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Learn more about my first book, Six Pack: Emergence.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Twenty Questions With Tamar Sloan

My guest this week for Twenty Questions is fellow Clean Reads author Tamar Sloan, whose book Prophecy Awakened was recently released. Here is the blurb for her new book.

Eden - shy, wounded...all she wants is to finish her senior year and escape to college.
Noah - the guy who’s spent two years drifting aimlessly, not knowing why he failed to come of age as every one of his ancestors has. 
When the two meet the connection is instantaneous and undeniable. A connection that has Eden running and Noah burning to know more.
A connection destined to be the catalyst for a prophecy that neither knew existed.
A prophecy others are willing to kill for.
As families rupture and struggle to realign, as their hearts connect and ignite, Eden learns to trust. But with their love and life on the line, Eden must find the power to believe.
Prophecy Awakened (ISBN: 978-1-62135-652-3, Clean Reads Publishing) is now available at www.tamarsloan.com and on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks.

Let's here more from Tamar about her book and her interest in writing.

1.       How did you get interested in writing?

Interestingly, I never considered I'd be a writer. As a child I loved to read (I devoured romance novels from the moment I discovered them), but it NEVER occurred to me that I could write one myself. My first book came to me in a dream (so cliché, right?). But it was an idea that wouldn't go away so I thought, maybe I could…

2.       What inspired you to come up with the story?

That very dream! It was a beautiful dream — there were moving scenes of a boy who never came of age like every one of his kind has. It was a dream about a girl who has wounds of her own (and totally underestimates her potential) and their instantaneous connection. A connection powerful enough to spark Noah's change, and to challenge Eden's beliefs. It had to be written, which meant I had to go learn how to write…

3.       Tell me about the main character, Eden, and what inspired you to create her.

It always felt like Eden was alive and breathing before she moved into my head. She’s shy and wounded and self-protective like so many of the girls I see come through my office as a school psychologist. Fortunately for her (although she probably wouldn’t agree in some parts of the novel), the Prophecy that she’s pivotal in is about to test the very edge of her comfort zone, and she’ll discover what can be found on the other side.

4.       Tell me about Noah and what inspired you to create him.

Noah is the other half of the Prophecy; Eden’s compliment and challenge in so many ways. Carrying wounds of his own because he failed to become a werewolf like every one of his family, like every other Were out there, means he’s lost and confused. Eden turning up in his town of Jacksonville is the first spark of life and purpose he’s felt in almost two years…

5.       What characters, other than Eden or Noah, did you find enjoyable to write as you progressed through the book?

Noah has a twin called Mitch, but it’s Mitch’s partner – Tara – that really stole my heart. She’s a fire-cracker with some pretty funny sayings. She’s quirky and heart-warming and is the voice of hope throughout the challenges that are thrown at them. So much so that a friend of mine suggested Tara should have a novella of her own – and that’ how the prequel novella A Moment for Tara that I just finished was inspired.

6.       What are some of the themes you explored in the novel?

The dominant theme of Prophecy Awakened is the power of faith. Faith involves believing in something even though there’s no evidence to serve as a foundation, or worse, the evidence suggests the exact opposite. Eden and Noah both have to discover how hard it is to believe in ourselves (in very different ways), but also how powerful faith can be.

7.       What were some of the things you learned along the way as you wrote and edited the book?

Well, writing is much harder than it looks! It takes long hours and writing whether you have the energy for it or not. It takes faith, because you have no idea whether others will love what you’re creating as much as you do. It takes learning multiple sets of skills – powerful prose, captivating plot, how to let people know the book is out there…But it’s also one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done - I get to create something that touches other people.

8.       How did this writing experience compare to any other works you have completed?

As my first book, Prophecy Awakened was probably the easiest…and the hardest. It was the easiest because the concept was so powerfully bright in my mind. But it was also the book I learned how to do this ‘writing’ thing, and with any new set of skills, there’s always a steep learning curve.

9.       Have you noticed any difference between writing young adult fiction and writing romance? Or similarities?

I’ve only ever written young adult romance, but I specifically chose the young adult genre as I love that period of life. Obviously I was an adolescent myself (longer ago than I’d want to admit) but I’ve also worked with teenagers throughout my entire career as a youth worker, then a secondary teacher, and finally as a school psychologist. It’s a fascinating, intense stage of life with so many firsts, and first love is one of them. I love to explore the passion, identity formation and pivotal turning points that occur during that stage of our life.

