Hi guys! Today I’m doing something that I haven’t done in a while, and that’s an author interview. I’m really excited for this one, simply because the book sounds so good, and the author was wonderful to chat with.
Elizabeth Tammi is the author of the upcoming Outrun the Wind, out by Flux in November. Outrun the Wind is a sapphic retelling of the Hunters of Artemis.
As I mentioned above, I’ll be interviewing Elizabeth Tammi today! Here’s a little bit about Elizabeth before we get the show on the road:
Elizabeth Tammi was born in California and grew up in Florida, but is currently double-majoring in Creative Writing and Journalism as an undergraduate at Mercer University in Georgia. When she’s not writing, you can probably find Elizabeth at rehearsal for one of her vocal ensembles, or at work for her university’s newspaper and literary magazine. Her other interests include traveling, caffeinated beverages, and mythology. Outrun the Wind is her debut novel. You can find Elizabeth online on Tumblr at (annabethisterrified), Twitter at (@ElizabethTammi), Instagram at (elizabeth_tammi), and at elizabethtammi.com.
(Photo used with permission)
My questions will be bolded and marked with AC. Elizabeth will be ET.
AC: Hi Elizabeth! I’m excited to have you here, and can’t wait to get this interview going. First things first, tell us a little bit about yourself, and your upcoming book, Outrun the Wind.
ET: Hi Avery! Thanks so much for having me. So, I’m currently in college studying journalism and (you guessed it) creative writing. I’ve lived in California, Florida, and England, but currently attend school in Macon, Georgia. Outrun the Wind is my debut novel, and in short, it’s a YA fantasy that offers a sapphic reimagining of the story of Atalanta from Greek mythology. There’s also an escaped Oracle of Delphi, huntresses of Artemis, a deadly footrace, and plenty of other mythological mayhem.
AC: That sounds amazing! What about Greek mythology inspired you to write Outrun the Wind? Or, in other words, why did you choose to write your debut novel about/inspired by Greek mythology?
ET: Mythology is definitely a realm that I feel comfortable in, and one that has lots of breathing room for imagination and new twists. I liked the stories from Greek mythology as a young child, and later on fell in love with Rick Riordan’s stories about Percy Jackson. It felt natural, when starting out with my own stories, to keep exploring the huge possibilities that mythology has to offer. Writing a novel takes lots of time, energy, and pain, so I knew that I needed to be working on something that I could consistently feel passionate about.
AC: I have to admit that I was very interested in Greek mythology after reading Rick Riordan’s books as well. Would you ever try writing about different mythologies, such as Norse, Egyptian, Celtic, similar to Riordan, or will you stick with Greek? Do you see yourself continuing to write mythology-based fantasies like OUTRUN THE WIND, or would you like to branch out to other genres?
ET: I actually have some stories in progress in the Norse and Celtic realms, and I think I’ll absolutely return to Greek mythology someday too if I can! I definitely know the most about Greek myths, but that’s inspired me to learn more about other mythologies too. Right now, I’m guessing most of my future stories will be connected to various mythologies in some form, but I’m also interested in branching out into some other genres in the future as well. Maybe high fantasy or thrillers, but we’ll see.
AC: OOoooh I have soft spots for Celtic and Norse mythology so I’ll definitely be looking forward to those stories. What’s your writing process, and how do you incorporate your research into your stories?
ET: I’m definitely a planner, so I try to come up with a somewhat thorough outline before I begin drafting. It’s usually on the detail level of a Sparknotes summary, for instance. It’s not that I know precisely each individual scene, but I need to have a good understanding of the big plot points before I start. As for incorporating research, most of that comes up during the plotting process– the ‘big’ world-building stuff I try to acquaint myself with prior to drafting. But there’s certainly some need-to-know smaller bits that I end up having to look into during drafting too! However, while I do try to honor the original mythology, I honestly prioritize my characters and story above 100% historical accuracy. Outrun the Wind is definitely classified as a ‘fantasy’ novel, so while I did try to emulate ancient Greece as best I could, I’m also not trying to pass it off as historical fantasy and I’m sure there are some anachronisms in it.
AC: I’m somewhat of an aspiring writer, and have been for a long while. Being a soon-to-be-published author, do you have any advice for younger/aspiring writers?
ET: Over this whole process, I’ve kind of developed this mantra that I try to remind myself of: “All it takes is a lot of discipline, a fair amount of timing/luck, and a little bit of talent”. Basically, just remember that the only thing you’re really in control of in this industry is your writing, which is simultaneously comforting and frustrating haha. It’s up to you to get the words on a page and to make them the best they can be– nobody else can do that for you. Everything else (querying, publication) is harder to control, but you’ll only fail if you stop writing. The thing that’s going to set you apart from all the other aspiring authors is your persistence and discipline. I’ve never once been the “best” writer in any writing class or workshop that I’ve been a part of; the only difference is that I was the one to make a concentrated effort to finish drafts and write every day.
AC: So, what got you into writing in the first place? Was there a certain book, or author that inspired you? You mentioned Rick Riordan before, but were there any others?
ET: I honestly don’t remember a time in my life when I *didn’t* want to write books, so I’m not sure what the initial trigger ended up being. My parents pushed reading on me and my sister from literally the day I was born, so I’ve always been infatuated with books, and I guess I figured I wanted to take a shot at writing my own! That being said, I definitely didn’t take writing ‘seriously’ until I was about 16, and I think that coincided pretty much hand-in-hand with the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan ending haha. Seeing how much that story had impacted by adolescence finally pushed me over the edge and I started making a concentrated effort to really write. But so many other authors have been really instrumental in inspiring me with their worlds, prose, and characters– Maggie Stiefvater, Kiersten White, Madeline Miller, Leigh Bardugo, and plenty more!
AC: I’m going to wrap this up soon, but I just have to ask one last thing. What are the top three (or more, I won’t argue with more ;D ) books you’d recommend?
ET: Tough question– I’ll try to contain myself, haha! I’ll go with some recent favorites that I’d totally recommend: Kiersten White’s And I Darken trilogy, The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Berube, and Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young!
AC: Those are all on my TBR!! Guess I’ll have to bump them up, ahaha 🙂 Thank you so much for doing this interview today, Elizabeth, it’s been a pleasure to chat with you!
ET: Thanks so much for having me! I really appreciate it!
If you’re interested in checking out Elizabeth’s book, here’s the Goodreads link where you can add it to your TBR. If you don’t use goodreads, here’s some additional information 😀
Published: November 27th, 2018
Page Count: 360
Genre: Fantasy/Young Adult
Synopsis: via 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.