Today I’m sitting on the porch of Creekside Café with my writer-sister, Tammera Cooper. Tammera is a fellow member of the Pamlico Writers’ Group as well as a member of, the Heart of Carolina our local Romance Writers of America group, and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Welcome to Creekside, Tammy.
Tammy: Thanks for the invite. It’s the perfect day to sit on the porch and visit.
Sherri: You’ve been out this way before.
Tammy: Yes, I make my way across the river every once in a while. I love it when I get over this way. The Aurora Christmas Craft fair was awesome. I was able to sign some books for readers. We had a lot of fun.
Sherri: You’re almost local especially if you go by river.
Tammy: Yes, I live by the Pamlico River with my fiancé. If you look really hard, you probably could see me waving from shore. Patrick did an awesome job building our house. Definitely set us up for our own Happily Ever After.
Sherri: You’ve not always believed in happy ever after?
Tammy: We will just put it like this, life hasn’t been kind. But that gives me an appreciation for the good times and more angst for my books.
Sherri: I’m so excited to announce that your second book, Sleeping Mallows will be out soon.
Tammy: It’s almost here, May 15th. If you preorder now, you will get your copy May 14th.
Sherri: Your series is called the Water Street Chronicles, give our readers a little taste of your books.
Tammy: My first book, Drenched Sunflowers came out last fall. I mixed a contemporary Southern fiction with a historical love story. The ghosts in the Water Street Chronicles tend to be everyone’s favorite characters.
I’ll share what I have written on the back of the book:
Rainy days and river views fill Beth’s summer as she makes a new start in small town Washington, North Carolina. After the loss of her husband in a tragic accident, simple seems better. It’s time to renovate her life, starting with a future art gallery on the river. Sam, her contractor, has everything under control, but the stress of the construction project and new business is beginning to make her crazy. Nightmares and visions of ghosts become the nightly norm. She doesn’t have time for this. She doesn’t have time for her heart to make room for him.
Sam is happy filling his days and nights with work. His two jobs as a teacher and contractor are his passions and do not leave room for much else. This new project has possibilities: a beautiful owner, the history of the house, and an 19th-century diary. Beth’s dream is becoming a timely reality until she disappears.
Mystery and intrigue fill the haunting river bank of the Pamlico as Sam and Beth find the truth behind the Water Street house and each other.
Sherri: Yes, I am Team Sam, but your daughter is Team Brad? Do you want to give a little hint about this competition?
Tammy: The main character in the Water Street Chronicles, Beth Pearse, is a young widow and is having a hard time learning to love again. She had a fairytale marriage, and when you lose someone so early in life, it makes it hard to start over again. Sam is her contractor, and her heart wants to take the leap again with him, but Brad was meant to be her one and only. My readers like to choose sides and tell me who they think Beth’s heart should be loyal to.
Sherri: You’re a self-published author. I know you’ve had a few challenges publishing your first book. What are some of the things you learned with the first book? Was the second a little easier?
Tammy: Number one give yourself plenty of time to get things done. A cover can be designed and ready 3 months in advance. It sits there patiently while you get the rest ready. But if you wait till the last-minute little things, for instance hurricane Florence, can cause delays and extreme stress. Not that Florence was a little thing. The other creatives on your team need time too.
Sherri: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Tammy: My favorite Romance book was To Love a Rogue by Valerie Sherwood. After reading it many times in High School, I headed to the University of West Florida to study marine archeology, final destination, Port Royal Jamaica. After finding out I wasn’t a great swimmer, I changed my major to Art History. And so, started my career in retail management.
In 2014, as a Retail Store Manager, the writing bug bit. The characters started speaking and would not leave me alone until I started to put them on paper. The Water Street Chronicles were born. I have always loved historical romance and assumed that was what I was writing. Each of the book titles come from code flowers of the Underground Railroad. During a brainstorming exercise with a Harlequin Editor at the Babes on the Beach writers retreat, the contemporary story came to life. I haven’t looked back.
Sherri: I too love historical romance and always planned to write it but then life happened, and things changed. I still have a historical series I’m planning to write. What about you, will you write a historical or do you plan to write in another genre?
Tammy: There is a prequel in the planning for the Chronicles, telling Selah’s and Abram’s love story and the story of the Underground Railroad in Washington NC. After that, I guess I will see where life takes me.
Sherri: I’ve read Drenched Sunflowers but only excerpts of Sleeping Mallows. Share a little of your upcoming book. I know everyone is getting excited about it.
Tammy: Book two, Sleeping Mallows, continues the mystery along the river from the law enforcement point of view. It’s non-stop action, cover to cover. I’ll share the back of the book:
A river overflows with secrets and ghosts of the past… Will it reveal what they seek?
