Tuesday 28 November 2017

Interview: Tamar Sloan

I'm absolutely thrilled to be chatting with Young Adult romance author Tamar Sloan today as she releases her novel Make It Count. Enjoy the interview!

Firstly, tell me a little about yourself and your background.
Well, I’m a school psychologist by day, and writer in every other moment I can cram in. After spending a career working with adolescents I think writing young adult books was an inevitability. What’s awesome is that it soon became a passion. As a long time reader of romance and a strong believer in the healing power of connection, romance was always going be the central focus of my writing. I live in Australia with my husband and two beautiful boys who are in high school.
How did you first become 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, which meant I had to go learn how to write… A few months later, with a little less hair, my first books, the Prime Prophecy series, was born.
make-it-count, tamar-sloan, book

Tell me about Make it Count.
Make it Count is one of those books that comes to you at 4am and you just know it’s going to be a special story. It started with the seed – what if with one touch, a girl could see how many days a person has to live? Apart from all the heart-wrenching considerations like touching your loved ones, I knew she’d avoid touch at whatever cost. But then PJ arrived, and he was hot and irresistible. I had to capture their chemistry and their story.
What’s the best thing about writing fiction?
Aw man, I have to choose one? There’s so many, but there’s one reward that trumps the feeling of flow, the joy of creativity, or the flash of a fabulous plot twist every time, and that’s the reader. Hearing that someone got lost in the worlds I’ve created just as much as I do is a feeling that has no words. It’s the happy dance that you can’t contain, the smile that isn’t optional.
How do you get inspiration?
I love that inspiration is everywhere. I get a lot of inspiration from the young people I work with – their individuality, their strengths, their struggles. Then my-mind-that-never-stops takes these observations and starts asking one question. What if?
Why did you decide to write for young adults?
I started my career as a youth worker, then became a high school teacher, before becoming a school psychologist. Adolescence is 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.
What draws you to writing romance?
My relationship with romance has been life-long. I discovered it in adolescence and haven’t stopped since. It might be the guaranteed happily ever after, or the deep emotional moments, but I’ve always said if you’re going to lose yourself in a book, why wouldn’t you choose one about falling in love?
What’s your writing process?
I’m well and truly a plotter, which means I plot out the story down to the chapter. My writing sticks by the motto ‘if you build it, they will come.’ I have to have the structure, the general idea of where the story is going and what my characters are going to do before the words start flowing.
What’s the hardest thing about writing?
I think it would have to be self-doubt. I was blessed with a strong inner-critic (said as euphemistically as possible…), which means I set high standards of the books I want to produce for readers but also means I can be quite hard on myself. I don’t think I’m alone with this as a writer, and I’ve learned to proactively ignore that voice when it gets its shouty pants on. I simply take it as one of the inevitable challenges that come with doing something you love – and you’re putting on display for all to see.
What do you love most about writing?
Hearing from my readers, hands down. Knowing I’ve touched someone is a positive way is the reason I write. Hearing that’s actually happened is the best feeling.
Which authors inspire you?
The writers that persevered. If you’ve followed your dream with passion and perseverance, then that inspires me every time. Every. Time.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
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.
What’s your all-time favourite book?
Gosh, that’s a hard one! The Twilight series would definitely be up there, and it certainly inspired my Prime Prophecy Series. The images of werewolves that live in my head wouldn’t be there without Stephenie Meyer’s chart-busting books.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
To touch people with my writing. I’d love to earn an income so I could do this part-time – I’ll always love working as a psychologist so won’t be giving it up anytime soon. Of course, if any of my books ended up in a best-selling chart, I wouldn’t be complaining...
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?
I write non-fiction with my PsychWriter platform, which is a blog all about the complementary areas of writing and psychology. PsychWriter also provides editing and consultancy which keeps me busy. When I’m not being a nerd or a writer, I’m out on my farm with my husband and boys. I’m in the garden, feeding the horse or just enjoying the Aussie sun.
What are you currently working on?
Right now I’m working on Book 3 of my Prime Prophecy series. The reviews from the first two have been so positive and I’ve had emails asking when it’ll be out that I’m looking forward to getting it into readers hands. After that is the next book in the Make it Count series – Make it Yours. Now that’s going to be a special story...
What are you reading at the moment?
The Time Traveller's Wife (I’m not even going to try and spell that author’s surname…) – and what an epic read it is too!
Make It Count is available to buy now. For more about Tamar and her books, you can check out her website or follow her on Facebook and Twitter!

Will you be reading the book? Let me know in the comments below!

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