Interview with Tamara Grantham, author of The Witch’s Tower
11 Mar 2019
What can you tell us about your new release, The Witch’s Tower?
It started with an image. I wanted to know what it would really be like to have dozens of feet of hair, and how manageable such a situation could’ve been, so the image of a bedridden Rapunzel came to mind. Add to that the inability to wash or brush your hair, and an even starker image of a crazed Rapunzel trapped in a tower surrounded by unwashed hair replaced the fairy tale everyone’s familiar with. I was also bothered by how the fairy tale ended, with the witch chopping off Rapunzel’s hair, so I envisioned a benevolent witch, who is helping Rapunzel cut her hair so she can be free of its curse. Needless to say, this is a twisted version of Rapunzel, but it offers a vision of hope as well—that not every witch is evil.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
My uncle and my sister. Both were authors who encouraged me to write a book. I thought they were crazy. Writing a book seemed like a daunting task—one too difficult for me to accomplish. But their challenge always stayed with me until I finally gave in. I wrote my first book in September 2010 and I haven’t stopped since.
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, The Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling, I Am Morgan le Fay by Nancy Springer
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
I would invite my uncle. He passed away a decade ago. I’d ask if he knew I was writing.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
I love the creative outlet. Like almost everyone on the planet, my life is chaotic. I’ve got five kids who keep me constantly busy, and my “sacred writing time” gives me a way to use my creativity and imagine worlds of adventure and magic. I can’t imagine my life without writing. I’m always thinking of the next story.
What is a typical day like for you?
I get my writing done early before the “witching hour” AKA “the time after the kids get home from school.” I have a four-year old who stays home with me, so I usually play with him after the kids go to school, then I write for a few hours. I aim to write 1,000 words a day, which is about four pages. In the afternoons I focus on marketing and social media, then I become a glorified taxi driver for the rest of the evening. At night, I take time for my own reading.
What scene in The Witch’s Tower was your favorite to write?
That’s a tough one. It’s hard to pick just one, but I’d have to say it’s when Gothel enters the Outerlands for the first time. I read a book called The Orphan Keeper by Camron Wright. In the book, he describes the scent of curry, and how it infused the air during traditional Indian meals. The culture in the Outerlands is similar to that found in Arabia or India, so I wanted to include details that hinted at that—thus, the scent of curry. I loved delving into Arabic cultures and including details in The Witch’s Tower.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
“A caged bird stands on the grave of dreams.” -Maya Angelou. Also, my tagline is “Imagination Uncaged” which comes from this quote. In my own life, my imagination is my path to freedom, which is a theme that occurs frequently in my own books.
Tamara Grantham is the author of the new book The Witch’s Tower
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