Women and Adversity: Tammera Cooper
Tammera Cooper told author Lizzie Lee in an interview, “I didn’t think about writing a book until my husband died in 2009. You start to think about what’s important when you lose someone close to you.” He was 31 years old, and Tammera was 38 with a young daughter. She found the opportunity to begin Drenched Sunflowers, Book 1 in her Water Street Chronicles series, in 2014 and published it in 2018. Book 2, Sleeping Mallows, came out in May 2019.
Cooper grew up in Virginia and was an avid reader of romance when she was a teen. She studied art history at University of West Florida and now lives in Washington, N.C., has a menagerie of pets and is engaged to be married.
JAM: What was the biggest obstacle you faced when you wrote Drenched Sunflowers?
TC: Time. Work was my priority as a single mother who was responsible for 100% of the household expenses. Keeping a roof over our heads was the only thing that mattered. Happiness and loving what I was doing was way down on my to-do list. I was struggling to ensure my child’s lifestyle and happiness.
Three years after the death of my husband, it finally sunk in that everything would fall into place if I spent time on myself. I began to enjoy life again, using my creativity in many different ways. A career change materialized and with that, time to write. I was still writing on my lunch breaks and days off, but it was much more productive.
Hurricane Florence tried to cancel my release but I pushed through it. Now a year later I can see that I should have taken my time and made sure everything was perfect, delaying the release if necessary.
JAM: What was the biggest obstacle you faced when you wrote Sleeping Mallows?
TC: I was an empty nester and writing every evening while eating dinner by myself. The words were flowing and the story was coming together. A job offer came with the opportunity for more writing time and relocation closer to family. I took it, and my brain instantly went into a fog. The change was a good one, but it stopped my progress almost instantly. My brain needed to rest and adjust to the new schedule and environment. I came up with a new writing schedule. My week was reserved for work and family while the weekends were strictly for writing. The words started to appear again with the help of my editor, Jeni Burns.
JAM: What obstacle/s do you face now as a writer?
TC: I am currently working on my 3rd book, Waning Honeysuckle. This book added new challenges, primarily with continuity of the plot. I have my writing schedule and I stick to it. I have created a space that is all mine and it’s conducive to creativity, but sometimes my brain gets a little too creative. My characters get too bold and have a mind of their own. I am a “pantser,” an author who doesn’t plan a book in advance, but planning is necessary for the conclusion of a series. I have to make sure that all the questions in the previous books are answered.
It is a new way of writing for me and it is causing the process to slow. Writing is a second job to take seriously. As my deadline looms, my brain clicks into hyper-drive, puts the plan in place, and the words on the page.
I’ve learned many lessons along my writing journey. First, make writing a priority if that is what your passion is. Second, allow yourself to have time off if you need it. Writing can be stressful and you need to let your mind rest. Third, when trying out a new method, give yourself extra time to meet that deadline.
Tammera Cooper’s website: www.southernromanceonthepamlico.com
Next, October 24 – Janet Evanovich, Novelist