Tammy, welcome to Lavender Lass Books, and thank you so much for agreeing to this interview!
Tammy L. Grace is a USA Today Bestselling and award-winning fiction author who brings readers entertaining stories that take them on an emotional journey, filled with complex relationships of friendship and family in her Hometown Harbor Series. Set in the picturesque San Juan Islands in Washington, escape with a close-knit group of friends and their interwoven lives filled with both challenges and joys that resonate with women. Each book in the series focuses on a different woman and her journey of self-discovery.
Tammy creates compelling characters who readers love or love to hate. In her Cooper Harrington Detective Novels, readers will delight in the fast-paced whodunits, featuring Coop and his loyal golden retriever, Gus. Set in Nashville, Coop, a snarky t-shirt wearing lawyer turned private detective, with the help of his dog and faithful friend and assistant, Annabelle, work to solve murder mysteries with plenty of twists.
Fans of sweet Christmas stories will love her small town Christmas novellas filled with family, friendship, and furry characters.
Tammy also writes under the pen name Casey Wilson and has released two books, A Dog’s Hope and A Dog’s Chance, both emotional and heartwarming stories about the bond we have with our beloved canine companions.
Born and raised in Nevada, Tammy loved reading at a young age. With the help of her middle school teacher, she discovered the joy of writing. After spending a career in local and state government service, she retired and finally has the time to dedicate to writing.
When Tammy isn’t working on ideas for a novel, she’s spending time with family and friends or supporting her addiction to books and chocolate. She and her husband have one grown son and a spoiled golden retriever.
Random circumstances brought them together. Love made them family.
Two years ago, Jo returned to Granite Ridge for her sister’s wedding and reconnected with Luke Turner, her childhood best friend. Now, she’s happier than she’s ever been, newly married and making a new life together in their small hometown. Her law practice is flourishing, the project of her heart—a nonprofit to help foster children—is coming together, and Luke’s new business venture as an outdoor excursion guide is thriving.
They spend their spare time with family, especially enjoying being an aunt and uncle to Alissa’s and Stevie’s toddlers. As their first Christmas as a married couple approaches, they’re beside themselves with excitement, determined to make it a magical and memorable holiday. Then, while Luke is taking an important client on an extended tour of the backcountry, a terrible accident leaves Jo with a life-changing decision to make. The stress of the tragedy threatens their new beginnings.
Will their relationship crumble under the pressure, or will the magic of the holidays help Jo and Luke shore up their love and find a way to make the most of the unexpected surprises?
If you’re a fan of small towns, heartwarming family holiday stories, along with a few furry friends, you’ll fall in love with the latest book featuring Jo from the Soul Sisters at Cedar Mountain Lodge Series written by USA Today bestselling author, Tammy L. Grace.
And now to the interview:
1. What do you want to share with us about this story? What really stands out about it and made you want to write it?
Christmas Surprises is a follow-up story featuring my main character, Jo, who was featured in Christmas Wishes last year. This story takes place two years into the future from where we left Jo in the last book. Readers love our SOUL SISTERS AT CEDAR MOUNTAIN LODGE series centered on four foster girls and the woman who opens her heart and home to them one Christmas. Reading their notes and comments made me want to write another feel-good story for the holidays, featuring the same characters.
2. Why do you write in this genre? What makes this genre particularly appealing to you?
I LOVE Christmas and always have, so naturally the appeal of writing sweet Christmas stories was totally irresistible. It started with my first one, A Season For Hope, and this year I’ll be releasing my seventh Christmas story. My hometown has an awesome Christmas celebration and I’ve borrowed many of my traditions and used them in these stories, which seem to resonate with readers. Small towns, families, friendship, lots of furry friends, and just a hint of romance make for the perfect holiday stories.
3. What made you decide to become an author? Can you tell us a little about that journey?
I’ve always wanted to write novels. I fell in love with books at a young age and when I read Little Women, I could identify with Jo and her desire to write. In fact, my main character, Jo, is a tribute to her. My life and career in government got in the way, but the day I retired, I started writing my first book and have never looked back. I published Finding Home in 2014 and now have over twenty books published, with two of them traditionally published by Hachette/Grand Central Publishing using my pen name, Casey Wilson.