10.   What do you find is the right environment for you to write?

Quiet. To get a solid chunk of writing done I disappear into my writing room and type. No music, no distracting noise.

11.   Are there specific programs or tools you find useful to help you with the writing process?

I think most writers know of Scrivener, I was certainly very happy to find it. As someone who needs to plan out where each book is going, its’ been invaluable. Oh, and Google ;)

12.   What have you found to be the useful methods for promoting your writing?

Connecting with others – readers and writers. It’s fun, rewarding and not pushy – I love to create something of value for others, and people appreciate you for it. Those are the ones that will buy your book…and help promote it.

13.   What are some of the famous books or authors you have enjoyed or inspired you?

I’d imagine lots of young adult paranormal romance readers will see some parallels between Prophecy Awakened and Twilight. That’s because without seeing Twilight I doubt Eden and Noah’s story would have been inspired (when I see the images of Noah and his family shifting to a wolf, it’s the images of the Twilight movie that move through my head). Overall though, I’m drawn to epic love stories, and Twilight was certainly one of them, and that’s what I wanted to create in the Prime Prophecy series.

14.   Any aspiring or independent authors whose books you’ve read that you liked and want to mention to others to check out?

One of the awesome things about being a writer is connecting with other writers. Kat Colmer, whose own young adult romance is being released later this year, is one of the talented people that I’ve been lucky enough to connect with — and read her amazing book before it hits bookshelves. I certainly recommend keeping her on your radar. Of course Clean Reads has some pretty amazing authors… ;)

15.   What advice would you give to those who want to write a novel before they actually get started?

Be prepared for a fabulous roller coaster ride. There will be lows, there will be twists you thought you knew were coming but you really didn’t, and there will be exhilarating highs. How do you prepare for something like that? In some ways you can’t, in other ways you pack your fortitude and resilience, and open yourself up to the joy of the ride.

16.   Tell me about your work as a school psychologist and the things you have learned working with students.

As a psychologist, I think the two things I’ve learnt is the influence of our emotions, and the power of connection. Humans are defined and driven by our emotions; they colour our thoughts and underlie our behaviour. Sometimes they can be helpful, sometimes not so much - I see that in the young people sitting across from me in my office, and I try to capture that in my books. The second point, the power of connection, I also live that every day – if I don’t build a rapport with a young person then therapy isn’t going to happen – but it’s also well documented in research (50% of a patient’s outcome is predicted by the therapeutic relationship). Funnily enough, the power of connection is what romance embodies, and it’s also what the Prime Prophecy is all about.

17.   How familiar are you with how schools in Australia compare to those in the United States? Can you tell me anything about similarities and differences?

I’m not terribly familiar with the US school system (which was a challenge with a book set in the US), but from what I can see they’re pretty different. We have a national curriculum, which means irrespective of what state you’re in, they teach the same content. We have four school terms a year, each ten weeks long, with two weeks holidays in between except the Christmas holidays, which are six weeks long. But I imagine the students share some commonalities – they all face the challenges today’s times throw at them, and they all have the opportunity to demonstrate the power of human resilience.

18.   Tell me about the PsychWriter blog and the topics you discuss.

I started PsychWriter so my writing could benefit others. Sharing the nexus of my two passions, writing and psychology, was the way I could that. I write about what psychology knows of personality and human behaviour to help with character development, and about the science of story so writers can engage their readers. I’ve been amazed at the positive reception it’s had and touched by the feedback I’ve received. 

19.   What are some of the activities you and your family do on your acreage in Australia?

I love to be sustainable and wish I had more time to do it. We currently have pigs to produce our own meat, bees for our own honey, and a small vegie garden. We also have two dogs and two horses. In the past we’ve had a milking cow, milking goats, trout in an aquaponics system and sheep.

20.   Who would win a battle of superhero skills: Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman?

Now this question had me thinking the hardest! Through a process of elimination I think Batman would go first, he doesn’t have super powers (technically, he’s a gazillionaire with a super fast car and lots of gadgets). So that leaves Superman and Wonder Woman - even though Superman can fly and is ‘faster than a speeding bullet’ etc, Wonder Woman is the daughter of a god, which I predict would trump alien super-skills. Go girl power!

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