We all like supporting YA and New Adult debut authors, but this year, rather than just read their books, I'll be highlighting them on my blog too, so you can hear about these wonderful authors.
Today I'm interviewing author Tammara Webber whose debut New Adult novel, Easy, is being published by Razorbill UK in the UK on 3rd January 2013 - though was released as an eBook in September 2013. Read on for more:
Easy by Tammara Webber - Easy is a New York Times Bestseller - a must-read for everyone who loves Slammed by Colleen Hoover and the New Adult genre. Deeply romantic and utterly gripping, this is not to be missed.
Jacqueline seems to have a knack for making the wrong choices. She followed her boyfriend to his choice of university, disregarding her preference. Then he dumped her. She chose a minor she thought she could combine with her music studies, but she's falling behind. And then, leaving a party alone one night, she is attacked. If it wasn't for the timely intervention of a stranger, she would have been raped. Now she must make a choice - give up and give in, or toughen up and fight on. Only the support of the man who is tutoring her and the allure of the guy who saved her from the attack convince her that it's worth fighting on. Will Jacqueline now have to make a choice between them too? And can she make the right decision? It's not easy . . . from Goodreads.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I married the guy I fell in love with at 17. I’ve spent most of my adult life (until recently) on a university campus – first working as a receptionist to put my husband through school, taking a few classes while there, going back to finish my degree when our kids went to school, and then working as an undergraduate academic advisor until I quit to write full-time.
Have you always wanted to be an author?
I actually wanted to be a veterinarian, but gave up that dream in high school biology when we had to dissect a worm. I have always written, though – poems, stories, essays, novels. I think I fought it off as long as I could before giving in.
How did you come up with the idea for Easy?
Acquaintance rape is much more prevalent than most people understand, and what’s more, it’s far too often looked on as something less than actual sexual assault – as though knowing the person somehow lessens the trauma, which is utter baloney. I write romance, and never thought I’d write an “issues” book - but I woke up one morning with the beginnings of Jacqueline’s story in my head. Once I got a glimpse of Lucas as a character, I realized I could write about the issue and cushion it with the romance – for people like me, who have a difficult time with truly painful subject matter like this.
If you could describe Easy in three words, what would they be?
Intense, romantic, empowering.
Why will readers like your main character, Jacqueline?
She’s very real. The way in which she responds to the assault in the first chapter – whether the reader understands or agrees with her response doesn’t matter – is normal. As women, we too often take blame on ourselves for things that happen to us, failing to label those events appropriately. We just want to forget and move on. Jacqueline makes a number of “mistakes” before the book opens and just as it does, but she doesn’t shrink back and wallow. Though her progress is arduous at times, she learns and grows. I hope that readers will appreciate her spirit and her refusal to give up.
What research did you have to do for Easy? Was there anything you found that surprised you?
I did less actual research for Easy itself than I usually do for a novel. Having spent most of my adult life on a university campus, university policies, structure and the like were known factors. The most surprising fact with regard to this story is something I knew before I began writing it – that is: how infrequently acquaintance rape is even reported, let alone convicted. Concerning those of which I’m personally aware – stranger rapes were 100% reported, and acquaintance rapes were not reported at all. Not one of them. In every instance, the girl/woman either blamed herself, or she felt so certain she’d not be believed that she didn’t report.
Tell us about how you write; do you write in a particular place? Do you have any music playing? Do you have any must-haves with you while writing?
I have a study set up in a room one of my kids occupied before moving out. I have playlists for every book, and I’ll put one song or group of songs on while writing particular scenes, but when I’m writing dialogue, I generally need complete silence. I’m also very organized – so if my desk or study is messy, I can’t get my thoughts ordered until I organize the area. That’s actually quite exasperating at times, especially if I’d just want to get a scene down, but first I had to spend half an hour arranging sticky notes and updating my calendar.
What was most surprising to you during the writing process?
I knew the story. I knew the setting. I knew the subject. In some ways this was the easiest book I’ve written, but it just destroyed me at times, how difficult it was to get a scene or conversation to sound just right. I could get to the end of a day where I’d be at the computer for 11-12 hours, and have a paragraph or half a page to show for it.
How does it feel to know your book will soon be in the hands of readers in the UK?
I self-published the ebook in May 2012, and the indie paperback two weeks later; both were offered through Amazon, and the paperback was available from Book Depository, so many UK readers are already familiar with it. The story wasn’t changed at all, though there was some anglicising done specifically for the UK audience and the Razorbill cover was beautifully stylized – I think the dark blue wash fits the storyline very well. I’m excited to have it available in bookstores there – that definitely feels a bit unreal and wonderful.
Anything else you would like to add?
Thanks much for having me! :)
Thank you, Tammara, for such a great interview! It's so shocking to know that acquaintance rape is generally unreported, that's just so sad! I am so looking forward to reading Easy, though I think it may be a slightly tough read. You can find Tammara on her website, Facebook, Twitter and on Goodreads.