Wednesday, July 19, 2017

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Tammy Lash

Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?

I had no intention of ever writing! I’m a second generation story-teller and I learned the craft from my mom (Linda Bolhuis) who taught Children’s Church and 5 Day clubs for as long as my memory can stretch. My Aunt Stella (RBM), Uncle Al Ross (RBM) and Uncle Lam and Aunt Jan (Vacation Bible School) were all as energetic and charismatic as my mom, and I soaked up everything I could from their children’s ministries. Uncle Charlie from Children’s Bible Hour (now Keys For Kids) was a favorite of mine growing up (I had all his records. Yes, I just dated myself!) and most of my own children’s stories that I told to my own Children’s Church classes were a melding of his style and my mom’s.


The stories that I told the children in my own Children’s Church classes were never written down; just scribbled in haste in my notebook or scratched in outline form on scrap pieces of paper. I did, however, manage to finally sit down and write several church plays. That was the first time my work was shared with adults. I had always trusted children with my stories; they loved them. Adults opinions, however, frightened me. They can be harsh and critical. It was a terrifying experience to share and direct my plays, but it was the needed step to get me to where I am now with a novel on my nightstand.

My son’s high school writing course, One Year Adventure Novel, injected me with curiosity to try my hand at a book. Could I take the stories I had always told from my lips and transform them into written form? Daniel Schwabauer taught us how to do that very thing, step by step. I didn’t have my novel done that year, but I did have the start of one! Success!

How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

I write in the mornings right after I get my husband off to work. I fit writing in Monday-Friday in my 6-10 a.m. slot. We only have one of our three kids left to homeschool. He’s in highschool and his work is pretty much self-guiding, so my morning routine is flexible. Four hours of quiet, uninterrupted writing sounds impressive, doesn’t it? It’s not, really. I spend much of it interrupting myself!  I have a short attention span, so Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and texting are the things that tug at my attention instead of the kids these days! If I can squeak out a page of writing a day, I’m thrilled!

How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or some other method of getting your words down?

This will sound extremely self-indulgent and lazy, but--I write mostly in my bed with my jammies and electric blanket. My husband built me a “command center” (a cute desk area) that I gathered ideas for on Pinterest. I left my bed for that spot last summer and did my rewrites for White Wolf there.

I do all of my writing on the laptop that my husband gifted me two years ago. My fingers work faster on the keyboard and I can easily delete--and I do A LOT of deleting! The pen is too slow, and it can’t keep up with my ideas. It creates more scribbles than legible writing.


What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

My favorite part is ending each chapter! It’s fun to tie up a thought or “scene” and leave a little cliff hanger at the end. I always *sigh* in relief that I did it! Finishing a chapter is exhilarating, but it’s also bittersweet. It leads me to my least favorite part--starting a new chapter. I’m nervous every time I begin one and I hear the same nagging whisper that rasps “you can’t do it”. I push past it, sentence by sentence, until I get to the end, and then I bask in the victory by taking a break the next day. I read the finished chapter (and a few previous chapters to check for fluidity) with a steaming mug of coffee and blaring playlist. I make it a point to celebrate every victory-- no matter how small it may seem.

How did you come up with your book idea? How long did it take you to write your book?

My family and I vacation in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan every spring--sometimes in the fall, too!--and we often visit the Garlyn Zoo in Naubinway. A white wolf captured my heart there, and I knew I had to incorporate him into a story. White Wolf and the Ash Princess is my story told through an Indian legend that I wrote for my husband and I. My--our--story is spoken through the lips of the books different characters. I met the white wolf of Garlyn zoo about six years ago. My novel took me four years.

What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

I do most of it through Facebook (with a personal page and author page), but I use Instagram, Pinterest and I have a blog that I yet have to do something with. I prefer marketing mostly through Facebook because I consider White Wolf to be part of a ministry, and relationships are a big part of that. Facebook allows me to communicate with my readers in a way that my blog doesn’t.

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?

My second book, Letters From the Dragon’s Son, is currently in the writing phase. If I can keep my Facebooking, texting, Pinteresting and Instagramming under control, I’m hoping to have it ready for my beta readers this fall.

A children’s book with an author friend of mine is in the planning stages. I’m excited (and nervous!) to get back to my “roots” writing for the younger kiddos again.

Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.

I wrote a Christmas story for my mom a few years back that was rejected by Clubhouse magazine (Focus on the Family) that I’d like to publish. The editor penned in the margin how much he enjoyed the story and he asked that I try another avenue with it. Letters From the Dragon’s Son is begging for my attention right now, but I definitely want to try to tackle my Christmas story in the future.

What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?

You will NOT believe what the Lord will can give you strength for! Step towards the “impossible”, friends, and see! If He wants it done--it WILL get done! I have PTSD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Panic Disorder. Everything and anything scares me. I’m a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and I struggle with low self-worth. Who am I to think I can write? Who would want to listen to me? Our flaws and weakness, dear friends, make us not only special and unique, but it also makes us human and accessible. Each of us has a story to share. You--have a story to share. You are valuable, therefore, your words are. White Wolf is my beautiful reminder that my “Papa” thinks I’m valuable, too.

I fought past my fears to share my story because I wanted the world to see who Jesus is and what He pulled me from. I made Him a promise as a little girl, if He were to help me survive, I’d share my story. He came through with His part of the deal. I’m here. White Wolf is here, too. You have something to say. Say it through your writing. Your voice is important. Your voice matters. Show the world who He is, and I promise, He will guide every step!


Question for Kathryn:

“What is your definition of a book’s success?”

Does your book make a positive change in the world? Do your words resonate with a reader long after it's has been laid to rest? If you change one life for good, then your writing has been a success. Making lots of money is just a bonus, like the icing on a lucsious piece of cake or a cherry on an incredible ice cream sunday.


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