Author Tammy Maas finally accepted my invite to visit.
E: Hi, Tammy! It’s nice to have you on the blog. Would you care for refreshments?
T: I would, thank you. This is my favorite! Ham salad with Chicken in a Biskit crackers. Did you know that for some odd reason people in Kentucky don’t eat ham salad? They look at me like I have three eyes every time I ask for it. And at one grocery store I asked the clerk, “where’s your pop?” He replied, “my pops home in bed lady, you know my pops?!”
E: Your first book is A Complicated Life in a Small Town. What can you tell us about it?
T: The book is darkish (is that a word?) it tells the tale of writer (Lydia) who discovers she has a step-sister (Lily) with Prader-Willie syndrome, an unusual eating disorder. Lydia falls in love with the Chief of Police (Tommy) in small town Monticello Iowa. The book is a novella so you can easily read it in one sitting. There’s lots of body fluids in this book; blood, urine, feces and tears too.
(Wiping cracker crumbs off my shirt.) Ya know, this ham salad kind of resembles a body fluid now that I think about it.
E: Your second book, God Save Us All, is a continuation of the story, right?
T: Yes. God Save Us All follows Lydia though some hard times. She struggles to keep her sanity as she attempts to care for Lily, a new baby and a paralyzed husband.
E: Do you have any more books planned for the series?
T: Yes. There will be one more book in the series and I hope to have it completed by the end of the year. I recently moved from Iowa to Kentucky and haven’t had a lot of time to write lately but I plan on making some serious progress as soon as the kids start school next week.
E: Prader-Willi Syndrome features heavily in your books. How did you choose it and what are some things you’ve learned through your research?
T: I found Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) by accident online when hunting for a disease for a character. I was completely fascinated when I began researching it. PWS affects different people different ways so it was fairly easy to create a realistic character. People with this syndrome suffer greatly. We know what it feels like to be hungry. Imagine having that feeling no matter how much you ate. Imagine not being able to think or function without having food constantly on your mind. Most people with PWS have to have their cupboards and refrigerators chained shut and they have to have constant supervision. In the wrong hands these people are exploited as they will do anything and I mean anything for food.
E: Do you have any other projects in the works?
T: Yes. I’m also working on a full length novel about an exterminator who stumbles upon an unusual situation. This one also involves a medical condition.
E: How did you start your journey as a writer?
T: At the time my daughter was three and we were living in West Virginia. We asked her if she wanted to go to Disney Land or to visit her Grandma’s in Iowa, for vacation. She choose visiting her Grandma’s. That broke our hearts and we decided to move back home to Iowa. I applied for a job online and after two telephone interviews they asked what my husband did for a living. I told them he was managing the distribution center I was working in. They then interviewed him and eventually hired him. They then told me they had a nepotism policy and couldn’t hire me. The bastard took my job! So that was it for me. I said fine “job stealer” I’ll be a domestic Goddess and I’ll stay home and write books while you work at the job you took from me. It actually has worked out quite well – so well in fact that he was promoted and transferred and now here we are far away from Iowa again. His goal in life is for me to become rich and famous so that he doesn’t have to work anymore. He pushes me pretty hard most of the time which is exactly what I need. His name is Terry but I call him Peatie or Little Man.
E: What is the best piece of writing advice someone has given you?
T: There is a saying that sticks with me. I don’t know who said it or where it came from;
Don’t read book reviews. If you read a bad review you might believe what they say, and if you read a good review you might believe what they say.
It makes sense. I was terrified about getting my first bad review and Lyle Perez (Rainstorm Press) told me that I would most definitely get bad reviews. Now that I’ve gotten a few they don’t sting nearly as bad as they did at first. It’s like getting a shot. It hurts for a little while but you know that in the long run it’s the best thing for you.
Thank you for having me. This has been so much fun and the pie was divine. Because we all know that an interview with Erin would be nothing without pie!