Ask the Author: Tammara Webber (Easy)

Samstag, 10. Oktober 2015

   For this weeks Ask the Author I'm bringing you the wonderful Tammara Webber, author of Easy, a book I read and enjoyed last year. I got the chance to ask her a couple of questions which is super exciting, since here answers are detailed and interesting.
Here's his book and his A's for my Q's:

Easy by Tammara Webber cover
Easy by Tammara Webber
Published: November 6th 2012 by Penguin Berkley
Number of Pages: 321 Pages (Paperback)
Series: Yes, #1 in the Contours of the Heart Series

   When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup two months into sophomore year. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she's single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, and failing a class for the first time in her life.
   Leaving a party alone, Jacqueline is assaulted by her ex's frat brother. Rescued by a stranger who seems to be in the right place at the right time, she wants nothing more than to forget the attack and that night - but her savior, Lucas, sits on the back row of her econ class, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. Her friends nominate him to be the perfect rebound.
   When her attacker turns stalker, Jacqueline has a choice: crumple in defeat or learn to fight back. Lucas remains protective, but he's hiding secrets of his own. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy. (

Interview with Tammara Webber

   1 – Describe Easy with a haiku.
   contours of the heart
   though flawed, inconsistent, are
   tensile… connected

   2 – What sparked the idea for Easy? Was it the simple idea of girl meets boy or something else entirely? 
   Jacqueline began telling me her story. I woke up with it in my head on multiple occasions. As a rape survivor, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of writing it at first. I wasn’t opposed to writing about a serious issue, but that subject wasn’t something I ever thought I’d tackle—certainly not in a romance book. It wasn’t until she began showing me more of Lucas and I saw the possibility for a relationship between them that I put aside the book I was working on at the time (the final book in the Between the Lines series) to write Easy.

   3 – What do you like most and least about your protagonist Jacqueline? 
   In a way, characters are like their creator’s offspring; they’re real to us, connected but separate from us. I don’t judge my characters harshly, because then I’d want to make them more “perfect”—and real people aren’t perfect. They are who they are, and I want to respect the choices they make, whether or not I agree with or even understand them. The thing I like most about Jacqueline is that she doesn’t give up. No matter what happens, even if she becomes dejected or scared, she keeps on. Our stories and personalities are very different, but I understood her underlying fear, and I admired her perseverance.

   4 – What do you think makes Easy stand out? 
   I write coming-of-age books that feel very YA but feature characters who are older than typical YA books. As I wrote and published my first series, I was working with university students every day as an academic advisor. Many of my students came to college unprepared for the new power they had over their lives and futures. No one becomes an adult overnight, and most of us don’t know who we’re going to be or how we’re going to structure the rest of our lives when we’re eighteen or nineteen, even if we have dreams and goals in mind. I’ve been fascinated with that 17-24 stage of life for a long time, and it’s all I wanted to write about, but publishers—at that time—turned away stories about college students. It was self-publishing that pushed the category now called New Adult forward, and Easy—self-published in May 2012—was one of those front-runners.

   5 – In retrospective, is there anything that you’d change about the story or are you happy with the way it turned out in the end? 
   I’m happy with it as is and would not change the story. If I had the opportunity to revise anything, it would be minor writer quibbles—word choice, recurrence and the like. I’m learning the power of letting go and moving on to the next project.

   6 - How long did it take you from first idea until publishing deal? 
   Before 2007, I wrote three shelf novels (publishing-speak for “a manuscript that will never see the light of day”). In 2009, I began a fourth manuscript: Between the Lines. After a year of query letters and pitches to agents at writing conferences, I self-published (May 2011). I’d already completed the second book in the series, and I wrote the third during 2011. Easy was my seventh manuscript, and in May 2012 it became my fourth self-published book. It hit the NYT bestseller list its second week, and agents began emailing me. Under the guidance of the agent I chose, I accepted an audiobook offer, a UK-rights offer (Penguin Razorbill), and several translation offers during the summer of 2012. I also turned down four US offers. A couple of months later, Penguin made a US offer to publish Easy under an adult romance imprint (Berkley) while assigning me to a young adult editor. I accepted, and Easy was republished by Penguin Berkley in October (digital)/ November (paperback) 2012. To date, it has been translated into 24 languages.

   7 - How did you feel when you first realized that this story you had written would soon be read by thousands of people and how do you feel now, years later, before your next book will be released? Did the feeling change or is it still the same? 
   I wrote Easy knowing it would be read by at least the readers I’d gained from the first three books of the Between the Lines series. I wrote Between the Lines in total obscurity, worrying more about what my mother and non-writing friends would think about it than readers—which I had no idea of at all. Since the publication of the second BTL book, I’ve felt increasing internal pressure to write the perfect story for my readers. I still strive to improve as a writer with every book, but I knew while writing Easy that it would be the definitive work of my career. I have no problem with that, and I never will.

   8 – What lead you to writing and wanting to be an author? Is it the way you imagined it would be? 
   I began writing stories and making construction paper “books” as soon as I could write. By age twelve, I was writing poetry and journaling. I kept the poetry (not haikus, however, as is probably obvious by my attempt to answer question 1) and progressed to writing essays as a teen, and blogging once blogging was invented. By nineteen, I knew I wanted to be a novelist; it took over two decades to become one. I considered pursuing journalism at one point, but decided I was more interested in developing ideas through fiction than reporting facts.
When I was growing up, even highly successful novelists moved through life in an anonymous way. We seldom knew or cared what they looked like and never saw them in person; the books they wrote were all that mattered. Getting “in touch” with one of them required tracking down their editor’s New York address and posting a letter that had slim hopes of ever being answered. I imagined that being an author meant having a book on a shelf in a bookstore, period. I didn’t think I’d be interacting with readers on social media and through email, let alone in person at huge signings with dozens or hundreds of other authors. As an introvert with social anxiety issues, it’s been a difficult adjustment to be known and judged by strangers in such accessible ways. I don’t read reviews of my work, not because I don’t care what readers think – I definitely do – but because I can only write in the voice and with the style I’ve developed over my lifetime. I take the position that reviews are for readers, and I write stories I would want to read, because that’s the only way to ascertain my personal best work.

   9 – Paperback or hardcover? 
   I buy hardcover when possible.

   10 – What advice could you give aspiring authors? 
   Realize that writing is a skill. Don’t fall for the idea that instant success is required. It’s completely possible to slow-build a writing career. At the same time, never be satisfied with your first draft of anything – even if it’s fabulous, it isn’t your best work. Revision is where you’ll find and connect the emotional thread to your stories. Read authors you want to emulate, authors who inspire you to write better, and never, ever plagiarize another writer’s words.

   11 – If you were forced to participate in The Hunger Games, as female from District 12, what would be your strategy? Fight or flight? 
   My strategy would be hiding and observing! I would only fight if I knew I could win, or if I was trapped. Otherwise, BYEBYE.

About the Author

   Author of the CONTOURS OF THE HEART series and the BETWEEN THE LINES series.
   I'm a hopeful romantic who adores novels with happy endings, because there are enough sad endings in real life. Before writing full-time, I was an undergraduate academic advisor, economics tutor, planetarium office manager, radiology call center rep, and the palest person to ever work at a tanning salon. I married my high school sweetheart, and I'm Mom to three adult kids and four very immature cats.

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