Hi again faithful followers and newcomers.  I have really been lucky with all of my interviews to have some great people share things with me.  This interview is no different; I met Tammy Maas when she accidentally stumbled into my blog months ago.  Tammy was one of the first ones to raiser her hand when I asked for more subjects to interview and what follows I think is some pretty interesting insights into Tammy and what makes her tick.

Tammy officially published her first book, A Complicated Life in A Small Town in February of this year, take a peek here http://tinyurl.com/9mlawk3   I have read some of the book, and more importantly the reviews on Amazon.  My favorite has to be “With clever prose, Maas layers her characters”   I encourage all of you to take a look at Tammy’s book and I’m sure you will be waiting for the next book as anxiously as I am.  Tammy can be found on Twitter as @aniMAASity and her super cool blog is at  aniMAASity.weebly.com

I loved the reviews on “A Complicated Life in a SmallTown” you seem to have hit a home run with this one.  How did this book come about?

I had a storyline in my head and went shopping online for a disease for one of the characters. There I stumbled upon Prader-Willi syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes people to eat themselves to death if it’s not monitored. It’s a fascinating illness that many people aren’t aware of.   I knew I wanted the book to be about a girl and her struggles with her sister so I created the main character Lydia. After I found Prader-Willi syndrome the rest came easy.

While writing, how many times did you change the storyline and final outcome?

I stuck to the same storyline and final outcome from the start. I knew how I wanted the story to end and I knew how I wanted the sequel to begin. Because this will be a trilogy, it was important that I had all the pieces in place. These books are novella’s so my goal is to have them be short, fast paced reads.

Are your characters and/or settings based on real life experiences, a version of people you have met or purely fictional?

I’ve been accused of being a character in my book and I’ve been accused of having life experiences in my book – the book is fiction. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it if you know what I mean.

Will there be more books like this coming from you soon?

Yes! I hope to have the sequel to my publisher by the end of the month and I’m already working on the third book. In addition I’m 50% complete with a novel on a different subject.

I understand this isn’t your first published work, what else have you had put out there?

Years ago I wrote for a newspaper, I also had a greeting card published, a piece in Reader’s Digest and a recent article in Military Money Magazine.

Who was your biggest supporter while writing you book?

My hubby’s main goal in life is to be married to a famous author. He is always the driving force behind my writing. In fact, he told me that if I don’t have book #2, the sequel to A Complicated Life in a SmallTown, completed by the end of this month, then I have to get a job! Like a real job. This could be the scariest Halloween of my life.

How often do you work on your novel in a typical week?

It depends on the time of year. Having young kid’s means they are home all summer or I should say it means we are running all summer! You see I transform into a Domestic Goddess when I’m not writing. That sounds so much better than a stay at home mom. I didn’t write much this past summer (but I had a lot of fun with my kids) and now I’ve been hitting it hard, especially considering the cruel deadline at hand. I often daydream about going to a secluded location to do nothing but write for a week straight but I don’t think I could do it. I do my best writing at the kitchen table when supper is burning and the kids are fighting. In addition to working on books I’m also a blogger so it’s a seven-day a week thing for me. I’ve had my laptop (the love of my life) for two years and have worn many of the letters off the keyboard already.

Are you self publishing? Or are you working with Publishing Company?

Rainstorm Press www.RainstormPress.com is my publishing company and I couldn’t be happier. I work with a great group of authors who are very supportive. Lyle Perez runs Rainstorm and he is a wicked cool guy who really makes you feel at home.

What advice do you have for unpublished Authors about finding a Publishing Company?

My advice to unpublished authors is to not believe everything you hear. I set out on this journey expecting at least a year’s worth of rejections. But that’s not what happened. At 10pm on a Saturday night from the comfort of my recliner I sent portions of my manuscript to eight publishers. At 10:30 I had a reply from Rainstorm. The email said, “Wow, please send me your full manuscript.” A week later I had a contract and four months later my book was published. I am living proof that you don’t have to be rejected a million times before you get published.

The other advice I would offer is that no situation is typical. People say you have to read in order to write well. This is breaking news here Peter…..I don’t like to read. I’ve never stated that publically and I’ve done a ton of interviews. The horror! I know it’s shocking but I think there are others out there, just like me who would rather write than read but saying it out loud doesn’t sound so good so we live in fear of telling that horrid truth. But I do read, don’t get me wrong, and I even enjoy what I read but I have to force myself to do it.

I have just one more thing to add. First time published writers are typically told not to expect to sell many books at their first book signing. I sold nearly 100 books at mine! Yes I had writer’s cramp but it was definitely worth it.

Wow, you have done really well Tammy, I know the readers will be rushing out to pick up a copy, but as you know, I like to dig a bit deeper and find out more about Tammy than you would see in a typical stuffed shirt interview.  So here we go with the inside scoop stuff.

