becoming comfortable with what she’s meant to do. I’m widening Ashleen’s role in the third book, and am having fun seeing how elastic her character is and how far she’ll stretch.

How do you think up such intricate plots and such fantastical creatures? Because I totally want a Mirage dragon.

 

Short answer: I have no idea. 😉 Lol!
Tree BookIt starts with a seed (what if I wrote a list of all the fantastical creatures I’ve ever found in stories, and then included them all in one book?) that I faithfully water every day (and then what if I made a world where all of these creatures were separated into Clans by a tyrannical king who used them for his own ends?), and then it eventually sprouts into a full-blown tree complete with twigs, blossoms, and leaves (and then what if there’s an epic struggle between the king and the rightful heir to the throne, and the eternal poser of Might Is Right comes into heavy play throughout the entire trilogy? How epic would that be?).


This is very important: Which would each of your four main characters (Kinna, Ayden, Cedric, Sebastian) prefer: dark, milk, or white chocolate. Believe me, this reveals a lot about their personalities.

 

chocolateHaha!! I can only imagine. Shall I analyze why I think they like what they like? Here we go:

Kinna likes milk chocolate, because she’s not one to obsess over the added sugar. And it tastes better than white chocolate. She’s a bit more of a go-with-the-flow girl, and she’s at peace with that. Although she has a strict sense of right and wrong, she knows it’s silly to think that all dark things are inherently evil, and all things of the light are unmixed with the dark.

Ayden also likes milk chocolate for many of the same reasons as Kinna, but he’s seen too much of the underbelly of the world to think that he wants to spend any more time in only dark chocolate. It’s too bitter, and he’s had enough bitterness to last a lifetime.

Cedric enjoys dark chocolate, perhaps because until the age of seventeen, he’s never experienced chocolate of any kind, and doesn’t know the effects that chocolate has on the culture he discovers when he leaves the only life he’s ever known. Too much sweetness sours his stomach, and he can only handle small amounts at a time, no more than a square inch if pressed.

Sebastian has towers of his castle filled with the white chocolate gunk. He rolls in it. He stuffs his cheeks like a hamster and then gets on his political wheel and runs aimlessly for hours while he lets the sickly sweet saliva leak from his mouth and drip from his chin in drops of tyrannical drool.

So… how’d I do? 😉

(ML says: Best. Answer. Ever. And I knew that evil Sebastian was a white chocolate guy. I just knew it.)


You also just released the middle book in your Guardian of the Vale series, Shadows of Uprising. How on earth do you keep the characters and storylines straight? Have you ever mixed them up and found yourself sticking Kinna into Clayborne, or having Jayme ride a dragon?

 

shadowsuprisingYes to both. I always proofread my books after I finish writing them—multiple times—and it never fails but that I find the wrong character show up in a book.

Even when I was only writing ONE book at a time (instead of two or three as I am now), I’d still find the characters cropping up in my present story that I had wrapped up in the book I’d finished months ago.

I figure it’s just part of the process. And hopefully I always catch any stray displaced characters in a story before it goes to press and return them to their rightful homes.


Once you finish these two series, what’s next? More sci-fi/fantasy? Or might you, gasp, actually take a break?

 

sunset in heart handsHahahahahaha! Take a break, she says. 😉 I’ve learned never to lay out solid plans too far in advance, because there’s too much of a risk of breaking those plans. I hope to keep writing YA fantasy for years, but at the moment, I’m concentrating on just getting these two trilogies done.

I do have a historical romance series in my head that’s been simmering for the last few years, and I kept discarding the idea because I don’t write straight romance. I’ve finally decided to give it a shot. I have no idea if it’s a good decision or not; it might be a walk on the wild side. But I figured I may as well have fun with it. I enjoy the lightness of romances; it’ll be a nice break from the intense and deep and epic plot threads of my fantasies (I say that now—watch my romance evolve into a ridiculous creation that’s waaaay too deep to call it a simple romance). 🙂

(ML says: “Simple” romance? Methinks you and I must talk, m’dear. There are plenty of dark, twisted romances out there, as well. 🙂 )


You’re a freelance editor as well as a writer. How does editing others’ works influence your own?

