We’d like to Welcome NY Times and USA Today Best selling author of Easy, Breakable and Between The Lines, Tammara Webber. She was kind enough to take time from her busy schedule and answer some of our questions. Thank you so much for granting us an interview. The Breakfast Blog is honored to have you.
1. I know your son is the male voice on some audio versions of a few books including Breakable, will you consider using him as a cover model in any of your future books? He is quite the looker 😉 Thank you. Zachary is an NYU Tisch grad and is pursuing an acting career in LA. He’s been in a handful of indie films and has more work scheduled. He’s not interested in modeling… although he IS actually on the cover of one of my books. (That was done as a favor to his mom.) good looking and nice, sounds like the perfect book boyfriend.
2. Is Lucas’ tragic past inspire by real events? Yes and no.The whole “home invasion” thing scares the daylights out of me. My grandfather was murdered on his front porch (and his home was robbed). The perpetrators were never caught. The actual events in EASY were a product of nightmares, imagination, and reading a lot of horrible news stories.
3. In Breakable, the character of Boyce grew on me. Is there a possibility of him getting his own story? I’ll be talking to my agent and editors very soon about what’s next. I’m gonna take that as a YES!!!
4. What do you think the relationship with the father would have been like if Landon had been a girl? His father shut down because of his own loss. If Landon had been a girl, I think the move would have just occurred sooner – he would have been more proactively protective and afraid of leaving her alone in that house, ever.
5. There is a two year gap between Easy and Breakable, why the long wait? Was there always a plan for Landon’s story? I have a four-book series, BETWEEN THE LINES – three of which were published before EASY. (Two of these were complete when I gave up my search for an agent and self-published the first one in May 2011.) I’d planned to finish the series with a fourth book, but Jacqueline’s story pushed through my consciousness and wouldn’t let go, so I set the fourth BTL book aside to write EASY.
When I self-published EASY (May 2012), sales went insane immediately. I was taken by surprise at the response. My social media/email duties grew from an hour or so per day M-F to 4-5 hours/day, every day. I was overwhelmed trying to keep up with email from agents, foreign publishers, people wanting interviews and writers wanting advice, in addition to a hugely increased amount of email from readers.
My first publishing contract was with Penguin UK (September 2012). They acquired the rights to the BTL series (three complete books plus one not yet begun), plus EASY and the untitled book that became BREAKABLE. My contract with Penguin US followed a month later (October 2012) for EASY and that TBD book. Both publishers reissued the previously self-published books as if they were brand new – new copyedits and pass pages, new PR and blog tours (which I’d never done).
I owed the first draft of BTL 4 to Penguin UK in spring 2013, after which there were the usual edits, etc. We published HERE WITHOUT YOU (BTL 4) simultaneously (I kept the BTL series self-pubbed in North America) in August 2013. At that point, I began writing BREAKABLE in earnest. It was turned in to my US and UK publishers at the end of December 2013. I’ve been assured by my agents and editors that a four-month turnaround from manuscript acceptance to publication is a crazy-fast time period, and that most authors have to wait a year to two years from the point of accepted draft to published book.
Between May 2011 and May 2014, I published six books. Your story is an inspiration to us all, Easy was one of the first NA books I read back in 2012 and it definetly remains a favorite of mine. I have BETWEEN THE LINES in my TBR, sounds like another amazing series.
6. Why did you make Lucas an artist? What inspired that particular talent for the character? I know a handful of mechanical engineers; they’re all artists in one way or another. Some of them only sketch mechanical things while others incorporate architectural objects and/or people. Lucas’s mother was a painter and his father was an analytical guy. He was a child who took a bit from each parent, blending the artistic with the mathematical – my youngest is like that, so it wasn’t difficult to imagine. I love drawing, only as a past time I never consider it for a career so I was able to relate to Lucas.
7.Why was Jacqueline so patient with Lucas in Easy? He did seem a little hot and cold at times. She was a patient girl – a little too patient sometimes – with Kennedy, with her mother, with her HS friends who became best friends with each other. She was always taking a back seat to what someone else wanted or needed, even while she chafed under doing so. She needed to get to the point where she wouldn’t do that. Where she would demand to be put first. You know I usually can’t relate to girls like that, but Jaqueline is such a sweet and kind character, she really wins you over, I loved that she was able to find her inner strengh and go after what she wanted.
