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Happy Wednesday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have debut author Elizabeth Tammi here to share about her debut YA fantasy OUTRUN THE WIND. It’s based on Greek mythology, and the rules of the world sound very intriguing.

Before I get to my interview I have my IWSG post. 

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday is officially Insecure Writer's Support Group Day.

The co-hosts this month are: J.H. Moncrieff, Tonja Drecker , Patsy Collins, and Chrys Fey!

Optional Question: What are five objects we'd find in your writing space?

My writing space moves around a lot so I don't have much in it. I only use a laptop. My work area  could be in my bedroom, at writing stand on my dining room table, on the kitchen counter, or at my boyfriend's. All I have is a laptop and thumb drive. Sometimes I need a pad of paper and pen. A coffee cup sits nearby often. That's it!

What's your writing space like?

Now back to my interview with Elizabeth. Here’s a blurb from Goodreads

The Huntresses of Artemis must obey two rules: never disobey the goddess, and never fall in love. After being rescued from a harrowing life as an Oracle of Delphi, Kahina is glad to be a part of the Hunt; living among a group of female warriors gives her a chance to reclaim her strength, even while her prophetic powers linger. But when a routine mission goes awry, Kahina breaks the first rule in order to save the legendary huntress Atalanta.

To earn back Artemis’s favor, Kahina must complete a dangerous task in the kingdom of Arkadia— where the king’s daughter is revealed to be none other than Atalanta. Still reeling from her disastrous quest and her father’s insistence on marriage, Atalanta isn’t sure what to make of Kahina. As her connection to Atalanta deepens, Kahina finds herself in danger of breaking Artemis’ second rule.

She helps Atalanta devise a dangerous game to avoid marriage, and word spreads throughout Greece, attracting suitors willing to tempt fate to go up against Atalanta in a race for her hand. But when the men responsible for both the girls’ dark pasts arrive, the game turns deadly.

Hi Elizabeth! Thanks so much for joining us. 

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer. 

Thanks so much for having me! So, I’m currently studying journalism and creative writing at Mercer University in Georgia, though I’ve previously lived in California, Florida, and England (briefly). I remember that my very first answer when adults asked me as a young child, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, was always an author. My parents read to me very often from the day I was born, and I don’t know a time in my life where I haven’t been enamored by books. They’re pure magic, and I’ve always wanted to attempt to write one of my own. It wasn’t until I was 16 that I started writing seriously, and Outrun the Wind is the second manuscript I’ve completed.

2. Awesome that you always knew that you wanted to be a writer. Where did you get the idea for OUTRUN THE WIND? 

When I read about the life of Atalanta before I left for college, I was instantly smitten by her story. I adored her ancient badassery and assertiveness, but felt just irately angry by how her story ended up in the old myths. Married to a dude that used divine trickery to trap her? No way. I was so confounded that I couldn’t stop thinking about it, weeks later. Other questions and frustrations I’d long held about Greek mythology also started popping up, and slowly but surely, they found a way to connect themselves, and that premise became Outrun the Wind.

3. This is based loosely on Greek mythology. How did you find the balance between keeping your story true to the mythology and creating a story that was your own? 

It’s definitely a balancing act! I wanted to honor the original stories of her, but also wanted to offer a spin that was unique enough that I wouldn’t feel I was just plagiarizing Ovid, haha. It definitely helped that half of the book is told from my other main character, Kahina’s, perspective. In general, adding new characters and motivations allowed me to offer a different interpretation of the same story, if that makes sense. From an external perspective, Outrun the Wind technically follows many of the original events, but when read through my characters’ points-of-view, new considerations and desires help change the story’s meaning.

4. Yes, I'm sure changing the POV of part of the story helped. I love the two rules of your world: obey the goddess always and never fall in love. Such hard ones to keep. What made you decide on these two and what was your world building process like in general. 

Well, I’ve long been fascinated by the group of followers of Artemis. Rick Riordan has an awesome
interpretation of them that he dubbed the “Hunters of Artemis” in his Greek-inspired stories, which is how I initially found out about them. Anyway, I was just very interested to explore what it would actually be like to be in Artemis’s following. As cool as she is, Artemis is still an Olympian, and none of the Olympians—in my opinion—are genuinely good. I was curious to see how the benefits of being in her hunt, such as protection and companionship, would mix with some of the potential drawbacks, including an extreme expectation of obedience and no allowance of romantic or sexual inclinations, since Artemis is the goddess of maidenhood. As for worldbuilding in general, I took a lot of time to consider what it would actually feel like to be a mortal in the world of mythological Greece. The myths and stories often depict life as a sweeping epic, but there’s so much cruelty and pain wrapped up in it. I don’t think the Olympians are ‘good’, but they are ‘gray’, and I tried to imagine as best as I could how girls like Kahina and Atalanta might get caught in their crosshairs, while also dealing with very human issues like parental expectations and finding independence.

