An interview with Tammy Salyer


I reviewed the first book in the Spectras Arise trilogy (well trilogy plus 1 since I’m counting the prequel novella, Conviction) by Tammy Salyer on Tuesday. Here’s a follow-up interview:

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always been a creative person and have thought about “becoming a writer when I grow up” since I was about eleven. That was when I picked up the first book that really sucked me in completely and made me realize that people could create entire worlds from their own imaginations and then share them with others. I got really serious about publishing in 2011, when I sold my first short story.

How long does it take you to write a book?
I’ve just finished my fourth, and it was the fastest yet. Once the writing starts, it can take between three and five months for the first draft. It’s the research and planning that takes the most time, and then all the editing and rewriting kicks in, which can take several months longer, depending. Right now, I’m planning a multibook series before launching my latest, so I don’t actually think it will be done for another several months. I keep finding new elements and ideas that I want to seed into the first novel, so… Haha! That doesn’t really answer the question. I guess I’ll go with “as long as it takes.”

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Other than being a writer? (Because aren’t all writers kinda quirky.) If I have to pick one—and it isn’t anything too spectacular—I’d say it’s the fact that I do most of my plotting and outlining while I’m running. My brain goes into autodrive when my legs are moving and puts together details I don’t know if I’d ever think of while I’m sitting still. It’s definitely a motivator to exercise!

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Run, bike, read, watch movies, and I’m a freelance editor specializing in speculative fiction, so I’m one of those kind of unusual people who thinks of my job as fun and actually look forward to doing it.

In one sentence, tell us what your novel is all about.
Contract of Defiance is about an ex-soldier–turned–black-market arms smuggler who learns the hard way that there is no honor among thieves when she is betrayed by her own crew.

What inspired you to write the Spectras Arise Trilogy?
So many things. I’m former military, so I enjoyed incorporating a lot of the military lifestyle and culture into many of my characters (most of whom are former military or part of the military industrial complex). And of course, I’m a huge fan of action-adventure stories. The more explosions and firefights the better! Plus I dig a complicated female main character, having grown up loving the Alien and Terminator franchises. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen those movies. All of those things gelled in a kind of flashy-bangy alchemy of adventure when I started thinking about the Spectras books.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I’ve had a number of reviews on Defiance and the series, almost all positive, which is wonderfully gratifying. People seem to really like the action sequences. I guess all my years of being an adrenaline junkie have paid off in terms of being able to write adrenaline-inducing stories.

Is there a message in Contract of Defiance that you want readers to grasp?
Hmmm, I set out writing the book really to just entertain other people. I love hearing what readers take away from the series, though.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in Contract of Defiance?
I don’t know if I’d change it, but I think it would be fun to rewrite the whole series and incorporate more POVs. First-person is a great POV for certain things, but eventually as a writer I wanted to spend more time in other heads. (Which, ironically, is only something a writer can say without it sounding really weird.)

What are the three coolest things that have happened to you since becoming a published author?
One of the coolest things is having complete strangers reach out to tell me that they enjoyed what I’ve written. In many ways, being a writer is mainly to entertain oneself—to write the books one would like to read—so it’s always amazing when you discover others like what you’ve created. I’ve met a number of other wonderful and fun writers, and have been able to appear on a few podcasts and panels to spread the joy of writing, and all of those experiences have been quite cool.

Tell us about other projects you’re working on.
Currently I’m putting together a sword-&-sorcery-punk fantasy series that deals with god-like beings mixing it up with humanity and the consequences of this kind of interaction. It’s a huge project with many different cultures and worlds, so I’m constantly being reminded that I’ve bitten off a lot to chew, and loving every minute of it! I expect to start publishing the series in early 2016. Stay tuned.

About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degrees in Computer Systems and Applications and Applied Human Behavior. View all posts by Mark Gardner

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