I'm the author of five middle grade and young adult novels. Some of my books have won awards. Some of my books have made state reading lists. All of them have heart, great characters, and plot twists that will linger with you long after you finish the book. My favorite compliment is when readers blame me for staying up past their bedtime because they just couldn't put down the book. (Sorry, not sorry.)
I graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in English Literature. Besides writing novels, I've also published essays and reviews in various publications including The Washington Post, The Tampa Bay Times, The San Antonio Express News, and The Stars and Stripes. I've lived on three continents, in four countries and five states. I currently live in Virginia with my family and a very mischievous hound.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
How do you pronounce your name? Ooo, I'm glad you asked that! It is pronounced Ta-mar. It's not pronounced 'Tamer' (Tamer than what, I wonder when I'm called that.) It's not pronounced 'Tamara' because if it was, my parents would have put an 'a' at the end of my name. It's just Tammar.
Have you always wanted to be a writer? When I was five I wanted to be a mermaid. By age nine I was slightly more realistic and wanted to be an astronaut--the first woman on Mars. I went through a brief marine biologist phase--ironic given my sea-sickness--before realizing that what I really wanted was to read for a living. I am addicted to books. I cannot read enough. But I didn't really see a way to make money reading books, so I decided the next best thing would be to write them.
Me too! I want to be a writer but...
How do I begin? First of all, congratulations! I'm so glad you're interested in writing. We can't have too many good books in this world and the only way to get them is have people just like you write them. So, thanks. Now, the how could not be simpler. Find characters you love (or hate). Think about something interesting (or terrible) that happens to them. And then sit in front of your computer and find out what happens next.
That does sound easy! How long does it take? Tricked you! I didn't say writing a book was easy. I said it was simple. Light Years took me five years to write. Even though I had been an avid reader my whole life, it still took me that long to figure out how to make a good story. What keeps the pace tight? How do I create characters that readers cared about? I revised Light Years about 50 times. Literally. I read and re-wrote each page about 50 separate times. High Dive took almost three years. I wrote an entire draft then I threw it away and started over. Kindred and Spoils clocked along at two years. Generally, first novels take anywhere from 2-15 years to work out.
I'm in! How do I learn more? Hang around other writers! You learn about the craft, the discipline, the ins and outs of the business, and have other writers critique your work so that you get better and better at it. Writing is like anything else; it takes practice before you're good at it.
Good luck and keep in touch!