5. I love Rick Riordan's stories. Tell us a bit about Kahina and how her character developed as you wrote her story. Was there anything that surprised you about her? 

Kahina was a joy to write, since she’s an original character, so I didn’t have to stress about making an already-established figure my own. Kahina is a teenaged girl that finds herself bound to serve Artmis after the goddess saves Kahina from working as an oracle for her brother Apollo. Her story goes back further, and she grew up with her father’s sailing fleet in Corinth—but I don’t want to spoil anything big. Anyway, the most surprising aspect of writing Kahina was realizing just how many ‘lives’ she’s had—that’ll make more sense to those who have read OTW, but she’s kind of the ancient Greek equivalent of an Army brat, from the aspect that she’s had to change locations and roles so many times in her life, and each one adds another layer to her personality and development. I hadn’t even really considered it until my editor pointed it out to me one day. That was sometimes hard to wrap my brain around, but it also made her a very interesting character to write.

6. You are also a college student and are also very involved in acting and singing. How do you balance all these demands on your time and find the time that you need to write? 

Well, there’s plenty of coffee and late nights involved. But in all honesty, I wouldn’t say I have it any worse than, say, a full-time employee who’s also raising kids, or something like that. Right now, I have the ability to only have to worry about my own responsibilities, and in a way, my writing actually helps a lot with my time management. It drives me to complete my schoolwork as quickly and carefully as I can, so I have enough time to write at the end of the day, usually. As for my other activities, I’m involved with my campus’s newspaper, literary magazine, and acapella group. It gets hectic, but I’ve never been one to put all my eggs in one basket. I need other activities, passions, and friends outside of the writing world, because I don’t want to be defined by just one thing, if that makes sense.

7. That's a good way to look at being so busy. What was your road to publication like?

It involved a terrible first book, some excellent luck with Twitter, and lots of workshops. By talking with other people in my debut group of traditionally-published YA and MG authors, I can see that we all had somewhat differing paths and different levels of deals, of course. I wrote a really bad first book back in high school, and after querying some agents, quickly realized how rough it was. As crushing as that was, I got so much out of it—I learned how to finish a book! I connected with some incredible critique partners that I still work with today, and learned the ins-and-outs of the publishing industry by connecting with other writers online and at workshops. During my freshman year of college, I started writing Outrun the Wind with the end goal of traditional publication. When I had a solid draft, I had my critique partners give feedback, and I attacked the querying process from as many angles as I could. I pitched agents at a conference, I sent query emails, and I participated in the now-renowned Twitter contest #PitMad, where agents and editors can essentially request a query based on a Tweet-length pitch of your book. It was the last option that ultimately got me my book deal. I crossed paths with Kelsy Thompson, an absolutely incredible acquisitions editor at Flux who shared my love for mythology and female-driven stories. She invited me to query her, which turned into a full request, and later, a book deal. I’ve had a fabulous experience with Flux, and couldn’t have asked for a better debut experience. For those who think they have a query-ready manuscript, I’d definitely suggest to take on the industry from more than one approach. At the very least, it helped me feel like I was using different strategies and that I wasn’t in a ‘rut’. But at its core, all traditional publishing deals boil down to querying, even if you get a foot-in-the-door from a conference or Twitter contest, so make sure you’ve got a solid query letter and that you do plenty of research on the agents and houses you reach out to!

8. I think many of us have one of those bad first books. How are you planning to promote your book? What are some of the considerations that went into your plans? 

