We have a special treat for you today. Tammy Novak, author and friend, is here! Tammy has her debut novel, The Abduction of Lilly Waters, coming out in just a few weeks. Tammy was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, and was raised in Southern California. She considers Connecticut home though. She went to Northern Arizona University where she studied Education with a subject content of Language Arts. Currently, she works as a teacher in the small town of Mayer, Arizona.
Tammy comes from a massive family. She grew up with seven siblings; four brothers and two sisters. They suffered many hardships growing up one of which was the loss of a father due to a careless, drunk driver. Her family band very close together after the tragedy and so are extremely tight-knit. She married her High School sweet heart at the age of 19 and they are still together. They have four beautiful sons together and are the light of her life. She has a ton of hobbies and they vary a lot. She gets bored easy, so is always changing things up. She loves to read, write, dance, hike, swim and is an avid movie watcher.
Whew! What a full life! Lets get started. Tammy, please tell us your latest news?
My latest news is my debut novel, The Abduction of Lilly Water, releases on August 23rd.
How exciting! So, when and why did you begin writing?
It is hard to pin point when I began writing. If I would have to name a time then it was when I started college in 2003. I wrote my first essay which reduced a professor to tears. She said I had amazing voice but I had no clue what that even was. Then, all the English professors rallied together and applied on my behalf for me to go to the Hassayumpa Institute for Creative Writing. I was just happy to get 3 college credits by putting in a week of work. It was a lot of fun, but I didn’t write anything as a result of it. I submitted a few things to places over the years but I didn’t have any luck so I pretty much gave up until 2012 when I decided I was ready to write, The Abduction of Lilly Waters.
We are so glad you are following your passion now. Do you consider yourself a writer?
When I became a teacher someone told me you have to fake it until you make it and at first I felt like a fraud thinking that, but I found the more I convinced myself I was actually a teacher the more others believed in me. So, I applied that same idea to writing. I started taking on the title author and then self-published a book to validate it. I made myself visible as an author in Social Medias as I began writing Lilly and by the time I finished the book I believed I was an author. When I got signed with Master Koda Select Publishing I became one officially on paper. I believe you have to set your mind to your goals and once you do then everything else will follow.
The idea behind “The Abduction of Lilly Waters” is such a serious and frightening premise. What inspired you to write this book?
The initial idea came to me in a dream. I woke terrified years ago and jotted down the idea in my idea journal. I was afraid to write the story though. I knew I had something unique but I never had formal training for writing, so I set it on the back burner for several years. I would think about it often and mentally take myself through the story line but I always said, “Someday I’ll write it.” Well, someday just wasn’t happening. I always had an excuse why I couldn’t do it. Then my mother told me about self-publishing and I thought, well maybe.” I began writing and figured I would send it to one publisher before self-published. It turned out I picked the right publisher at the right time, because, here I am!
Wow, interesting. Dreams are often the springboard to great stories. Would you say you have a specific writing style?
I don’t know what I would call my writing style but I’m sure I have one. I like to pull the reader in with a quick hook and I like twists and turns that keep them guessing. I also like to engage the reader by getting them emotionally involved.
How did you come up with the title?
I gave it a place holder title because all the abduction titles have been taken either in a book or a movie. I figured a unique word would come to me but it never did, so I kept it as it is.
We think the title is very engaging. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are many messages that can be pulled from it but I think a major message is sometimes you have to look beyond the surface to figure something or someone out.
Being the kind of story every parent fears, is any of the book realistic?
I think it is all possible, but I didn’t base it on real life.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life, or are they a figment of your imagination?
I don’t know any of the characters. There are some scenes that I witnessed in real life that I pulled from. There is a character named Anna and she talks about her baby and something that happened to her baby and that actually happen to someone I knew a long time ago when I lived in Oklahoma. I didn’t know the girl personally but I remember over hearing the story. It was horrifying for me to even listen to.
I modeled my characters after a few actors as far as looks and mannerism’s except for Beth. I couldn’t find anyone that fit who I believe she is.
We can only imagine what it took emotionally for you to write this book. What books would you say have influenced your life the most?
