Monday, March 24, 2014

Featured Author Interview: Tamera Alexander

Tamera Alexander is the USA Today best-selling author of numerous books, including A Lasting Impression and The Inheritance

Picture
Her richly drawn characters and thought-provoking plots have earned her devoted readers worldwide, as well as multiple industry awards.

These awards include the 2009 and 2008 Christy Award, the 2010 and 2007 RITA for Best Inspirational Romance, the 2010, 2009 and 2007 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, 2007 Bookseller’s Best Award, and Library Journal’s Top Christian Fiction for 2006, among others. Her books have finaled six times for the Christy Award, a mark of excellence in Christian fiction.


The following is a March 2014 interview with Tamera.

Picture
ENTER THE GIVEAWAY
AT THE END OF THE INTERVIEW


Be in to win a copy of A Beauty So Rare
by Tamera Alexander


One copy to be won
Contest open to entrants worldwide.
Contest runs from 21 March - 4 April NZDT


Picture
Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a novelist, wife, and mother. These are the main hats I wear. The specific day determines which is worn most (or most worn). I’m Atlanta born and bred, have lived in Texas and Colorado (the latter for 17 years), and am now happily settled back in my native South in Tennessee. After writing seven novels set in the Colorado Territory, I’ve turned my pen toward the post-bellum world of Nashville, and am completely immersed in crinoline, hoop skirts, bustles, and “Bless your hearts.”


How did you become a novelist, and did you always want to write?
I became a novelist on a dare, though I’ve always loved story. I first considered writing a novel in 1999. But I need to go back a bit farther to really get to the seed of where all this started for me.

In 1995, my mother-in-law, Claudette Harris Alexander, shared a book with me, one she thought I would really enjoy. I took one look at the cover and doubted I would like it, so I shelved it. I was busy and let time go by without reading it. She asked me several times if I’d read it. I said no, but that I would. The best laid plans, as they say.

Very unexpectedly, Claudette died that same year from a brain aneurysm. Weeks passed, and as I was cleaning bookshelves downstairs, I happened across that little volume and immediately sat down and read it. Claudette was right! I felt an immediate connection with the thread of hope woven through that gentle love story--Love Comes Softly, by Janette Oke, originally published by Bethany House Publishers in 1979.

That experience sent me searching for more inspirational fiction published not only by Bethany House, but elsewhere in the Christian Booksellers Association market (CBA). I devoured it, and developed a strong interest then in Christian historical fiction.

A few years later, my husband and I were driving back to Colorado from Texas late one night. I finished a novel, turned to him and said (only joking), “I think I could write one of these.” Without blinking, he said, “Well, do it.” Competitive at heart, I nodded and said, “Okay.”

My first novel made it to the final publication board at Bethany House Publishers in 2000, after which I received a very nice rejection letter. Writing that first story was a learning experience for me that I took to heart. I then determined to set about seriously studying the craft of writing. I joined American Christian Fiction Writers (www.ACFW.com) and read tons of books on the craft of writing.

Two years later, voila! I wrote my second book and it was contracted for publication. I’m very grateful for the opportunities God has given me.


What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?

Christian fiction offers real hope and truth. Not the false, tinsel kind of hope the world dangles before you. But hope that’s authentic. Hope that’s like gold refined by fire. Hope that’s found only in Jesus Christ.

Picture
How do you hope your readers react to the stories you write? 
When I write, I take steps closer to Christ. And my earnest desire is that my readers will take steps closer to him, too, as they read.


What responses to your novels have affected you the most and why? 
The instances when readers have told me they’re closer to Christ in some way because of reading my books. It doesn’t get any better than that.


How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ? 
Writing is a form of worship for me, and often as I write I come to realize that the theme of the book I’m working on is something that God wants to write on my own heart. For instance, in fall 2008 I was writing my novel Within My Heart, the idea for which started with the question, “What do you do when God chooses not to heal?”

The theme of that book became all too real and personal for me when, in February 2009, my mother was diagnosed with gallbladder cancer and went home to Christ in August, six months later. The question, “What do you do when God chooses not to heal” took on fresh––and painful––meaning. But God brought incredible blessing from those hard months and from having to say “goodbye for now” to my mom.

So many of my final conversations with Mom are in Within My Heart. Some of them verbatim. Jesus never fails to meet me on the page as I write.

Picture
Other than writing great novels, what other goals do you have for your life? 
Thanks for the kind words, and hmmm… Joe and I will celebrate 30 years of marriage this year so I’d love to spend another 30 with him! We have two great children, Kelsey (26) and Kurt (24), and they live near by. We love sharing life with them, and I look forward to watching their futures unfold. So really, I’d have to say many of my goals revolve around my family, and being the best wife and mother (and daughter to my dad) that I can be.

I adore traveling and have dreams of visiting Israel, Ireland, England, Scotland, and Australia. I would LOVE to do a tour of the castles of Europe, too. But we’d have to stop at every cemetery along the way. I love cemeteries.


What do you like to do in your spare time? 

Bake (love it!), read (voraciously), walk (either on the treadmill or outside), antique shop (every chance I get), visit historical places (which there are plenty in Nashville). And spend time with family and friends doing some of the above!


What can you tell us about your latest novels? 

I’m writing Southern historical fiction now, about real Nashville antebellum mansions (that still welcome visitors today) and the people who lived and worked in them.

I’m writing the three-book Belmont Mansion series and the three-book Belle Meade Plantation series, which are actually written to intertwine because the people who lived at Belmont and Belle Meade knew one another. And frankly, they didn’t like each other very much, which makes great fodder for fiction!

