Thriller writer Tammy Maas arrived at the blog just after breakfast. I don’t know how she got there. I’ve since fired the security director.
Johnny: Hello Tammy welcome to Johnny’s Blog. Would you like to sit by the vast pool or in the twenty-acre hedge maze?
Tammy: I think we should sit in the hedge maze; it reminds me of the movie Labyrinth. Maybe Hoggle will pop his head out and say hello.
J: No muppets, but I do have an oubliette. Hey, do you like my Jack Nicholson statue?
T: I love the statue. It’s so realistic. My favorite movie he did was; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I think about that movie every time I chew a piece of Juicy Fruit gum.
J: Here, have some champagne. 1840 was an excellent year.
Tammy sipped the wine and spit it out like I was trying to poison her. For the record I wasn’t.
T: I am so sorry; let me help you clean that up. I brought my own.
I noticed then a blue Coleman cooler among her stuff, filled with cans of Mountain Dew, vodka and red Solo cups. She made us drinks like she was mixing Jekyll’s formula.
T: This is called a Mountain Screw, guaranteed to liven up any interview.
J: So, God Save Us All, your new book from Rainstorm Press. What’s it about?
T: I must begin by telling you that God Save Us All is a sequel to A Complicated Life in a Small Town. The story takes place in small town Monticello, Iowa where author Lydia Porter is caring for her morbidly obese half-sister Lily and her baby Sophia, both have Prader-Willi syndrome. PWS is a genetic disorder that causes people to literally eat themselves to death if not managed. Lydia’s husband is Chief of Police in their sleepy town and after a failed suicide attempt Lydia is left to put the pieces of every ones lives back together. As things spiral out of control Lydia begins to lose sight of reality.
J: Let’s get his out of the way now. What are your links?
HOME PAGEJ: How has your relationship been with your publisher Rainstorm Press?
T: My relationship with Rainstorm is great. I write books and they publish them, what more could I ask for?! They may be a small publishing house but I like it that way. Books get published faster and the whole publishing process is more intimate. I don’t have to be afraid to ask questions and Lyle Perez provides professional editors, artists and even blog tours for promotion. In addition I have made friends with the other authors that write for Rainstorm. It’s nice to have a group of writer friends to bounce ideas off of. I’ve also learned a lot about the world and different cultures because not everyone is from the states.
J: What was your inspiration for the story?
T: I had a story idea brewing in my head but things didn’t really come together until I began ‘shopping’ online for a disease. That’s the cool thing about the Internet; you can shop for anything, including illnesses! Once I discovered Prader-Willi syndrome and did some research the rest came rather easily.
J: How long did it take to write?
T: It took me about nine months to write the story.
J: How alike are you to your protagonist Lydia Porter?
T: Lydia Porter is my idle. She’s 50% me and 50% the person I would like to be.
J: What’s your book “rated?” Is there violence in your book? How about sex?
T: My book would probably get a PG13 rating. It has plenty of bad language and some violence but very little about sex.
J: Tell me more about the sex.
T: Move along Johnny, there isn’t any sex to talk about.
J: When you wrote A Complicated Life in a Small Town, did you foresee the sequel? What challenges did you face writing a sequel?
T: When I wrote A Complicated Life in a Small Town I did foresee the sequel but after writing God Save Us All I realized that one more book would be necessary before it was over. So a trilogy it shall be. I think it’s easier writing when you know you will do a sequel. That way you don’t have to tie up loose ends and you can keep some mystery alive.
J: So when will we see number three?
T: I hope to have it published sometime this year.
J: Can a reader pick up God Save Us All without having read the previous Lydia Porter story?
T: God Save Us All can be read as a standalone book however the books are novella’s, short reads, and are only $2.99 for Kindle or Nook versions so why not just read both?
J: Are you drinking straight vodka now?
T: There’s some Dew in there. Somewhere. We’ve drank nearly the whole flippin bottle John my buddy.
J: I’m always curious to learn about a writer’s journey to publication. I know this isn’t your first book, but can you tell me a little about how you went from writer to author - the journey to getting your book in print.
T: I don’t like telling this story, it’s unnatural and I think it makes people hate me. But I’ll tell you Johnny. When my manuscript was ready I submitted portions to eight publishers at 10:00 pm on a Friday night. Within thirty minutes I had a reply from Rainstorm asking for my complete manuscript. Within a week I had a contract. I was all prepared for a year or two of rejections and I didn’t get any. I was shocked but elated. Things don’t usually turn out that well for me.
J: I hate you.
T: Yes. I get that a lot.
J: Writing great books is one thing; selling great books is something else entirely. Tell me about your marketing. What advice can you offer new writers about promotion?
T: The very first thing new writers need to do is find a platform. Facebook and Twitter are very popular but having a blog is also beneficial and there are tons of website that offer insight on this. Use these tools before you have a publication and you will set yourself up for more sales when your first book releases.
J: You deal with some heavy issues in God Save Us All, suicide, Prader-Willi syndrome. Do you have any personal experience with these?
T: Thankfully I don’t have experience with these situations. The Internet has provided me with plenty or research material.
J: Who are your favorite authors, besides me of course? How would you compare your book to the work of other thriller writers in style and tone?
T: Stephen King is a favorite author on my list but so far I’m not laid back enough to calmly make my way through a book like he does. I get too excited. James Patterson is suggested on Amazon as a writer who is similar to me. How cool is that?! I would never claim to be as good as the masters but if Amazon says it, it must be true.
J: Give me your pitch - your hook, the one line grabber to snag people.
T: This book will grip you from the first line, wrench at your heart strings, and leave you wrung out with a jaw dropping ending.– Jane Isaac author of An Unfamiliar Murder. My friend Jane wrote that, isn’t it great? She also has a quote on the cover of my book. It’s my good luck charm.
J: You’re slurring and weaving. Are you okay to drive?
T: Weaving?! I can’t even knit for Christ’s sake!
J: How is it to live and write in Iowa?
T: The town I live in has less than 4,000 inhabitants so it is definitely calm. But everyone is friendly and there is little to no crime. My kids can actually play outside. I lay my head down at night and don’t have to worry about ‘big city’ things. For the writing part, I could do that anywhere but here in Iowa my head is filled with less worry so that leaves room for more characters.
J: Does everyone have a drinking problem in Monticello?
T: Oh listen to Mr. Bottle Hog. I’m not even in Monticello right now; I’m lost in the middle of this God forsaken hedge trap. Get me out of here!
J: You should have some water. Did you just ask me to go dancing? What would your husband think?
T: What would your wives think Johnny? You live in Utah right? So you probably have a few don’t cha?
God Save Us All and A Complicated Life in a Small Town are both available in paperback or for the Kindle on Amazon. God Save Us All will be available for the Nook on the Barnes & Noble site very soon.
Go connect with Tammy on her blog, on FaceBook and Twitter.