Tammara Webber's Blog

July 28, 2015

Sweet- narrated by Christy Romano as Pearl and Zachary Webber as Boyce - released today on Audible! Happy listening to my audiobook readers! :)
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Published on July 28, 2015 07:02 • 22 views

July 18, 2015

A couple of days ago, one of my Twitter followers asked me if I'd seen this post on BookRiot.com: Five Novels That Illustrate Rape Culture

Easy has made bestseller lists and favorite book lists and book boyfriend lists, and the thrill of those achievements has been gratifying and incredible. But seeing it on this list, among these outstanding, influential books, was the most satisfying moment I've had as an author. Recognition of this sort was everything I wanted for Easy when I wrote it, and everything I feared it would never achieve - because I'm a fallible human artist trying to translate emotions into words, and I relate to and interpret others more from observation than interaction, and most of my communication with the world is done through fiction. Romantic fiction.

I believe a reader takes what she needs to take from a book, an exchange as dependent on what she brings to the experience of reading as what I've attempted to disclose inside those pages. I can't suggest my book to some readers while telling others it might not work for them - and that's a good thing, because I would probably be wrong as often as I'd be right. Still. I wrote a coming-of-age romance with the issue of sexual assault at its heart. For some, that was an unorthodox choice, but I couldn't have written it any other way.

In Spring 2005, I took a Young Adult Literature course as part of my English degree requirements. That semester, we read and analyzed thirteen books, one of which was Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Six years old, it was already a celebrated classic for its heartbreaking portrayal of acquaintance rape and the arduous recovery process a survivor endures when she is not believed.

As a rape survivor, I was not thrilled with its inclusion on that syllabus. Appreciative of its existence? Yes, absolutely. But my feelings about reading it were a solid nope.

Years before, I'd sat in a theater, so nauseated I couldn't move, watching The Accused (1988). That film introduced the argument - through the venue of a major motion picture - that there was no such thing as "asking for it." Serious discourse on the issue of what constitutes sexual assault arose and deep-seated presumptions in the minds of many were forever altered because of that film… but it traumatized me.

Having dodged rape-focused books and films ever since, I'd grown so skillful at that avoidance that I was barely aware of doing it. But here was this assignment, and as a conscientious student, there was no option to skip over it. So I gritted my teeth and I read Speak… and it moved me and helped me at a level I never expected.

Still, I was left with this question: How many other survivors steer clear of books and movies having to do with rape? Because even though I felt validated and voiced through Anderson's book, I hadn't come to it willingly, and I never would have.

As a reader, I often venture outside the romance genre, but a good story with strong romantic elements and an ending that leaves me smiling tearfully has always been my favorite. When Jacqueline brought me her story, it was all shame and not telling and untrue rumors and a breakup and behavior changes that no one understood. Lucas was a shadowy savior in a parking lot. I did not want to write it. I could not in good conscience write a book that I would never willingly read.

Then Jacqueline returned with a more developed Lucas - someone with buried pain of his own - and I saw my opportunity to write a love story with the romance-essential happy ending. I had one central message to impart: It wasn't your fault. Between bouts of typical writer insecurity, I felt sure that Easy could convey that message to survivors through a story that readers like me would read, and I wanted them to have it.

Thank you to BookRiot.com and journalist Nicole Froio for including Easy on this amazing list.
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Published on July 18, 2015 16:19 • 424 views

July 6, 2015

I received an interesting question through email last week - one I've answered before in interviews, ask-the-author queries on places like Goodreads, and other email inquiries, but never here on the blog: Where did Lucas's tattooed poem originate?

Short answer: I wrote it.

Longer answer: I wrote it months before I had any conception of Jacqueline or Lucas - or Easy. I woke up with the lines in my head, but I was still half-asleep when I snatched my glasses off my night table, yanked the drawer open, grabbed a pencil and scratch paper, and jotted it down. (I'm convinced our brains are in full swing while we sleep, working through pressing problems and tackling all sorts of creative tasks like the Shoemaker's Elves. Whatever I'd been pondering when I nodded off must have been quite the romantic puzzle!)

