Wednesday, June 3, 2015

AMONG THE STACKS: Tamara Jones


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hey, Tamara.  Welcome to The Gal.  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Tamara Jones:
I'm a wife, mom, writer and cat wrangler from small town Iowa.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are five things most people don't know about you?

Tamara Jones:
Only five?  Let's see.  I served an interim position on our City Council for a year and it was an eye opening experience to say the least.  I DESPISE flying.  I'll do it if I have to, but I'd much rather drive, and I'm not a good - or happy - traveler.  Despite being overweight and 50 years old, I can still end over and put my hands on the floor behind my feet.  I make a lot of quilts and give them all away, they're never for sale, so don't ask.  I can curl my tongue into a tube.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is the first book you remember reading?

Tamara Jones:
Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry.  It's a sweet story about a pony.  Not sure how that led to me slaughtering people on paper.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are you reading now?

Tamara Jones:
Within by Aaron Bunce.  I'd barely started it when my hubby stole it from me, no idea when I'll be able to wrestle it back.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What made you decide you want to write?  When did you begin writing?

Tamara Jones:
I began writing fiction when I was about seven years old, according to my mother.  My first short-ish story was about a girl with a horse (likely inspired by the Misty books) and Mom still has it, somewhere.  I wrote my first novel when I was fourteen.  I don't think I ever decided I was a writer, I just *was*.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have a special place you like to write?

Tamara Jones:
Actually, I write on my laptop on the couch, most of the time, but I really do like writing in bowling alleys.  Strange but true.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?

Tamara Jones:
I write at night, mostly, and about the only quirk is I need a glass of water or iced tea.  I consider myself a structured organic writer in that I write from a few loose notes - less than a page - that give me a stage mark to shoot for, then I let the story unfold as I go.  I have, usually, four or five of these marks, that's it.  Outlines give me brain lock up.  I can write them, but then I can't write the novel.  My routine process starts with me doing my dailies where I read *only* what I'd written the night before, fix whatever leaps out as needing fixed, then move forward from there.  Repeat the next night and the next until done.  I don't re-read anything else in the book until the novel's finished, but I do sometimes scroll back to clarify a previous detail.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Tamara Jones:
Hellifiknow.  I just get a random idea that's usually two or three very dissimilar things smooshed together.  If it intrigues me enough, I'll write it.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What books have most inspired you?

Tamara Jones:
Stephen King's The Stand and Neil Gaiman's American Gods.  I want to write books just like those, only mine.  And probably a lot more violent.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What inspires you the most?

Tamara Jones:
My family.  I couldn't do this without their support.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Tamara Jones:
Time, especially head-space time.  I have a *lot* going on in my life - who doesn't! - and sometimes it's tough to locate the mental time to focus on fiction.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think makes a good story?

Tamara Jones:
I think it's all about character.  You can have the craziest, most implausible plot imaginable, but if the character resonates with the reader and drags the reader in, they'll follow the character anywhere.  You can, though, have an incredible plot, but if you're using unrelatable characters...bleh.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Tamara Jones:
Lars Hargrove, from my three Dubric novels (written as Tamara Siler Jones, published by Bantam about a decade ago).  He's this fifteen year old hero-in-training who's been dinged up pretty bad, but keeps striving to do the right thing, the best thing, even when it seems impossible.  I'm terribly mean to Lars, but I love him to pieces.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Why did you pick your particular genre?

Tamara Jones:
It's not a conscious decision, I just write speculative thrillers.  Some tend to be more mystery - like the Dubric novels - while others are more horror - like Spore.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What have you learned creating this book?

Tamara Jones:
I learned a LOT about fungus and molds!  For example, there's a fungus that sprawls for miles and another that can infect a host - usually an insect - and takes over its body.  Cool stuff!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think your readers will take away from this book?

Tamara Jones:
That second chances really can be transforming, but you have to get out there and make it happen.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Tamara Jones:
Well, my 'no longer dead' are not zombies, thats a big thing.  Also, the monsters in my book are people, not mythical beasts or creatures, just regular people.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is in your 'trunk'?  (Everyone has a book or project, which doesn't necessarily have to be book related, that they have put aside for a 'rainy day' or for when they have extra time.  Do you have one?)

Tamara Jones:
I have three, actually.  There's a novel in my head called Anonymity, which I keep in my mental queue, even though I'm nowhere near ready to write it because the research lone seems overwhelming, if not impossible.  Next is the fourth Dubric novel, Stain of Corruption, which I've struggled with for years.  It's just so, so brutal and interconnected that it's exhausting just to keep it all straight.  I really do need to finish it, to give the characters some peace, if nothing else.  Then there's Slippage, the next novel I'm likely to sell.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

Tamara Jones:
My agent has a darkish women's fiction novel she's shopping around titled Morgan's Run.  Hopefully it'll sell soon.  If not, I'm making decent progress on Slippage, a novel about two special kids on the run from an assassin and a murder rap.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Thanks for stopping by, Tamara.  It's been a pleasure having you. 
            One more thing before you go: Where can we find you?

Tamara Jones:
I'm easiest to find on Facebook, and folks can go to my author page for occasional updates, or on my personal page for a more steady stream of writing stuff, quirky memes and pics of the cats or what I'm sewing.  I'm also on Twitter and my Website.

About the book:
The dead are coming back.
            Ten naked people walk from a cemetery into artist Sean Casey's backyard: ten Spore People who used to be dead.  One, Mindy, stays with Sean while trying to reclaim  her life, but her ex would rather she return to her grave.  Sean struggles to protect Mindy and other Spores while battling his recurring - and worsening - nightmares.  Meanwhile, the media feeds a panicked frenzy that leads both the hopeful and hateful to Sean's front door.
            As the Spore fungus spreads, so does the fear.  When mutilated children match Sean's nightmares, he realizes his own worst terror may be closer than he thinks.

No comments: