Interview with Tammy Dunning

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Tecumseh, Ontario, Canada. My book series, Colours In Blackness, is based in this town. When I first moved there from Windsor, Ontario, it was a tiny town with only one stop light. It grew and grew and now there are many stop lights. I felt a need to put Tecumseh on the map, so to speak. Besides, it's easier to write what you know.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Sure I do! It was the first book in this series - Colours In Blackness - A New Life. Before that, nothing. I'm one of those people who doesn't do just a little bit of anything. If I'm going to do something, I'm going to do it all the way.
When did you first start writing?
It's an interesting story actually. I became ill and had to leave my job. To help pass the time through the long winters I began assembling huge puzzles. After four winters, I had built an 8000, two 6000 and one 5000 piece puzzles that now filled the walls of our living room and dining room. When the next winter began, I started my search for a new puzzle. My husband begged me not to buy a new puzzle. There just wasn't any more room for a new one.

So what to do now? I had the same dream three times that contained the characters Laura, Laden and Todd. I was captivated by these people. One day I decided to start writing what I had dreamed. In a matter of a few weeks, I had the first three novels written. Once people started reading them and begging for me to continue the series, I wrote the final two novels.

Before I wrote these books, I hadn't written anything. I have no official schooling in this field. I don't consider myself to be a real writer, just a very bored person.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I'm not sure. It's strange how it all came about. I never thought of becoming a writer, it just sort of happened. A family member suggested that I self publish my books because finding a publishing company that will represent me would be difficult. She told me it was easy and gave me some advice to get me started.

I have Fibromyalgia so there are days where learning something new is just not going to happen. I have days where my brain feels like it's floating in fog. On those days concentration is near impossible. I also forget things that I may have done or read from the day before, so learning how to self publish was a real task for me. Many tears were shed and there was a lot of self doubt but in the end, I did it! I am very proud of myself for this accomplishment.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
When I first became ill getting out of bed was not something I looked forward to. I was in so much pain that any movement was exhausting. I made myself a promise that no matter what, no matter how much pain I was in, I would get out of bed every morning. It didn't matter if I went back to bed after the kids left for school, as long as I got up. I still honor that promise today.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
My greatest joy of writing is that I am able to document my thoughts and dreams that have entertained me, and then allow people into those thoughts. When my readers come to me and tell me that they couldn't put the book down, all the effort that I put into it was worth it. I love knowing that my books have captivated someone's mind, taking them away from whatever stresses that normally drag them down.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords helped in so many ways. Where do I start? I'll make it simple - Smashwords taught me how to self publish by allowing me access to helpful tips from other people who are successful Indie authors. They also helped get my books out to a lot of ereader websites. It would have taken me forever to accomplish what Smashwords did. I am so very happy that I found this site. It would have been near impossible to do it without their help.
What do your fans mean to you?
They mean so much to me! The first time I realized that I had a fan was when I drove to a teenager's home to sell her the fourth paperback book in the Colours In Blackness series. She was standing in front of me shaking and nearly in tears. Her excitement to meet me was overwhelming to her. I couldn't believe it! I was overwhelmed and cried when I got back into the car. To know that my words touched someone so deeply, that they made that much of an impact on her, blew me away. My heart was full.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My newest book isn't a part this series, as I've already finished that story.

