A.J.: Let’s talk a little about you.
Tamela: UGH! Do we have to?
A.J.: Of course! When did you first start writing stories?
Tamela: Ah, my creation story. I was 10 when I wrote my first masterpiece. It was lauded by teachers and faculty alike at Keystone Elementary in Spokane Washington and set me up with a ridiculous inflation of my own brilliance. It took me way longer than it should have to realize and deal with my limitations and lack of knowledge.
A.J.: What was it about?
Tamela: It was the life story of a beat up A&W can. It had it all, death, rebirth, separation from his family (the other cans in the six pack) basically it was where I got the ideas for From These Ashes now that I think about it. 🙂 It was also way ahead of its time as there was the entire recycling process (it was reborn a TV dinner tray).
A.J.: Do you still have this story? Because I think you ought to release it as a Kindles Single.
Tamela: Haha, honestly, I think the teacher kept it. I know he had it on display that whole year (I’m not kidding, he loved it) years later in high school journalism his daughter was in the class with me and said, ‘You’re Tamela Ritter? My dad will not shut up about you!” *ego inflates still*
A.J.: You were born to literary greatness!
Tamela: Basically. And have spent the rest of my life trying to match it.
A.J.: So after the A&W story – which I hope will be dug up by some Washington State Ritter Historian – what was your first publication?
Tamela: I was really intimidated and terrified to submit anything anywhere until I moved to Connecticut and joined Pencils!
A.J.: For people who don’t know, I met Tammy though the Pencils! writing group.
Tamela: Everyone there were so great and encouraging and had ideas of where to send what and most of the members I associated with were very dedicated to getting published. So I tried it. The first short story I had accepted was for Norwalk Community College’s “Musings.” It was called “Allen Quinn” and it won best short story.
A.J.: I remember “Allan Quinn.” I have a copy of that Musings somewhere.
Tamela: Me too… somewhere. I also worked on staff so it was weird watching the process from within… having my story discussed when no one knew I had written it.
A.J.: Now that you’ve published a novel, what’s next for you?
Tamela: More novels I guess?
A.J.: Are you working on one now, or are you focusing on promoting this one now?
Tamela: Mostly I’m focused on promoting this one. I didn’t have any idea the amount of work involved and how tired I would become of talking about myself. I continue to get ridiculously excited whenever some new adventure or opportunity comes up for the novel and myself. I constantly need to remind myself to take my time and savor all of these first-time things and try and convince myself that not everyone is as tired of me as I am of myself. *hopes this is true*
But it does feels really good though when I do take time to write. This month I’m trying to get back into some sort of schedule, an attainable goal everyday that makes me produce fresh stuff.
A.J.: Any readings or events coming up that you want to tell the Internets about?
Tamela: Yes! I will be at the Hylton Performing Center for Arts Alive! on April 13th http://www.pwcartscouncil.org/ The festival goes all day and there are a lot of different arts being celebrated throughout. I will be there from 5-8 selling and signing. I will be there the rest of the day soaking up art and supporting Writing by the Rail, this great organization I’ve just discovered and joined and they have been super supportive already! Also, on May 4th from 2-4 I will be at Bull Run Regional Library in Manassas for their Author Fair. Please, come and keep me company! ❤
A.J.: Well that’s it. Thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed tonight.
Tamela: Thank you! It was fun!