Posted by jennifer gibson on Monday, March 9, 2015 Under: March2015
Please give a warm welcome to my fellow author, Tierney James who stopped by for a quick chat about her upcoming release, “The Rescued Heart”.
You have written four books, two of them in the children’s category, "Zombie Meatloaf" and "There’s a Superhero in the Library" What inspired you to write these two stories?
Thanks for having me. I don’t usually write children’s books but "There’s a Superhero in the Library" came as a result of my friend being diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago. She was a very loved school librarian. After going to chemo treatments with her and just trying to be a good friend, I realized she was propping everyone else up, especially her students. The smiles and giggles so a part of her personality, didn’t stop. She wore wacky clothes and hats so the students wouldn’t be scared of her new appearance without hair. She became my hero. Even though the book talks about cancer the story is light hearted and funny just like her. And there’s a happy ending. She is cancer free!
"Zombie Meatloaf" is about nutrition. If students don’t eat right they’re going to walk around like a bunch of zombies. Jubi tries to find the answer to whether zombies are real. Her discoveries result in better eating habits for everyone. There’s even a recipe for "Zombie Meatloaf" at the end. I credit my writing this as drinking too much coffee and between projects that involved explosions and terrorists.
Your adult series, "An Unlikely Hero", features bombs and terrorist, how did you prepare for this novel in terms of getting into the mind of a criminal?
"An Unlikely Hero" is part of the Enigma Series. When I lived in Northern California, I was always mistaken for someone named Melanie. Even the DMV pulled me aside for questioning, saying someone was living under my real identity. After months of this I started to wonder who she was, could she be in trouble, did she lead a double life? Strangely enough ever since that time weird things have happened to me concerning Melanie.
As far as preparations, I’m a geography teacher who loves to study geo-political conflict. I was a geo-teacher for National Geographic for a while as well as a Solar System Ambassador for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab for about three years. Besides traveling throughout the world to see things up close and personal I’ve also been able to get certified for Conceal and Carry in my state. Anytime I could take workshops on culture, science or the criminal mind I took advantage of it.
Your latest book, "The Rescued Heart", is being published by Black Opal Books. This must have been a dream come true for you! Were you surprised to have a publisher pick up your story?
Yes I was very surprised. I wrote the first five chapters twenty years ago then promptly forgot about it. I was busy with raising kids, getting a master’s degree and working full time. But living in a mining community prepared me for when I could sit down and write. Last year I dusted that baby off and rewrote the first five chapters before sending to a few contests. Because I was between projects I decided I’d better finish it.
How long did this process take in regards to sending out queries and searching for the right publisher?
That’s an excellent question. I never sent out queries for "The Rescued Heart". Savvy Authors did a promotional event where thirty publishers came on line. You had their bios ahead of time. I chose seventeen publishers I thought might be a good fit. The catch was you only had four sentences to pitch your novel. Out of that seventeen I got eight requests for the manuscript. Of the eight I got three contracts. Talk about a miracle. Black Opal Books has just been amazing.
Before joining Black Opal Books, you had self-published your books, what advice did you wish you had before doing this?
I wish I knew more about marketing myself. I’m one of those writers I think both ways can be beneficial, but you’ve got to know what you’re doing. Since that time I’ve learned a lot about marketing, editing, social media and writing in general. Never stop learning.
Your novel, "The Rescued Heart", is a more personal story since your husband was a mine engineer, are there any true scenarios in it?
There’s a thread of truth through the whole book. The collapsed mine really happened in the area but it wasn’t with the company my husband worked for. The safety records, rescue teams, culture, names are all very similar to a Missouri mining community. The Old Miners’ Day is an actual celebration in Viburnum, Missouri each year. There are mine tours, great food, music and lots of equipment displays. It really is a fun time.
What is the life of a mine engineer like?
Sometimes you have to carry a gun, especially if there is a strike going on. You travel sixty miles one way to have a baby or go to the doctor. You learn pretty quick that the mines come first then you and the family. Knowing your husband goes 1000 feet into the earth every day can be a little daunting at first. But it becomes a way of life that seems perfectly normal after a while.
What is the worst thing about having someone you love work in a mine?
