Tamara Leigh is with us today with an interview and giveaway of her book, The Unveiling (details below)
Welcome to Christian Bookshelf Reviews, Tamara!! Will you tell us a little about yourself?
It’s nice to be here! Though I now write for the inspirational and “clean read” market, I began my writing career in 1993 when I signed a 4-book contract with Bantam for general market medieval romances. My first book, Warrior Bride, was released in 1994 and nominated for best debut historical novel by Romance Writers of America. In 2004, I began to write contemporary romance novels that not only reveal Christianity to non-believers but serve as inspiration to believers. In 2008, my third inspirational romance, Splitting Harriet, was nominated for a RITA award and won an ACFW “Book of the Year” award. After concluding my Southern Discomfort series that launched with Leaving Carolina, I decided to return to the historical genre with the release of Dreamspell, a medieval time travel romance. I live in Tennessee with my family, a Doberman Pinscher that bares its teeth not only to threaten the UPS man but to smile, and a Shih Tzu with a Napoleon complex and something of an eating disorder.
What is your book, The Unveiling, about?
The Unveiling, the first book in my new Age of Faith series is set in the 12th century during the struggle between King Stephen and young Duke Henry for England’s throne. I think the back cover copy says it best:
For years, Lady Annyn Bretanne has trained at arms with one end in mind—to avenge her brother’s murder as God has not deemed it worthy to do. Disguised as a squire, she sets off to exact revenge on a man known only by his surname, Wulfrith. But when she holds his fate in her hands, her will wavers and her heart whispers that her enemy may not be an enemy at all.
Baron Wulfrith, renowned trainer of knights, allows no women within his walls for the distraction they breed. What he never expects is that the impetuous young man sent to train under him is a woman who seeks his death—nor that her unveiling will test his faith and distract the warrior from his purpose.
What is something the average reader wouldn’t know about you?
Here goes: The nail biting and Jelly Belly habits of my heroines, Adda from Stealing Adda and Harriet from Splitting Harriet are things I struggle with.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed making up stories, even as a young girl with a Barbie in one hand and a pencil in another, but I think the desire really hit me when I began reading Harlequin romances in the late 70s. I adore love stories.
How many books have you written/published and do you have a favorite?
Fourteen of my novels have been traditionally published by Bantam, HarperCollins, Dorchester, NavPress, and RandomHouse. Because the medieval time period remains a challenge for publishers of inspirational fiction who don’t believe there is a large enough demand to support it, I recently self-published Dreamspell and The Unveiling through Amazon. As for favorites… Books are a little like children. You love them all but in different ways—Warrior Bride because it was my first published book, Stealing Adda because it was my first inspirational book and included several of my own experiences as a published author, Dreamspell because it was my first “clean read. See a pattern here?
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Interesting? How about embarrassing? Recently, while at Starbucks, mood music playing through earbuds, fingers pecking at the keys, I was struck by a feeling of being watched. A quick body check revealed my teeth were bared. But my hero was in the middle of swinging a sword—a matter of life and death, you know. I immediately erased my face and pretended I was unaware of the preschooler who found me more interesting than the Ipad her mother had given her to while away her wait for whatever confection was being concocted for her.
Where do you like to write?
Well, obviously, I need to rethink Starbucks. When I’m at home, the best place to write is our sun room since it’s easiest to escape distractions and interruptions there. However, I’m most drawn to writing at the kitchen counter even though it means being far less productive.
What is the best and/or worst part about being a writer?
The best part about being a writer is, for me, the best part about being a reader: embracing stories that shine hope and love into the dim corners of one’s life. The worst (aka “hardest”) part is protecting my writing time, especially when I’m facing a deadline. It can take an hour or more for me to get back into yesterday’s writing groove and, unfortunately, a lengthy interruption can send me back to the starting line. Frustration!
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Um…read. And, more and more, tweak recipes—love it when my guys lick their chops over something I’ve cooked. But now, when they bare their teeth…
Is there a place you’d like to visit, but haven’t yet?
Not any places I can think of. I’m no “world traveler,” but I have been around the U.S. and a few countries, but home is where I’m most content.
Do you have a favorite song and/or movie?
The song depends on my mood, but Avalon, Enya, and Sarah Brightman are among my favorite artists. As for a favorite movie, Ever After almost always come out on top, but North & South starring Richard Armitage and Pride & Prejudice starring Colin Firth are right up there.
What is your favorite dessert?
I like most things sweet, but since a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato is something on which I regularly waste my calorie allowance, I’ll have to go with that. I know it’s a drink, but I believe it qualifies.
Do you have a favorite Bible verse?
Galatians 6: 4-5. I like The Message translation: “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.”
Here are a few this-or-that questions:
Snowstorms or Thunderstorms?
Snowstorms are relatively rare in Nashville (as opposed to the Lake Tahoe area where we previously lived), and so I enjoy them when they come around. However, “thumbs up” goes to thunderstorms that are far more common in our area. Until we moved to Nashville, I was only vaguely aware of the magnitude of thunderstorms, but I’m certainly aware of them now. They are earth-shakingly loud, stunningly beautiful, and wonderfully awe inspiring. Not to mention scary…
Tea or Coffee?
Tea—just kidding (though I do like it). Coffee is my number one choice, but there had better be plenty of white stuff in the cup to turn it into a dessert because caffeine does little for me.
Movie Theater or DVD?
DVD! I don’t go in for crowds, and it’s wonderful to be able to pause a movie to take care of necessities—you know, like scooping up a bowl of Ben & Jerry’s.
Early-bird or Night-owl?
I can be either if called upon, but I’m naturally inclined toward being a night owl. Unfortunately, my best writing hours are early in the day when I’m fresh.
Cats or Dogs?
We have both, but I lean toward dogs. Probably because they lean toward me—and sometimes knock me over.
Are you currently working on any new novels? If so, could you give us a hint?
Up next is The Yielding, Book Two in the Age of Faith series. Beatrix, the sister of Wulfrith from The Unveiling, gets her very own adventure—and, quite possibly, a hero of her own. Look for it this Christmas.
Thanks so much for being here! Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers and where can we find you on the web?
Thank you for the interview! Here’s where I can be found:
Blog: www.tamaraleighauthor.wordpress.com (tweaked recipes and writing bits)
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorTamaraLeigh?ref=hl
Book giveaway! Enter to win a Kindle copy of The Unveiling! Open to the US and Canada!
Enter via the Rafflecopter below. The mandatory entry is to leave a comment on this blog post, after you do that, the optional entries will become available. 🙂