Interview with Miss Tammy Blackwell!
I recently read and reviewed Destiny Binds by Tammy Blackwell after she handed me a copy at GenCon. I am always nervous when starting a debut novel in YA since I tend to be especially picky with the genre, but I was blown away by Tammy Blackwell’s writing and can not recommend Destiny Binds enough :D. I don’t usually do author interviews simply because I have a hard time coming up with questions that I like, but I knew after finishing Destiny Binds that I had to interview Blackwell because she just came off as such a fun person! I hope you enjoy!
About Miss Tammy Blackwell: Tammy Blackwell is the YA Services Coordinator for a public library system by day and a vigilante super-hero by night. While her body currently resides in Kentucky, she actually lives online. You can visit her there via Facebook, Twitter, or her website, www.misstammywrites.com.
YA and urban fantasy are genres that have (almost literally) exploded over the past couple of years, did this influence you to start writing the Timberwolves series or were you plotting long before the craze?
While I didn’t start writing until 2008, after YA and urban fantasy became The Thing in the book world, I always knew this was the type of book I wanted to write. I need a healthy dose of make-believe in my fiction, and urban fantasy is my favorite form of make-believe. I like the idea of there being more to our world than we realize. And YA is a passion of mine. I’m the YA Coordinator for my public library system (I would say “librarian”, but I haven’t finished my Masters), and love books aimed at teenagers, maybe because I still feel like I’m trying to come of age. Destiny Binds was actually written for a core group of teenagers at my library. I never really expected anyone else to read it.
Since we’re all always looking for more YA and urban fantasy, who are some of your favorite authors in those genres?
For YA urban fantasy, I love Kelley Armstrong, Cassandra Clare, Laini Taylor, and Samantha Young. For adult urban fantasy, I’m a big fan of Patricia Briggs, Ilona Andrews, Meljean Brook, and Nalini Singh. And for some YA without the stuff that goes bump in the night, I absolutely adore John Green (the crowned prince of YA lit), Simone Elkeles, Jennifer Echols, and Abbi Glines.
Do you generally read mostly YA and urban fantasy or other genres?
I used to only read YA, but now that I write it in addition to spending my work days surrounded by it, I tend to read more adult stuff in my non-existent spare time. My adult fiction is almost always urban fantasy or paranormal, but in YA I’ll read most any genre. I even found myself recently reading and loving a historical fiction about war, my least favorite genre ever. If you have a chance, pick up Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. It’s amazing!
I’m still working at the library. I’m not going to lie, some days it’s hard. Actually, a lot of days it’s hard. But I love both of my jobs very much, and plan on doing them both as long as my bosses (which include my library director and fans) allow me.
When we met it sounded like you had a bit of a southern accent, where are you from and did you use that to influence the setting for Destiny Binds?
Wait. I have an accent? Surely you heard wrong. ;)
I’m from Western Kentucky, which heavily influenced the setting of Destiny Binds. Part of what drove me to write this book was feeling like there weren’t any books showing what it’s like to grow up in the rural South. Most YA books seem to be set in New York or LA, and those that aren’t almost always paint a where-everyone-knows-everyone town, which hasn’t been my experience at all. Sure, my town is small, but I can make it through Wal-Mart without running into anyone I know. So, I set out to write a book that not only reflected the type of kids I work with, but also the world in which they live.
I’m a huge fan of GenCon’s authors alley, but were you a GenCon attendee before you started coming to promote your book, or did we corrupt you when you just thought you would sell some books (queue evil laughter)?
I actually didn’t know GenCon existed until a few months ago when a friend of mine who has been going for ten years sent me a link to the application and said, “You should do this.” I’m so glad he did! I absolutely loved both GenCon and Indianapolis. The people were amazing. I like people who aren’t afraid to be themselves and get excited about things, and that’s the kind of crowd you get at GenCon. I can’t wait to go back!
On a similar note, what sorts of games or other awesome geeky hobbies do you like?
I’m mostly a reader, but any time my friends get together we always break out the board games. In the past year we’ve really gotten into Last Night on Earth by Flying Frog and Settlers of Catan. I also love any game that requires me to make up stuff and convince other people it’s true. A friend bought me Lie-brary last year for my birthday, and it’s awesomely funtastic. Unfortunately, I can hardly ever find anyone willing to play with me.
Even though I’m not a hardcore gamer, I do consider myself a total geek. I love anything by Joss Whedon and am quickly becoming a Steven Moffat fan girl. My knowledge of comic books is fairly good, and if there is a fantasy movie on, I’m going to watch it.
Finally, how do you feel about were-dragons?
I knew a were-dragon once. He was incredibly sexy, but I couldn’t handle his temper.
By Tammy Blackwell:
Thank you so much to Tammy Blackwell for stopping by for an interview! Aren’t those covers gorgeous??? Once again, if you are in the market for a new YA series, go for Timberwolves by Tammy Blackwell; her writing is compelling, her plots moving, her characters endearing and I can’t recommend them enough!
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