Colleen Houck Book Club discussion

Tamara Ireland Stone
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message 1: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
Welcome to the group! Tamara will be answering questions in August 2018 in this thread only. In the meantime if you have a question for the author or just want to introduce yourself feel free to do so in this thread.


message 2: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
How did you get started writing?


message 3: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
What types of books do you like to read?


message 4: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
Any must haves while you write?


message 5: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Stone (tamarairelandstone) | 14 comments Thank you so much for inviting me to be part of your book club, Colleen. I'm so honored and excited to be here.

By way of introduction, my name is Tamara, and I write young adult and middle grade books. My YA titles are Every Last Word, Time Between Us, Time After Time, and my brand new novel, Little Do We Know. My MG series is Click'd.

I'm looking forward to chatting with all of you this month and hearing what you think about Little Do We Know. Of course, feel free to ask questions about any of my other books, too (even the one I'm currently working on). Ask me anything!


message 6: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Stone (tamarairelandstone) | 14 comments Colleen wrote: "How did you get started writing?"

I've been a writer as long as I can remember. It's always been my passion, my escape, my therapy, and my way of processing things I'm not quite sure how to get my head around. But I always wrote for myself. I never let anyone read my work. The idea of sharing my words and my fictional friends terrified me (still does, btw).

After college, I planned to go into journalism, but I found a job I loved doing PR and strategic communications in the tech industry. I was writing all the time. I worked with small start ups and big companies (and Steve Jobs). In 2000, I co-founded a marketing communications firm with three brilliant women, and continued to help businesses and executives learn how to tell their stories.

But I became too busy to write anything for myself. I stopped writing fiction for fun, and I missed it terribly. I promised myself that the next time I had the idea for a story that felt really compelling--one of those ideas that really stuck in my head--I wouldn't push it away. I'd write it. In 2009, that idea happened. And that story became my first novel, Time Between Us.


message 7: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Stone (tamarairelandstone) | 14 comments Colleen wrote: "What types of books do you like to read?"

I read everything, but my book club got me hooked on Tana French a few years ago, and now I find myself reaching for mysteries and psychological thrillers more than anything else these days. I just bought Jennifer Wolfe's "Watch the Girls" and I can't wait to finish writing today so I can start reading it!


message 8: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Stone (tamarairelandstone) | 14 comments Colleen wrote: "Any must haves while you write?"

I'm one of those annoying morning people. I try to write as early as I can, and I always have a cup of coffee by my side. I just got a juicer, so in the afternoon, I'll make a big pressed juice drink to keep my energy up. After that, it's just straight up gummy bears.

Oh, and music. Always music.


message 9: by Milena (last edited Aug 06, 2018 06:34AM) (new)

Milena (love_tea78) What inspired you to write Time Between Us?


message 10: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Stone (tamarairelandstone) | 14 comments Milena wrote: "What inspired you too write Time Between Us?"

I've been fascinated by time travel as long as I can remember, and time travel stories have always been my favorites (movies like Somewhere in Time, About Time, Donnie Darko, and books like A Wrinkle in Time and The Time Traveler's Wife). But I was most inspired at the time by the TV show Heroes. I loved the idea of regular humans with superhuman capabilities. I thought it was so cool that Hiro Nakamura could close his eyes and just "arrive" in a new place/time--no Tardis, no DeLorean, no magic portal. And I was completely hooked on the intense, time-twisted, beautifully told romance between Desmond and Penny.

All these things worked together to inspire this story about a boy who's just trying to figure out how to deal with his secret ability when he accidentally falls in love with an amazing girl who will always live 17 years in his past.


message 11: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
With a marketing communication background, you must be really good at marketing yourself or is that something different? Do you have any book marketing hints that have worked well for you?


message 12: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
I always loved Somewhere in Time too. I've never seen Donnie Darko though. I'll have to look that one up. Hiro is one of my favorite characters. Love him! I really wish Lost had been able to fix all the problems it had. Too bad the writer's strike happened when it did. That show had a lot of potential. What do you think about the new Doctor?


message 13: by Ashley (new)

Ashley | 78 comments What has been your favorite book of 2018?


message 14: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Stone (tamarairelandstone) | 14 comments Colleen wrote: "With a marketing communication background, you must be really good at marketing yourself or is that something different? Do you have any book marketing hints that have worked well for you?"