8. What is your favorite part to write in a book and what is the hardest part to write? All of them are different.
9. I have read in other interviews that you read a lot of YA and Paranormal, what made you decide to write NA, and will you ever consider writing in another genre? There was no NA when I began writing it. I simply called it “Mature YA.” I’ve always preferred 17/18-year old characters when I read YA, and it made no sense to me that YA couldn’t branch a little further into early college. I began writing BTL in 2009, with main characters 17-20 – but the MCs were Hollywood actors. I was working as an undergrad advisor at the time. When I began writing EASY in late 2011, it was exactly what I wanted to write. Funny how things work themselves out 🙂
10. What is your favorite NA, YA, Paranormal and Dystopian book? I have too many favorites to narrow them down. I always tell people to go look at my Goodreads reviews, which I’ve become too busy to do in the past year. I still read when I can, of course. I really miss writing reviews, but the best ones took several hours to write, and I just don’t have the time anymore.
11.The poem that Lucas has tattooed on his body in memory of his mother is quite beautiful, in the book it says his mom wrote it for his dad, did you write it yourself? Yes – I wrote it in August of 2010. It’s actually in my blog as a post (titled “Absence”). I woke up with it in my head, blogged it, and didn’t put it into poem form until EASY. When I created Lucas – I knew he was the product of an analytical father and an artistic mother who appreciated and loved each other just as they were. I remembered the thing I’d written and searched my blog for it. Well it’s definetly beautiful and fitting to the story.
12. What’s your favorite quality/characteristic about Jacqueline and Lucas? Jacqueline is forgiving, and though that characteristic could leave her playing a doormat for the wrong person – with the right person, it was an amazing gift. Lucas is protective, to the point that he was willing to be whatever she needed him to be, even if that meant he wouldn’t get what he most wanted – to be more than a rebound guy. It’s true that when you find the right person, you bring out the best in each other and that’s what I felt Jacqueline and Lucas did, they brought out the best in one another.
13.You touch strong subjects in both Easy and Breakable: rape, drugs, loss, bullying, guilt and did an amazing job of helping your characters rise above their circumstances. What advice would Lucas and Jacqueline give to anyone going through the same issues? The advice Lucas gives Jacqueline, and she gives back to him – it wasn’t your fault. And also, talk to someone. A trusted someone is good for a start, but a professional someone is necessary for most of us to get past traumatic issues from our past, so they won’t keep tripping us up in the future.
14. Is there a song that you relate as Jacqueline and Lucas’ song? HARDLINERS by Holcombe Waller. (There’s a line from the song in EASY, when Lucas and Jacqueline are listening to his iPod together. I wrote to Holcombe to ask permission to include that line, and he was thrilled that I’d found inspiration from it. It’s a beautiful, haunting love song, and I love the music video as well.) WOW, that’s wonderful, it’s unbelievable how inspiring music can be.
15.How did u come up with the title for Easy? That’s actually a funny/strange story. I initially pictured the rumors Buck spreads about Jacqueline – that she’s “easy” – as more important to the story line than they became. Once I got farther into the writing process, those rumors were far less important than Jacqueline becoming stronger, her love story with Lucas, and the threat of actual harm from Buck. The rumors were clutter; I took them out (with exception of a couple of parts you can find if you look). By that time, I’d done the cover & title reveal. Loved the twist and to be honest when I was first saw the book as a recommendation on my Nook I did think it referred to the girl being easy 😉
16. Any other projects in the works? I’m brainstorming and researching now. I do a lot of both of these before I ever begin writing.
17.Which point of view was harder to write Jacqueline’s or Lucas’? Lucas’s – not because he was difficult to write, per se, but because (1) BREAKABLE came second (I couldn’t change anything or revise the story from EASY at all) and (2) the dual POV in BREAKABLE was technically difficult. From a strict emotional level, EASY was very difficult for me. I’m a rape survivor, and revisiting those feelings was difficult, even if Jacqueline’s situation was different from mine. Yeah I can see that, and wow Tammara I had no idea you were a rape survivor, all the more power to you.
18. Finally because we are the breakfast blog if you could have breakfast with anyone and ask him/her anything, who would it be and what would you ask? I would love to have my grandfather and my brother back for a day, so I could be sure they knew how much I loved them and how much I miss them. They were both wonderful, funny men, and my life was so much better because of them. I dedicated BREAKABLE to my grandfather, and GOOD FOR YOU (BTL 3) to my brother, who died from complications from AIDS in 2007. My advice to anyone reading this has been said a million times, but it bears repeating – make sure you tell people you love that you love them. Often.
Thank you for sharing so much with us Tammara, you are a truly talented and wonderful person. I love your honesty 😉 and look forward to reading more of your amazing stories.
Check out her books here