Welcome to Writer Wednesday! I love Wednesdays, for they let me connect great authors with fantastic readers. Matches made in heaven, I tell you.
Today we welcome my dear friend and YA fantasy writer Tamara Shoemaker back to the hot seat – but we’ve served up different questions, since we’ve been blessed to have her on Writer Wednesday before.
So read on to find out more about Tamara’s writing process and her latest release, Unleash The Inferno, Book 3 in the Heart of a Dragon trilogy.
What’s it feel like to have finished TWO young adult fantasy trilogies (Guardian of the Vale and Heart of a Dragon) in short order?
I know in the grand scheme of things, publishing two completed trilogies between 2014 and 2017 feels like a short time, particularly when those trilogies are fantasy trilogies… but I can’t believe it’s only been three years. I feel like I’ve been working on those for years, and when at last I crawl back into bed, take out my teeth and lay my bifocals and cane beside the bed, I look back over the eons and eons of time that I worked on those trilogies, and I drift off into an exhausted sleep. 😉
How do you write so fast?
I don’t feel like I do. The fact that I get books done at all is pure, unadulterated, sheer stubbornness. All my spare time is spent in front of my laptop in various stages of writing, editing, planning, outlining, or marketing. Like any job, I love parts of it and hate parts of it, but apparently the enjoyment outweighs any dislike, because I keep doing it. 😉
Do you ever confuse characters in your head?
The names, I do, and it drives me insane. Particularly when I’m switching from one book to another, I’ll use the names interchangeably. Kinna has appeared in my Guardian of the Vale trilogy, and Alayne in my Heart of a Dragon trilogy. Ayden and Daymon also switched places.
That said, I don’t think I’ve ever confused the actual characters. Each of them has such a vivid connection with parts of the world in which I’ve placed them that switching someone else out for that character calls my attention immediately. They’re all so different and unique. But name-switching? Happens all the time.
Do you plot your stories out completely from start to finish or let characters surprise you along the way?
My style has morphed over the years. I used to be such a pantser. I hated the detail-work of planning out the whole book. I looked forward to writing each day to see what my characters would do next.
Once I began to realize the importance of story structure, though, I had to give up my tenacity to pantsing only. I had to have a solid foundation, a riveting conflict, a great story arc. When I pantsed my books, I had a vague sense of how to set that up, but once I started outlining, those things became much more intentional, honed, and focused. I believe I’ve become a better writer as a result of the switch (not that I don’t make room for some pantsing; my characters still sometimes refuse to adhere to my outline).
What if people haven’t read any of your earlier stories? Will this third one make sense?
It would be a lot like coming into the room where your spouse has just put in Return of the King, and the story picks up right after the battle at Helms Deep. You’d get a sense of the hobbits, Shelob, the orcs, Mt. Doom, Sauron, Minis Tirith, and Aragorn the King, but you’d have a hard time making sense of why everyone was where they were.
That’s not to say that the epic battles and some of the cinematic panorama wouldn’t be amazing and great to watch. I’ve included both of those in this book, so hopefully that will bring enjoyment to anyone who picks up the book, but quite honestly, these characters have grown a lifetime in the first two books. It would be much better to read book one and two first. It’s well-worth it; the trilogy has such a satisfying ending! 🙂
What’s next for you?
My plans (whether or not I end up fulfilling those plans or not is another question) are to finish some editing projects for clients, and then begin a brand new YA Fantasy novel that has been simmering in my head for several months. I’d love to get that written this summer. I’ve just completed two co-writes with my friend and editor, Emily June Street: River Running and The Eighth Octave. We’re hoping to take both of those through the traditional publishing route. In August, I’m attending a writers’ pitch conference, and then have plans for several more books/editing projects. I suppose I have no plans to quit anytime soon. 🙂
A Bit About Unleash The Inferno:
After the Battle at ClarenVale, Kinna Andrachen unites those who spurn King Sebastian’s tyrannical reign, mustering a rag-tag army of soldiers and creatures to face Sebastian’s far larger Lismarian army. Victory is elusive and allies are scarce, but Kinna’s tenacious spirit cannot succumb to injustice. Her fiery heart must learn to lead.
At last mastering control of the four Touches of the powerful Amulet, Ayden finds himself at the center of an epic struggle to destroy the corruption that has tainted the throne of Lismaria for centuries. As time runs out, his options for survival fade, surrendering him to a dark destiny.
Tied to a fate he does not want, Cedric Andrachen resists his inheritance, fleeing the lust for power it sparks in him. As war looms, Cedric faces his choices: will he turn his back on his throne and his kingdom? Or will he enter the struggle against tyranny, bringing the freedom his people have so long sought?
Sebastian sits, at last, on the Lismarian throne, stolen from him twenty years prior. But now the Rebellion, led against him by his niece and nephew, threatens his security from across the Channel, and the Amulet’s promise of power tempts him into even darker shadows. Ghosts of the past brutalize Sebastian’s present until the lines of reality blur with nightmare.
Flames of war ignite between nations. Peril threatens the Andrachen line.
Who will survive the inferno?
Find Unleash The Inferno here: http://amzn.to/2nqHy6G
A Bit About Tamara:
Tamara Shoemaker authored the Amazon best-selling Shadows in the Nursery Christian mystery series and Soul Survivor, a stand-alone Christian mystery. Her fantasy books include the Heart of a Dragon trilogy: Kindle the Flame, Embrace the Fire, and Unleash the Inferno, as well her Guardian of the Vale trilogy: Mark of Four, Shadows of Uprising, and Guardian of the Vale. In her spare time, she freelances as an editor for other works of fiction, chases three children hither and yon, and tries hard to ignore the brownie mixes that inevitably show up in her cabinets.
Want to connect further with Tamara? Follow her on social media:
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Woot! Thanks, Tamara, for hanging with us today! Always a pleasure, friend.
Very interesting interview. I enjoyed learning more about you, Tamara, your stories and writing process. I wish I could be more of a plotter…only kind, of sort of. I’m so not. Your plans sound fabulous and I wish you the very best of luck in carrying them out. Talent and tenacity are a great blend.
Thank you, Beth! It has certainly been a journey from pantsing to plotting, and I don’t know that I’ve refined the process much yet, but I’m still trying. 🙂 Thanks for reading! 🙂
At least you have a process…. 🙂