When I was in marketing for the high tech industry, my expertise was in creating customer-focused programs and campaigns. I firmly believe that happy customers are a company's most powerful asset, and the best, most genuine way to talk about what they sell and why it matters.

Now, readers are my customers. My books don't get huge marketing budgets, so my readers truly are my most powerful voices. If they like my books, they tell their friends. It's all about word of mouth. I'm always looking for creative ways to honor them, and to thank them for all they do to spread the word about my books.


message 15: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Stone (tamarairelandstone) | 14 comments Ashley wrote: "What has been your favorite book of 2018?"

This is a bit of a cheat because it came out in early 2017, but I finally read The Hate U Give in January of this year and it's still my favorite of everything I've read so far. I tell everyone I know to read this book. The audio edition is also fantastic. I've been writing so much this year, I haven't had time to read like I usually do. I'm working on the sequel to Click'd right now, and once that's turned in, I can tackle my massive TBR pile!


message 16: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
I'm glad you recommended The Hate U Give audiobook. I'm a huge audiobook listener right now. I love reading but I can't keep up without audiobooks. Do you have a fav audiobook?


message 17: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
Do you have a favorite city or bookstore you've toured before?


Verna Loves Books (vernalovesbooks) | 4 comments Who was your favorite character to write?


message 19: by Tamara (last edited Aug 16, 2018 02:58PM) (new)

Tamara Stone (tamarairelandstone) | 14 comments Colleen wrote: "I'm glad you recommended The Hate U Give audiobook. I'm a huge audiobook listener right now. I love reading but I can't keep up without audiobooks. Do you have a fav audiobook?"

Same here. Since we read and write our own words all day, I find it's tricky to look at a book when the day is done! But I have to read as I fall asleep at night, so audiobooks are my best friends.

My very favorite is Ready Player One. I read the book when it first came out, but my son and I have listened to the audio edition twice and it never gets old.

The audio edition of Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl has a big place in my heart, too. The narrator who reads the Simon Snow excerpts is spectacular. And I also loved Robin Benway's Far From the Tree--I remember listening to that one on a plane and ugly crying.

For some reason, I especially love mysteries on audio. I've listened to the audio editions of Ruth Ware's books, a few from Tana French, The Girl on the Train, and I just listened to Watch the Girls by Jennifer Wolfe (which was fantastic).


message 20: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Stone (tamarairelandstone) | 14 comments Verna Loves Books wrote: "Who was your favorite character to write?"

I love all my characters like they're my kids, so it's always hard to pick a favorite. But I'm especially attached to two of them.

First, Emory from my new book, Little Do We Know. She's the character I always wanted to write. She's bold and funny and says exactly what she thinks, but not in a mean way--she's just totally herself. She's comfortable in her own skin. She doesn't overthink things, and that sometimes gets her into trouble, but her intentions are always good. She has a big heart. She's going through so much, keeping such a big secret, and thinking she can pull it off because she's tough. I always love that moment when a character lets his/her guard down and you see them in a totally new light. Creating that moment for Emory was magical for me.

My other favorite is Caroline from Every Last Word. She comes across as confident and funny, like nothing fazes her, but you learn later that under the surface she's struggling in serious ways. I love the way she channels all that pain into Poet's Corner and teaches Sam how to write as a way to shed the emotional weight she carries. But I'm probably most proud of Caroline from a writing craft perspective. If you've read the story, you know what I mean. She was by far the most challenging character I've ever had to write. I had to think hard about everything she said, every move she made, and I honestly loved every minute of it.


message 21: by Megan (new)

Megan (superstitiousbibliophile) | 2 comments What is the hardest thing about writing?


message 22: by Milena (new)

Milena (love_tea78) Do you create soundtracks for your books? What's your favorite music to listen to when you write?


message 23: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Stone (tamarairelandstone) | 14 comments Milena wrote: "Do you create soundtracks for your books? What's your favorite music to listen to when you write?"

