Stealing AddaStealing Adda
Tamara Leigh
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Just because Adda Sinclaire writes best-selling romances doesn't mean she lives one! Adda can't shake the feeling that something's missing from her life---not her ex-husband, who ran off with another author and took their dog with him. And not a current beau. It couldn't be Jesus---or could it? 416 pages, softcover from NavPress.
     

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Tamara Leigh
Galatians 6:4-5, The Message: "Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don'tcompare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life."
Our Interview with Tamara Leigh

What is your background?

I was raised in Nevada. Other than half a dozen or so years attending a church which turned out to be borderline cultish, my exposure to religion was pretty much limited to church "drive bys" on the way to the grocery store and my mother's profession of her belief in God. Not until my future husband and I began planning our marriage was I properly exposed to the Christian faith. In search of a minister--didn't seem right to be married by a judge--my Catholic-raised husband and I began attending various denominations. And something happened. Something that went beyond securing a "man of the cloth" who would stand before us, pronounce us man and wife, then walk off into the sunset and leave us to carry on as before. We wanted more. Three years after we were married, my husband and I accepted Christ and were baptized (Yes, we're slow learners).

As for my writing career, I turned to my love of writing in thehope of remaining home with our children once we were blessed with little ones. Prayers were answered when, in March of 1993, my agent informed me I had a four-book contract offer from Bantam (several hours later, I found out I was pregnant). Setting aside my Master’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology, I began my new career as a mom and historical romance writer. My first novel, WARRIOR BRIDE, was published in 1994 and was followed by six more bestselling, award-winning historical romances. Now, twelve years later, my first CBA book, STEALING ADDA, is about to be released.

What led you to become a CBA author?

My decision to cross to "the other side"was the result of a long struggle between what I was comfortable doing and what I knew I should be doing. The more time I spent in God's word, the more I was certain he wanted me out of that comfort zone. Still I struggled, pulling one way while he pulled the other. And guess who won.... The good news is that, in the end, there was no loser. I believe I'm finally where God wants me--or at least, heading in the right direction.

What is your favorite verse from the Bible?

Limitations! The first verse to come to mind--waving its arms and shouting "Pick me! Pick me!"--is the one whicha friend's husband e-mailed me when he learned STEALING ADDA was to be published in CBA:

Galatians 6:4-5, The Message: "Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don'tcompare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life."

How did you choose the story line?

It was a combination of insomnia, frustration, and defiance. I'd "thrown in the towel"--vowed to never write again so I wouldn't have to deal with the publishing world. Well, that lasted all of a month. Sitting in bed wide awake, stealing glances at the notebook that kept taunting me where it sat just out of reach, I finally gave in.It was only meant to be a writing exercise. Something to relieve my pen and paper craving. Just a few thoughts on writing and the writer's life. But that led to nervous tics. So I threw in some humor. It helped, but not much. In fact, despite a chuckle here and there, my "essay" bordered on boring. So I began to exaggerate and ask "what if?". And that's when I scratched the "fiction itch" that allowed Adda to walk in. And the rest is her-story.

Uh...was I supposed to be brief?

Is this a personal novel based on your life or a close friend or family member?

STEALING ADDA is a work of fiction; however, as with all works of fiction,truth does seep into the pages. Though some of Adda's life experiences are a reflection of my own, her version is, beyond a doubt, far more interesting and exciting. Heavy sigh....

Do you prefer to write contemporary fiction?

As books go, writing historical fiction was my first love, but I have a confession: I've been unfaithful. I have a new love--"chic lit". Not that I don't still have feelings forhistorical fiction. Not that I won't, perhaps, return to it one day (Look out CBA!). It's just that STEALING ADDA was such fun to write that I'm inclined to repeat the experience.

What are some of the challenges you face being an author?

Oh, the usual--deadlines (choke), writingSYNOPSES (gag), waiting on the next contract (gulp), revisions (yuck), interruptions (aargh!), and this little thing called WRITER'S BLOCK (Eew!).

How long did “Stealing Adda” take you co complete?

Six months which felt like three. But then came the revisions.

Is this going to be a series? If so, what is the name of the series?

Though I do have a couple more "Adda" stories in mind, at this time, STEALING ADDA stands alone. But who knows....

How much research did “Stealing Adda” take?

Compared to my historicals, very little. "Write what you know" really is a good piece of advice.

Do you have a favorite character? Why?

I'm definitely partial to Adda. She's the me I'd sometimes like to be. I am so verbally-challenged.

Are there any other new projects on the horizon?

That would be PERFECTING KATE, the story of a single thirty-something who... Oops, best to keep her under wraps until the ink dries.

Who was the person who influenced you the most with your writing?

With regards to my historical writing, that would be a toss up between Kathleen Woodiwiss and Jude Deveraux. As for STEALING ADDA...that would be Adda Sinclaire herself.

What advice would you give to a person trying to become a fiction writer?

Read--bunches!--and not only in the genre in which you hope to be published. Also, consider joining local and national writer's group such as American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.

What were your favorite books as a child?

So many books...so much more time then than now.

PIPPI LONGSTOCKINGS pops to mind, as does MISTY OF CHINCOTEAGUE, CHARLOTTE'S WEB, and THE BORROWERS (I was certain there really were wee folk!).

What message would you like your readers to take away from this book?

I'm always amazed at how seemingly meaningless encounters with others can dramatically impact our lives.The young man who gives Adda his copy of the New Testament despite her obvious lack of interest sets into motion something far greater than himself. He believes and is unafraid of his belief. We should all be so bold (myself included).

What is your goal or mission as a Christian writer?

Of course I want my stories to reveal Christianity to non-believers and inspire those who have already accepted Christ as their Savior, but I also want to bring the light of love and laughter into readers' lives.

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