April 17, 2017- I would sincerely like to welcome new author Tamara Botting to our team at Pandamonium Publishing House. She brings with her not only a wonderful story of magic, adventure, and friendship through her book Unfrogged which is slated for release on July 1, 2017, but also an extensive writing and interviewing background. We are so happy to have her aboard, and I can’t wait for you guys to read her book! And here’s a fun fact, her brother, Christopher Botting is the illustrator of Unfrogged; it’s pretty cool to see a brother and sister team up on this one! Let’s see what she had to say about becoming an author.
Lacey: Why did you decide to become an author?
Tamara: I knew pretty early on, probably Grade 2 or 3, that I wanted to write for a living. I did a co-op at a community newspaper in high school, and after I graduated from university, I called the editor to ask for a reference. He offered me a job instead, which I gratefully took. I’ve been there ever since.
It was years later, through my job as a community newspaper reporter, that I connected with Lacey Bakker and Pandamonium Publishing (actually, re-connected, because we went to high school together).
I guess the moral of my story is, work hard and be nice to people in your youth because you never know how it will affect your life as an adult! (laughs)
Lacey: How long have you been writing for?
Tamara: Since I’ve known that I wanted to write for most of my life, I’ve pretty much always been making up stories. Over the past decade, I’ve been very blessed in that I’ve gotten to write and pay my bills with my job at the newspaper.
Lacey: What is your favourite book now and your favourite book when you were a child?
Tamara: I’ve always been an avid reader, so it’s kind of hard to limit myself to just a few books!
Except for Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice, both of which I discovered in high school, these are a few of the books that I read as a kid and still love today: Virgil Nosegay and the Wellington Boots, Robert the Rose Horse, Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast, the Chronicles of Narnia, and Little Women.
Lacey: Tell us about Unfrogged and where you got your idea for the story from.
Tamara: I wrote Unfrogged probably about ten years ago, if not longer. As I recall, I did it kind of as a writing exercise. I’ve always loved fairy tales, Beauty and the Beast and the Frog Prince being among my favourites. Since I didn’t think I could bring anything new or different to the story of Beauty and the Beast that hadn’t already been done before, I decided to write a novelization of Frog Prince.
Even though I love fairy tales, I always did find them a bit annoying on some parts, in particular, that the princesses always seemed to be so perfect, and that the romance generally springs up out of nowhere. I wanted my version to be more realistic; I hope I’ve achieved that.
In my story, the princess, Meredith, is very much a fish out of water. She’s living with her aunt and uncle, the queen and king because her parents have passed on. Her father was the kingdom’s second-born prince, so Meredith had never been expected to act like a princess before. Add to that the fact that she’s very clumsy and withdrawn. When she meets Frog, they become very close friends, and he encourages her to come out of her shell more.
Lacey: Is there a particular character that you relate to the most in Unfrogged?
Tamara: Frog’s sarcasm is all me, unfortunately. (laughs) Also, I’d say I’m a lot like Meredith at the start of the book, because she’s such a hot mess; something I definitely relate to! (laughs).
Meredith at the end of the book is more who I’d like to be: someone who’s confident, using her unique talents and abilities to help others, and not letting fear stop her from doing what she knows she should do.
Lacey: Anything else you want to tell us?
Tamara: A story that has always resonated with me is the one about a man watching a young boy walking along the beach, throwing starfish that have washed up on shore back into the ocean.
The man goes up to the boy and tells him that he’s wasting his time; there’s no way he can save all the starfish. What he’s doing isn’t going to make any difference in the grand scheme of things.
The boy bends down, picks up another starfish, and throws it back into the ocean.
“Made a difference for that one,” he says.
One of the messages that I hope people take away from this book is that we all have special talents and abilities. You are the only person who can make your unique contribution to the world. So use your gifts to serve others, to make this world a kinder place. Even if you have to do it one day, one person, at a time.