Flux has been a great help with this, and so has the creative writing department at my university. Flux helped get OTW into bookstores and book subscription boxes, and did a nice job at sending out advanced copies. I also reached out to some bloggers and reviewers for promotion in the months leading up to release. I tried to accept as many interview opportunities as I could, as well as hosting some giveaways of ARCs. My writing department here at school was kind enough to write up a press release and host a launch event for me. When I was considering what I wanted to do as far as promotions, I had to remind myself that nothing I do is really going to tip the scale that much. In traditional publishing, so much is in the control of your house—I have a helpful publicist, and the Flux team has been a great champion of my work both onscreen and behind-the-scenes. At the end of the day, nothing I do will make a huge difference in the book’s sales, so I had to make peace with that and focus on doing things that I actually enjoy, like coordinating with book bloggers and running giveaways! I didn’t bother with a blog tour, or a ‘street team’, or a pre-order campaign, though I know other authors who have successfully completed these. I just knew I wouldn’t have the time or energy to spearhead those, and I didn’t let myself feel bad about it. The best thing I can do to ensure my success in this industry is to keep writing the next thing, so I have to remind myself that writing is the top priority.

9. I love your philosophy on marketing. Okay, I don’t totally get Tumblr blogs. Share about your blog, http://annabethisterrified.tumblr.com/, that you describe as a leading YA fiction/writing blog. How do you connect with your followers and promote it? 

I started my Tumblr blog back in 2012, when I was in middle school and utterly obsessed with Percy Jackson. I mostly founded it as a way to get in contact with other Riordan fans out there, to exchange predictions and thoughts on upcoming books. But it evolved over the next few years into a blog that celebrated YA fiction in general, and I started posting my reviews of books and even working with publishing houses including Penguin Random House on some promotions work. When I started writing seriously, I’d share snippets every now and again, and I remain floored by the amount of support and community I find there. I didn’t do anything specific to gain my following, though I suspect the bulk of my followers joined in the heyday of the ‘Riordanverse’ world, preceding the release of his final book in the Heroes of Olympus series. I’d definitely made a name for myself of being a big source of headcanons and theories, and thankfully, my followers seemed to stick around after I evolved into a broader blog that focused on YA.

10. What are you working on now? 

I’ve got another myth-inspired story in the works, though nothing I can share officially until the end of the year. Stay tuned!

Thanks for sharing your advice, Elizabeth. You can find Elizabeth at:

Elizabeth has generously offered a hardback of OUTRUN THE WIND for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through December 22nd. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter either contest.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. This giveaway is international.

Here's what's coming up:

Monday, December 10th I have an interview with debut author Rebecca Caprara and a giveaway of THE MAGIC OF MELWICK ORCHARD

Friday, December 14th I'm participating in the Midwinter Eve Giveaway Hop--my last post of the year

Wednesday, January 2nd I'll start 2019 with an interview with debut author Gita Trelease and a giveaway of her YA historical fantasy ENCHANTEE and my IWSG post

Hope to see you on Monday!


Megan said...

This book sounds wonderful :)
I follow via GFC as Megan S.
Email: megan(dot)clarsach(at)gmail(dot)com
I Tweeted here: https://twitter.com/WordsThatStay1/status/1070262068878675968

nashvillecats2 said...

I also think this book is good and such a wonderful interview. My laptop is on a desk amongst family photo's. Good post hope all is well with you.


Patsy said...

I'm lucky to have a proper desk in a shared office. My side is the messy half!

Cathrina Constantine said...

I write the same way you do, Natalie. I move from spot to spot, room to room, wherever...

Tammi's book sounds amazing! Wishing her loads of success!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You write where you can, Natalie.
Elizabeth, that's amazing you can sing and be in college and still produce a book.
And I also lived briefly in England!

Rebecca M. Douglass said...

Great interview, and an interesting-sounding book.

Up until this fall, I wrote on a desktop computer, which I love for the huge screen space (great for editing, when I can have 2 versions up at full size side-by-side. But I'm coming to realize some of the advantages of using the laptop, like being able to move around. Right now, for example, I think I'll move into the dining room, where the sun is shining!
Rebecca’s IWSG post at The Ninja Librarian

Christine Rains said...

That's wonderful you are flexible where you can write. I'm very much into the routine of sitting here at my computer to do so. I need to stretch out!

Congratulations to Elizabeth! I do love Greek mythology, and that sounds like Artemis to me.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Natalie, I too have a writing space that moves around a lot but invariable it lands up on my writing desk.

Good luck to Elizabeth for her book Outrun The Wind, it sounds super.

Jennifer Lane said...

Ooh, a writing stand! I bought one but never set it up. Great idea.

David Powers King said...

Congrats on your release, Elizabeth! :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Twitter pitches work. DLP has signed two authors from Twitter pitch parties.

Natalie, my external hard drive is always nearby and goes with me EVERYWHERE. I don't dare let anything happen to all of DLP's stuff.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Congrats on your book release, Elizabeth!

