Tamara Lee Dorris has been a life-long fan of personal and spiritual development, and has written several books that fall under the category of “self-help.” Her novels revolve around contemporary issues and spiritual enlightenment. Tamara is also an adjunct professor, radio host, and long time real estate professional who has gone crazy selling houses, loves yoga, drinks wine and is still as addicted as ever to personal and spiritual development. She lives in Northern California with too many animals and her husband. She has four kids that she likes a lot and a mother that drives her nuts.
What inspires you to write?
The idea of doing something I love (writing) in a way that will hopefully make a difference, no matter how small, in someone’s life. Since my stories are always about someone overcoming something through some kind of personal/spiritual development, I hope that on some level my books help to remind people that we are all much stronger and eternal than we think.
Plus, I just love to tell a good story!
Tell us about your writing process.
I used to use a big poster board with squares and post it notes to chart a novel. Now I use a software called Scrivener and it’s like having that poster board on my lap top.
I always “see” a story unfold in my mind first. It make take a week or it may take six months. But once I really “see” the beginning, middle and end inside my mind, I know it’s time to start making an outline. Once I’ve got it set up and broken down into about 30 post-it notes (now on my computer), I tackle them in order. Each of those scenes becomes a chapter.
Then of course, I put it away and read it fresh after two or three weeks. Make plenty of revisions. THEN, I give it to my creative consultant daughter who is a real life-saver…once I’ve made any additional revisions based on her feedback, I will then find a few beta readers, usually from facebook. THEN once I that’s done, final edits and the book making process begins.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
They always do the talking. I’m just a silent observer, watching them and letting them do what they want. It feels more natural that way. One of the things I love the most is exploring voice. I actually enjoy first person and am pretty good at it. I recently finished a book as a male and am working on a coming of age as a young boy. My Guru books are as a neurotic female. Exploring voice is a blast to me.
What advice would you give other writers?
If writing is a real passion, you must write. I always put my dream of being a writer aside…kids to raise, jobs, etc. I wrote several non fiction books, but it wasn’t what I really wanted so I never promoted them too much. I decide last year, when I hit a significant birthday, that I wasn’t ever hitting that “someday I will write novels” place. Right then, I sat down and started writing. So far, I have completed FIVE full-length novels! My first one, Secrets of a Spiritual Guru is a humorous look at yoga, wine and real estate and it already has 100 amazon reviews (4.5 stars) so I must be doing something right…to write!
How did you decide how to publish your books?
My non fictions, I was lost and went with a few different options. I even started my own imprint (Empowered Press) and did a few on my own, but that’s a LOT of work. Now, with my novels, and so much advancement in technology, I am happy using CreateSpace and Kindle. If you’re just doing ebooks then it’s free, but if you want them in print also like I do, CreateSpace is connected to amazon and has very good customer service, competitive prices and a good design team (I don’t recommend them for book trailers though….too pricey).
Important advice: Make sure your books are edited! I made the mistakes of having a few grammar errors in a first edition and reviewers show no mercy. I paid to have them fixed and then reprinted. Never be in such a hurry that the quality of your work suffers as your books are your brand.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I used to be the only person I knew with books under my belt, but now, it’s hard to meet someone who isn’t or hasn’t written a book. This is because it’s so easy now. So do I think a lot of people are writing books that shouldn’t? Sure, but everyone is entitled to follow their dreams. I am seeing a lot of the book promoting websites/blogs requiring at least 25 amazon reviews with at least 4 star averages before they will promote authors. It’s a good practice.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Women’s fiction, humor, spiritual, chick lit, young adult
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print