Absolutely! I love my playlists. I create them as I write each book, and each song helps me connect to characters and key scenes. Go here and you'll see how important music is to my storytelling process: www.tamarairelandstone.com/playlists

I hope you enjoy them!


message 24: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Stone (tamarairelandstone) | 14 comments Megan wrote: "What is the hardest thing about writing?"

The writing.

Seriously, the writing is so hard. I think every author wishes for a magic wand that would allows us to go straight from the initial idea to a finished book. But there wouldn't be any sense of accomplishment in that, would there?

Writing is hard. And lonely. And often frustrating. I always reach a point where I want to give up on a story because it's not working and I'm not sure it ever will. But I keep pushing through, and eventually, things start to click. The plot comes together. I fall in love with the characters. And then I couldn't give up even if I wanted to.

Once I get a few drafts in, everything changes. It becomes fun. There's nothing in the world like reading a sentence or a paragraph or scene and thinking, "Wait... I wrote that?!" There's an indescribable feeling of pride when it all starts to come together. I often equate it with falling in love with someone. It's pure euphoria. It feels incredible. Seriously. In that, colors-are-brighter, food-tastes-better, I'm-walking-on-air kind of way. Those painful drafting moments aren't forgotten, but all of a sudden, they're totally worth it.

I write because I feel strongly that I'm telling a story that needs to be told, and I want to be the one to tell it. And because I know I'll get to have that feeling of falling in love, over and over again.


message 25: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (miakahiranai) | 12 comments Usually people get into writing because they had an author they admired with a story that impacted them I was wondering if you had an author you admired?


message 26: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
Is Click'd YA or Middle Grade? It reads like a YA but the characters are middle grade so I wasn't sure.


message 27: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
Also are you writing a sequel for Click'd?


message 28: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Stone (tamarairelandstone) | 14 comments Colleen wrote: "Is Click'd YA or Middle Grade? It reads like a YA but the characters are middle grade so I wasn't sure."

Click'd is definitely Middle Grade. It's the first in a series. I'm working on the second book right now (title and adorable cover coming soon!).


message 29: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Stone (tamarairelandstone) | 14 comments Colleen wrote: "Also are you writing a sequel for Click'd?"

Yep. In fact, I'm making the last few changes to the latest draft this morning, and I'm about to send it to my editor. I can't share the title or cover yet, but I will soon.

In all honesty, I'm totally in love with this story. I've had an absolute blast writing Allie's latest adventure and I can't wait to share it!


message 30: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Stone (tamarairelandstone) | 14 comments Sarah wrote: "Usually people get into writing because they had an author they admired with a story that impacted them I was wondering if you had an author you admired?"

When I was young, I devoured every Judy Blume book I could get my hands on. I loved her voice and style, and how she seemed to know exactly what I needed to hear at exactly the right time in my life.

I didn't realize until I got older how brave she was with her stories. She wrote about things no one dared to write about for kids back then: sex, religion, racism, divorce. What I came to realize later is that she wrote about these things from a place of deep respect for kids. She knew we needed it. She knew we could handle it. When I was young, I inherently felt that trust and understanding come through in her stories. As an adult and a parent, I admire it. As an author, I have such deep respect for it. It's not easy to write for kids while also blocking out what you fear adults might think.

All my YA books explore big topics: mental health, death, complex/intense relationships, sexuality. I write about these weighty topics for the same reasons she did: out of a deep respect for my readers. They can handle it. I know they can. And they need it. I know, because I did.

Little Do We Know is the most mature book I've written so far. It deals with a lot of big stuff, and I pulled a lot of my own difficult experiences into those pages. It was the biggest challenge I've faced as a writer. When I was afraid--when I thought about backing off and not going where I felt the story wanted me to go--I'd stop and ask myself, "What would Judy do?"

**

"It's not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship. As always, young readers will be the real losers.” -- Judy Blume


message 31: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Houck | 1525 comments Mod
Thanks for joining the chat! The winner is Megan! Don't forget to join the chat next month.


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