I didn't recognize what I'd written as a poem, which was funny because I'd been composing poetry since age thirteen and you'd think the five binders I'd compiled over thirty some-odd years would have made it obvious, but nope. I did recognize it as, "Whoa. I should probably keep this," however - hence the drowsy scribbling. After coffee, I used the whatever-it-was (an epiphany of sorts?) as my daily blog post, because lazy. (Thank you for that, inherent inertia.)

Fast-forward a year and a half. I was writing Easy. I'd created a hero with a good heart, a tortured soul, and no desire whatsoever to tell my heroine (or ME) anything about his past. Lucas was the opposite of communicative. I had come at his story through Jacqueline, and I felt every ounce of her frustration at what she wasn't being told. She feared a likely heartbreak in his past - something that shattered him, something his feelings for her could never touch.

Four lines were inscribed on his ribcage - a tattooed poem. I was ahead of Jacqueline, finally, in that I knew what she would find when she went digging. I knew how those words connected Lucas to his painful past. Having examined the poetry collections on my shelves and online, looking for the perfect verse, I was losing hope of finding anything acceptable when it hit me that Lucas's connection to Jacqueline was all too similar to his father's connection to his mother: a brooding, logical man in love with an sensitive, artistic woman.

That realization was triggered by a song from my playlist: Hardliners by Holcombe Waller. (Proof that art inspires art, and the reason I create a playlist for each novel which I often listen to on replay while writing.) I pulled up my blog, entered logic into the search box, and found the short post I'd written more than a year before ( Absence ). Rearranged, those words became Lucas's tattoo:

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The final four words also became the title of the series that now includes Easy, Breakable, and Sweet.
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Published on July 06, 2015 08:30 • 102 views

April 30, 2015

My husband and I were teenagers when we got married. We were clueless about many things, but education was not one of those things for Paul; neither was ambition. He began college at seventeen, graduated at twenty-one, and leapt full-force into his career. Not content to slide into a position and resign himself to it, he continued to learn - trading skills he'd attained skills for those he wanted. He has been a software engineer, a development manager, an operations VP, a finance director and an adjunct professor.

My career road was more winding. We started a family and I spent my time raising children, reading and writing. I'd always wanted to be a novelist, but it seemed a near-unattainable goal. There was no such thing as indie publishing. Back then, it was called vanity publishing, and it was accomplished by paying thousands of dollars to have books printed so a few could be sold to family or friends and the rest could molder in a garage or basement or coat closet. This was not something a writer did if he or she ever desired be taken seriously in the literary world.

When digital publishing took off a few years ago, it was viewed the same way… Until gatekeepers were swept aside and authors found readers and began to make a living writing novels New York didn't want.

My novel-writing aspirations weren't dreams of fame and fortune - my dream was to tell the stories in my head. My hope was to write something that would be meaningful to faceless future readers. But when I checked back flaps of novels in the bookstore, novelists seemed to belong to an elite club to which I would never gain entrance. I thought I would need an MFA in creative writing and contacts in publishing and a NYC address to even have a shot.

Eventually, I decided to push those fears to the side because even if obstacles seem insurmountable, striving toward a goal is better than doing nothing and making that impossibility absolute. So I returned to school to complete my BA in English literature. I raised my family. I worked at jobs that helped fill the coffers but didn't fill my soul. My soul was fed when I sat in front of my computer for hours during evenings and weekends to write. My hopes were reignited when I attended conferences to master my craft at a deeper level and meet likeminded people and literary agents.

My efforts to become a "real" writer were never merely tolerated or treated as a frivolous hobby by my significant other. At every point along the way, he was encouraging and emotionally supportive. And when Between the Lines began to amass rejections from agents as had previous manuscript attempts (shelved on my hard drive), and my belief in doing the one and only thing I'd ever really wanted to do waned, he empowered me with the words You can do this.

And then he backed up those words by spending his weekends formatting manuscripts into digital books.

Tomorrow is the fourth anniversary of my journey as an author - four years since Between the Lines went out into the world. My intention was to get it out the door so I could focus on writing the next book. My quiet hope was that I would sell fifty copies. To date, it has sold 100,000 copies worldwide, has been translated into Hungarian, and will be published in Portuguese and German within the next year. It turned into a four-book series that helped me grow as a writer. Without it, Easy would not exist. Without Paul's love and support, none of the books I've written would exist, because I'd have given up a long time ago.

