by Tammara Webber
Goodreads/Author Website /Amazon/Barnes&Noble/IndieBound/Kobo/iBookstore
First published: May 25, 2012
Republished by Penguin/Berkley on November 6, 2012
Why I picked this book
This book is one of many firsts for me. Last June I had just bought my first electronic reader and was dying to try it out. This book popped up highly rated and I decided to take a chance on an author I had never heard of before. It was my first digital book purchase and my first time reading an Indie Author. Needless to say I was blown away by this book. When I joined this blog last summer this was my very first novel to review. You can find that here: Easy Review. The review shows up a little wonky since I hadn't yet realized that what I saw in my draft post wouldn't look the same as when it was published but none the less I got to share my love for this book. This author was also my very first author signing last summer when she made a rare appearance at a Barnes & Noble. I drove a ways to make it and then became ridiculously tongue tied but it was still as great experience.
Easy does an amazing job of taking a serious subject matter, dealing with it, but not making the book so heavy that it is hard to enjoy. There is a romantic subplot that helps balance the darker tones in the book. It is a book of empowerment and the many kinds of relationships in one's life that help us through dark times. Each character is written very well so that they jump off the pages. I plan to share this book with my own daughter when she is a little older. I think it would make a fabulous mother/daughter read for more mature teens.
Tammara Webber was very gracious to let me interview her. She is currently extremely busy finishing up her author promotions for Easy's rerelease with Penguin/Berkley as well as writing the last book in her Between the Lines series It is another great series that I recommend you reading. She has posted repeatedly that Easy is a stand alone book and she will not continue the story of Lucas and/or Jacqueline. You can find books she recommends on her Author Goodreads Account.
1. All of your characters, side characters included, manage to feel authentic rather than flat or two dimensional. Do you plan out all the details about your characters before you write a book or do they sometimes surprise you while you are writing? Which characters have surprised you the most?
Thank you- what a wonderful compliment. I plan as many details as I can, but most of it is like meeting someone for the first time. You know what he looks like and how he speaks right away, and you may have preconceived notions from what others think of him, but you don't really know him. Characters don't show me who they really are until I start writing them. Reid (BTL series) surprised me the most. He wouldn't let me decide what he was capable of or who he was going to be- in any of the books. Kennedy (Easy) surprised me, too, in both positive and disappointing ways.
2. Are there any fun interests/hobbies/peculiarities etc. that you know about the central characters of Easy that didn't make it into the book? If so would you give us any?
I didn't delve into Jacqueline's musical performances or Lucas's marital arts training because I wanted to focus on the story, though obviously those things take up time for each of them, and are important aspects of their lives and personalities. If I learn/know something about a character that adds to the depiction of a particular character, I attempt to work it into the story, to flesh the character out all the more.
3. Writing a book is an amazing process of sharing your soul with a reader. When a book is read there is a connection between the writer and reader where a new story is created since the reader now brings in their own background, preferences and life experiences that will result in their unique responses and interpretations. As a writer can you describe what that feels like to have a story you've created take on new meaning to your readers? Are you sometimes surprised with how the reader might change or connect with your stories? Is it hard to have the meanings that are important to you misinterpreted or misunderstood? By the way, thank you so much for opening yourself up and sharing your work. I am sure I can speak for many of your readers when I say thank you for taking that hard step.
I try not to get too concerned about misinterpretation, because the book is out of my hands by that point. Conversely, some readers will latch onto something so subtle that I didn't expect anyone to catch it, and they'll comprehend it so thoroughly that it stuns me. Both of these extremes are evidence that when you're writing, you have to write for yourself. You simply cannot make yourself understood by everyone. There's also no such thing as a book, song film or piece of art that touches every individual reader/listener/viewer. I was recently talking to a guy I know in RL who'd read my first two books. He commented how angsty-romantic they are - a little derisively. I just said, "I guess I'm not writing for you," and shrugged.