I began reading for pleasure when I was in Middle School. I always had a book in my hand! At first I read Nancy Drew, then I read Sweet Valley High, then I moved up to V.C Andrews and I think she shaped my writing a lot. I also like James Patterson.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I have many mentors. I find my Koda family mentors me a lot. There are a few who’ve really took me under their wings and that’s Kim Emerson, Brenda Perlin and DeEtte Beckstead Anderton.
What book(s) are you reading now?
I am between books. I’m looking for a new one once I can sit and chill.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I find I’m reading a lot of my author friends right now, as a courtesy and because of interest. I like studying authors; I always have. Whenever I read, I stop and study how they write. I’ve found they are all very different and so I couldn’t pick just one. I feel very fortunate to be surrounded so many talented people.
We just know you must have something going on at all time, so share with us your current writing project(s)?
Currently I am working on another psychological thriller called Widows’ Watch and a children’s book series called The Big Green Dinosaur.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
That is a tough question. I’ll answer that in two parts. I feel my Master Koda family has been an amazing support system. I have grown tremendously because of them. I also feel they accepted me instantly as one of them and that is so crucial to success. I also feel guided spiritually. There are a few loved ones who passed that guide me.
We love to ask this next question, if you could pick any celebrity to star in the movie version of your book, who would it be?
Daniel would be one of the Wahlberg brothers, Frank would be John Leguizamo, and Beth could’ve been Britney Murphey.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
As far as the story line, no. I might make it a little longer though.
Isn’t this an awesome cover. Who designed it for you?
My sister Latisha Wood drew the art for my cover and Rebbekah White pulled it all together.
It really is wonderful. It makes our heart hurt between the title and the little shoes! Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Beth never anticipated her life would end up like it did. The last beating she received at the hands of her boyfriend threw her over the edge. She had to escape him, so she fled taking her daughter Lilly with her. She didn’t know where she’d go, but she didn’t care. All she could manage to think about was the safety of her unborn child and her daughter Lilly.
The frequent stops the mother and daughter had to make were uneventful until Beth pulled into a Diner in Moore, Oklahoma where her daughter Lilly was taken by unseen hands.
Detective’s Daniel Prescott and Frank Martinez head the investigation trying relentlessly to solve the case before it’s too late. These days, when children are taken it’s a unified frenzy to find them. In this case, every lead turns up empty and every turn they take reveals a clue they couldn’t have anticipated. The detectives aren’t quite sure where to turn or who to trust; even the mother herself is a prime suspect.
The Abduction of Lilly Waters is a fast paced child abduction thriller that will leave you on the edge of your seat in anticipation until the end where you’ll discover the deepest and darkest secret waiting.
Would you mind sharing an expert from your book:
“Beth could hear Lilly from the back seat of the car most of the trip singing and humming to herself in such contentment that it warmed Beth’s heart. Leaving town wasn’t the easiest choice she made, but it was a necessary choice in order to start a fresh life and escape her horrific past.”
“A scream pierced the darkness, meeting the relentless thunder with a competing force. It was like a battle of wills, each one trying to surpass the other. The more demanding was Beth’s shattering voice, calling Lilly’s name over and over…..”
“It was a still kind of calm, the kind of quietness that can bring panic to a worried parent. The kind of hush you don’t want to hear when a child is around or supposed to be around.”
Wow! Sounds awesome! Do you find anything particularly challenging in your writing?
I’m finding I don’t like the editing process. Other than that I love everything.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not yet, but don’t tell my husband that 😉
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part was making sure I didn’t give away too much too soon.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned to have faith in my writing, and patience.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I would say to keep at it. If writing is what you love then you can’t give up because of fear or insecurities. If you decide to self-publish pay for an editor. It will save you a lot of grief.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope you enjoy, The Abduction f Lilly Waters and please feel free to contact me to share your thoughts.
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Tammy, thank you so much for being with us today!! We are really looking forward to reading “The Abduction of Lilly Waters.”
Everyone! Tammy is having an online release party, August 23, 2013 at 1:00 p.m. PDT! You won’t want to miss this. Games, prizes and FUN!! So join today!! There will be great prizes! https://www.facebook.com/events/143111479230920/144706419071426/
Blessings to you all!!
K.R. Hughes and T.L. Burns