The day the Pearse woman was pulled from the river, Deputy Tim Whitaker knew this was a make or break case. He worked his whole career cracking the hard ones. Why can’t he catch a break? He should have known it might get complicated with a much-loved local as the primary suspect and a second man everyone has seen, but no one knows. All he needs is one clue, one thing to bring her closure.
Captain Savanna McCormick needs closure – the kind she provides for other families thanks to her partner Max, her K9 cadaver dog. Too bad she can’t get her own. Her parents’ disappearance may no longer be a newsworthy item, but the still-open case is always on her mind, especially now she has custody of her younger brother. Chaperoning a field trip forces her to confront her worst fears; returning to Washington, NC where her parents were last seen.
A special assignment brings them together while the job keeps them apart. Will the Pamlico River prove to be their toughest adversary? Can they work together and solve the case before the Pamlico washes it all away and hides its secrets forever?
Sherri: Water features heavily in your stories.
Tammy: I grew up on the Rappahannock River in Virginia watching the riverside community change with the times but remaining the same in spirit. The waterside lifestyle is in my blood and influences my writing every day.
A short time ago, I made some changes in my career and personal life to put the words on paper. I now live in Washington, NC. Writing is my second job. I enjoy the research required to write stories that are woven with the small town’s history.
Sherri: Before we go, you have a list of actors who you wish to play your characters if your books are made into a movie.
Tammy: Yes, I do. This is a list of actors I would want to portray my main characters if my book was made into a movie:
*Author Social Media Links
*Links to where the books are Sold
Beth ran to the back of the house. Her chest hurt as she gasped for her next breath. Screams came from the small outbuilding at the corner of the yard. Rain poured down in sheets as the lightning flashed around her. Sunflowers waved in the wind, bending, almost touching the lawn. The trees joined in the harsh dance forced to follow the rhythm of the storm. It had gotten worse. Someone was stuck, and they couldn’t get out of the shed. She kept running, but it seemed the shed was getting farther away. The yard was starting to flood.
“I’m coming,” she yelled, but no words came out of her mouth. The screaming got louder. She finally reached the door. The lightning flashed with a loud clap of thunder. Beth jumped because it was so loud. She reached for the doorknob, but the handle was gone.
“Help! The water is coming in. I can’t get out.”
It was a woman on the other side of the door. The banging was so loud. Beth tried to get some leverage on the door, but there was nothing to grab. The rough water was getting deep, up to Beth’s waist. It wouldn’t stop coming. It must be coming over the river bank.
She looked around the yard for something to pry the door open as the structure started to sway. She had to get her out of there. She ran back to the shed just as it collapsed. A horrible scream split the night air. The roof fell, and the walls ripped apart in the surf as they disappeared into the darkness. Maybe she could still save the woman. Maybe she wasn’t badly hurt. Beth grabbed at the debris tossing it out of her way like a mad woman. Under a broad beam, she found a young black woman strangely dressed. The beam held her pinned under the water. Yard tools and other rubble floated in the waves that churned around her. A basket floated by Beth as she bent to move the massive beam. She looked down at the person struggling under the water. It was the woman she had seen in the bathroom mirror, her eyes pleading for help. She tried to grab Beth as air bubbles escaped her mouth.
“Oh, my God, it won’t move.” Beth looked down at her, the hope draining from her spirit. The beam wouldn’t move. She tried again, but the water was too deep now. With a quick glance back toward the house, she spied an older woman standing in the window. Beth waved her arms, hoping for some bit of salvation, but the woman turned away as if she couldn’t see Beth at all. Beth turned back to the woman and reached out to lay a reassuring hand on her arm only to find, there was no life left to be saved.
A K9 cop struggles to adjust to her new role as guardian to her younger brother after the disappearance of her parents. Washington, North Carolina needs her help to solve a kidnapping case but first, she must face her fears of returning to the town her parents were last seen.
*Top 10s list (A List of your top 10 favorite things OR a list of 10 fun, random facts about yourself)
1. I lived in the Netherlands for 5 years.
2. I was an Army wife for 15 yrs. My fiancé is in the Army Reserves.
3. I live in a house 14 ft in the air.
4. I have been to 48 states.
5. Favorite date of all time was flounder gigging at midnight in the Newport River.
6. Favorite movie is the Lake House with Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves
7. When I graduated from high school, I wanted to be a marine archeologist because of a romance novel by Valerie Sherwood, To Love a Rogue set in Port Royal, Jamaica.
8. I have a Weimaraner, a kelpie, a black cat, and a gargoyle gecko.
9. Favorite drink is Sweet Tea.
10. I’ve ridden a motorcycle over the Continental Divide in a sleet storm. By the time we made it to the top, I had icicles hanging from my glasses.