Tam Linsey lives in Alaska with her husband and two children. In spite of the rigors of the High North, she grows, hunts, or fishes for much of her family’s food. During the long Alaskan winters she writes fiction. You can learn more about her at www.tamlinsey.com.
What inspired you to become a writer?
When I was ten or so, my mom bought a new, electric typewriter and gave me her manual one. I loved that thing. I played reporter. I played college student. I played writer. Writer was my favorite – a very Hemmingway-esque type of writer, with a glass of wine (grape juice) and a cigarette (candy – remember those?) hanging off my lip. I thought I was so cool. And of course, if I was going to sit there with a blank page in front of me being cool, I figured I’d better write something. So the stories began.
Are you a plotter or panster?
I plot from turning point to turning point. Sometimes the journey takes a side alley as I write, and I’m okay with that. I think of it as discovering places I might never have seen before. But I like to have a road map so I can always get back to my original destination.
At what age did you write your first novel?
I may have been writing since I was a child, but I was in my 30’s before I completed my first manuscript. It was a 142K word monstrosity with only a few strings holding the plot together and characters that were difficult to like. Over the next decade, I wrote 4 contemporary romances (unpublished) and a science fiction romance titled Botanicaust. I’m working on the side-quel right now. Even though I have a college degree in English, I believe this decade of pounding out words on the keyboard was necessary for me to learn enough about writing to create a story worth publishing.
What is the most romantic place you’ve ever been?
My husband and I took a cruise in Hawaii a few years ago. The weather was perfect, and we were free of children and other responsibilities. I didn’t have to cook, and the ship offered plenty of gluten-free food (I’m gluten intolerant, which can make eating out a chore.) All day long we’d go ashore and play like we were kids again. Every night we’d watch the sunset from the deck, have a glass of wine, and bask in each other’s company. Honestly, we could have been anywhere, but the Aloha helped the romance sink into our bones.
Name your favorite books from both childhood and adulthood.
As a child, I loved the Chronicles of Narnia, by C. S. Lewis. I read the entire series four or five times. When the movies came out, they brought my vision to life so well, I cried. Mr. Beaver was exactly the way I pictured, and the White Witch was terrifying. Of course, Mr. Tumnus played his part perfectly, and Aslan was terrifyingly magnificent. His self-sacrifice shaped my definition of a hero, and you’ll often find characters in my writing who make the same type of choice for someone they love.
I’m a very eclectic reader. I think it shows when I’m asked about my genre. (Botanicaust is a dystopian post-apocalyptic science fiction romance, in case you were wondering.) When I look at my keeper shelf, I see C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series, many Stephen King books, Anne Rice’s Vampire Series, Dan Simmons Hyperion Cantos, and Jean Auel’s first three books. In recent years, I’ve added Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games, Cassandra Clare, and Hugh Howey.
What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned from your journey as a writer?
Don’t rush things. Hone your skills. Learn story structure. The way a story is constructed guides a reader’s emotions, and emotion is what connects the reader to the story. The cadence of suspense and revelation is what keeps readers not only reading, but also thinking about a story long after they have reached the end. If you are a writer, I suggest reading a book about screenwriting. Save the Cat by Blake Snyder was my first introduction to story beats. I would also highly recommend The Anatomy of Story, by John Truby, or if you are an auditory learner, try Michael Hague’s YouTube video series. But most important; keep putting words on the page.
In an all-too-plausible future where Earth has been overrun by invasive, genetically modified weeds, a doctor with photosynthetic skin risks everything to save a man who refuses to be genetically modified. Together, can they find sanctuary in a cannibal wasteland?
Available at Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or ask for it in paperback at your local bookstore.