FlashDogs are an international community of talented and supportive flash fiction writers. I’ve been at the core of most FlashDogs activity since the start, but I’ve taken a sabbatical to complete my first novel. I had some time available and couldn’t think of a better way to spend it than catching up with some good folk from the community.
This is the third in a series of #InterviewWithAFlashDog
No word limits. No need to win a comp. Just a chance to get to know the writer.
The questions follow a format: First, Next and Last.
Today I’m spending time with Tamara Shoemaker. Genre-defying prolific novelist. Multiple flash fiction winner. Editor. Fellow dragon judge and cross-Atlantic buddy. Mentor and the loveliest of people. She also did something rather amazing for me in one of her books:
MK: First time you trashed an entire story
TS: Intentionally or accidentally? I accidentally lost a half-completed manuscript when my hard drive crashed and I had no backup files. It was the same hard drive that crashed with all the pictures from my youngest daughter’s first year of life. Needless to say, since that happened, I save in six places every. single. time. I type anything.
My first intentional manuscript trash was my third book; I’d written all but the last two or three chapters. I had fifty thousand words and was aiming for sixty, but my characters got log-jammed, and I couldn’t move them forward or backward. There was no saving grace, and the flaws went back as far as the first few chapters. To continue, I would have had to rewrite the entire story with different foundations.
So… I did. 😉
MK: Next book you can’t wait to read from your ‘to be read’ list
MK: Last time someone (or something) made you go ‘wow’
TS: It’s the small moments that make the big ones, you know? Last evening, my six-year-old son broke his “Robin Hood bow” (a bent stick with a rubber band). Gulping back tears, voice shaking, he handed it to his daddy. “It broke,” he said. He had played with it almost non-stop for the last week, and my heart shattered just a little as he struggled to accept the situation. So after my little boy went to bed, my husband spent an hour gluing, sanding, taping, and restructuring. I knew he had loads of work to do–he usually reserves his time after the kids are in bed to catch up on all the things he’s put off while spending time with his family. But instead, last night, he spent his time fixing a dream, because dreams should never be broken.
MK: Next thing you want to tackle on your bucket list (if you have one)
TS: I’d be pretty happy if I could spend the rest of my life writing books, but if I ever have a chance to expand my horizons, these are the things I would love to do:
I have a few more items on that list, but that’s enough for now. I’m actively working on a few of these, but I don’t know if they’ll be completed anytime soon. Still–shoot for the stars, right?
MK: Last time you did something life-changing
TS: That’s a good question; my life is generally pretty predictable. I get up and write. I edit. I write some more. My kids come home from school and I help them with homework. I make supper. We clean up. I write. It’s not much, but it’s a good life.
I guess the last time I did something big and out of the routine was taking a 12 year anniversary trip with my husband to Cancun, Mexico. It was simple, it was fun, it was warm, and there was sun. It didn’t shake the earth’s foundations, and not many people are different because I went.
MK: First scene from a book or film that made you smile with delight
Grandfather: Oh. Well thank you very much. Very nice of you. Your vote of confidence is overwhelming. All right. The Princess Bride, by S. Morgenstern, Chapter One. Buttercup was raised on a small farm in the country of Florin. Her favorite pastimes were riding her horse and tormenting the farm boy that worked there. His name was Westley, but she never called him that.”[pause] Isn’t that a wonderful beginning?Grandson: Yeah, it’s really good.
MK: Next project (from many) that you plan to work on
TS: The biggest shock I’ve gotten from one of my characters was from Daymon of Mark of Four. My notes next to his name in my story-planning notebook said: “Daymon Houser, school bully.” I had plans to get rid of him after the first book and continue on with my overall trilogy plot, but he wasn’t having it. He and I tussled over the decision for a bit–his idea was that he would remain throughout the trilogy, and he even decided he’d like a leading role.
Pesky fellow. I had to give in. 😉
Tamara is one of the most talented, yet humble people I know. Big thanks to Tamara for her continued support to many of the FlashDogs.
Stay tuned, more interviews planned soon.
If you want to take part, please give me a shout via Twitter: @making_fiction