Author Spotlight: Tamela Ritter

Today’s Author Spotlight is: Tamela Ritter

A member of the Write By The Rails group and the author of From These Ashes

 

 


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Readers, let’s welcome Tamela, the wandering storyteller to my blog. She’s agreed to visit and share with us today some dreams, some advice, and some reading recommendations.

Tamela, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that, let’s start with the important stuff!

If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?

Oh man, start with the hard ones first! For a real pet? This is going to seem boring, but I’d really just like a dog. I’ve lived with dogs for most of my life, but I’ve never had one that was mine, ya know? I just really want a dog who loves me best. Lame, I know.

Oh, oh, wait, any pet? With no worries about logistics? A dolphin. Not to own really, not in a cage or anything. But seriously, how cool would it be to hang out with a dolphin? Or a unicorn? Wait, what if it turns out unicorns are sort of douches? That would suck.

Yeah, I’ll stick with a dolphin, thank you.

Puppies and dolphins? You have good taste in pets! Assuming, of course, they’re the friendly ones and not the jerk-faces. Next up, a more standard question.

What do you write and how did you get started?

I write small stories about everyday people who have been marginalized or forgotten.  I give voice to the voiceless.Or I try.How did I get started writing? I honestly don’t remember I time when I didn’t have stories in my head. I do remember I was 10 the first time I wrote one down.

I get that, Tamela, and I’m probably not the only one. Now, as readers ourselves, to find out if your tastes and preferences align with ours, next up is the all-important question — not that there’s a right or a wrong answer, just a sense of…harmonic resonance.

 

What do you like to read?

Ahhhh, easier question is what don’t I read. There’s no rhyme or reason to what I read. Right now I’m on a YA kick. I just picked up local authors’ PM Hernandez and Mara Mahan‘s books last weekend and I’m looking forward to checking them out.
I really love going to the library and pulling down books and checking them out based on their cover, their blurbs without knowing anything about the author or any buzz about the book (all the things that marketing types tell you that no one does). Makes me feel like I’m discovering a new treasure. Even if it’s not true.
Last time I found a book I loved that I thought no one else had heard of and that the whole world needed to read, it turned out that it had already been turned into a movie.
Oooops.
*pouts* Well, that answer didn’t really narrow it down for us.
*grins and winks* Good for you! Now, the next two questions are for the writers reading this blog.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.

 
The oldest piece of writing advice there is, so old that it’s more a cliche than advice and it’s almost cliche to disagree with it. “Write what you know.”
Bullshit.
I mean, I get why it’s advice and there are definitely stories that could have been better told by someone who had more experience with the situation or particulars.
But I’ve found a writer only needs two things to be able to dodge this writerly rule: access to Google and a strong sense of empathy.
The empathy is for the heart and soul of the story about people who aren’t you, Google (or more specifically–research) is for the facts. In this day and age, there isn’t anything you can’t learn more about, nothing you can’t find someone willing to share their experiences about. If you don’t have a healthy sense of empathy, well, you’re probably in the wrong field anyway, so you just stick to what you know… or become a journalist.
And, of course, the flip side!

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.

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writing is when we make the words, editing is when we make the words not shitty – Chuck Wendig

Or really, anything that Chuck Wendig, my foul-mouthed guru, says about the whole writing thing in general.
Tamela, thank you for taking the time to share with us. I really appreciate you stopping by and hope my readers did too. Now, did you have anything you’d like to share with us? Because it’s now…

Shameless Self-Promotion time!

My first (and only so far) published novel From These Ashes was published in 2013 by Vagabondage Press. My latest published short story, “Quantifying Momentum” can be found in The Piedmont Journal of Poetry and Fiction’s anthology Tracks.
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