 

EditorTo hone a skill, you have to practice… and practice and practice and practice, right? I practice writing all the time, as well as editing my own work all the time. But I have one basic style, and freelance editing opens up a world of other styles to me. It’s wonderful; I get to do what I love best (read and write) while helping other authors do what they love best (write), and it also helps me hone and sharpen my skills. It’s a win/win situation.


If you could give people one reason to read this trilogy, what would it be?

 

Dragons in LoveThree words: Dragonly coital habits.

That would totally be too much for my curiosity. But if you need a little more convincing, here’s my shot at it:

If you want to read a story with reminiscent touches of Martin’s or Tolkein’s fantasy action, if you want a YA romance that takes you back to the Twilight days, if you enjoy the political intrigue and mystery of TV series similar to Reign and/or the Tudors… or if you just enjoy really, really awesome dragons, then this book is most definitely for you. 🙂


Embrace the Fire

Embrace The FireWanted by King Sebastian, Kinna, the long-hidden daughter of the assassinated King Liam, flees for her life, determined to seek out her twin brother and free him from Sebastian’s dungeons. Meanwhile, the King holds Kinna’s adopted father as collateral to ensure she keeps her betrothal to a man she does not love.

Once cursed by King Sebastian to turn everything he touched to ash, Ayden suffers from new, searing pain that heats his flesh in a different way. Searching for answers, he digs into the histories of West Ashwynd’s Clans, and his discoveries lead him to the Amulet he’d thought had rid him of his curse. When he finds a rare Mirage Dragon, hope for vengeance upon Sebastian fills him again.

Captured and stripped of his power as Dragon-Master, Cedric resists using his Dragon-speak to advance Sebastian’s political aims. When he escapes the King’s clutches, he resolves to find his twin sister, Kinna. But the enemy has a long reach, and Cedric’s chains are unrelenting.

Ice and agony torment Sebastian, King of West Ashwynd. His fury rages unabated as he prepares for war. When treachery leeches into his ranks, he turns against everyone he trusts. Sebastian believes he cannot be outwitted, but…

Kingdoms rise and fall; wars transform nations—
but who can survive the fires of Dragons?


Tamara ShoemakerTamara Shoemaker lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband, three children, a few jars of Nutella, and a never-ending carafe of coffee.

She authored the Amazon best-selling Shadows in the Nursery Christian mystery series and Soul Survivor, another Christian mystery. Her fantasy books include the first two books of the Heart of a Dragon trilogy: Kindle the Flame and Embrace the Fire, as well as Mark of Four and Shadows of Uprising, the first two books in the Guardian of the Vale trilogy.

In her spare time, she freelances as an editor for other works of fiction.

Follow her on social media:

Twitter: @TamaraShoemaker
Website: www.tamarashoemaker.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/tshoebooks


In Depth With #YAFantasy Author Tamara Shoemaker: Talking Shadows of Uprising

Tamara ShoemakerYou know what’s fun about being friends with really cool authors? Everything.

You know what’s fun about being an author with really cool author friends? The chance to tell others about them on your blog!

We have marvelous #YAFantasy author Tamara Shoemaker in the house (virtually speaking, that is), and she gives us insight into her writing life, AND into her new release, Shadows of Uprising, Book 2 in the fantastic Guardians of the Vale trilogy (think Last Airbender meets Harry Potter).


What’s the biggest challenge in writing a trilogy?

clotheslinebooks

That ridiculous middle book. I feel like it’s the day after Good Friday and the day before Easter Sunday. It’s so easy to fall into the feeling of waiting. The beginning dilemmas are described, the characters are evolved, the ending battles have yet to be fought. I think there’s an actual term for it: “the middle book syndrome.”

I try very hard to avoid falling into the middle book syndrome. Each of my books in a trilogy has a story arc within itself. I set up the central plot conflict, create a climax, weave together some satisfying falling action, and pull together a brilliant resolution. But all of that has to be pertinent to the overarching “trilogy plot.”

One of my happiest moments was when I’d handed my manuscript of Shadows of Uprising to my editor, and we’d gone over the developmental edits. We were preparing for line edits when she sent me this note: “Middle book syndrome successfully avoided.” That absolutely made my year.

kindletheflameHow do you keep these two different worlds straight? (In other words, are you crazy for writing two YA fantasy series at once?)

