Congratulations on your novels becoming bestsellers in the US. I’m really looking forward to the UK publications. Have you done anything to celebrate this incredible success?
Tammara: Thank you! I haven’t done anything super celebratory. Having Easy make the New York Times list was mind-blowing all on its own. I think maybe I went out to dinner that night instead of cooking. ;)
Rebecca: Thank you! Not yet, but I plan to take the most amazing vacation on a tropical island with crystal blue water once Out of Breath is released! Cannot wait (for either)!
How would you describe your book in one sentence?
Tammara: Easy is the story of Jacqueline – a girl who’s learning to trust again after she is dumped by one boy and assaulted by another, and Lucas, who helps her recover her self-confidence while hiding the trauma of his own past.
Rebecca: Reason to Breathe is a compelling story of one girl's struggle with an abusive home life and her need to hide this horrible secret from everyone, especially the boy who she is falling in love with.
There are some hard-hitting themes in your book. Why was it important to you to write about these things?
Tammara: Acquaintance rape is a topic that’s been important to me for some time. It’s too often regarded as a ‘lesser form’ of rape – if it’s counted as such at all. This societal attitude leads to victims who accept blame for something that was never their fault. This also diminishes a survivor’s chance of healing and getting on with her life. There have been many first-rate novels written tackling the subject; I wanted to write a story for readers who need something palpable and accessible, less graphic, perhaps, with a romance wrapped around it. I also wanted to show what a healthy, loving relationship looks like – and that’s it possible to love and trust again.
Rebecca: Child abuse is a sensitive topic and most people prefer not to talk about it. I want to break that silence. Abuse can happen behind any closed door, in any town. I want to bring awareness to what could be taking place right next door.
Can you tell me a bit more about why you originally decided to self-publish and how you found this process?
Tammara: I self-published my first book after using critique partners and beta-readers, doing rewrites, querying literary agents and pitching the novel at conferences– in short, everything aspiring writers are told to do. It’s very possible I’d have found an agent if I hadn’t self-published. Personally, however, I grew tired of waiting, and I was ready to get on with the next writing project. After self-publishing that first novel, I didn’t even think about querying subsequent manuscripts – I just went straight to self-publishing, though I still used critique partners, beta-readers and a copy editor. Easy was the fourth novel I self-published.
The process itself is a lot of work. As a self-published author, you are not only free to choose every detail, you’re responsible for choosing every detail. There’s some guesswork, especially at first. Timing and luck play a part. If you hire someone to do something for you and they do a poor job, you have to fire them and pay someone else to do it. There are many marketing opportunities you have to decline because there’s just no time to do them all. You learn your own way.
Rebecca: I considered self-publishing as an option after submitting multiple queries to agents without any acceptances. More than anything I just wanted people to read what I’d written. Self-publishing was a way to share the story with the world without risk. If people liked it, they would read it. And... they liked it!
How do you feel about your novel being classified in the ‘new adult’ genre which has quite literally taken the book world by storm?
Tammara: I don’t particularly care how Easy is categorized, as long as it’s accessible to the readers I considered when I wrote it: women in the 16-23 age range. I LOVE that others outside that demographic have connected with the story as well, but that was the important audience for me. Publishers in the US have long rejected the majority of novels with protagonists in the 18-23 age range. Now everyone is scrambling to figure out where to classify these books. In reality, they may not all classify together. Time will tell. I have no problem with my books being called Mature Young Adult or New Adult – whichever the reader prefers.
Rebecca: There is such value in the New Adult genre and I am so excited to be among the authors to bring the category to light to readers. NA allows for a book’s plotline to develop naturally so the characters can mature realistically and experience coming-of-age moments as they should.
Are there any ‘new adult’ titles that you are looking forward to reading or you can recommend?
Tammara: Anything by Colleen Hoover. (I just beta-read her newest not-yet-released book, HOPELESS, and it’s wonderful.) FALL GUY by Liz Reinhardt was fantastic. I read and loved Rebecca Donovan’s books BARELY BREATHING and REASON TO BREATHE recently. Abbi Glines has several titles that cross into New Adult territory. My favourite “new adult” of all time is WHERE SHE WENT by Gayle Forman – and it’s classified as Young Adult.
Rebecca: I love to read, when I have time! I can’t wait to submerge myself in upcoming stories by Tammara Webber, Colleen Hoover, Katja Millay, Nicole Williams and Gayle Forman. They are currently among my favorite storytellers!
Can you tell me about what you are working on next?
Tammara: I’m writing a fourth (final) book in my BETWEEN THE LINES series. After that, I’ll be working on another stand-alone.
Rebecca: The story I have in mind next is a New Adult novel about an average ‘boy next door’ who wants the unattainable girl. But then when he actually gets to know her, he must decide if she is truly who he wants.