Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, Tam Ames – Tam Ames is a Canadian currently living in the Middle East for her job and enjoying no snow in the winters. She has a daughter attending university and except for the day-job, is footloose and fancy free. It was the encouragement and dares of some friends that inspired her to start writing m/m romance, and she’s grateful for their continued support. Her current day-job makes writing m/m stories a bit more complicated, but she easily keeps busy traveling as much as possible, reading extensively in the genre, playing around on-line and not doing nearly enough writing as she should. Excuses, excuses.
Thanks so much, Tam, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover that you were good at it?
Tam Ames: HAHAHA I’m not sure I’m any good at it all. I was not one of those people who came out of the womb clutching a pen and a notebook. I was old, like in my 40’s *gasp* when I even decided to try and write something fiction-related. Okay, I knew I was pretty good at churning out briefing notes and other propaganda at work, but that’s quite a different beast than a romance of some kind. But some friends kind of “dared” me to write about a character and… well, there you go. I have lots of stories in my head, always have, it just never occurred to me to put them in writing. I’m still waiting for the technology which converts my thoughts to text on the page. Anyone on that yet?
JSC: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
TA: I write a bit of everything but I’m mostly on the lighter side. I don’t as a rule do big angst and dark stories. I like to throw in some sarcastic humour to keep things a little lighter. I like paranormal stories with shifters and vampire, I like straight contemporary too where you can focus only on the relationship and I like some fantasy which I will finish someday. 🙂 But most people probably associate “light” with my work.
JSC: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
TA: My first published work was Down Under which was published by Dreamspinner. It’s still available. It is the story of a were-kangaroo set in the not so distant future where Australia has split into two countries. So while it’s a bit “dystopian” it’s still very light and has a lot of humour. A young man is traveling across southern Australia to attend a concert in Sydney when his scooter is stolen and he’s forced to hitch a ride with a hottie… with a pouch. Wait, do boy kangaroos have pouches? Hmm. Obviously my research was lacking. LOL Again, a dare from a dear friend in Australia. I don’t seem to do well at refusing dares.
JSC: What’s your writing process?
TA: When I’m motivated I can write a lot in a day, however for a variety of reasons, I have not been that motivated since I left Canada. I write from A to Z, I don’t hop around and rarely do I work on more than one story at a time. I also go back and read/revise as I go. I know that’s supposed to be a no-no, but it puts my brain back in the game and immerses me in the world so I can push forward. Maybe if I wrote every day or consistently, but because I hop around and go long periods of time, it helps me get back at it.
JSC: Tell me one thing hardly anyone knows about you.
TA: God, my life is pretty wide-open. Um. Shit. I swear a lot? Hence my characters tend to swear a lot? Everyone probably knows that. I don’t like wine. I can drink it if served with dinner to be polite, but I’d NEVER ask for a glass of wine.
JSC: Do you write more on the romance side, or the speculative fiction side? Or both? And why?
TA: More on the romance/relationship side. I find that most interesting as a reader and I suppose you tend to write what you like to read. I find the spec fiction side makes the relationship more fun and can throw in a few hurdles that wouldn’t be there in a straight contemporary (straight! Ha!). But most of the time the relationship takes centre stage and rest is just the costumes, sets and supporting factors to make that relationship more appealing.
JSC: What pets are currently on your keyboard, and what are their names? Pictures?
TA: Sadly I had to get rid of my pets when I moved from Canada. It was very difficult and sometimes I think I’d like to have a pet, I do miss them, but I had my coworker’s birds for a couple of weeks while she was away and that was enough. Also I like to travel and the idea of just up and going without having to worry about pet sitters is a nice freedom.
JSC: Are you a plotter or a pantster?
TA: I’m a pantster. I am always amazed by people who write scenes out of order. What if something changes earlier in the book? How can you be sure that at the 75% mark they will be in bed for the first time? There could be a crisis that makes it never or maybe something makes it happen at the 10% mark. (Never underestimate hormones.) So I find it rather intriguing. I tried using a plot outline once. HAHAHAHA By page 10 I was way off course. However all of the character outlines I came up with were useful as it’s ensemble, but the idea of saying X would happen, then Y, then Z just turned out to be ridiculous. It just flows out of my fingers, I don’t really have a plan. Which is probably making the plotters out there wince as they read this.
