The Collaborative No. 6
Today we are featuring Everyday Visionary Tammara Webber, New York Times best selling author.
Tammara Webber is best known for being the New York Times bestselling author who helped establish a new publishing category called New Adult, but she is so much more than an author...although that is a pretty good lead in. In her books and in real life, she champions diversity, equality and inclusion.
Tammara has the ability to examine love from every level. It takes a very deep commitment and understanding of self to create such a complex view of the inner workings of her characters. She weaves a thread throughout the novels that remind us of our connectedness to each other. Her stories embody a feeling of hope that escapes the pages and become more than a book.
Storytelling is an art and art can be a catalyst for change. Tammara's art shows us that true strength has a path through vulnerability and authenticity.
You can follow Tammara Webber on social media by clicking these links:
- What’s your name?
- Where do you currently work?
- What is your current role?
- How would you describe to a child what you do for a living?
I make up stories and write them down for other people to read.
- What do you hope you have a reputation for as a professional?
That I reflect the kind of love I write about.
- What is an accomplishment from your career that meant the world to you?
My fourth book sprung from a personal tragedy. I was terrified to write it and more terrified to put it into the world because I couldn't separate myself from the small part of my own story it contained. But readers reacted positively to it and still do, six years later. That novel I almost didn't write hit the NYT bestseller list and has been translated into 25 languages. I will never stop being amazed and grateful, and yes, scared. But that's where the power lies, I think.
- What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve had to learn the hard way in your career?
Success doesn’t guarantee more success; it simply sets the bar higher for your next attempt.
- What are some of your go-to sources of inspiration and staying on top of emerging trends that impact your field or industry?
I’m inspired by the real stories of people everywhere—those struggling to find love and meaning in their lives. I’m actually very bad with trends. I never see them coming and have stopped trying to. My fourth book was called a trendsetter, but I couldn’t have done that on purpose if my life depended on it. I’ve published eight novels and my personal favorites – the ones I enjoy the most as a reader - aren’t bestsellers. Apologies to my agent, but I’m not sorry for writing either of them.
- What is something you need in your work environment in order to thrive in your role?
Sticky notes. They. Are. Everywhere.
- What do you envision for your customers/clients/stakeholders/ patients/citizens/students, etc.?
A few hours of escape. A newfound or reinstated belief in love. A realization that they are worthy of everything they want for themselves.
- What is one of the biggest challenges you are facing or trying to solve right now?
A career pivot. I helped found a new publishing category called New Adult, which took off in a direction I don't want to follow. But reader and industry expectations, for better or worse, are that authors produce more of the same. So I don't know what the reaction will be to what I want to do next. What if it takes me a book or two or three to stick the landing? I could wake up to no readers at all.
- What are three of your favorite books?
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
You Can’t Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- What’s one of your favorite non-profits?
Confession: I’m the weird, anxious, quiet kid who wants to do the project alone, because I am easily overpowered into silence by the ideas and opinions of others. My ideas are odd or out of step or “not how we’ve always done it.” When I attempt to collaborate, I almost always end up a follower because I don’t like to step on other people’s toes. To that end, my picks are people I trust to value and respect my voice and methodology: my husband, Paul, my eldest son, Zachary, and my friend, Lori.
- If you could collaborate with any group or individual in the world, who would be your top three picks?
- What would you want to collaborate on with the people/groups you just mentioned?
I want to write a novel with Paul and work on a screenplay with Zachary. Lori and I teamed up to outfit her employer’s (my alma mater’s) campus R.A.D. self-defense program with new instructor suits and participant gear. I’d love to do more of that type of outreach and support in this era of #metoo, and she would be the perfect partner for it.
- If you were invited to give a TED Talk (or have given one), what would you speak about?
- How do you unwind at the end of a stressful day?
Reading, sipping a cup of ginger chamomile tea, petting a cat or two.
- What do you think your 80-year-old self would tell you right now?
“See, you worried for nothing.”
- What do you think your 10-year-old self would be most impressed with about your life right now?
That I get paid to do a thing I did for fun when I was 10.
- What does your creative process entail when you're doing what you do best?
My creative process is like a puzzle—it’s seldom linear. I think many people work this way even if they aren’t aware of it. Sometimes I write around holes in a manuscript or skip entire sections that are blurred out to me. Ideally, I circle back when I know where the story’s going, but sometimes I get completely stalled. I spent a month looking for a poem to use as a tattoo for one of my characters. I couldn’t find anything that fit and I couldn’t seem to move past it until I did. Then I heard a song by Holcombe Waller (Hardliners), and it triggered the memory of a short poem I'd written years before. I did a search of my blog and there it was—the perfect poem for my character—penned well before the novel was even an idea. Those four lines are, by far, the most-quoted excerpt from all of my books. Getting stalled doesn’t always mean you’re blocked. It may mean that what you inherently know or work you’ve already done is buried, and it’s time to dig.
- Is there anything particularly compelling that you want us to know that we didn’t ask?
The answer to "How can you consider yourself a feminist and write romance?" My writing peers and I advocate empowerment, equality, and healthy, loving relationships for our readers. We support the concept of enthusiastic consent and believe that love is love. The organizations to which I belong are busy knocking down barriers to inclusivity and diversity within our ranks, and I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of that. Here are a couple of articles in case you need those outdated notions disabused, recommendations included: https://bookriot.com/2017/03/09/romance-without-feminism-no-longer-option/ and http://time.com/4718350/romance-novels-are-feminist/.