Well the worst thing would be if there was an accident. The company my husband worked for had an excellent safety record. Safety always came first. The miner’s mentality always puts the mine first. Sometimes they miss special days you’ve planned. Sometimes you get a prank call that your husband won’t be coming home that night. Those times usually involved a strike.
Will you be continuing this series or do have any other stories in mind for future projects?
There’s a prequel to "The Rescued Heart" I have in a box in the garage. Someday I may get it out and rewrite it. Right now I’m writing my first urban fantasy. Black Opal Books is interested in that one as well. I’ve also got #2 & #3 of the Enigma Series ready to go. "Winds of Deception" will be out June 8, 2015 and "Rooftop Angels" will release next fall.
You mentioned publishers expect authors to do between 50-70 % of their own marketing - that statement certainly feels true. Have you found any successful marketing tools that do the trick?
I follow Joan Stewart’s Publicity Hound on line. I’ve downloaded some excellent books on marketing for authors as well. I keep a notebook of ideas and vendors to contact. Street teams and online launch parties are also a good marketing tool.
I’ve noticed that you have an extensive reading list, are you a passionate reader? How many books do you typically read in a single month?
Since I’ve become a full time writer my reading has suffered. I’m lucky if I get two or three read a month. Sometimes it’s more and sometimes I read more than one at a time. But I love books.
You have travelled all over the world, is there any particular place that you would love to visit again?
I loved China so much. It was exotic and wonderful. But closer to home my favorite place would have to be Monument Valley or the Smokey Mountains.
What was your life like growing up?
I lived in a steel town in Illinois. It was dirty. My neighborhood was behind the mill and when I walked to my school I had to pass a lot of boarded up houses. Now that would be an episode on Dateline. I can’t believe my mother let me walk to school. Our vacations involved camping and fishing. My dad taught me so much about the outdoors, gardening and storytelling. It was a good life.
What is your most memorable childhood moment?
My best friend and I used to climb out my upstairs window on the second floor and sit on the roof. We lived on a busy road. It was fun to wave to the truckers and have them blast their air horns at us. One time my mom was passing by, saw us and wrecked the car. That put an end to that fun!
While you were writing, did you have that special “Aha” moment when you knew that you were meant to be an author or that your book was meant to be published?
No “aha” moments to knowing I should be published, but everything I write makes me keenly aware I’m doing what God wants me to do. Write. Write. Write.
One surprising fact about you is that you had worked for NASA. That is a very cool job to have on your resume! How did you get involved in this field?
From the time I was a little girl space science interested me. I can’t explain it. I sometimes would be the only girl listening to reports on flights into space. I actually have 2 of the 7 autographs of the original “Right Stuff” astronauts. I went to Space Camp for Educators which led me to apply for being an ambassador for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. Every state has several of these volunteers.
Did you get a chance to meet any of your heroes at NASA?
I got to talk to Col. Akers once who at that time had spent the longest time on the Space Station. He was my son’s professor in college. I also got to meet the author of Rocket Boys who worked for NASA for many years. His life became the subject of the movie.
You can visit Tierney at the following social media sites, stop by and say hello:
Twitter - @TierneyJames1
Facebook - www.facebook.com/TierneyJamesAction
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Tierney-James/e/B00C1FB19Q/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1425923831&sr=8-1
Website - www.ptierneyjames.blogspot.com
The Rescued Heart - www.amazon.com/Rescued-Heart-Tierney-James-ebook/dp/B00U9PGN84/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1425923831&sr=8-2&keywords=tierney+james
An Unlikely Hero - http://www.amazon.com/Unlikely-Hero-1-Tierney-James/dp/1480276030/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1425923831&sr=8-1&keywords=tierney+james
There's a Superhero in the Library - www.amazon.com/Theres-Superhero-Library-Tierney-James/dp/1612252214/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1425923831&sr=8-8&keywords=tierney+james
Zombie Meatleaf - www.amazon.com/Zombie-Meatloaf-Tierney-James/dp/0991180534/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1425923831&sr=8-9&keywords=tierney+james
In : March2015
Tags: "tierney james" "the rescued heart" "zombie meatloaf" "there's a superhero in the library" "an unlikely hero" "winds of deception"