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About the Author:
Tamara Alba is a high school teacher who loves to share her love of books with kids of all ages. On her own time, she sews her own cosplay and often goes to conventions throughout the Northwest dressed as her favorite characters. She also loves to travel, and has been fortunate enough to visit some amazing places while teaching English around the world.
Titles of All Books:
Euphonia Klank and the Aether Beast
1. Did you love reading books when you were little? Why or why not?:
I absolutely loved reading books when I was little. I used to spend hours upon hours curled up with a good book, completely immersed in the story. I loved getting lost in different worlds and meeting new characters. Reading was (and still is) a great way for me to escape from reality and relax.
2. At what age did you start reading books? What were your best memories of that time?:
In early elementary school, I read all the time. I remember getting in trouble for reading instead of going to recess. And at home, I hid under the covers with a flashlight, reading my favorite books until way past my bedtime. I loved getting lost in those stories, and it was always such a struggle to put the book down when it was time to go to sleep. Even now, I can't resist staying up late to finish just one more chapter. That's why I'm just as tired in the morning now, as a teacher, as I was then, as a student!
3. What was the first book you loved reading? Why?:
The first book that I remember loving is "I Know I Saw a Tiger...Probably." It's a picture book with pen-and-ink line drawings of a little boy going home through a park at night. Walking alone in the dark, a couple of big kids heading home look like robbers, the wind in the trees sounds like elves, and the eyes of a cat must be a tiger!
As a kid, I loved making up stories about the shapes I saw in clouds or shadows, so this book reminded me of all the times I let my imagination run away with me.
4. When did you first think about writing your first book? Why?:
I began writing poetry in elementary school. I even won a newspaper contest for a short story when I was in third grade. But I never thought about writing a book until middle school when I met my teacher, Gary Kirby. He encouraged me to let my imagination run, even in my boring school assignments. We talked about how stories looked different from different perspectives. For instance, we both decided to write a novel called "Crying in the Dunes." He thought it should be a ghost story set on the beach; I thought it should be a sweeping romance set in the desert.
That was the first time that I had thought about writing a book, although I still haven't written it. I wonder if Mr. Kirby has written his, yet?
5. What was the greatest obstacle you've encountered when you were writing your book? What made you overcome it?:
The greatest obstacle I encountered was focusing enough to finish a project. I couldn't seem to get past the dull parts of the story or concentrate on a single project from beginning to end. I got distracted, jumping from idea to idea, and not completing anything. When I made a commitment to write a little bit every day, even if I wasn't excited about the idea, I was able to get more done. I pushed through the boring bits and finished a novel. I finished a middle-grade novel. Finally, I finished my picture book, and actually felt good enough about it to publish it!
6. What pieces of advice can you give aspiring authors? What worked for you?:
First, don't be afraid to put yourself out there. It can be scary to share your work with the world, but it's also incredibly rewarding. Second, always be willing to revise and edit your work. No piece of writing is perfect, and the more you're willing to improve your work, the better it will be. Finally, don't give up on your dreams. It might take longer than you expect to achieve success, but if you keep working hard, anything is possible.
7. Who are the authors or what are the books that had the greatest influence in your own writing? Why?:
Rather than a specific author or book that influenced me, I think it was the sheer variety of books that I have read that made the most impact. I've read books from all different genres, and for all different age groups. They've ranged from short stories to novels to nonfiction to poetry collections.
It's impossible to pinpoint any one book or author that influenced me the most. Instead, it was the overall act of reading that had the biggest impact. Reading allowed me to explore new worlds and meet new characters. It taught me about different cultures and ways of life. And, most importantly, it gave me a chance to escape from my own life for a little while.
I'm grateful for all the books I've read over the years. They've shaped who I am today and helped me become the person I am today.
8. What are your current or future writing plans? What can readers further expect from you?:
I am working on the second picture book in the steampunk Euphonia Klank series. The first book, "Euphonia Klank and the Aether Beast," focused on onomatopoeia; the next one, "Euphonia Klank and the Mechanimals," will teach children about alliteration.
I'm also almost ready to publish a stand-alone rhyming picture book called "I Want to Read a Book Today." This book is about a little girl who searches the whole house for the perfect place to read her book.