Haha! It does border on insanity, it’s true. Sometimes, I have so many characters in my head that I get them mixed up on the page. Ayden from my Heart of a Dragon trilogy keeps showing up in place of Daymon in my Guardian of the Vale trilogy, and vice versa. My pinky finger constantly hovers over the backspace key. It’s inevitable that the wrong name leaves my fingers before I can blink once.

To write two different worlds simultaneously, I have to create distinctive breaks. After breakfast = Editing Guardian of the Vale. After lunch = editing Heart of the Dragon. After the kids are in bed = freelance editing for clients. Somewhere in there, I’ve got three kids to help with homework and a husband who occasionally appreciates a home-cooked meal. 😉

In spite of the breaks, it’s still a struggle to write multiple worlds at the same time. I keep telling myself—after these trilogies are out, I’m slowing down to ONE book at a time. But I doubt I’ll listen to myself. I have too many stories in my head that are desperate to come out. 🙂

mo4How do you feel when people react strongly to your characters, whether positively or especially negatively? (I know some people aren’t keen on Kyle. I name no names, though. *whistle*)

To each his own. I’m not too keen on dear Kyle, either, although I perhaps lend him a bit more grace than the average reader, mostly because he’s my own creation. But I love the fact that people react, no matter what they say. It shows they have gotten so into the story that they care what happens to my characters.

My favorite message I received just the other day from a reader: “What is Alayne DOING? And why is she DOING IT?” (Capitals included in original message). Said reader went on to vent for a while, but when she finished the book, she sent me another message telling me how much she loved it. I thoroughly enjoy hearing my readers’ reactions to the characters, both positive and negative; it makes me feel like I’ve done a great job of pulling them into the story.

Vintage TypewriterDescribe your typical process in writing a story: plotter? Pantser? Write every day? Write in fits and spurts?

I go through stages. When I’m in the book-creation stage, I write every day, occasionally giving myself a day’s break if the storyline isn’t coming as easily as I’d wish. When I’m in the editing stage, I edit every day, but I don’t spend any time writing new material (unless I’m revamping a chapter or something).

I try at all costs to avoid writing in fits and spurts. I’m notoriously undisciplined in various parts of my life (Mt. Laundry, I’m looking at you), and I refuse to allow myself to lose control of my career. So, with rigid discipline, then, I sit down nearly every day in front of my laptop, even if I can’t think of what I want to write, even if the characters refuse to cooperate. If I don’t, if I let the manuscript sit, it grows more rebellious with time. I have to tackle it every day to keep it morphing and changing into what I want it to become.

Business concept. keyboard and crumpled paper on table.Pantser or plotter? A little of both. I like to know where the story starts and where it ends and a few major happenings in the middle before I begin to write. My basic outline usually looks like this: Mega-exciting opening incident, throw in romantic interlude here, toss in suspenseful incident there, sprinkle in a climax where all characters fall apart, write a satisfying conclusion where all characters that make it through the climax pull it together. A few pages of world-building notes, and then I’m writing. Generally, the outcome of the book looks NOTHING like what I’ve jotted on paper at the beginning, but it’s the start that keeps me going.


Is there anything in the plot you wish you could change, now that you’re this far in?

With my Guardian of the Vale trilogy? No. I love all of it. I have no regrets. I love how the characters have morphed throughout, how they’ve grown and how it all comes together in the end. I absolutely would keep it the same if I could write it again tomorrow. My Heart of the Dragon trilogy has been a little more difficult to write, perhaps because I published the first book before the second one was written (all three books in the Guardian of the Vale trilogy were already written before the first one was published). So I have found a plot-snag or two that comes back to haunt me from Kindle the Flame. Thus far, I’ve been able to work my way around the snags, but if I would have written all three of the books first before publication, those plot-snags would have hit the scrap pile.

If you could have dinner with any 3 authors, whom would you choose and why?

Oh, how fun! Authors are my favorite kinds of people—worlds of imagination around a dinner table! Hmm, I imagine I’m fairly predictable with some of these answers, because most people who know me know my great literary loves. But here they are:

  • JK Rowling (None of my books would be what they are without my imagination having been lit by her brilliant wizarding world.)
  • austenJane Austen (Reading about the power of soul-deep love always stirs me to my core, and Austen not only creates the best love stories, but she mocks the foibles of society while she’s at it. I can’t get enough.)
  • David of the Bible (Anyone who writes “Deep cries to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me,” echoes the heights and depths and breadths of emotion that create the innermost part of me. I would love to talk with such a poet’s soul.)