I wrote a murder mystery novel called A Bed Of Blood. The main character, Katie, is an 18 year old girl who wakes one morning to find her mother viciously murdered in her bed. Katie is now alone since her abusive father is in prison on a murder charge and she has no other family. She relies on friends to help her through this difficult time and to help her solve the murder. She discovers clues that her mother, a writer, may have uncovered evidence leading her to a serial killer living among them. Katie falls right into the arms of her mother's killer. Be careful who you trust! Will she escape the hell he puts her through or will she die a brutal death?
What are you working on next?
I just moved residence so I've been very busy and haven't had a chance to write lately. Winter will be setting in shortly so I will begin writing soon. I'm thinking of creating a tale involving ghosts. Perhaps it will be a love story with twisting secrets of murder and lost loves.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I have two kids who are off at college so I'm not tending children anymore but I do have a dog. She is very old and only ten pounds. I spend a lot of time loving her while she's still here. Soon we will be getting a puppy and training her will be a huge task. I keep the house tidy and running smoothly while my husband works outside the home and in his barn. Right now, because we just moved in, we are painting, cleaning and trying to clear out the overgrown shrubbery in the yard before winter sets in. I am very family oriented and love spending time with them. For me, sticking to a regular schedule and not overdoing it is essential... so I try to keep it as simple as I can.
What is your writing process?
I don't really have a process. I usually dream something then jot down the story line on a scrap piece of paper when I wake up. If the story sticks with me though out the day and I haven't forgotten it, I will sit down at my computer and start typing the story out right from the beginning. Of course editing is something that I hate doing but I make my changes and alterations over and over again until I think it's something people will like to read, then I send it to my editor - Debra Wells. She is fantastic and I'm so lucky to have found her.
How do you approach cover design?
I usually can see what I'd like done then I try my best to describe it to my daughter. She then takes my idea and runs with it. The first three books in the series were done quickly due to a time issue. One day I would like her to change them so that they don't look so similar. She used her eye to create the first four book covers. She used her face for the fifth book cover. The book A Bed Of Blood was one that I did using Photoshop. My daughter was too busy at the time to rush into doing a cover so I threw one together. When her busy life eases up a bit, she will recreate a more exciting and inviting design. My daughter, Mandy Dunning, is a fine art student in college. She is a magnificent artist. If you ever need work done, look her up!
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I read from my computer because I haven't taken the time to research ereaders to see which one will suit my needs best. Perhaps one day I will invest in one.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Aside from my website, word of mouth and passing out business cards announcing my book series and inviting them to download the first book free, helps to spread the word. If I go through a drive-thru, I hand them a card. If I go to a restaurant, I give one to the waitress/waiter. I hand them out freely. I also use Twitter and Facebook.
Describe your desk
Haha, my desk? I do have an office here at home but I'm rarely at my desk. I prefer to write with my laptop on my lap stretched out, feet up, in my lounger or in bed. Sometimes I sit outside and write on beautiful days. I have a chronic pain condition so I try to keep myself as comfortable as possible.
Published 2013-09-24.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

A Bed Of Blood
By
Price: $3.75 USD. Words: 54,150. Language: English. Published: July 31, 2013. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
Her mother was slaughtered in her bed. There are too many suspects for it being such a small community. Did her abusive father jump parole to exact his revenge on her mother for helping to convict him? Does the new deputy have a hidden dark side? After Katie finds a mysterious box of notes that her mother was hiding in the attic, she puts the pieces together. Will her knowledge get her killed?
Colours In Blackness - Book #5 - Insight
By
Series: Colours In Blackness. Price: $3.50 USD. Words: 92,440. Language: Canadian English. Published: August 22, 2012. Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
In this plot twisting, fifth and final book in the series, Laura's questions are all answered. Is the man she the sees truly the Laden she once knew, or is he a mere shadow of the eternal love she thought him to be? Will her love for Todd be strong enough to survive his jealousy or does it only prove to be the poison that ends them? Will her trust in people prove to be her most fatal flaw?
Colours In Blackness - Book #4 - Betrayal
By
Series: Colours In Blackness. Price: $3.25 USD. Words: 53,490. Language: English. Published: November 27, 2011. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » General
Book #4 - Betrayal. Laura's life is nothing that she knows. Todd has replaced Laden but her memories of this new life do not exist. Her strengths are replaced by fear, weakness and confusion. She has visions of a dangerous enemy disguised as a close friend. Who is it? Can she trust the crew enough to help her clarify the visions and get her with her memory back but not to kill her in the process?
Colours In Blackness - Book #3 - Desolation
By
Series: Colours In Blackness. Price: $3.25 USD. Words: 53,830. Language: English. Published: October 11, 2011. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » General
Book #3 in this series. Laura must choose between two fates, either one will cause her great pain and sadness. One is complete desolation of the world and the other is unknown; a future in question. Is she strong enough to make the sacrifice or can she find a way around it? She can't see a future that she's never lived before.
Colours In Blackness - Book #2 - Reprieve
By
Series: Colours In Blackness. Price: $3.25 USD. Words: 53,040. Language: English. Published: October 1, 2011. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » General
Reprieve - Book #2 in this series A continuation from 'A New Life'. Reprieve is a page turner. Laura has a vision that will scare her more than she could ever imagine. How will she change the outcome of she can't decipher the riddles in time? Will the old mystical woman teach her life altering truths that will change everything? Time is just a period in which we live... but when is that?
Colours In Blackness - A New Life
By
Series: Colours In Blackness, Book #1. Price: Free! Words: 54,850. Language: English. Published: September 17, 2011. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » General
This is book one in the series. An 18 year old girl is suddenly able to see future events before they happen. She's moved into a school/hospital with other gifted teens. With their help she realizes that she can change the outcome of her visions but there are consequences to her choices. She learns about secrets, betrayal, friendships, passion and murder. Where did her gift come from and why her?