In the Spotlight feature kicked off in April 2015 and is an opportunity for authors, editors and publishers (basically anyone in the book industry (yes, even bloggers!)) to connect with fans. There is an option to do an interview, guest post, feature a book sale or book release or a cover reveal. Best of all, it’s free! All you need to do is click on the image to reserve your spot!
Now on with the show!
In the Spotlight with Tam May
Welcome to Second Run Reviews, Tam! Thank you for being In the Spotlight. I appreciate you stopping by and answering a few questions. So let’s get things started.
In a tweet (140 characters or less), tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in Israel but grew up in the United States. I write dark psychological fiction about characters from the inside out.
Please tell a bit about your journey to becoming a published author. What’s been the best things about it and the worst?
I’ve always wanted to publish my work and luckily, self-publishing came onto the scene and I was able to pursue that path. It’s been an amazing journey with so much to learn and such a great supportive indie writing and publishing community. That’s been the best thing about it for me — the wonderful support from indie authors and publishers, freelance editors, cover designers, and others involved in the self-publishing world. Everyone is enthusiastic and most are eager to help. There isn’t such a sense of isolation that I think writers sometimes feel when they are going the traditional route.
The worst thing, if I can really call it that, has been keeping track of all the parts of the publishing process. I didn’t realize until I started researching that self-publishing a book involves so many complicated details and sometimes it’s a challenge to coordinate them all. But it’s been a lot of fun.
Tell us a bit about your latest release. What inspired you to write it? Why should fans of Second Run Reviews consider reading it.
My latest release is called Gnarled Bones and Other Stories. It’s a collection of five psychological short stories. I write psychological fiction, which means I am fascinated by the complex tapestry of human nature, both what we see on the outside, like behavior and gestures, and what we don’t see, like emotions, dreams, and delusions. My characters have complex pasts with many scars their present lives force them to face. I wrote three of the stories more than fifteen years ago when I was going through a rough time in my life. I broke through a lot of barriers creatively as well as psychologically.
The other two stories I wrote some five years later, when my writing voice and style were more established in my mind. The themes of the stories revolve around grief, loss, and guilt. Some are on the dark side but I believe in leaving readers with hope. Someone in my writing critique group told me that there is always something comforting in my stories, no matter what the context and that’s really what I strive for.
What types of books do you enjoy reading the most? What three books to you find yourself recommending to your fans over and over?
I’m a huge lover of classic literature. I’m very drawn to classic psychological fiction writers like Virginia Woolf, Henry James, Edith Wharton, Kafka, and Thomas Mann. I’m also drawn to lyrical prose writers like Anais Nin and Truman Capote. But if I had to recommend 3 books, I would go more for the classics. Three that I love especially are Washington Square by Henry James, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, and Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys.
What is your current obsession? Any secret obsessions you would like to share?
My obsessions have always revolved around human psychology and literature. Since I found my writing voice, I’ve been obsessed with psychological reality and poetic prose. And in the last few months, I’ve been obsessed more with dreams. Not necessarily my own but the idea that we can extract meaning from dreams and relate them to our daily lives and interpreting what they are trying to tell us about our own hidden worlds within us.
What is one question you wish I would have asked, that I haven’t?
I wish you would have asked me about when I decided to become a writer. It happened when I was fourteen. Until that time, I didn’t really have a voice — psychologically, that is. I grew up very overprotected and isolated, so I wasn’t encouraged to really express my thoughts and opinions and certainly not my emotions. So I was quite shy and withdrawn. My sister had a best friend in junior high school who had been writing since she was five and she introduced her to writing fiction and journal writing. I was always wanting to copy my sister (we’re twins and she’s the older one) and she was always trying to avoid that! But her friend was happy to explain to me what she was doing with all those notebooks. I was intrigued by the idea of creating a story so I started a children’s book and also a journal soon after that.
Any last thoughts or wise words you want to pass along?
I guess I would say — write where your passion lies. Even if it isn’t popular or trending on Twitter or it’s not going to make you a bestseller. Don’t try to fake through something you’re not passionate about because readers will feel it. And you won’t be true to yourself as a writer and a creative artist.
Tam, thank you so much for being In the Spotlight. I wish you much luck in your future writing endevouars and I hope you’ll return to bring us up to date on your writing adventures!
Synopsis: Gnarled Bones and Other Stories explores five tales of loss, fear, and guilt where strange and spooky events impact people’s lives in ways that are profound and unchangeable.
In “Mother of Mischief”, a newly divorced woman goes back to school to begin a new chapter in her life only to find herself circling back to where she started. In “Bracelets”, childhood nostalgia mingles with brutal fear during a circus outing for a mailroom secretary and her friends. In “A First Saturday Outing”, a lonely woman ventures out of her isolated apartment one quiet Saturday afternoon to an art exhibit that leaves an eerie impression on her psyche*. In “Broken Bows”, a middle-aged violinist reveals the mystery behind his declining artistic powers to a lonely woman on a train. And the title story, “Gnarled Bones”, paints a portrait of the complex bond between an orphaned sister and brother through journal entries and first-person narrative. For these characters, the past leaves its shadow on the present and future.