4. Why did you choose to self-publish? Are there advantages to self-publishing? What about the challenges?
I attended a conference for writers when I was polishing my first book and it was so valuable in helping me understand more about publishing paths and the business side of writing. After visiting with authors and agents, I knew I wanted to the control of self-publishing and then went about learning all I could about that aspect of publishing. I don’t have the patience for the query process and agent search and the time it takes traditional publishers to get a book to market. The biggest challenge to self-publishing is having to know so much about all aspects of the business.
In 2018, I was approached by Hachette and agreed to write two books for them. They are emotional and heartwarming stories about our connection with dogs and while I include dogs in all my books, these were a bit different in that they were told from the dog’s perspective. It was a great experience and I would work with them again, but honestly, I love self-publishing more.
5. Where do you get ideas for your stories? Do they come to you over time, or do you suddenly think of an idea and realize it would make a great story?
I get ideas from absolutely everywhere. I see people walking down the sidewalk and automatically start thinking about their stories. I’ll read an article or news clip and it triggers a new idea. It seems like the smallest thing can spark the beginnings of a character or story. I tend to get more ideas when I travel and visit new places, which I haven’t been able to do these last two years, so now most of my inspiration happens on my walks.
6. Do you write (or plan to write) in any other genres?
I also write two women’s fiction series, my HOMETOWN HARBOR SERIES and GLASS BEACH COTTAGE SERIES and readers love the intertwined relationship of the characters in both of these, which are set in the gorgeous Pacific Northwest. I also write my COOPER HARRINGTON DETECTIVE NOVELS, a whodunit murder mystery series, featuring a quirky private detective and his faithful golden retriever, Gus. The latest in that series, Cold Killer, will release on December 27th. In addition to this connected Christmas Series, I’m also part of another connected series, THE WISHING TREE SERIES, which will release early next year and it is women’s fiction, with a sprinkle of romance. I’d love to write a thriller and have an idea, but need to finish some of my other projects before I tackle it.
7. What do you look for in a story? Especially in your genre? (Original ideas, plot lines, character development, world building, research, etc.?)
I love character development and tend to spend quite a bit of time getting to know my characters before I write the first word. I also love setting and want to make readers feel like they are really there…a true escape. All my books have a sense of family and friendship in them and are more about the emotional journey of my characters and their sorrows and joys and they all feature dogs. I’m partial to golden retrievers since my own sweet golden was my writing buddy and inspiration for all the dogs in my books.
For my mysteries, the plot is most important, although readers love the characters. I work hard to make the mysteries hard to solve and like to have a twist that keeps readers guessing until the end. Honestly, I write the types of stories I love to read.
8. What is one thing you wish you’d known when you first started writing?
I wish I had known more about the marketing aspect of writing and I wish I had been able to connect with other authors a bit earlier in my career.
9. Are you working on a new book? Can you share any details?
I’m working on the third and final book in my Glass Beach Cottage Series, which will be out in 2022. Readers have written me and would love another book in my Hometown Harbor Series and an idea is percolating for one, but I don’t have a firm date. Then, I have plans for at least one Christmas book and a few other projects I’m not quite ready to share yet.
10. Do you have any advice you would offer to writers who plan to self-publish?
I always encourage writers to read in the genres they write and my number one bit of advice is to find a conference for writers and attend it, in person, if possible. I would choose a smaller one, so as not be overwhelmed and build in time to network with other authors and professionals. You’ll want to learn as much as possible about craft and the business aspects of being a novelist.
You can find Tammy L. Grace’s book at Amazon and many other retailers! https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Surprises-Sisters-Cedar-Mountain-ebook/dp/B0923PRSXN
Thank you so much for sharing all this with us today, Tammy!
Thank you for inviting me, Lorri. I enjoyed your thoughtful questions and would love to connect with your readers. They can find me on all the social platforms and book platforms, but I spend most of my time on Facebook. In addition to my website, my Amazon author page is a great place to learn about all my books.
You can find out more about Tammy and her books (including this latest one in her mystery series) at the links below:
Website – http://www.tammylgrace.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/tammylgrace.books