Where were you born and raised?

Dubuque, Iowa. But I’ve lived in Texas, Minnesota, Tennessee and West   Virginia. I was one of those kids that couldn’t wait to get out of town and then I was one of those adults who couldn’t wait to move back home.

Where do you live now?

I live in a tiny town (4,000 people) called Monticello, Iowa. And it’s the location where my book takes place too.

Have you ever traveled internationally?

I’ve never had the opportunity to travel internationally and if I did have the opportunity I think I would pass. I like to watch “Monster’s Inside Me” and most of the awful things that happen to the people on the show come from them visiting other countries. I know I should get over that but it would be my luck to come home from a trip with a monster inside of me.

Describe your Dream Vacation?

Beach, sun, white sand, blue water and lots of interesting shells for me to pick up. A massage on the beach would be nice, waiters and a mansion to stay in with central air and people to fan me with palm branches and feed me grapes.

If you won the lottery tomorrow, what would you change about your life, if anything?

One of my favorite past times is going to casino’s so I definitely would do that more. I don’t think I would make any major changes but it sure would be nice to have everything paid off and not having to worry about college and stuff. I would also make sure my parents, in-laws and sister’s got a piece of the pie.

Tell us a little about your family.

I have a wonderful husband who I have been married to for 24 years. Our daughter McKenzie is nine going on twenty and our son William is six. We have a German shepherd mix named Charlie, two cats named Rose and Maddie and a Russian Box Turtle named Diamond.

How has your life been different than what you’d imagined?

I always wanted to be an author but I never thought it would happen. In the beginning I didn’t want kids and now I have two. I used to manage 200 people, now I have a difficult time managing myself. I think a person imagines what their life will be like in different stages. Right now I try to imagine what the next ten years will bring and I can’t even begin to guess. That’s what makes life so fun; you just never know how things will turn out.

What is the most adventurous thing you have ever done?

I’m really not into adventure. I wouldn’t jump out of an airplane or go zip-lining or bungee-jumping, heck I don’t even like roller-coasters. So I guess life in general has been my adventure. I’ve worked in many different occupations and have experienced many things. Writing a book has been the greatest adventure of all.

Where would you go in your Time Machine?

I would go back to the 50’s. Grease is one of my favorite movies and it appears that things were pretty simple back then. But of course while in the time machine I would push the “transform” button and I would pop out looking like Olivia Newton John, decked out in my black, skin tight, pop-your-eyes-right-out-of-your-head outfit.

How would you like to be remembered?

My father is a veteran (Viet-Nam) and recently initiated the Moving Wall coming to Dubuque. The moving wall is a reproduction of the wall in DC with over 58,000 names on it. Fifteen years ago I wrote my father a letter and he read that letter at the opening ceremony. He broke down but managed to finish reading it. The mayor of Dubuque, county supervisors, veterans and family members all cried. Vet’s shook my hand and thanked me for helping them heal. These guys are flippin heros and they’re shaking my hand! The newspaper even wrote about how moving my letter was. That’s how I want to be remembered, as a person who helped others through writing. Be it healing, laughing, helping or giving them something to think about, I want to be remembered for my words.

Super stuff Tammy, now here is where I like to catch everyone off guard with my one or two word answer segment.  I know it’s tough to limit yourself to that, but let’s go for it.

Favorite pet?     Dog

Fast dance or Slow Dance?   Fast

Boxers/Briefs?   Briefs

Short/Tall?   Short

Favorite food?   Lobster

Tattoo Yes or No?   Yes

Best book you ever read?   Oh, The Places You’ll Go, Dr. Seuss

Favorite TV Show?    Supernatural

Movie that makes you cry?   Steel Magnolia’s

Super, now for a new feature in my interviews, a bit of word association, no cheating now, what is the first thing that comes to mind when you read the following words.

Dog-Love

Coffee-Black

Book-Ends

Best Friend-Confidant

Red-Herring

Summer-Hot

Convertible-Topless

Loud-Music

Author-Word Nerd

Really good job Tammy, you have been a delight to interview and as is customary I give you the floor to finish off the interview and give us all a look at your favorite charity.

Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity, I’m so proud to be on your blog!

My favorite charity is The Veteran’s FreedomCenter. It’s located in Dubuque, Iowa and it’s the first of its kind. My Dad is the co-founder. It’ a facility for veterans of any war and inside you will find: exercise equipment, an arts and crafts room, a pool table, scroll saws, a big screen television and tables where you can sit down and chat with people who have had similar experiences in life. You can use computers, find answers to questions and just know that you have a place you can go where people care.

https://www.facebook.com/#!/vfc.dubuque?fref=ts

Oh and being a successful Author Tammy has a trailer for her book  which I can’t get to post, please look for it on her site .  Gotta love it.

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