by Diane Krause
My first published interview is with Tamara Paxton Copley, writer. She’s so down-to-earth that talking to her is easy and fun even though she has BA from Vassar College and an MA from USU in literature and writing. Tamara is in the process of publishing her first book in the planned kids’ sci fi/fantasy chapter book series Doomimals. Plus she has two upcoming romance novels After the Dream and Pigs Fly.
Diane: How did you get into this work?
Tamara: I’ve always been a writer at heart. I ran full tilt into reading. They made me wait to learn until they hit my name in the alphabet, but then I read a lot. I remember deciding in third grade I wanted to write and teach others to write. Each year, the grade I wanted to teach went with me until I reached college. I wrote two novels not long after high school based on my cliched fantasy stories I started writing through role playing with my brothers from age 9. I took creative writing classes in high school and undergrad. I majored in English in undergrad and for my master’s. I joined League of Utah Writers and started submitting award-winning short stories, poetry, and children’s books.
But I really didn’t find my voice or my calling until after my baby died. When she passed, my desire to write empty stories without meaning died with her. Now, I understand there’s no point in writing unless you’re going to do something meaningful with it. That’s when I started writing a Christian romance full of meaning. I didn’t find my voice until after I started reading Percy Jackson. I’m using that voice and the concepts from my childhood stories and remixing them into something fresh in my chapter book series that will hopefully help kids fall in love with reading and really feel the importance of love and family.
Diane: What do you like most about it?
Tamara: I love the process of writing, that anything can happen, that something new that wasn’t there before suddenly comes to life on the page. I love getting swept up in the story. I’m a pantser, so I only have a vague idea of the chapter before I start. Then, I get to find out what my characters are going to do and say as I write. It’s exhilarating.
Diane: What do you like least about it?
Tamara: Editing. I could say marketing and salesmanship, but I don’t know enough about all that to say much. The real weight on my shoulders is trying to figure out how to take what I thought was good and turn it into something people are actually going to want to read. There seems to be some secret formula we writers don’t understand, which makes it hard to find a publisher.
Diane: Who do you know who does this kind of work?
Tamara: I have mostly novice friends and a few friends who have made it and don’t really have time for those starting at the ground floor. I’m not sure either would help you since they’re in the same place we are. I’ll have to ask my buddy, Sarah, one I interviewed if she’s okay with having me send you her way. She published her first book with a small press and has been self-publishing since. She’s still trying to really break in and be noticed.
To learn more about Tamara Paxton Copley please visit her website: