Monday, May 28, 2012

Welcome Fandom Fest Panelist Tammy Jo Eckhart

ARM:   Where do you get the inspiration for your stories or characters?

TJE:  Alexx, I believe my inspiration comes from three overlapping aspects of my life.  First my personal experiences play a large role in determining what topics I’m interested in addressing.  However my previous life as a academic greatly aids my world and character development but this scholarly background also pulls me in directions that personally challenge me as well and I’ve written several of my published stories because I set a task to examine a certain situation or character realistically yet engagingly.  Finally I’ve always had a very active imagination that has driven me to write since I was in kindergarten.

ARM:      Do your characters talk to you?

TJE:  My characters act for me quite literally.  It is not uncommon for me to actually see entire scenes of my work in my dreams and I have the skill to be aware in my dreams and start over or adjust them over the course of several nights to see the various ways the story could develop.  I also talk to myself as I write sometimes or even stand up to act out a gesture or hear a dialogue outloud as I’m working.

ARM:      What other authors would you suggest to fans of you work?

TJE:  Anne Bishop has some of the dark tones that I work into many of my stories but I hope this doesn’t sound too arrogant, I also feel very connected with the social commentary of Octavia Butler’s work.  In terms of the more adult nature of my work, I hope I have the complexity of some like Laura Antoniou or Cecilia Tan while making the more erotic aspects of my working pay off for the reader.

ARM:      What are some things that you would like your fans to know about you?

TJE:  A lot of writers will claim they are just average people but I’m really not on several levels.  I live what I write as far as it is possible yet I’m a complex woman whom it would take someone a good deal of time and effort to get to know well even if it seems like I’m very open about my life.

I really do care about my readers, I love meeting them at events, and I still blush when asked to sign a book.  I can’t say that I write for my readers however because really I’m writing for myself primarily, challenging myself, working through the images in my mind, and trying to creative worlds and characters that will entice and force the reader to think just as I’m thinking as I’m working.

ARM:      Do you have a current work in progress?

TJE:   I am finishing the third book in my trilogy from Circlet Press entitled Beyond the Softness of His Fur.  This is a dystopian mid-22nd century world where biological sciences reign over technology though both are used to help humans survive in a world of extreme weather and severely limited access to fresh water impacts everyone’s daily life.  It is a very mature trilogy that does not shy away from violence, sex, or political commentary.  If folks want to read the first chapter of the trilogy, they can find it here

My agent is also shopping a more mainstream novel around to several publishing houses.  We hope this will help me gain access to the bigger companies and their marketing ability to reach out to a wider audience.

ARM:      What are you excited about doing or seeing at Fandom Fest?

TJE:  There are so many things that I’m looking forward to doing this year, Alexx.

This will be my second year there so I’m hopeful that the weather and the venue will cooperate and we’ll have more time to talk with each person who stops by my table.  I’ll be there with one of my friends acting as my roadie and she’s very skilled with make-up and costumes so I’m eager to see what she’ll come up with and how people will react.

I’m always thrilled to read live for people.  For about a year and a half I did a radio reading show via the Second Life world but nothing replaces seeing people’s reactions to my work and tweaking my reading a touch to generate more reactions.
I’m hopeful that my second story in my RPG game I run will draw in even more players this year.  It is a popular game at other conventions I attend so I hope the folks from last year return and that we get a few more.

This will also be my first year appearing as “The Chocolate Priestess” in connection to my work with The Chocolate Cult (  I’ll have samples from three companies with me and the chocolatier who supplies the in-house chocolate shop from the hotel will be there to meet everyone with me on Saturday morning.  We’ll walk folks through their five-senses with each piece of chocolate.  Space is limited because the samples are limited.

ARM:      Where can we find out more about you and your books?

My website is the best place to begin:

There you can find links to other sites I’m active on though to be honest, we need to update the site more often than we do.

Thank you, Alexx, for hosting these interviews.