JSC: If you could create a new holiday, what would it be?
TA: Oh my. That’s tough. There are a lot of holidays. Maybe I would make world book day a formal holiday. Everyone gets to stay home, curl up in bed and read or write or otherwise read. Any kind of books, comic books, heavy fiction, cook books, news papers, poetry, a day to enjoy the written word in all its forms.
JSC: What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?
TA: Umm. Yeah. Because of my job I kind of have to keep a low profile for now. I have a few things I’m debating subbing under another name. But I suppose my next project I really want to work on is publishing my dragon story Finding the Rain. It was in the Dracones anthology put out by Storm Moon Press and for a variety of reasons they are not releasing the stories as stand-alones. I have the rights to the story and would like to self-publish (I think) but I’m not sure how it works and it seems like so much effort and whine whine whine. If anyone wants to do the grunt work for me…
And now for Tam’s latest book: Caged:
Marcin finds himself in a bind when he’s trapped in his shifter form and sold to a pet store. His frustration at the situation is palpable, but when he’s taken home by good-looking Hamilton, his plan is to win over his new owner and make his escape? However, after a few weeks with Hamilton, does he want to make a complete escape, or just stop being caged?
If you like foul-mouthed tiny shifters whose surly attitudes are many times bigger than their physical presence, then this may be the book for you.
The customers started arriving. He figured it must be a weekend because it was busier than usual, meaning more kids than usual. Who invented kids? They should be banned. Stop banging on the fucking glass, you little shit! He snarled at them and bared his teeth but he wasn’t sure it was effective. The kid just laughed and took off running. Oh, put your hand in here kid, please, just for a minute. He gnashed his little teeth. One good chomp would be so rewarding.
While trying studiously to ignore the passers-by, Marcin didn’t notice that someone else was peering into the cage. When he looked up and saw a pair of brown eyes behind rimless glasses about six inches from his face, he literally tipped over backwards trying to back pedal. Holy shit! Did people have to do that? Give a guy some warning. And how embarrassing was that? He was sure he looked like an idiot, and now that he was back a bit he could see the guy was not bad looking.
He sometimes spent his time scoping out the hot guys who came into the store. Of course most of them had manly dogs on leashes or were with a girl, but it was something to pass the time. Imagining them naked. Mmm. That was a good pastime, better even than plotting his revenge on the staff.
The guy with the brown eyes continued to stare at him with his head cocked slightly to the side. Marcin cocked his head and stared back. The guy did have great eyes, didn’t he? His nose was nice – not too big. Marcin hated guys with big noses. There was nothing like a bad experience in high school to turn you off a facial feature for life. He tried to see if the guy had a good body, but the way he was bent over didn’t allow him to see much except for broad shoulders under a red t-shirt. His hair was light brown and cut really short. The guy turned his head the other way and Marcin did the same. When the guy looked to the left, Marcin turned to see what he was looking at. The guy looked back and cocked his head to the right. Marcin did the same. He wasn’t sure why – mirroring the man just seemed like a good idea at the time.
The guy stood up and turned around. Oh yeah, nice ass. He’d go for that, in his human form. Guys however did not buy hamsters. Kids and teenage girls bought hamsters. He’d seen it over and over. The guy walked away with an employee. Marcin recognized braces chick’s curly red hair. He enjoyed the view of that fine ass walking away, and then went back to his plans to ruin the lives of every employee in the store. That included that cute guy in the fish department, but first Marcin would have his way with that one. Oh, plotting revenge was sweet.
Smashwords (free): Click Here
Tam Ames is a Canadian currently living in the Middle East for her job and enjoying no snow in the winters. She has a daughter attending university and except for the day-job, is footloose and fancy free. It was the encouragement and dares of some friends that inspired her to start writing m/m romance, and she’s grateful for their continued support. Her current day-job makes writing m/m stories a bit more complicated, but she easily keeps busy traveling as much as possible, reading extensively in the genre, playing around on-line and not doing nearly enough writing as she should. Excuses, excuses.