Monday, August 01, 2011

Scene of the Crime with Author Tamar Myers!

Several years ago, I picked up a book called Larceny and Old Lace and made the acquaintance of a vertically-challenged (and very feisty) owner of an antique shop in Charlotte, North Carolina, named Abigail Timberlake. Many hours spent reading the Den of Antiquity mystery series followed.

Now I have author Tamar Myers to thank for a new series featuring Amanda Brown, a young American missionary in the Belgian Congo in the 1950s and a marvelous cast of secondary characters who would be very offended if they knew I called them "secondary."

Tamar Myers and her transportation
If The Witch Doctor's Wife and The Headhunter's Daughter have a feeling of verisimilitude it's because Tamar's parents were missionaries in the Congo, and that's where she grew up.

If you'd like to know more about Tamar and her books, here are a couple of websites for you to check out:

You know how I like to get to the fun part-- here's the interview!

What was the very first book you remember reading and loving? What makes that book so special?

I think it was called LADDIE.  There was a lakeside missionary retreat in the Belgian Congo where we spent every July.  The retreat had three cottages in a jungle setting, and they all shared a kerosene-powered refrigerator that was housed in a small building where the missionaries would also drop off books to share.  I picked up LADDIE when I was about eight years old.  As I remember, it was a love story set in Scotland, and it was the romance in the novel that appealed to me.

Outside of your writing and all associated commitments, what do you like to do in your free time?

I love to garden, travel, and I am an unrepentant television addict.  I especially enjoy reality shows--the narkier the better!

If I were to visit your hometown, where would you recommend that I go? (I like seeing and doing things that aren't in all the guide books.)

Crowder's Mountain
You should climb Crowder's Mountain, which is just west of Charlotte.  From the top you can not only see downtown, but if you turn the other direction, you can see all the way to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  You should also visit Plaza Fiesta Mall next to Carrowinds Theme Park.  The interior of the mall has been made over to look like a South American village.  Too cool, and definitely not in any guide books!

You have total control over casting a movie based on your life. Which actor would you cast as you?

Meryl Streep
First choice would be myself as my present day me (I am a good actress).  Second choice would be Meryl Streep as the 63-year-old me.  The younger me....oh, maybe one of the Fanning girls.

Who is your favorite recurring character in crime fiction?

Cripple, from my current series set in Africa. [She is a wonderful character!]

Name one book that you've read that you wish you had written. What is it about that book that made it come to mind?

Okay, now you have unmasked me!  I read perhaps 200 books a year--but all of them non-fiction.  When folks remark that I must do a lot of research, I just nod.  I don't, because I have a head full of knowledge.  Fiction doesn't interest me anymore.  Why should I read stuff that's just made up?  (Gulppppppppppppppppppppppppppp)

What did you do the first time you saw one of your books on a shelf in a bookstore? How did you celebrate when you first heard you were to be published?

Second question first.  It took me 23 years of non-stop submitting before I finally got the life-changing call from New York.  It was a surreal moment.  After calling my husband at work, and we both screamed, I jumped in the car, drove to the grocery store and bought a poster board and some balloons.  I tied the balloons to my mailbox.  On the poster I wrote IT'S A BOOK! and taped it to our picture window.  About 20 minutes later a grumpy old man knocked on the door and said, "Don't you know how to spell 'boy?'"

I don't know if you've seen it, but I love Parnell Hall's video about book signings. What is the most unusual experience you've had at a book signing or author event?

The most unusual thing was when a very sweaty woman kept getting in line to invite me--nay, to insist--that I come and spend the night at her house with her and two kitties. I would be ever so much more comfortable there than at my hotel (or so she said).  I finally had to just turn away and pretend that I couldn't see or hear her.

The way some people talk, the only way to read now or in the future is with some sort of electronic device, like my husband's Nook. What is your opinion of eBooks, and how will they affect you as a published author? 

Well, at first I feared for my career, and I am still wary.  I certainly don't use one, because I cherish the feel and scent of a real paper book.  A paper book has many dimensions--heft (weight), the feel of the paper, the scent, the ability to be mutilated (corners folded down, etc), the ability to be thumbed through, you can press flowers in it, stick clippings in it--it is much MORE than just an electronic gizmo.  We will lose so much if we lose paper books.  Amen, end of my sermon!

Thank you so much for spending this time with us, Tamar! May your book sales do nothing but increase!

Please remember to stop by next Monday, when I'll be interviewing another of my favorite crime fiction authors!


  1. Tamar Myers is delightful! I love her story about the balloons and It's a Book sign. Another author to put on my watch-out-for list.

  2. Barbara-- You know me... I'm always happy to add to a reader's wishlist!


Thank you for taking the time to make a comment. I really appreciate it!