I feel like these three authors would create a nice cross-section of what I identify with the most: fantasy, true love, and a person’s interaction with his creator.

If you could have dinner with any three of your characters, who would you choose and why?

Wow, you wore me out with the last question!

  • I think I’d have to go first with Professor Manderly Manders. The guy fascinates me. He’s a dusty, middle-aged professor of Elemental History at Clayborne Training Facility, and yet there’s an undercurrent of kick-tushie, rock-hard awesomeness about him that I can’t quite erase. I’ve posted pictures before of who I imagine when I write about them. To me, Professor Manders would be played in a screen-adaptation by Robert Downey, Jr.
  • Second, I’d go with Marysa, possibly to cover any stilted silences, because the girl’s tongue is hinged in the middle, but also, you won’t find a sweeter or a wiser friend. She’s not marshmallow fluff, either; girl’s got steel underneath somewhere. I have thoroughly enjoyed developing her character from what it was at the beginning of Mark of Four to what it is at the end of Guardian of the Vale.
  • And third, of course I have to choose Daymon,
    a) because he’s crazy hot, and
    b.) he’s not your normal person who appears on your hero-of-the-day toilet paper.
    (ML says: What? There’s Hero-Of-The-Day toilet paper? Where do I get some of THAT?)He comes from a dark past, and instead of succumbing to the pressures of what he’s had to face, he finds ways to overcome. He’s stronger than most because of his experiences.

Only three? Honestly, ALL of my characters fascinate me, and who wants to throw such a small dinner party? I’m pretty sure I’d have to rent out the largest banquet hall and invite every last one of my characters. We’ll have a great time, between the Dragons that keep scorching the walls and the Elementals that throw water and fire around like it’s no big deal.

Y’all probably want an invitation, too. I’ll get right on that. 😉


SoUShadows of Uprising

Alayne Worth possesses the Vale, an object of mysterious power coveted by other Elementals. Danger shadows her every step when this secret spreads. As she grieves the sudden death of her boyfriend at the hands of the notorious Shadow-Caster, Simeon Malachi, Alayne unravels the mysteries of the Vale and her past.

When she returns to Clayborne to pursue her Elemental training, Alayne is plagued by disturbing visions that predict a dark future. As an ominous Alliance of pure-blood Elementals spreads intolerance across the Continent, Alayne’s visions show evidence of the truth–and reveal a deadly danger to her loved ones. Alayne must conquer her fears and use her power to muster an uprising that will obliterate the only way of life she’s ever known.

Find Shadows of Uprising on Amazon!


Tamara Shoemaker lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband, three children, a few jars of Nutella, and a never-ending carafe of coffee. She authored the Amazon best-selling Shadows in the Nursery Christian mystery series and Soul Survivor, another Christian mystery. Her fantasy books include the beginning of the Heart of a Dragon trilogy: Kindle the Flame, as well as Mark of Four and Shadows of Uprising, the first two books in the Guardian of the Vale trilogy. In her spare time, she freelances as an editor for other works of fiction.

Follow Tamara on social media:

Twitter: @TamaraShoemaker
Website: www.tamarashoemaker.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/tshoebooks


Writer Wednesday: Special Interview with Tamara Shoemaker!

Tamara ShoemakerYes! It’s Writer Wednesday! I love featuring writers on this blog every week – it’s amazing to get to know so many talented people just a little bit better. This week, I’m bringing you someone I am privileged to know well in REAL LIFE (such a thing does exist, I hear): my good friend and writer extraordinaire, Tamara Shoemaker.

Tamara and I have book babies born on the same day: her excellent YA fantasy, Mark of Four, made it into the published world on Monday, the very same day A Matter of Time hit Amazon’s shelves! We’re Book Twins Mommies! Or something…

Anyway, I hope you read all about Tamara and her brilliant new book, Mark of Four, which I call The Last Airbender meets Harry Potter. If you like YA fantasy, you’re gonna love it!


