20BooksVegas 2021 – Bally's Hotel – Las Vegas, Nevada – Photos by Arpit Mehta – THURSDAY-5

ABOUT ME

Tam Chronin is a figment of the imagination, which might be why she lives there often enough to find her main characters and convince them to share their stories.


Before becoming an author she slayed trolls for many years in the wilds of the internet. She was occasionally granted the legendary weapon, Ban Hammer, to aid in this quest. It was a relief to retire from such harrowing adventures, but for a coin and a stiff drink she might recount them over a campfire.


She lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her family, two parakeets, her cat, a varying number of both fish and chickens, and a vicious attack tortoise who guards the back yard.

FAQ:

Oh! Is your name short for Tammy/Tamara/similar name?

Nope, just Tam. It was partly inspired by ElfQuest, but mostly inspired by a dream I had in my early 20s, where I was a detective working for vampires. One of the files mentioned twin vampires named Tam and Chronin Perrin. When I was trying to make an AOL account back in the day all my first thoughts were taken, so voila! Tam Chronin was born.

I like the look of The Godslayer Series, but where do I start?

Easy answer? Elemental.

Accurate answer? There are multiple entry points, because I love to make things hard on myself and confusing for others. (I'm SO sorry!) Seriously, this is easier than it looks. I wrote Elemental first, so that's the most logical place to start. However, it's a meandering stroll through the garden of Agrad's memories, and some people prefer to get to the point and just have some fun. That's where The Arcane War comes in. It can absolutely be enjoyed first, and it's a much more fast-paced joyride through history. Ah, but some people would rather dip their toes in the water and test the temperature before they dive in, which is where Still Waters comes in. Still Waters is a novella bundled with short stories in the same world, and while it'll make the most sense as a companion to the rest of the series, it's also a great place to start and see if it's the sort of story you'll enjoy.

Which authors most inspired your writing?

That's a looooong list. Even narrowing it down to "most" doesn't make it a short list, and I'll probably forget a few. I grew up on Anne McCaffrey and Ursula K LeGuin and Piers Anthony and Robert A Heinlein and Stephen King and V C Andrews. They all made me WANT to write (sort of like an addict wants their drug of choice). Jennifer Roberson made me want to write the sorts of things she wrote about. Brent Weeks made me want to grunge it up some and add some grit. Richard and Wendy Pini wove in wonder and amped up the compassion. Finally, countless fanfic authors in the early 2000s in my little anime circles (Lauren DeStefano, Peacewish, Dr. Megalomania, Leareth, Joudama, and so many more) gave me the lesson that I could just try, throw things out there, until I got good. Fanfic gets a bad rap, but under the silly teenage wish fulfillment there's a LOT of hidden gems. For good or ill you never know what you'll find.

Oh, by the way, I haven't read anything by Lois McMaster Bujold yet. Sorry to say, I pulled the name Aral out of the air. It's not some secret nod, but I've heard great things about her work and she's sitting in my TBR pile.

So...why do you write fantasy?

I write a lot of stuff, actually. I started with science fiction, believe it or not, with a bunch of teenage wish-fulfilling romance. (Star Wars fanfic. Don't look it up, seriously. It's garbage.) Most of the sci fi I've had pushed at me is fairly technical, but I can't math. I've got dyscalculia that never got diagnosed, and got a lot of abuse from teachers over it, so I never felt like tech was something I could do justice to. The best I can do is soft sci fi, which is pretty much magic anyway...and I always loved reading things with a sense of wonder sprinkled in. I had a life I wanted to escape from, and my best out was magic, so I ran with it.

What do you mean by "LGBT+ friendly"?

I have to be honest here. "Write what you know". I'm not saying that everyone's going to end up in same sex relationships, and I'm certainly not pandering to the soccer mom who secretly gets off on reading m/m crowd. I'm not straight, and writing straight characters seems like writing in a foreign language. I can do it. The examples are all around me, and I doubt I'd need a sensitivity reader for it. I just don't feel it from the inside, so most of my characters are somewhere in the rainbow.

What age do you write for? Can my kids read your books?

Well, that's up to you. I don't write a thing my dad wouldn't have let me read by the time I was 8 or 9. Actually, most of what I write would be on the tame side for what I read as a kid. However... I know full well that some parents are a lot more protective of their kids than mine were. I write gay stuff, and there are parents out there who would find that upsetting no matter how tame. There's some violence that gets pretty visceral. My characters say naughty words sometimes. If you're worried, read my books for yourself and you be the judge if you want your kids exposed to the subversive ideas I'm trying to spread.

What is your favorite short story you've written?

For years my first answer would have been Evil Minions Inc. (It's up on my website. Just go click. It's short and sweet and hilarious, and I plan on expanding on that universe soon.)

As I write this I just finished compiling Still Waters and Other Tales, and I'm utterly caught up in how beautiful Far From Home is. It's all about missed communication and family, and how sometimes tragedy haunts us because we just don't understand what's in each others heads. That, and I'm just in love with both Krecek and Meran as characters. I'll be writing more of both of them.

What dos and don'ts do you have regarding fan interactions? (Like, Do: come say hi at book events, Don't: steal Tam's hat)

Don't touch the hat! I have three top hats, and two of them were gifts from my dad. I'd be very sad if anything happened to them.

Do say hello, ask for an autograph (I LOVE doing that and have awesome pens just for signing books), and please ask all the questions you want.

If I'm at an event I might be completely face blind by the time we meet. A lot of people are walking through and I'm trying to welcome EVERYONE into the worlds I created. Please don't take it personally if I'm having a brain fart and need reminded that we met at x event, or you said z on Facebook the other day. I'm going to try to remember everyone, but faces are my Kryptonite at events like that. Just trust that I'm more excited to see you than you are to see me, because if you enjoyed one of my books that means you're a kindred spirit, and we're pretty rare.

I liked your book enough to read it. Why do you care if I leave a review? You have my money and I'll bet my opinion is just a drop in a bucket.

First of all, you're not "just" anything. My "feedback" bucket is a thimble, so every drop counts. Yes, I want to hear what you think, even if you didn't care for what I wrote or you think my writing style is stupid and I'm a doodoo face. Why? Because you're probably not alone, and I can't improve if no one tells me I screwed up.

Second? I'm not writing for me. If I was, I'd be sitting at a desk and all my stories would be hidden on my hard drive somewhere to be deleted when I die in a horribly embarrassing way. (Seriously, we're talking "choked on peanut butter" or "tripped over a rose on the sidewalk and fell into a bee nest" or "fell out a fifth floor window naked while chasing a butterfly in clown shoes" level of embarrassing. This is my life...) So, if I'm not writing for me, that means I'm writing for you, and I want to make sure you're enjoying it as much as I am. Because even if we've never met, you've got great taste and I love you for that.

Third? Reviews, ratings, etc. all help other people find my books and figure out if they're going to enjoy them, too. I don't aim to be a bestseller or anything like that. I just want the people who will love my stories to be able to find them. If I can make a humble living from that and have a little financial freedom? Bonus. Really, right now I'd be happy if I can cover the costs involved in getting all this out there. (Book covers, advertising, and attending events are not free. Neither is eating. My husband has been more patient and supportive than any of you guys can imagine...unless you're in the business, too. But you don't need an FAQ to tell you the value of a review in that case.)

If you have more questions, drop me an email! It might get included here, especially if it's a fun question to answer. Thanks!