Coffee Time Readers today we get to visit with Tambra Nicole Kendall, author and host of workshops for writers. Good Afternoon Tambra: There is a lot of pressure and competition in becoming an author. What made you decide to take a leap and become a writer?
When I was 12 years old, I knew I wanted to be a writer and an artist. Back then it never occurred to me about competition and pressure. I wanted to be a successful author who had fans who loved my books.
Books made me happy and I wanted to make others happy, too. As an adult, my kids brought home books that made me reconsider that dream.
I like to get to know the authors who I read and follow, so tell us a little bit about yourself. Are you a homebody? Does your writing rule your world? Where do you like to write? Do you listen to music or do you have to have complete silence? Are your characters a product of people you know or meet?
I’m a homebody but I people on my own terms. My focus is on fiction writing and teaching. There are other creative activities I do, and they help keep my creativity flowing. Art, crafts, sewing.
I write in the living room on my laptop. My Cairn terrier, Smudge Alpin MacRuff reminds me to get up and move as well as providing me with entertainment. Before COVID, I used to write at Starbucks or at a local restaurant. Peopling on my terms.
I can listen to music for a little while when I write.
The characters I create are three-dimensional through GMC (goal, motivation, and conflict), not a product of people I know. I do my best to make my characters distinctive individuals shaped by their past and their personalities.
I think that a good book should move me in some way. What do you look for in a good novel? Which genre are you personally drawn to for your reading pleasure?
I look for characters I can relate to, working toward a worthy goal that keeps me turning the pages. Paranormal/ fantasy romance, gaslamp fantasy, and Scottish Highland romances are my favorite reads.
Your blog highlights your diverse writing genres of romance fiction, children’s and nonfiction; is there a particular genre or project which you were more enthusiastic about?
There isn’t a genre or project I’m more enthusiastic about. Writing in more than one genre keeps me from getting bored and naturally the way my creativity works.
I see you are teaching a month-long workshop for Hearts Through History RWA chapter in August, can you provide the highlights for the workshop and what you hope to share with attendees?
This is the description at the beginning of the syllabus: In this four-week course, we’ll discuss how to plot, what keeps it moving, creating three-dimensional characters and how storytellers pull readers into their fictional world and keep them there. Point of view, story structure, pacing, world building, how to write a love scene, sagging middles along with other areas will be covered.
I do my best to present the material in a way that is easy to understand and provide examples. Discussion is always encouraged in my workshops. We all learn from each other. Former attendees have said they have come away with a better understanding of the craft of writing. My goal is to give a better understanding of characterization and plotting and how they work together to make magic on the page.
You mentioned you are currently writing for the Common Elements Romance Project. Can you provide some sneak peaks into how the project, which includes 100 authors, 5 Common Elements, is managed and packaged with so many authors involved?
All the authors involved have written about the same five elements in any genre with a minimum of 80 pages. Each of the authors published their stories and a link to the website where all the authors who participate are listed so people can discover new authors and maybe authors they already love.
I always ask writers about their research methods. I cannot imagine trying to mimic speech, culture, and characters for a time in which I have never lived. How do you research the era in which your stories take place? Do you have a method, or do you just make your world the way you want it? Do you use truth, fiction, or a mixture of both?
A couple of my short stories take place in ancient Ireland. I researched the area it took place and since it was paranormal, I created what was needed. When you create a world there are rules and you don’t violate them. IF you do violate those rules there needs to be a really good reason for doing it.
When writing dialogue, you don’t mimic the speech, a sprinkling of words is used. A heavy hand using a culture’s words in dialogue makes the story hard to read.
When researching I go to edu websites and books from the children’s section in the library to get the basics of the topic and then build on that information. The Victorian and Edwardian eras, as well as Ancient Britain are huge influences on my stories.
A used bookstore is a wonderful place to find research books, Amazon, or Abe Books are other places.
I try to see everything Dr. Lucy Worsely does. She is brilliant.
I’m also a huge fan of historian Ruth Goodman, and archaeologist Peter Ginn. Archaeologist, Neil Oliver’s documentaries and the Time Team series are other sources of information. I adore research!
Do you have anything to add or say to our readers?
Thank you, readers for taking the time to read this interview. I hope you’ll check out my books. I also write under the name Nikki Kendall for middle grade and Young Adult. https://nikkikendall.com
Tambra, thank you for spending time with us today and giving some wonderfully insightful responses and sharing your experiences with our readers. I look forward to reading more from you in the future.