If you could wield any one – but ONLY one – of the four elementals, which would you choose, and why? Secondly, because I’m a romance author, if you could DATE someone wielding one—but only one—of the elements, which would you choose, and why?

mof5There’s a reason why Alayne is a Water-Wielder. Throughout the course of the trilogy, I had a chance to explore, deeply, the psyche of a person who wielded water, or one who manipulated flames, or one who turned air out of its courses, or one who sifted the earth. All of them were fascinating to me, but I love water. The fluidity, the clarity, the ebb and flow of it. It’s like music to me. None of the other elements connect with me as closely as that one does, so of course, I had to give it to the main character.

If I had to date an Elemental (did I say “had?” Of course I meant “get” to), my first impulse would be to look for another Water-Wielder, ’cause obvs., but then I thought, we might be able to cover more ground if I chose a Fire-Breather. I mean, if he lights the dining room table on fire, I can put it out. Or if I accidentally ice over the washing machine, he’s there to thaw it in the nick of time for that emergency load of laundry… 😉 It’s all about teamwork, y’all.

Why this story? Meaning, from whence did the idea / plot / characters come? In other words, was there one moment at which the light bulb went off and you knew immediately the story? Are the characters, ahem, based off anyone in real life (not that you have to fess up whom)?

mof2The plot came to me in pieces. I think the seed of it was born when I got obsessed with the number four. I started thinking about how stories were often woven around four of something, four seasons, four years, four corners of the earth, four perspectives, four… HEY… four ELEMENTS!!! 😉 After that, the story kind of took off. I love school settings, especially where they train in other classes besides Algebra and French and Government/Economics. I had so much fun coming up with class names in this book. Water-Currents? Throw-Casting? Elementary Elementals? I so wish I could go to Clayborne.

The characters are purely creatures of my twisted brain; however, I will say that Jayme Cross bears a remarkable resemblance to Ben Barnes, bless his gorgeous self. Professor Manders shares a bit of a likeness with Robert Downey, Jr. All the rest look like what I’ve described them in the book, but I can’t place them too closely to a celebrity doppelgänger in this world.

Although published after Kindle The Flame, Mark of Four was actually your first foray into young adult fantasy. How hard was the leap? What inspired it? Do you plan to write more mysteries, or is your heart forever after in worlds of your own creation?

soulsurvivorSoul Survivor is, at least at present, my last planned mystery. I enjoyed writing mysteries, and it was a great experience and one I’m profoundly thankful for, because I weave a bit of mystery even into my fantasy plots, but I don’t think I’ll write any more of them. That’s not a hard and fast answer, though. I’m a big proponent of writing the story that comes, and if another mystery slides beneath my laptop keys and whispers (creepily, as mysteries do), “Write me,” you know I’ll have to obey.

The leap from mystery to fantasy didn’t seem hard at first. I loved the freedom I found in fantasy; the only rule was that my story had to make sense within itself. I had no strictures that said I needed to do such-and-such a thing in such-and-such a way. I could throw my imagination to the wind and let it carry me where it would.

kindletheflameHowever, as time went on and edits and revisions sucked the ink from me, I started to realize that fantasy wasn’t as easy as simply splashing down my imagination onto a page. There were rules to follow, big ones, like world-building plot gaps (and I had many), and romantic entanglements that burned too hot, and then too cold with edits, and then too hot again, and then got scrapped because I was sick of messing with it, and then re-added… anyway, you get the idea.

I will never be able to say enough about the importance of using the services of a good editor. I found an amazing one who found flaws I couldn’t see in my story, and turned it around into a book I can be proud of. She encouraged me to create better work than I’ve ever before done, as well as inspired me to open my own freelance editing business. Mega shout-out to Emily June Street (who is herself an incredible fantasy author; check out her books on Amazon)!

You love to throw love triangles/quadrangles/big ol’ messes at us, in Kindle the Flame AND in Mark of Four. So fess up: which potential love interest in Mark of Four would you a) most want to date, and b) actually be best suited for, temperament-wise?

mof4Haha, you caught me! 🙂 I confess that I love the emotional angst that goes into love triangles. Not that I would ever want to be in one myself, but I do love to watch the give and take of what attracts people to others. Still, you did ask me to place myself in this situation, so… I have to admit that while I am drawn to more than one of the dear boys in the book, I do love Jayme’s easy grin and teasing personality. Coupled together with my mental picture of Ben Barnes, he would be really hard for me to resist. 😉

Both Kindle the Flame and Mark of Four feature kick-tushy, feisty heroines. Are these fun to write? How do you make these women realistic for a young adult audience? (Too perfect, and they’re annoyingly unbelievable; too flawed, and they’re just annoying.)

