Her first work, a short story collection titled Gnarled Bones And Other Stories is out now in paperback and ebook. She is currently working on a novella series set in a Northern California resort town. The series explores the crumbling relationships among the wealthy San Francisco Alderdice family.
She is also working on another book titled House of Masks about a woman who, mourning the death of her father, breaks free of isolation and loneliness when she is drawn into the lives of her two neighbors, one eccentric and one embittered. For more about Tam and her work, feel free to check out her website.
She currently lives in Texas but calls San Francisco and the Bay Area home. When she’s not writing, she’s reading classic literature and watching classic films.
Connect with the Author
About the Book
Gnarled Bones and Other Stories explores five tales of loss, fear, and guilt where strange and spooky events impact people’s lives in ways that are profound and unchangeable.
In “Mother of Mischief”, a newly divorced woman goes back to school to begin a new chapter of her life only to find herself circling back to where she started. In “Bracelets”, childhood nostalgia mingles with brutal fear during a circus outing for a mailroom secretary and her friends. In “A First Saturday Outing”*, a lonely woman ventures out of her isolated apartment one quiet Saturday afternoon to an art exhibit that leaves an eerie impression on her psyche*. In “Broken Bows”, a middle-aged violinist reveals the mystery behind his declining artistic powers to a lonely woman on a train. And the title story, “Gnarled Bones”, paints a portrait of the complex bond between an orphaned sister and brother through journal entries and first-person narrative. For these characters, the past leaves its shadow on the present and future.
* This story was featured on Whimsy Gardener’s Storytime With Whimsey.
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Keep reading for an interview with the author:
Why did you decide to be a writer?
I decided to become a writer because when I discovered writing at the age of 14, I had no real voice. I grew up in a very overprotected family and I was very shy and introverted. I was taught to keep my feelings hidden and my opinions to myself. I realized through starting a journal and writing fiction that my real voice could emerge through writing.
Do you have a "day job"?
I'm fortunate enough to have been able to quit my day job last year. I worked right out of college in clerical/administrative work and then went back to school to get my graduate degree. After that, I worked as a college English instructor and later, as an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher and tutor.
What genres do you write?
I write psychological fiction, which is a subgenre of contemporary/literary fiction, as well as a subgenre of several other categories (like suspense, thriller, and horror). But the fiction that I write is more psychological drama. I wrote a guest post explaining what psychological fiction is and why I write it here.
What inspires you to write?
Everything! Seriously, if something seems out of place or curious or quirky, I can find inspiration in it. It could be a strange image I see on the internet, a character from a movie that intrigued me, a conversation that I overhear at Starbuck's. Anything.
Do you have a daily word or page count goal?
I don't do well with daily word or page count goals, as I always feel like I'm just writing to fill up space. The exception is when I participate in National Novel Writing Month :-). However, I do try to write for a certain amount of time most days. I have concentration issues so I can't sit for long stretches of time, but I sit for 45 minutes or 1 hour and write continuously during that space of time. If I'm lucky, I squeeze in two writing sessions during the day.
What authors/books have most influenced you?
The author that has most influenced me is Anais Nin and the book that really changed my entire view of fiction was her book of short stories, Under a Glass Bell. I discovered the book on a bookstore shelf in Israel among the eclectic books written in English. The book is quite experimental with lyrical prose and it was my first exposure to that kind of writing. I was amazed not only by the beauty of the language but also by the way Nin could take a character and completely turn him or her inside out. I wanted to do that with my fiction, but in my own way and my own style, of course.
When did you first consider yourself an author?
Honestly, I only began to consider myself an author when I got the proof copy of the paperback version of my book, Gnarled Bones and Other Stories, in November of last year. It was holding the book in my hand, seeing the cover and the words written inside that were mine that made me feel I was really an author. I was always a writer, but that was the first time I started identifying myself as an author.
What is the best compliment you've ever received as an author?
The best complement came from a woman in my critique group. She commented on my story "Gnarled Bones" that my writing always made her feel comforted, no matter what the context was. That was a huge thing for me because I do tend to write dark psychological fiction, so my stories and characters are definitely not shiny happy people in sunny situations. But I do try to offer rays of hope in my stories and redeeming characteristics for my characters.
What do you enjoy doing aside from writing?
I love reading, obviously! I've always been fascinated by the past so I love reading classic literature. I'm also a huge classic film fan. I love the black-and-whites!
What made you decide to self-publish?
I loved the idea of being master of my own career with self-publishing, even though I knew it would mean a lot more work and perhaps less respect from the so-called literary establishment. I also knew that what I was writing was going to be a hard sell to publishers and literary agents. My style is more character-based and I love writing shorter works, like novellas and short stories. Those aren't readily published by publishers.
What are you working on now?
Right now, I'm working on several different projects. I'm nearly finished with the first round of revisions for the first book of my Waxwood series, The Order of Acateon and I'm submitting chapters to my wonderful critique group to help me with round two of revisions. I'm just about to begin the first draft for Book 2 of the series, The Claustrophobic Heart. I'm also working on another book titled House of Masks which I started during NaNo last year.