Please welcome Tammy Doherty to Sleuths and Suspects.
Tammy, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I live in central MA with my husband and two children. As I write this, we are having the snowiest winter in many years – and all the snow has happened in the last 2 weeks! My favorite season is autumn so all this white stuff is not my idea of fun. Interestingly, the house I live in now was my best friend’s house when we were growing up. I’ve lived in this area all my life. Sometimes I dream of emigrating to Ireland but I wouldn’t really want to give up life in New England.
As a Texas gal, it's hard for me to fathom the snow y'all are having in the New England right now! Do you have a job other than writing?
Yes, I have two in fact (other than being a wife and mother). I work almost full time for a company that distributes supplies to veterinarians. And my husband and I have a family business of growing and selling perennials. That business takes up a great deal of my time during the spring and summer months. Recently, we expanded into winter sales by offering bird seed.
How interesting! Who do you credit with supporting you the most in your writing journey?
My husband has been my greatest supporter and encourager. When I wrote my first novel, he’s the one who convinced me to self-publish. That was back before eBooks. It was scary, putting out my “baby” for the world to read. My husband also organized a book release party with many of my coworkers and family members attending to celebrate. I sold quite a number of books through my coworkers and their support meant the world to me. Later, I joined American Christian Fiction Writers and met my current critique partner, Nike Chillemi. She drags me, kicking and screaming sometimes, into things that typically turn out to be wonderful ideas.
I can see Nike doing that! She's a great encourager. Do you have any words of advice for novice writers?
Well, the tried and true “write, write, write” is the best advice. I would also recommend reading a lot in the genre you wish to write. And join some groups that will help you hone your craft as well as connect you with fellow writers. Get your work critiqued by people who will be honest (not always what you want to hear, mind you) and people who will encourage while critiquing.
Excellent advice. Are you a plotter, a pantser, or somewhere in between?
I consider myself a pantser but in reality I’m somewhere in between. I don’t outline but I do think a great deal about the plot points, planning out scenes in my head before actually writing them.
I love hearing about how other writers actually do the job of writing. Do you set a writing schedule for yourself?
I’ve never set a writing schedule for myself in the past. However, now that I’m moving forward with the Mystique of Naultag series, I want to get each novel written in a set time frame. That means I need to figure out a schedule for myself. When I first started writing, I worked at night after my daughter went to bed. After my son was born, this schedule vanished. I just can’t do those late nights anymore!
Boy do I understand not being able to do the late nights anymore! What challenges do you face in keeping to your writing schedule?
There are so many demands on my time, with two jobs and a family. If I can find a few hours a week that can be dedicated to writing, I’ll consider myself blessed. Otherwise, I’ll have to keep trying to squeeze writing in wherever each day permits. I also like listening to music as I write and often this clashes with whatever is on television in the other room. Still, I’d rather enjoy my children while they’re still kids than lock myself in a room to write.
So true. Your kiddos are only children for a short while. Do you belong to any writer's groups - online or in person?
I am a member of ACFW and actively participate in the Northeast regional loop. I am also a founding member of Grace Awards, a reader-driven award for faith-based fiction. Each year I’m a lead category judge (which category varies from year to year). I am part of the Christian Indie Authors Facebook group, also, which has given me many opportunities to interact with authors I would probably never have met otherwise.
We're members of many of the same groups. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Hmm, that’s tricky. I’ve always wanted to be a writer but didn’t work hard at it or take the desire seriously until I was an adult. In 2001, we purchased our first home computer and that’s when I got serious about writing. When that first book was so well-received, I was encouraged to continue writing.
That must've been an incredible feeling! What obstacles have you found in pursuing a writing career?
It’s very difficult to get published with a traditional publisher. My first three novels were self-published print books…which was costly. The advent of eBooks has made Indie publishing easier and less expensive for the writer. Still, indie means all promotional and marketing efforts come solely from the author. This has been very challenging for me but with the release of SHE’S MINE, I have been blessed with doors opening in places I would never have expected. The biggest challenge for me remains time – finding and/or making the time to sit and write, write, write.