in which I interview Elizabeth Tammi (author of OUTRUN THE WIND) and she interviews me

Last month, I had an enormous amount of fun interviewing my fellow 2018 YA debut, Elizabeth Tammi for our regular Electric Eighteens Interview series. Each interview features two debut authors and is circulated in our closed group. It's a great way to get to know your fellow authors, share experiences and just talk up our books. When I was matched with Elizabeth, I was thrilled - I kept hearing about the awesomeness of her book, OUTRUN THE WIND, and wanted to know more about the woman who wrote it. After we've done the interview, I wondered - why not share it here as well? After all, why deprive the world of two authors' quirky jokes, geeking out on mythology and sharing their embarrassing stories about strange past jobs and whatnot (ok, yes, I'm referring solely to myself in that last point).

Anyway, please go ahead and feast your eyes on our interview!  

But first... About us and our respective books: 

ELIZABETH TAMMI is the author of OUTRUN THE WIND, a YA fantasy out from Flux Books. Elizabeth was born in California and grew up in Florida, but is currently double-majoring in Creative Writing and Journalism as an undergraduate at Mercer University in Georgia. When she’s not writing, you can probably find Elizabeth at rehearsal for one of her vocal ensembles, or at work for her university’s newspaper and literary magazine. Her other interests include traveling, caffeinated beverages, and mythology. You can find Elizabeth online on Tumblr at (annabethisterrified), Twitter at (@ElizabethTammi), Instagram at (elizabeth_tammi), and at elizabethtammi.com.

OUTRUN THE WIND

The Huntresses of Artemis must obey two rules: never disobey the goddess, and never fall in love. After being rescued from a harrowing life as an Oracle of Delphi, Kahina is glad to be a part of the Hunt; living among a group of female warriors gives her a chance to reclaim her strength, even while her prophetic powers linger.

But when a routine mission goes awry, Kahina breaks the first rule in order to save the legendary huntress Atalanta. To earn back Artemis’s favor, Kahina must complete a dangerous task in the kingdom of Arkadia—where the king’s daughter is revealed to be none other than Atalanta. Still reeling from her disastrous quest and her father’s insistence on marriage, Atalanta isn’t sure what to make of Kahina.

As her connection to Atalanta deepens, Kahina finds herself in danger of breaking Artemis’ second rule. She helps Atalanta devise a dangerous game to avoid marriage, and word spreads throughout Greece, attracting suitors willing to tempt fate to go up against Atalanta in a race for her hand. But when the men responsible for both the girls’ dark pasts arrive, the game turns deadly.


KATYA DE BECERRA is the author of WHAT THE WOODS KEEP a YA dark fantasy thriller out from Imprint/Macmillan. Katya was born in Russia, studied in California, lived in Peru, and then stayed in Australia long enough to become a local. She was going to be an Egyptologist when she grew up, but instead she earned a PhD in Anthropology. You can find her at katyabecerra.blogspot.com.au and follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram  @KatyaDeBecerra. ​

WHAT THE WOODS KEEP

On her eighteenth birthday, Hayden inherits her childhood home—on the condition that she uncover its dark secrets. Hayden tried to put the past behind her, and it worked. She’s getting ready for college, living in a Brooklyn apartment, and hanging out with her best friend and roommate Del. But now it’s all catching up with her: her mother’s mysterious disappearance a decade before, her father’s outlandish theories about a lost supernatural race, and Hayden’s own dark dreams of strange symbols and rituals in the Colorado woods where she grew up. 

As soon as Hayden arrives at her hometown, her friend Del in tow, it begins: Neighbors whisper secrets about Hayden’s mother; the boy next door is now all grown-up in a very distracting way; and Hayden feels the trees calling to her. And among them, deep in the woods, Hayden will discover something incredible―something that threatens reality itself.

























Ready? Here we go.

Katya: Hey Elizabeth! So our book ship is OUTRUN THE WOODS! I love that!

Elizabeth: Hi Katya! Yes, our book ship is pretty epic. I’d read the heck out of it. And speaking of readers, I’ll jump into our interview with this question: Imagine your perfect reader. How would you describe that person?

Katya: I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, since WHAT THE WOODS KEEP’s advanced copies started to float around and reviews popping up here and there… Nerve-wracking times! I think my perfect reader is someone who’s on the same wavelength as me and *gets* the story. But I’ll happily settle for the one who’s entertained by my book! (I heard some readers were creeped out by my debut and couldn’t read it at night—I didn’t set out to write a creepy book, though I’m kind of proud that I did. Does that make me weird?)

So, OUTRUN THE WIND… (What an awesome title, by the way!) Was this the first book you’ve written? Or did you write other novels before this one sold? If you did write other books before it, how did you know OUTRUN THE WIND was “the one"?

