SP: Hi Tamara! So glad to have you here on the Spinning Pen! You have an incredibly exciting four book deal with a unique release model. People are saying it’s like Netflix but with books! We’d love to hear more about how this exciting model works!
TG: I love that comparison! And hello to you 🙂 Thanks for having me. I love Wise Wolf Books’ rapid release model! They are releasing all four books in the sports series this year! Release dates are scheduled for early March, June, September, and December. It’s been a flurry getting all of the manuscripts in shape, but I appreciate this model so much as an author and a reader. As an author, I’m connecting with readers frequently with new material. As a reader, waiting is not my strong suit. When I read a good book, I want to binge with the sequel immediately. I love that this model allows readers of the series to do that this year! I’ve also signed with Wise Wolf for a two-book series in 2023, so stay tuned for more on that!
SP: So, without further ado, tell us about the books! What are they about??
TG: All four books are sports stories with strong female protagonists coming of age in the sports they love. The girls all know each other as students at the same high school, Iron Valley. I also love that readers get to see characters they’ve read before in the newer books. If you fall in love with a character’s story in this series, you will have the chance to see them again! But specifically – Gridiron Girl tells the story of a girl who quits volleyball, a sport in which she dominates, to compete against her boyfriend to be the starting quarterback on the football team. That’s where we start the series, and the books that follow feature athletes in the sports of volleyball, wrestling, and archery.
SP: Wow, the books all sound so exciting!! I especially love the premise of a girl competing against her own boyfriend in sports! Amazing! Shifting gears a little, tell us more about the Wise Wolf model. What was it like writing four books knowing they would be released so quickly?
TG: I signed the contract knowing I already had two-and-a-half books written, so that was helpful. But I wrote the third book from scratch as part of Nanowrimo, and I LOVE how it turned out. So far, I’m loving the model. I’ve been non-stop excited about new things – new ideas, cover reveals, reviews, blurbs. And it’s challenged me as a writer. I know that I have to make the most of my time and give everything I have to these manuscripts. It’s fueled my creativity and made me a better writer.
SP: Wise Wolf Books is pretty innovative and smart. They must know that people LOVE books and film format. So how does marketing work with this model?
TG: The great thing about Wise Wolf is that they suggest the authors focus on writing, and they will focus on the marketing. They are very smart about online ads and marketing. They’ve been great about reaching out to Bookstagrammers, too. Personally, I’ve chosen to market in ways that are fun for me. I’ve really had fun with swag. I have custom water bottles and athletic towels, a quote card, bookmarks, and stickers. I’m hosting and attending events to connect with readers! I’m excited about the role we are both playing in the marketing of the book.
SP: Let’s back track a little…where did this all start for you? What has your writing journey been like?
TG: I’ve been writing for a LONG time. I started attending conferences around 2006, so yeah, fifteen years. I’d written about six manuscripts before signing with an agent and then having one of those manuscripts die on submission. Eventually that agent and I parted ways, and I queried agents – AGAIN. Ultimately, I signed with Wise Wolf Books at the recommendation of the lovely Nova McBee, whose books will keep you up at night, so definitely read them.
That is a very abbreviated description of a fifteen-year journey that brought me to tears and possibly quitting multiple times. I don’t know where my journey will take me in the future, but I’m so glad to be publishing this year and connecting with readers. That’s what it’s all about.
SP: We hear this is your first book deal. What has that experience been like of getting that first offer in the Inbox and what was your response? Screaming? Fainting? Crying uncontrollably? Or…??
TG: After fifteen years of putting myself out there, I submitted to Wise Wolf at a time that I was considering a shift in my focus—maybe trying adult romance or indie publishing YA. I wasn’t sure yet, but Nova suggested I submit to her publisher, so I did. I expected to wait a few months, but the publisher contacted me in four days. The team had read both manuscripts I’d submitted and loved them. I couldn’t believe it. It happened so quickly after so much waiting! I guess that’s the beautiful thing about your time when it comes, you know?
I am not an extremist when it comes to emotions, but I think it also helped that I was super busy with family obligations—recital, wedding (not mine), vacation, etc—that I patiently went back and forth with the publisher with my questions. I talked with friends. I considered my options, and while I was at the beach on vacation with my family in the place I had finished writing Gridiron Girl five years earlier, I signed my contract with my four children around me. It was a special moment.
SP: Wow, that’s amazing and congratulations again! Sadly, we’re almost done and it’s time for the lightening round! Early bird or night owl?
TG: Early bird.
SP: Most obscure hobby?
TG: This was a hard one. How about playing Pac-Man? When we were in high school, my husband and I would go to the movies thirty minutes early to play the arcade game. Last year, he bought me a full-size machine for the house, and I love playing it.
SP: Word you can never spell? This may be a trick question.
TG: Oh! Occurrence?
SP: Alright, time’s up! We’re so sad to see you go! Womp. Womp. BUT…there’s way more where this came from. Where can we go to read more from you?
TG: Check out my website www.tamaragirardi.com. I’m also active on Instagram @girarditamara, Twitter @tamaragirardi, and Facebook @TamaraGirardiAuthor. You can also get a signed copy of my book here: https://www.mysterylovers.com/book/9781953944658 Thank you!