Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Interview with Tamara Heiner -- By Kurt Chambers

I would like to introduce all you avid blog readers to the amazingly talented author Tamara Heiner. Tamara is a very dear friend of mine and one of the loveliest people you could ever meet in the whole wide world. We met in the YA Novel Workshop where she has been a massive inspiration to us all. Her first book, Perilous, is scheduled for release from WiDo Publishing in the Fall 2010

Me: Tamara!

Tamara: Hi Kurt!

Me: What a great pleasure it is to have you with us today. You were the first person to interview me, and what a great interview that was. Now it's my turn to return the favour and I hope I can make you look as good as you did for me :) Here we go then. Could you start by telling us what inspired you to take up the pen and become a writer in the first place?

Tamara: That's like asking me what made me decide to eat when I felt hungry. It was, um, like instinct? My elementary school teachers encouraged writing. I wrote so many stories. In 2nd and 3rd grade my stories both won prizes. At the time I thought it was for the illustrations. Hee hee. I attempted my first novel in fourth grade, but mostly I was just copying another novel and changing the names. I grew out of that, though, and finally completed a novel in eighth grade.

Me: What would you say was the best advice you could give to any new authors who wanted to break into the publishing industry based on your own personal experiences?

Tamara: Oh yikes. I would say to never think your novel is finished. There's always more that can be done. And sometimes one minor change can really change the whole thing. If you can't think of what to change, ask someone else. Or do something drastic, like kill off a main character. That hypes the tension up like you wouldn't believe!

Me: Who is your favourite all time author in the world, and did their work have any influence on your own writing?

Tamara: I'm not sure who my favorite author is. I have a favorite book, A Rustle in the Grass by Robin Hawdon. It's a fantasy book about ants, and I don't think it really influenced my writing. I didn't like his other book so much, so I can't say he's my favorite author. I don't think I have one.

Me: If you had the choice to do any job, what would it be and why?

Tamara: Being a mom. I have the perfect job, actually. I'm mothering two sweet little boys and writing while they sleep. Plus I teach English in the wee hours before they wake up. One thing I dream of doing is getting licensed for foster care again. I really miss the boys we used to parent, and want to do something like that again. So, pretty much, parenting is the best job. :)

Me: We're all very proud of you, Tamara, running a household and bringing up children AND becoming a published author. How hard is that for you juggling a home life on top of everything else?

Tamara: Well, it can get very difficult. I get really frustrated when the boys wake up from their naps early! I mean, don't they know I have a schedule??? Can't they conform??? And I really really detest house-cleaning. I hate that I have to put aside what I enjoy so that I can clean the house. It's quite normal to find a week's worth of clean laundry in the sitting room. (I wash the clothes, at least.) My husband supports me, though. He believes in my dream, and he allows me to sacrifice other things so I can write. I think that really helps.

Me: Now you have your first published novel under your belt, where would you like to be in ten years from now?

Tamara: Oh, heavens, I'm just getting started! It's like, now that I have a contract, I opened the flood-gates to ideas. I would like to put out 1-2 novels a year and really make a name for myself. I'd like to make enough money to hire a maid, who can clean the beautiful house that we will have someday! I'll be done having babies by then too. That will really change things.

Me: If you had the choice of getting your YA novel, Branca, which is an awesome story I have to add, published with any publishing company in the world, who would you choose and for what reason?

Tamara: Good grief. I don't know. Probably Curtis Brown or Random House. Those are big names, trusted names. The very name says 'quality.' I'd be honored to get published by one of them.

Me: Time for some random questions now, I think. You didn't think I was going to make this easy for you did you?

Tamara: Easy? Man, you're making me think!

Me: If you had super powers and you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

Tamara: Broken families. Broken wedding vows. Somehow I would inspire people to have loyalty to their spouses and an undying love for each other, love that would be manifested in kindness and respect. That would be a pretty cool super power.

Me: Do you have any other talents apart from being an excellent writer?

Tamara: I'm a fantastic cook. Sometimes I sing, too.

Me: Are you planning on having any more children, or have the first two put you off?

Tamara: LOL. Funny you ask. We hope to have a large family and are actually trying for #3. (Not as we speak, of course.) We want five kids. But we also want a girl. So, if we end up with a dozen kids, you'll know it was b/c we didn't get our girl right away.

Me: I always ask this question because it's my favourite, if you had one wish, what would it be? And please, don't do a Miss World on me like Dawne Dominique did and say world one has already gone.

Tamara: Yeah, that's a lame answer.

Me: Shh! Don't say that, Dawne's probably reading this...LOL...

Tamara: Again, it goes back to families. I would wish that my husband and I and all of our children grow old together, happy, financially secure (is that asking too much??), and very much in love.

Me: Please could you tell us all about your wonderful story, Perilous, as I'm sure everyone is dying to know what it's all about.

Tamara: Perilous is a YA thriller, told from the point of view of Jaci, the main character. Jaci is from a small town and has grown up secure in her parents' religious beliefs. One night, she and three of her friends witness a crime. In an effort to silence them, the desperate criminal kidnaps them and drags them across the Canadian border, where he intends to sell them into the sex trade. The girls escape before he can. They make a run for freedom, but their kidnapper stays hot on their trail, always one step ahead of them. Will they make it to safety before he reclaims them?

Perilous is the first of two, maybe three books

Me: Thank you so much, Tamara, for coming to share your world with us. We all wish you the very best luck with your book launch next year, though I'm sure you won't need it.

Tamara: You'll be coming, right, Kurt? I'll autograph a book for you!

Me: I wish! haha!!! You can send me an autographed copy though if you like :) That would be awesome!

Please visit Tamara's excellent blog everyone, Chasing Dreams, and give her the encouragement and support we all need as writers. It will be very much appreciated.

Tamara: Thank you, Kurt! You're awesome!