Week 4: Chick Lit/Southern Women’s Fiction
Tamara Leigh’s Leaving Carolina

I may have mentioned once or twice on my blog what a HUGE Tamara Leigh fan I am. So, it’s no surprise how giddy I was when she agreed to let me interview her on my blog! Tammy writes what most people label chick lit (first person told from heroine’s POV) but her books aren’t what some people label chick lit (designer jeans and a billion purses), so to me, they are first person contemporary romances.

I’ll also preface this all by saying, as a rule, I’m a 3rd person POV kinda girl. Yes, Yes, I know it’s a wee bit prejudice, but it’s just how I role. BUT! Tammy is my exception to this rule, because half way down the first page I forget it’s in first person because I love the story so much!

Okay, enough of my rambling. Here is Tammy!!!

Krista: A few years ago, you successfully made the switch from “Oh-la-la” romance to “Oh-la-Hmmm” romance. (Those are my oh-so-technical terms) I’m curious as to what made you switch from writing secular romance to Christian Romance/Chick-lit? They are, um, quite different after all!

Tamara: My switch from secular to inspirational romance came about after years of dodging God who knocked harder and harder at that particular door as I grew in my faith. The loudest knocking was caused by the edits to my secular novels which required me to cut back on the faith elements that more and more found their way into my stories. As for the switch from medieval romance to “chick lit”/Southern women’s fiction, my agent did submit a medieval romance proposal to several Christian publishers, but apparently that time period doesn’t do well in the inspirational market. So, my agent asked for something else…something different…and Stealing Adda became my first inspirational novel.

Krista: And we are so glad you did! But I think I speak for most of us when I say, I hope they decide to let your medieval CBA romance be published someday!!!

By now, my readers have come to expect a “twitter-worthy” interview question, and who am I to disappoint? Tell me… five minutes ago, what were you doing???

Tamara: Five minutes ago, I was eating a piece of pecan cranberry shortbread that “Supermom/wife” made for her guys. Unfortunately, I seem to be the only one who enjoys it. No, I should NOT be eating a high calorie cookie thing, but it’s SO good. And every time I walk in the kitchen, that little plate of yummies looks at me from behind it’s glass dome and…I…can’t…resist. Treadmill here I come 🙁

Krista: Oh, wow, this sounds very similar to a problem I have! Although, I’m usually hiding the glass dome of goodies FROM my children… and realizing how horrible I am for doing so.

Your latest book, which I ALMOST stood in line outside the bookstore for the day it released (would have had some strange looks from the people at Lifeway and gotten fired from my job for being late… so I refrained and made my husband go out and buy it instead…), anyway, your book is called “Leaving Carolina,” the first in your Southern Discomfort series. While I’ve read it and LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT, please tell us what it’s about and what inspired you to write it.

Tamara: Leaving Carolina is about a young woman who left her southern hometown after high school and vowed never to return to her dysfunctional family. Twelve years later, Piper is a high-powered public relations consultant in Los Angeles. Not only has she ditched her drawl, but she’s shortened her last name to Wick to avoid being associated with her scandalous relations, the Pickwicks. All is fine and dandy until Piper’s eccentric uncle experiences about of conscience and decides to change his will to make restitution to those his family has wronged. The revelations of his last will and testament will, of course, further besmirch the family name. Hence, Piper is called home in hopes that she can use her PR skills to avert disaster. Though she initially resists, the threat of having her own teenage scandal revealed brings her back to Pickwick, North Carolina. Not only is Piper unprepared for the positive changes in some of her relations, but she’s thrown off kilter when her uncle’s godson decides to teach her a thing or two about forgiveness and truth. Ta da!

Krista: Makes me want to go reread it again!

Okay…. it’s TIME for the….


All my interviewee’s are subjected to a quiz, where you take what I give you and create a story-idea and share with us in elevator pitch form.
a. You’re known for having rather, um, unique things in your books. (crop circles, dummies guide to being a Christian, a one-legged hero, a fetish for Jelly Bellys) so I’ve made it my mission to give you some weird things to write a story about—keep in mind these things have to all play a MAJOR part in the plot:

A one-legged chicken
Little Debbie Christmas Tree cakes (ya know the yummy white ones???)
Miss-matched socks


Tamara: Elevator pitch. I’ve never done one, but here goes:

I walk into an elevator and there is the editor of my dreams (actually, I have a fabulous editor, but I’m playing along). Yes, Miss Dream Editor. Big name. And guess what? It’s just the two of us, and to make sure it stays that way, I jab, jab, jab the “Close Door” button, pretending not to hear the “Hold the elevator!” call. Yep, just the two of us.

Noting that Dream Editor has punched the 23rd floor button, I punch the 24th floor button, even though my room is on the 7th floor. I look around. “Oh, hey, aren’t you Dream Editor?” Hmm. Does she have a moustache? “Have I got a story for you. Got a minute?”

She glances at the number bubbles overhead.

I clear my throat. “All Heroine McBride wants is a good Christian man who likes Little Debbie Christmas Tree cakes–her passion–but there’s one problem. Heroine is the guardian of her eccentric aunt’s one-legged chicken and this chicken is one mean piece of poultry.”

Does Dream Editor have something in her eye, or is that a nervous tic?

I hold up a finger. “Not only does this chicken tear into socks that Heroine leaves laying around, thereby forcing Heroine to wear mis-matched socks, but this
chicken hates men.”

Oh dear, might Dream Editor have the flu? She looks a little green.

