Tamara Ferguson is the author of the award-winning Tales of the Dragonfly Romantic Suspense Series, and a member of the Romance Writers of America. Her new romance, That Unforgettable Kiss, has just been released.
Time to chat with Tammy!
What is your latest book?
That Unforgettable Kiss (New Adult Romance)
I hear you have some very exciting news! Can you share it with us?
Tales of the Dragonfly Book II: In Flight was recently announced a Romance Suspense Winner in The Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards.
Is your recent book part of a series?
Yes. Kissed By Fate (Book 1)
How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected
All the time! I write up a broad outline of my story, first, and then I usually go from there.
Over the years, many well-known authors have stated that they wished they’d written their characters or their plots differently. Have you ever had similar regrets?
Definitely. I wish that I hadn’t been in such a hurry to publish my first book without better editing and making more changes with the story (I was targeting YA when I first began, too, and then I changed my mind.) Those reviews still stick with the book even after it’s been revised and reedited.
How important is the choosing of character names to you? Have you ever decided on a name and then changed it because it wasn’t right for the character?
Yes, the names I use are important to me. But I do something very silly—I relate my stories and characters with my favorite songs. And my stories actually run through my mind like a movie!
Have you ever written characters that you truly despise?
Oh, yes. And, for some reason, these characters are easy for me to write about. But my favorite characters to develop are those who appear to be unlikable on the outside, but actually have redeeming qualities on the inside. Maybe they were abused or molested … usually there’s a reason for their attitude or behavior. I guess because I search for the best in people, I want my reader to be able to find it as well.
Do you have any advice for first-time authors?
First-time authors should listen to their peers. Reviews are great, sure, but not always accurate if you’re asking family and friends. Although there are many award contests for indie writers, very few of them offer critiques. How do you know what you’re doing right—or wrong? The best thing I ever did was join the RWA. The advice and unbiased critiques I’ve received, after entering my books in several of their regional contests, have been invaluable, and (I hope) have helped me develop into a better writer.
Have you received reactions/feedback to your work that has surprised you? In what way?
EVERY time I’ve been a finalist or received an award, it’s surprised me. It usually comes at a time when I’m feeling low and asking myself—what makes me think I’m any good at this? My last RWA contest probably shocked me the most, though. The rough draft for That Unforgettable Kiss was nearly a finalist (2 out of 3 judges) & I received the best scores I ever have from an RWA contest. They are usually my harshest critics. (One of the judges indirectly used the p word J by mentioning she expected to see this one on the shelves.)
Do you dread writing a synopsis for your novel as much as most writers do? Do you think writing a synopsis is inherently evil? Why?
I absolutely hate writing a synopsis. I think because my stories actually do have a lot of complications and subtle undertones that can’t be detailed in the bare bones of a synopsis.
Having our work out there to be judged by strangers is often daunting for writers. Do you have any tips on handling a negative review?
For every one person who doesn’t like your book, there are usually about five or six others who will. Also, there are people out there who are just mean-spirited. Keep in mind, you can’t please everyone!
Do you miss spending time with your characters when you finish writing them?
That’s what’s fun about writing a series—you can bring back your favorite characters in supporting roles. Although it’s discouraged, because it can confuse the reader, I do tend to include a lot of secondary characters because I think it’s important for the flow of my, particular, series. I try to give my secondary characters a little more depth because many of these characters will be the heroes or heroines in my future novels.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, how do you get around it?
Oddly enough, no writer’s block. My problem is not having enough time to write all the stories revolving around in my head!!
What do you know now that you wish you’d known five years ago?
The important mechanics—like immediately catching your reader with action and dialogue, watching the POV, using too much backstory. I kind of jumped right into the writing after not writing for several years, too, so I had to relearn grammar and punctuation.
Where do you live now? If you had to move to another city/state/country, where might that be?
Anywhere but Illinois!! But this has largely to do with the funding & services available to my disabled son. Illinois ranks 51 in the nation with their ability to provide services and care.
What might we be surprised to know about you?
I’m the full-time caregiver for my severely autistic and mentally impaired son, who also has Type I Diabetes. My life hasn’t been my own for several years. That’s why I’m usually at home to tweet the authors every night. But this makes it difficult to write and concentrate when editing. My son is constantly interrupting me J
What makes you angry?
The lack of regard for funding for the disabled, particularly in Illinois. My son is on nearly a twenty-year waiting list to enter a facility that will be able to provide him with proper care. And, even then, I’m concerned about the quality of that care. L I take each day one at a time, and try not to worry about the future.
What music soothes your soul?
Light rock & classic rock.
What’s your favorite film of all times? Favorite book?
I’ve loved old movies since I was a kid. But Random Harvest and Mrs. Miniver are particular favorites.
I usually have favorite authors, as opposed to books—Mary Balogh, Linda Howard (I’ve read Open Season three times—I still laugh each time I read it), Nora Roberts & Grace Burroughs—among many, many others.
What simple pleasure makes you smile?
My son, when HE smiles; although sometimes his giggling can drive me nuts when I’m trying to concentrate on writing or editing!
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