I love reading and writing romance, but I don't need a hero. I've got one.
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Published on April 30, 2015 08:59 • 216 views

April 27, 2015

I've just sent my seventh book out into the world.

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The birth of a book is a formidable event for most authors, no matter how excited we are. Like giving birth in a physical sense, there is an unavoidable loss of control while a million emotions battle for first place - from tenacious optimism to sheer terror.

Recently, someone asked me if the process gets easier with each subsequent book, and I couldn't help but laugh. In some ways, yes, experience pays. That's true of anything we human beings do (hopefully); the more we do a thing, the more skilled and seasoned we become. At the same time, expectations increase from one book to the next - those of the author, the publisher, the critics and the readers. This is especially true if we're ever wildly successful with one particular project.

Sweet is a slow-burn, character-driven romance about a love founded in friendship - my favorite to read and my favorite to write. Why? Because I believe the concept of friends-to-lovers is not merely a romantic trope. Because my heart knows this type of narrative inside and out, but never grows tired of it. Because friends who fall for each other is the best of real-life-love possibilities.

Happy book birthday, Sweet.

Amazon | iBooks | B&N | Kobo | Amazon UK
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Published on April 27, 2015 06:00 • 97 views

April 19, 2015

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Published on April 19, 2015 17:54 • 101 views

April 15, 2015

I waffled big time over the title of this book. I didn't settle on Sweet until I was more than halfway through the writing process, mostly because of the way I've titled the books in the Contours of the Heart series.

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The titles of Easy and Breakable were paradoxical in nature, and I meant them to be. Jacqueline confronts rumors (spread by her attacker to cover his tracks and intimidate her) that she's easy. Lucas comes to terms with a past horror that could and possibly should have broken him, but didn't. With the friendship and love of others and through their own efforts, these victims become survivors. I set out to designate a meaning other than the usual associations we make with those words by the end of each book.

So how did I choose this title for Boyce and Pearl's story? Unlike the initial connotations of easy and breakable, sweet is such a nice word... But consider how often sweet seems to mean weak.

While quiet boys are labeled brooding, quiet girls find themselves labeled demure or modest or sweet. Pearl Torres Frank never had to challenge the status quo because what she wanted for herself was always supported and encouraged by parents, teachers, and mentors. Now, she's about to shake things up. Even disheartened by those who express disappointment over her altered course, she doesn't back down from her decisions.

When a quiet, unassuming girl has a backbone, that fact surprises everyone - except the person who knows her best.

Boyce Wynn has never been quiet. He's anything but brooding. Growing up in his small town, he was bigger and louder than life. He alarmed and disconcerted peers and authority figures alike - and he meant to do so. But from the first moment he knew her, Pearl was something apart from everyone else, and nothing that applied to the rest of the world or the people in it applied to her.

When a loud, rough boy has a gentle side, that fact surprises everyone - except the person who knows him best.

Watch these two prove to each other and everyone they know that there is nothing stronger or sweeter than lifelong friends who fall in love.
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Published on April 15, 2015 08:27 • 29 views

April 9, 2015

Five SIGNED copies of Sweet are up for grabs on Goodreads! RULES: You must be a member of Goodreads to enter and you must add the book to your bookshelf. That's it! Easy peasy, yeah?

(Go HERE to enter. Giveaway ends on April 26, 2015. Winners will be chosen by Goodreads.)
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Published on April 09, 2015 05:44 • 11 views

April 7, 2015

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Published on April 07, 2015 08:00 • 12 views

April 4, 2015

My playlist for Sweet broke my personal record for the number of tracks it had amassed by the time I finished writing: 128. If you've checked my book descriptions, you'll have found a playlist for every book with a song assigned to each chapter. Paring down original playlists I build while writing is always a challenge, but this one took the cake...

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Find the whole playlist under the book description , or on my YouTube channel .
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Published on April 04, 2015 08:40 • 13 views