Elizabeth: (I think it’s an incredible sign that your book is keeping readers up at night! #GOALS) Anyway, no, OUTRUN THE WIND was actually the second manuscript that I completed. I wrote one during high school that also had tons of Greek mythology, but ultimately it just straight up wasn’t good. But I learned so much from writing it (and will hopefully return to revamp it someday...) and a few characters from it actually ended up in OTW, which is cool! I never really"knew" that OTW would be “the one”, but I did start the process with the goal of publication—I promised myself, even before I started drafting, that I would work as hard as I could to make it “the one,” if that makes sense. Of course, I always had doubt, but thank goodness it ended up working out!

It’s pretty obvious that OTW, which reimagines the Greek legend Atalanta’s life, involves tons of mythology. The gods Artemis and Apollo especially play a big role in my story. I grew up reading Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books, which ultimately got me hooked on this mythology thing. I hear that WHAT THE WOODS KEEP involves Norse mythology? A lot of my family is from Scandinavia, so I’ve always been super interested in that—what elements did you incorporate into your debut?

Katya: Ah, a fellow mythology buff—love it! I also got hooked on mythology as a kid, though in my case it was primarily Norse myths. In addition to that, I’ve gotten myself obsessed with The Nibelungenlied—and it must’ve influenced my growing brain so much that many years later, I’ve written a book influenced by the Nibelungs and all those Norse myths I loved so much. WHAT THE WOODS KEEP is set in modern world, but I weave old myths into the contemporary setting, twisting the stories in the process. My debut is a bit of a genre-bender. :)

After quite a bit of querying WTWK, I was finally lucky enough to find an agent who was really into my genremashing brand of mythology. Though sadly, this agent has now left the agenting business, I’ll be forever grateful to her for finding my debut a wonderful publishing home! And what about you? How did you find your agent—and what was your path to publication like?

Elizabeth: I actually, through a weird sequence of events, haven’t ever had an agent! While a lot of the other authors at Flux are represented by agents, I connected with my editor through the Twitter contest #PitMad, where essentially you pitch your book in a tweet, and send queries to agents/editors who favorite it. She stumbled across my tweet, and after I queried her, she requested the full manuscript and eventually I got an acquisitions offer! I also pitched OTW at conferences and through traditional queries, but it was that editor that ultimately ended up being the best route for me to take, and I’ve had no regrets since! As I look forward, I realize I’ll need an agent to help me navigate my future in the publishing industry, but for now, I’ve been so happy with my editor and the whole team at Flux.

It’s been quite the journey, and some days are better than others, but so goes this industry. Katya, what have been the best and hardest parts of the debut process for you so far?

Katya: Wow, you’ve got such a great story of how you got OTW published! I’m in absolute awe of people who brave Twitter contests! It terrifies me for some reason, but having heard from a quite few fellow authors now who got agents and editors this way, I’m very happy to see these examples of success! In the end, it’s relationships that matter, and having a great rapport with your editor is so important.

As for the best/hardest aspects of being a debut…I think having our Electric 18s community is by far the absolute best part! My only regret is that I “discovered” our group fairly late into my publishing journey, but better late never never:) As for the hardest part… for me it’s been maintaining my wellness and not falling into anxiety spirals as I tend to. I’m still learning how to do it, and have to keep reminding myself that the only thing I can ‘control’ is writing my next book.

Is it random question time now?! So I’m pretty boring in my writing habits (it must be total silence when I write or at least a white noise machine blocking the outside world), but what about you? Do you have any odd writing habits/quirks?

Elizabeth: Nothing too weird, though I do sometimes write out ridiculous/colloquial scene outlines before I start writing. A lot of mythology is kind of dark, as you know, so I need something to keep the mood light, haha. I also will have some form of caffeinated beverage while writing at least 72 percent of the times I write. Not healthy, but oh well.

Okay, so what’s the weirdest job you’ve had?

Katya: many years ago I was a research assistant to a university professor, and one of my first tasks on the job was to go through his 100-pages long phone bill (that man was REALLY into calling people on the phone!) and call EACH NUMBER to check who it was. The professor said it was for tax purposes or something. But I still think he was messing with me!

But I’m curious, what’s your favorite non-writing/reading interest?

Elizabeth: That’s hilarious! Outside of writing and reading, I really enjoy singing! I’m in my university’s top choir and a-cappella groups, and last year I got the chance to sing in Carnegie Hall! So crazy! Speaking of music, what’s a band you loved when you were sixteen that you still listen to?

Katya: It’s awesome that you also sing! As for the band question: I recall being obsessed with Queen as a teen, and I still love them! Ok, one more question: is it longhand or type for you?

Elizabeth: I outline by hand, but have to type my drafts!

Aaand that’s a wrap!



You can buy OUTRUN THE WIND and WHAT THE WOODS KEEP 
wherever books are sold! 

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