It's a rush when people connect with what I write, wether they're a member of my "demographic" or not. I've read and loved young adult lit for years, and I'm not a young adult. I can't care about the opinions of readers who don't get what I'm trying to say - either because they disagree fundamentally with what I'm saying or how I've said it, or they were expecting something I didn't give them. I write how I write. It would be harmful to me as a writer to try to connect with every reader, let alone an impossible goal. I'm very thankful for the readers who find meaning, escape, entertainment, or healing in what I write.
4. Your male characters always read distinctly male wether we are reading from their perspectives like in your Between the Lines series or reading about them in Easy. This is a struggle for many authors when writing from or about a character of the opposite sex. How do you accomplish this? Do you have any advice for writers in this regard?
I can't know what it is to be male, but I believe gender is relative to environment, not just biology and genetics. I hate it when someone says, "That's not something a boy/guy/man would think/say/do." We're all individuals, and stereotypes are often wrong. When I write as one of my guys, I try to think from inside his shoes. Think of it this way: characters are almost always going to sympathize with themselves, right? That's what human beings do! If you can't sympathize with him, you can't write him - not convincingly.
5. Your book Easy is about a serious subject matter yet you walked the line between dealing with the major issues while keeping it from being too dark and heavy perfectly. How hard was this to accomplish?
The issue was the reason I wrote the book, and writing those scenes was difficult - but writing the romance was familiar ground. I had to keep my eye on both, and not allow either to take over. I made them, I hope, equally important - because though some people think romance is fluffy subject matter, it's simply not. Love can help us survive the horrible ways life weighs us down, and seeking that comfort, both emotionally and physically, is basic human nature. Love can be our one safe place, and maybe the only time we're fully in touch with our innermost selves. I wanted to twine that belief through the story, including the ugly, painful parts, because that's what love does in real life. It doesn't take the bad stuff away, it just makes it bearable.
6. Is it as hard for you to let go of your characters when you finish a book as it is for your readers?
Probably not- I mean, I absolutely immerse in that story for months. I'm usually ready to do the next thing when I'm done. I'm the same way as a reader, though - I prefer stand-alone novels. I get bored reading the same two characters in book after book, even if I love them. Because then they either have the hardest lives ever (which is exhausting after a while, as a writer or a reader), or the books become progressively boring. Conflict is required for a story. Smart people eventually want somewhat boring, satisfied lives - not lives full of rash decisions and constant upheaval. I want the same for my characters. I won't give someone cancer or a major depression to inject conflict for the sake of a sequel, but I also won't write two of them living happily, having the occasional argument about how to fold the bath towels.
7. Who are a few of your favorite book crushes and where can we find them? On the same note, who are some of your favorite heroines and where can we find those?
It's occurred to me since becoming an author (and getting feedback on my own heroes) that I may be a little odd about this. I don't have book boyfriends/crushes. I don't want that guy for myself - I want him for her. I fall in love with couples. That's why, if I can't get both characters, I can't really love the book as a romance. I have to want the two of them to work out. Even when there's a love triangle, I look at the leftover guy and think, "Who does this guy need? Who needs him?" (Unless he's an intolerable ass, in which case he can just BE alone, lol.)
Favorite couples: Darcy and Elizabeth (Pride and Prejudice, Austen). Adam and Mia (If I Stay/ Where She Went, Forman.) Katsa and Po (Graceling, Cashore). Wes and Macy (The Truth About Forever, Dessen). Adam and Lori (Endless Summer, Echols). Caleb and Maggie (Leaving Paradise, Elkeles). Anna and TJ (On the Island, Graves). Keenan and Donia (Wicked Lovely series, Marr). Ron and Hermione (Harry Potter series, Rowling).
My favorite heroines: Emma (Emma, Austen), Bianca (The Duff, Keplinger), Aislinn (Wicked Lovely series, Marr), Lennie (The Sky is Everywhere, Nelson)
Enter giveaway below for a copy of Easy!