January Author Spotlight on Tamara Grant

We're kicking off a new year with the first of our spotlights! I know I say this about all the authors (because they're such an awesome bunch!) but we have a great spotlight for the month of January and the first of 2009 featuring author Tamara Grant.

I've worked with this great author previously in designing some artwork for her and it has been a dream to see her work so hard for her work and for other authors.

Through her company Especially Yours Events, Tamara works as a Literary Publicist to help self-published and aspiring authors increase their promotion and navigate the literary world. She is also an active member of Authors Supporting Authors and a contributing writer to Victorious Magazine. Tamara Angela Grant is a native of Baltimore, MD. She now lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband and son.

Tamara joined me in a chat to talk about her writing and her current releases!

Q: When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always been a writer, since I could remember. I used to write stories in elementary school on any piece of paper I could find. I recently decided to write professionally about 2 years ago.

Q: How would you describe the genre in which you do most of your writing?

I prefer contemporary fiction. I write so many different things, I hate to confine it to a box.

Q: Who is your target audience?

My audience has been from teens to adults in their 80s. My books speak to human experience and situations within our families and lives that anyone of any age can relate to.

Q: What motivated you to start writing in this genre?

I have always been intrigued by human nature. I am a licensed social worker and see people at their most vulnerable times and I know that all of us deal with emotions.

Q: Who would you say has influenced you the most?

I love J. California Cooper. Her writing transports me into her stories. Other honorable mentions for me are Walter Moseley, Bernice McFadden, and Kimberla Lawson Roby. The way they craft a story astounds me. I would have to list my 4th and 5th grade teachers for making me love reading.

Q: What are your main concerns as a writer?

People who don’t really understand the craft. How can you be a true storyteller if you don’t understand the mechanics of writing? The market is flooded with poor writing and it gets in the way of those writers who are powerful storytellers.

Q: How have your personal experiences influenced the direction of your writing?

I intertwine truth in all of my stories. People read and say “How did you know my Aunt?” or they tell me that a part of a story gave them chills because they’ve been there before. Writing is therapeutic for me and I release a lot in my writing.

Q: What would you say are the biggest challenges that you face?

Continuing to be truthful to myself and have that reflected in my writing.

Q: How do you deal with these challenges?

I sometimes write something an scrap it because I can tell that I held back. I know if I notice that I held back, the readers will too!

Q: How many books have you written so far? (Please include titles, publisher, date of publication and a brief description of the book/books.)

Promises Made, Promises Kept (self published with Beckham Publications 2007)

The Cooling Board (Peace in the Storm Publishing 2009)

Q: Do you write everyday? How much time do you spend on your writing?

I try. Mostly I write things in my notebook and then try to commit to typing it up. I write at least 3-4 days/wk.

Q: Which aspects of the work that you put into the book did you find most difficult?

I love my characters. Each of them have a piece of me in them somewhere and it’s not easy to share that with everyone.

Q: Which did you enjoy most?

Creating a book that I know people will enjoy and relate to.

Q: What sets the book apart from the other things you have written?

I took time to really craft this one. I went back and did several re-writes until I was happy with it.

Q: In what way is it similar?

I keep to my formula of writing characters that you know- maybe they are you and maybe they are people in your family.

Q: What will your next book be about?

I’m taking it back to my hometown of Baltimore. It’s a mystery and adventure about kids whose lives become intertwined by a series of bank robberies.

Q: What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?

Becoming recognized by other authors and readers.

Q: How did you get there?

Hard work and perseverance!

To learn more about Tamara's work on the web check out her links on the web!

Tamara Grant Links