The novels are stand-alone stories, which means they can be read either together or independently of one another.

Picture
What stories can your fans expect from you in the days ahead? 
More Southern fiction to be sure, with the second book in the Belmont Mansion series, A Beauty So Rare, releasing on March 25, 2014. You can get a sneak peek of the story on my website at www.TameraAlexander.com, as well as watch the trailer and read a three chapter excerpt.

Thanks to my readers, both A Lasting Impression (the first book in the Belmont Mansion series) and To Whisper Her Name (the first book in the Belle Meade Plantation series) were CBA and EPCA Bestsellers. In addition, To Whisper Her Name was also a USA Today Bestseller.

I’m currently writing the second book in the Belle Meade Plantation series, which will release in February 2015.


What would you like to say to your fans in New Zealand, and others worldwide?

First, thank you so much for reading! It means so much to me that you love these characters like I do. Your emails and posts on Facebook mean the world to me, too, and I’m so grateful we’re on this journey together.


Do you have any parting words?

Thanks for letting me visit with everyone today. I wish you God’s richest blessings, and remember… In Christ the best is always yet to come! This truth means more to me with each passing year.


Picture
A Lasting Impression

Claire Laurent's greatest aspiration is to paint something that will bring her acclaim. Yet her father insists she work as a copyist. A forger. When she's forced to flee her home, her path collides with attorney Sutton Monroe, who shows her kindness by not turning her in to authorities. But when he later refuses to come to her aid, Claire fears she's sorely misjudged him. 

Finding herself among the elite of Nashville society, Claire believes her dream of creating a lasting impression in the world of art is within reach--but only if her past remains hidden. The Federal Army destroyed Sutton's home, confiscated his land, and threatens to destroy his family's honor. His determination to reclaim what belongs to him reveals a truth that may cost him more than he ever imagined--as well as the woman he loves.

Set at Nashville's historic Belmont Mansion, a stunning antebellum manor built by Adelicia Acklen, A Lasting Impression is a sweeping love story about a nation mending after war, the redemption of those wounded, and the courage of a man and woman to see themselves--and each other--for who they really are.

Purchase A Lasting Impression
[Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | 
The Book Depository]


Picture
To Whisper Her Name

Olivia Aberdeen, destitute widow of a murdered carpetbagger, gratefully accepts an invitation from 'Aunt' Elizabeth Harding, mistress of Belle Meade Plantation and the dearest friend of Olivia's late mother. Expecting to be the Harding's housekeeper, Olivia is disillusioned once again when she learns the real reason why Elizabeth's husband, Confederate General William Giles Harding, agreed to her coming. Caring for an ill Aunt Elizabeth, Olivia is caught off guard by her feelings for Ridley Adam Cooper, a southern-born son who—unbeknownst to her and everyone else—fought for the Union.

Determined to learn 'the gift' that Belle Meade's head horse trainer, Bob Green, possesses, Ridley is a man desperate to end the war still raging inside him while harboring secrets that threaten his life. As Ridley seeks to make peace within himself for 'betraying' the South he loved, Olivia is determined to never be betrayed again...


Set within the remarkable history of Nashville's historic Belle Meade Plantation, comes a story about enslavement and freedom, arrogance and humility, and the power of love to heal even the deepest of wounds.



Purchase To Whisper Her Name
[Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | 
The Book Depository]


Picture
A Beauty So Rare

Pink is not what Eleanor Braddock ordered, but maybe it would soften the tempered steel of a woman who came through a war--and still had one to fight.

 Plain, practical Eleanor Braddock knows she will never marry, but with a dying soldier's last whisper, she believes her life can still have meaning and determines to find his widow. Impoverished and struggling to care for her ailing father, Eleanor arrives at Belmont Mansion, home of her aunt, Adelicia Acklen, the richest woman in America--and possibly the most demanding, as well. Adelicia insists on finding her niece a husband, but a simple act of kindness leads Eleanor down a far different path--building a home for destitute widows and fatherless children from the Civil War. While Eleanor knows her own heart, she also knows her aunt will never approve of this endeavor.

Archduke Marcus Gottfried has come to Nashville from Austria in search of a life he determines, instead of one determined for him. Hiding his royal heritage, Marcus longs to combine his passion for nature with his expertise in architecture, but his plans to incorporate natural beauty into the design of the widows' and children's home run contrary to Eleanor's wishes. As work on the home draws them closer together, Marcus and Eleanor find common ground--and a love neither of them expects. But Marcus is not the man Adelicia has chosen for Eleanor, and even if he were, someone who knows his secrets is about to reveal them all.

From USA Today bestselling author Tamera Alexander comes a moving historical novel about a bold young woman drawn to a group of people forgotten by Nashville society--and to the one man with whom she has no business falling in love.

Purchase A Beauty So Rare
[Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle | 
The Book Depository]



Buy Tamera's Books at The Book Depository

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

Picture
Be in to win a copy of A Beauty So Rare
by Tamera Alexander


One copy to be won
Contest open to entrants worldwide
Contest runs from 
21 March - 4 April NZDT


Please comment about the interview, or leave a message for Tamera Alexander. Simply commenting about entering the draw or wanting to win the books does not qualify for valid entry into the draw. 

All entries must be made using the Rafflecopter contest to be eligible for drawing. Winning entries drawn will have their entry options validated before being accepted - if incomplete another entry will be drawn.


Previous Featured Author Interviews


You May Also Like...


Popular Posts

There was an error in this gadget