Um… that’s a great question, and I’m not sure I have an answer. I love protagonists who show loads of character development, and I want to see a journey from page one to page three-hundred and whatever. I enjoy writing female heroines who kick tushy, mostly because I know I would never be able to do the same, and I figure if I can’t in real life, I can at least in my imaginary world. However, the characters are flat and stale if all they do is wield elements and fly dragons. There has to be a mountain to climb somewhere in the story, so I spend lots and lots of time on character development as I go.

[ML says: I italicized that sentence because I love its honesty – and it’s exactly how I feel!]

Would you ever consider writing a male lead? Why or why not? 

mof1I did dabble in the male head a little in Kindle the Flame, as I wrote three out of every four chapters from the perspectives of three different males. It was quite an experience. I had to cut waaaay back on the drama and use a more common sense, minimalist approach. Basically, I sat and took notes on my husband before I tried to write those chapters. Not to say that my male points of view were subliminal efforts at inserting my husband into the story; I’d never hear the end of that… 😉

If you had to choose one of your fantasy worlds to live in, which would it be? That of KTF, or MOF?

Which fantasy world would I prefer between epic dragons and element-wielding people? It’s a tough call. But Kindle the Flame didn’t have such conveniences as indoor plumbing and heated homes; plus, how awesome would it be to not have to wear a coat in the winter anymore when you could pull the heat from the atmosphere to warm you? Sure, it’s hard to beat the idea of riding dragons through the open skies, but I gotta say, twisting the elements has gotta be cooler.


MarkOfFour

Mark of Four

Seventeen-year-old Alayne Worth is an Elemental Water-Wielder. All she wants is to master her talent and live a normal life, but the sudden escape of a feared criminal leaves her family reeling and threatens to keep her from achieving her dreams, especially when the criminal’s reach pushes too close to home.

Secret pasts, strange powers, and tense relationships weave a tangled net around her. As she leaves home to cultivate her skills at an Elemental training center, she clashes with a disturbing reality: both good and evil forces covet Alayne’s unusual gifts, and each side is willing to do almost anything to obtain them.

As Alayne confronts the battle for the power she possesses, she must discover the truth of who she is.

Air-Earth-Water-Fire

Four Elements

Four Powers

Four Paths

MARK OF FOUR


Tamara Shoemaker lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband, three children, a few jars of Nutella, and a never-ending carafe of coffee. She authored the Amazon best-selling Shadows in the Nursery Christian mystery series and Soul Survivor, another Christian mystery. Her fantasy books include the beginning of the Heart of a Dragon trilogy: Kindle the Flame, as well as the upcoming Guardian of the Vale trilogy.

Follow her on social media:

Twitter: @TamaraShoemaker
Website: www.tamarashoemaker.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/tshoebooks


Thanks so much, Tamara! It’s always a joy to get to share your talents with the world. And, reading audience, if you yourself are a fan of YA fantasy, or know others who are, I highly recommend picking up your copy of Mark of Four today! 

 

#Giveaway! A Matter of Time & Mark of Four & Amazon Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good writer friend Tamara Shoemaker and I have novels debuting on the SAME DAY (11/30/15)! And to celebrate, we thought we’d give stuff away – because who doesn’t like free stuff?

So enter the Rafflecopter giveaway above for your chance at an autographed copy of A Matter of Time or Mark of Four (Kindle version for international participants) or a $10 Amazon gift card – and tell your friends!

Here’s a quick blurb about each book:

amatteroftimesmallA Matter of Time is Margaret Locke‘s new time-travel Regency romance, in which a modern-day Austenite’s dream comes true when she lands in the arms of a Regency duke – only to realize some fantasies aren’t all they’re cracked up to be when he proves less than a Prince Charming.

Can a duke with a past and a woman from the future forge a love for all time?


mofMark of Four is Tamara Shoemaker‘s new Young Adult fantasy in which Elementals wield one of four elements, and teens are sent to an Elemental training center to hone their talents.

But what happens when one Elemental can wield all four? Further, what happens when all the powers the world over, both good and bad, want this Elemental’s powers for themselves… and will stop at nothing to obtain it?