Date Published: 10/31/2013
Experience THE BALLAD OF TAM LIN like you’ve never read it before… It has been seven years since Jeanette Sauderheim followed her best friend into Carver Hall Park...and came out alone. Jeanette has never gotten over his mysterious disappearance nor has she gone back into the park. While that traumatic night still haunts her, Jeanette distracts herself by balancing her time between trying to pass Spanish, hanging out with her friends, and reading the latest manga. But, when a promise to a friend drives her back into the park, she's forced to re-live the memories of that night. Lost and confused, Jeanette crosses paths with Tamrin, whose violent reaction to her provides yet another reason to avoid the park. Tamrin, a knight of the Summer Court, has been sent to Earth to guard a garden of roses that hold special meaning to the queen of the Summer faeries. When his distraction at meeting Jeanette leads to her picking one of the Summer Queen’s roses, Tamrin vows to right his failure to do his duty. However, the equivalent of one of the queen’s roses is a human heart and Tamrin’s reluctance to readily exact the sum from Jeanette sets in motion a spiral of love, betrayal, and magic that could mean damnation for them both. *This is an Upper YA paranormal romance novel with NA and contemporary fantasy appeal.
- Where did you get the idea for the novel?
I’ve loved the Ballad of Tam Lin since I was a kid, but I sort of forgot about it as I aged. However, I heard an amazing version of it being sung by Tricky Pixie at Arisia (a sci-fi/fantasy convention). As soon as I heard it, I got the idea to write a modern version of the ballad. I knew that retellings had been written previously, so I made an effort to make it different from those pieces. I bumped the age of the main characters down, put the fae aspects into a preexisting world that I had already written novels in, and made my main character part of a number of difficult-to-write social groups. This book is also unique in that, on one side, it’s a simple fantasy book and can be taken that ways, but I also wrote it as a tool for teens and adult to practice their analytical thinking. I endeavored to write the novel as an honest portrayal of what people can get themselves into and how they sometimes naturally react. It’s not a book that spoon feeds good choices or healthy relationships, it’s a real choices book and I did that on purpose. I want readers to be able to find these things on their own, to be able to examine how these things might also be in their own lives. The final copy of FOR YOUR HEART has a letter from the author addressing this and I provide discussion topics that I hope readers can use to help learn from the real life situations in the book.
- Your title. Who came up with it? Did you ever change your title?
Oh yeah, that title got changed. The original title for the novel was TAMRIN, but when I gave it to my agent, she suggested a name change for it. I had a lot of trouble thinking of a title. I think I asked everyone and their fourth cousin removed for ideas. Eventually, I put up a poll for my readers to choose between a few of my top choices. Technically FOR YOUR HEART came in second place, but it’s the one that spoke to me, so I went with that as the top choice.
- Why did you pick this genre? What do you like about it?
Honestly, I’ve tried writing a number of different genres, but somehow the paranormal always seems to just weave itself into what I’m writing. The paranormal (as an aspect of fantasy) allows for the impossible to become possible. It spices up life and pulls the reader away from the monotony of life. I love to work in the realm of both the impossible and infinite possibility. I like to make unicorns walk out of our childhood dreams, create imaginary friends, and perfect lovers. I like to examine humanity through the eyes of the alien beings that we know to be vampires and angels and likewise, to find those creatures lurking in our own souls. It’s just fun, being able to make everything you ever wanted come true and I don’t think I could write anything else.
- Since becoming a writer, what’s the most exciting thing to ever happen to you?
Every aspect of being an author is an exciting victory. Every chapter finished. Every novel completed. Finally getting an agent. Learning that your book is going to the board at a publishing house. Getting the cover for your novel. Finishing a panel at a convention and knowing you did a good job. Getting a good review. Parents coming up to you and telling you that their children idolize you. Tiny exchanges on Twitter with fans who can’t wait to read your new novel. Authors are solitary creatures who measure their happiness and success in the little victories; I eat it all up and hold each interaction close to my heart. I don’t think I could choose.
- What book are you currently reading or what was the last book you read?
I’m currently reading INK by Amanda Sun and listening to an audiobook of THE HUNT from Andrew Fukuda. However, both have been on the back burner since I moved.
- What is your writing process?
Messy. I’m a pantser, not a plotter. I’ll start with a general concept, but no idea how to get from Point A to Point B. I’ll write the end of the novel before the beginning. I’ll write random chapters here and there with no idea how they connect. I’m usually working on at least five projects at once. I’m not that author who forces herself to write a certain amount every day. But, I have faith that when the time is right, the muse will connect the dots. I only write when the muse speaks because I can’t write for crap until she is ready. And when she does come? I let her ride me like a guardian angel on my shoulder! I can be dry for months, then randomly sit down and write for two days straight (no food or water or sleep) and have a decent first draft of a novel at the end of it. It’s stressful and unreliable. I know this. That’s just the way my muse and I roll.
- At a book signing, do you just sign your name or do you write a note? How do you come up with stuff to say?
It’s dependant on the situation. If it’s really busy and there’s a long line, I’ll just sign my name. But, if I know the person or am able to have a conversation with them, I’ll try to personalize it. As for coming up with what to say? Well…I’m an author. I should be able to come up with something to write, right? At least, I hope so.
- What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I’ve castrated a pig. I’ll leave the where and when out of it, that makes me seem more mysterious. *crazy laughs*
- How do you react to a bad review?
I’m a firm believer that a writer is always learning how to be better. While bad reviews upset me, I try my best to learn from them. If I look at the review from all angles and understand where the reader is coming from, I try to tweek my approach next time around. I write pretty edgy and dark stuff, so I know that it won’t appeal to everyone, but I try to at least let people understand where I’m coming from in my approach. That’s why the final copy of FOR YOUR HEART will have a special letter from the author and discussion questions for certain ‘questionable content’ that about one in six readers will have problems with.
- How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
Technically, I didn’t sell this one. I’m self pubbing because I’ve had an agent and had a number of books go on submission with publishing houses for years, but I have this unlucky habit of either writing just behind the curve of popular books or writing books that are too similar to current bestsellers and publishers aren’t willing to take a chance on them. In FOR YOUR HEART’s case, my agent chose not to take it because she thought it was a little too dark and edgy for traditional publishing. While I agree that it’s dark and edgy and deals with issues in a different way than other YA literature, I wanted to bring the story to readers anyway. So, I chose not to change it or try get it published with a house, instead I wanted to see how readers received it in its raw form. I’m very excited to see what everyone has to say about it and I hope it opens up some promising dialogue.