Natalie - I think having an external hard drive right there is a great idea. I need to do that.

Jemi Fraser said...

My official writing space has the fun stuff, but in reality I tend to write in the living room :)
Outrun the Wind sounds great - love the title too!

Raimey Gallant said...

I don't read a lot of fiction of this type, but this book makes me want to! Happy IWSG day!

Donna K. Weaver said...

Nice interview. Love the cover and the concept.

Jennifer Hawes said...

Coffee and laptop. All you need to write. Nice interview with a debut author!

cleemckenzie said...

I like how flexible your workspace is. Simple and efficient.

It was nice to learn this writer had such a great support group for her book.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

OUTRUN THE WIND sounds like a great read. I love the cover too.

And yeah, I enjoy writing in different spaces too, rather than being stuck in one area. It keeps things fresh.

Diane Burton said...

Natalie, it's great that you're flexible, writing where you can. Elizabeth, your book sounds so interesting. I love the resurgence of mythology. So much fun to read. Best wishes to you both.

Juneta key said...

I love mythology. Book sounds awesome.

I use a laptop too, so I could write somewhere else and have on occasion, but mostly I need to be away from distractions. Happy IWSG Day.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

An interesting interview. Thanks for sharing with us, Elizabeth. Congratulations on your new book.
I sometimes move to a different place to write, my dining table or the sofa in my den. A change of scenery helps my thinking. :)

Mary Preston said...

Thank you for the great interview. The book sounds marvellous.


Leela said...

I'm an email subscriber.

Debra Branigan said...

I found the interview very interesting. Thank you for supporting the author. Good luck with the book.

Victoria Marie Lees said...

To obey unconditionally is always difficult. Great premise for a story. Then add the touch of romance and it's a sure winner. Great interview, Natalie. Thanks for sharing this with your followers. I love the cover of the book, Elizabeth! Happy Holidays, ladies.

Suzanne Furness said...

Isn't that the great thing about laptops - you can set up anywhere! I'm lounging on the sofa as I type this now! Happy upcoming holidays to you.

Loni Townsend said...

Yep, if I have my laptop, I'm usually set too for my writing space.

Grats to Elizabeth and her debut!

Pat Hatt said...

Moving about but still writing is fine indeed.

Changing pov sure can make a difference. Congrats on the release, Elizabeth.

Greg Pattridge said...

This sounds like a wonderful debut. I'm glad to hear she survived her bad first book. There's hope for all of us!

Tonja Drecker said...

I had to smile at the comment 'none of the Olympians are genuinely good'. It sounds like a fantastic read. Congrats!

Having a mobile workspace is sometimes the only way to go.

Olga Godim said...

I love retellings of Greek myths. They are often fascinating.

DMS said...

What a beautiful cover! Sounds like a fascinating story. I love mythology. Best of luck to Elizabeth!

Rosi said...

Your interviews are always so interesting and informative. Thanks for this one. I will pass on the giveaway.

Nick Wilford said...

Great interview! I think it's fun and interesting to put a new spin on mythological tales.

Danielle H. said...

Thanks for the interview. I enjoyed getting to know the author better. This book sounds amazing and fun. I shared on tumblr: http://yesreaderwriterpoetmusician.tumblr.com/post/180926000592/elizabeth-tammi-interview-and-outrun-the-wind

Alya McLane said...

The book seems really awesome! Retellings, especially of Greek myths are really entertaining. (Goddess Girls and Percy Jackson were my childhood)

Yolanda Renée said...

A laptop affords the ability to move writing spaces. I do that too, but still have the one spot that I use most often.
Congratulations to Elizabeth.

Angie Quantrell said...

Wow, great interview! This book sounds fascinating! Congratulations! Angelecolline at yahoo dot com

jean602 said...

Loved the interview. Can't wait to read this book.

Dawn Simon said...

Excellent interview, Natalie and Elizabeth! Elizabeth, I'm so impressed with the way you're balancing your writing life while still in college! The book sounds great, and I love the cover!

Chrys Fey said...

I have an office space set up in my bedroom, but I often write on my couch and occasionally at my dining room table.

Michelle Wallace said...

A portable writing space is the best!
The flexibility means that you can write any time any place.
Happy Holidays, Natalie!

jfsmith4211 said...

Wow! That's a Greek mythology book I haven't seen before. It sounds awesome.

ArtemisG said...

Great interview. Kahina seems very very interesting characters!!!
Thank you for the chance.
Shared on Twitter:

artgiote at gmail dot com