Today, we would like to introduce our blogging community to a Sweet, vibrant woman & local writer and neighbor of ours: Tami Jo Rasmussen. Tami, is actually a part of the small group of local writers in Franklin, North Carolina who help and encourage each other while bringing light to the Art community by supporting the Arts. (Macon County Area Authors Co-Op) 😉 We had the pleasure of meeting her a while back and getting to know her at a local book event where we all had individual tables set up.
I was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska in 1959. I have lived in Western North Carolina and Franklin for the last 25 years. I am a registered nurse and after working for many decades in healthcare, I’ve taken some time off to pursue a life-long passion…writing. You see how fragile life is when you have a career that immerses you in life and death circumstances; time is not promised. My children are grown and successful in their lives so, for me it was the right time to fulfill my dream. It was surely scary to take the chance! I saw a lot of eyebrows raised when I took the plunge but I am surrounded by a supportive family and friends.
Located in the Southern Appalachian Mountains of Franklin, North Carolina, Murmur is the Narrative of a horrific murder and the shocking history threatening a way of life in the remote location of White Rock Mountain and Hickory Gap. Murder, mystery, great fear and loss cloak this isolated mountain community. Murmur is about the mountain folks who live here and their perseverance during the tumultuous 1970’s. Without electricity, telephone service or running water Sonny Branch is in her element. Resisting modern amenities and lifestyle, she is a strong and capable mountain woman. Love and despair brings Sonny Branch to her knees when outsiders threaten the kinship for all of the colorful characters living in this small mountain commune.
(INM)Tami, tell our blogging community a little bit about this main character, Sonny Branch and how you breathed life into her.
(TJR) Sonny Branch is a compilation and tribute to the strong mountain women that I have met over time living and working in our beautiful mountain town. Sonny is a 40 something in transition and struggling to find her identity in the 1960’s and 70’s. Living remotely is hard work and the creature comforts she took for granted growing up are gone, but the solace and beauty of her cabin and White Rock Mountain become a way of life that finally makes sense to her.
(INM) Love us some Strong Southern Female characters.
(INM) So, we have to tell you that we love the fact that Murmur takes place in our Smoky Mountains and even better, in our lovely town of Franklin. What was it like writing about the town
you’re we’re from?
(TJR) Murmur is dedicated to my dear friend and neighbor Dawn Lynn. A few days before Christmas in 2008, Dawn went missing. After an exhaustive search, she was found dead at the bottom of a ravine next to her house. The temperature that day was the coldest in years. Dawn, a frail older lady, was not able to climb up the steep embankment and sadly froze to death. That whole night and the days that followed were surreal and Murmur is a fictional tale loosely based on her tragic death in her hometown of Franklin, North Carolina.
(INM) Can’t wait to delve into this story. So tell us Tami, is Murmur your first book or do you have more published?
(TJR) Murmur is the first in a trilogy of fictional novellas set to be released. The Sonny Branch series will continue with “Still Cove” due to launch in 2015.
(INM) Fantastic!! Tami, your cover is quite beautiful we we’re wondering who did your book cover art?
(TJR) Tate Publishing provided me with a terrific graphic designer by the name of Rolly Galon. After working closely together and several back and forths, I think Rolly perfectly captured the look and mood of the book that I was going for.
(INM) Tami, Murmur is a Murder Mystery/Action Adventure; is this the type of genre(s) that you prefer to write or do you cross genres or keep that open when writing?
(TJR) The genre found me. I never pictured writing a murder mystery, but the true life story of Dawn Lynn was so compelling that it took on a life of its own. I had to pen it to paper.
(INM) Tami, you have such a bubbly personality and are always smiling but as you already know, Inion & I tend to write dark and prefer dark stories. What was it like for you to write something as dark as murder?
(TJR) I love creating something dark and the tremendous artistic freedom that comes with it. We have all faced demons in our lives and I am able to channel and quiet my own through writing.
(INM) Tami, what are you currently working on and what can we expect from you in the future?
(TJR) I am currently working on Still Cove, the second in the Sonny Branch series of novellas. Many people have asked why I chose to write novellas versus novels? It was actually a deliberate choice of style. Novellas have been around for hundreds of years. The series is an open ended story that I get to create as I go along. The same characters and location with a new murder and mystery will be the feature of each new novella. Also, I love the idea that it can be read quickly and I hope the length appeals to a very busy audience.
(INM) What writers are your favorite and why?
(TJR) Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird was one of my very first influences.
(TJR) John Steinbeck is my absolute favorite author. I love how he masters the story of the human condition in such great detail. The Grapes of Wrath, in my opinion, is the best book ever written, and Of Mice and Men is second best.
(INM) It’s been a privilege and pleasure to interview you Tami and we know we’re going to enjoy your book, Murmur. We look forward to more of your stories and can’t wait to see you at the Summer Festival of the Arts, in Franklin, North Carolina on July 12th
(TJR) Thank you ladies it has been my pleasure. The festival is going to be great and a terrific way to spotlight all the amazing artisans of Franklin.
For any who would love to check out Tami’s book, Murmur or connect with Tami online just check out below:
Macon County Area Author Co-op: https://www.facebook.com/groups/570042989673175/