“So,” I continue, confident my recent flu vaccination will ward off all nasty germs, “any time a suitor calls on Heroine, he never calls again. Fortunately, Hero McGroom enters the picture, and this is one multi-faceted man. Not only does Hero like rock climbing, bungie jumping, extreme watersports, and Little Debbie Christmas Tree cakes, but his sensitive side is revealed in his amazing works of origami, especially of the chicken variety. And, surprise, surprise, Heroine’s one-legged chicken loves origami. Could it be a match made in…the henhouse?”

Krista: Very nice, Tammy, very nice! I’m, um, dying to read that book! Yeah, yeah, I really am!

Next question: Wal-Mart, Target, or Bloomingdales…or Goodwill?

Tamara: Hmm. The only one I can immediately eliminate is Bloomingdales. I’ve never been in one of their stores (er, they do have multiple stores, don’t they?) and doubt I could be enticed since I’m not much for merely looking and not at all for paying through the nose. So…Wal-Mart, Target, or Goodwill. Been to all three, but have to say that I lean toward Target. I like the bulls eye 🙂

Krista: I’m a Target girl myself, too! Wow, it’s been a blast having you here, but there is one last important question:

GIFT GIVING GUIDE: Who should I give your book to?

Tamara: Oh, goodness, most everyone! It has several women in it, so women would like it; several guys in it, so guys would like it; a really sweet pre-teen who might as well be a teenager, so teenagers would like it; a big dog, so dog lovers would like it; an opossum, so opossum enthusiasts would like it; a congressman, so congressmen– No, I don’t they THEY would like it. But a pretty safe bet otherwise.

Krista: There you have it, folks! Everyone but your congressman… (although with all the crud going on these days, they could use a good smile!)

A little about the author: Tamara Leigh is the best-selling author of twelve novels, including Perfecting Kate, award-winning Splitting Harriet, and RITA-award-finalist Faking Grace. A former speech and language pathologist, Tamara lives with her husband and their sons in Tennessee.

BOOK GIVEAWAY! I am SO very honored, as Tammy has offered to give away not only Leaving Carolina, but a set of ALL FIVE BOOKS including: Stealing Adda, Perfecting Kate, Splitting Harriet, Faking Grace, and Leaving Carolina. I’ve read all but one (Stealing Adda… and it’s on my Christmas list this year!) and seriously, they will all tickle your funny bone, make you think, and have a kickin’ Romance that for me, is a requirement. *grin*

Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, I’ve decided to give you a little extra time to comment, so you have through the weekend (end of day Sunday) to post a comment to be eligible to win.

Discussion: Obviously we can discuss Tamara and her awesomeness (please do!) but for a topic of conversation…

What do you think about the whole self publi… oh way a minute, let’s not go there. Why don’t we just say what we’re thankful for today, hmm?

I’ll start. I’m thankful for God, family, friends, and Tamara Leigh for letting my Interview her.

Your turn!!!



  1. Thanks!
    Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.


  2. Have a wonderful thanksgiving. I am thankful for friends and family. For words and wine. For hearing and seeing and the ability to use both to listen. I am thankful for holding and being held. I am thankful for kids and giggles and smiles.

    Sounds like a great book btw

  3. Thankful that I will be volunteering tomorrow at a local church serving meals! Have a great Thanksgiving! :O)

  4. You had me at "Southern Discomfort" series. Great interview!

  5. I have read only "Stealing Adda" and LOVED it!! I knew from that moment on I was hooked as a fan! Loved the interview-you rock! And of course Tamara is amazing!
    Today I am thankful our one and only Lord Jesus, each day we get to wake up to go to work for him (or be blessed stay at home moms) I am thankful for my kids and my grandkids.

  6. I"ve read all Tamara's inspirational books except the Southern Discomfort and it should be in the mail to me. Hopefully.

    I'm thankful that I'm able to be a stay-at-home-mom.


  7. Her books sounds really interesting! Thanks!

  8. I'm thankful for God's generosity, my family, my friends, and the readers who make me want to write more. And, of course, I'm thankful to Krista for inviting me to have fun with her blog pals. Happy Thanksgiving!

  9. I'm thankful for this interview! Hilarious! Great stuff – thanks for sharing.

    An happy Thanksgiving to you both!

  10. Hi Krista –

    Excellent interview! I particularly liked the whole elevator pitch thing – so cute.

    Please enter me in the drawing.

    susanjreinhardt (at) gmail (dot) com

    Happy Thanksgiving,
    Susan 🙂

  11. You did such a great interview that I'm adding these books to my wishlist. So many books, so little time (and money).

    I'm thankful for … my family. That we survived traumatic births and have everything we truly need. And I'm mostly thankful for our amazing God who sustains us.

  12. I'm thankful for bloggers who tell me about all these wonderful authors I had no idea existed.

    So glad you listened to Him, Tamara! And that treat made me very sugar hungry!!!

  13. Wonderful interview, as always, Krista! Would love to win Tamara Leigh's books! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  14. I'm thankful for my mother and grandmother, who still think of me as a "kid" and therefore don't expect me to bring anything to Thanksgiving except dessert.

  15. I've never read inspirational romances before, but from your interview with Tamarra, I am eager to check out her novels. As she was giving us a glimpse of what her new book Leaving Carolina was about, I can't help but be drawn to its interesting plot. I'll get myself a copy of one of her novels when I drop by the bookstore this week. Thanks for sharing with us this inspiring interview.

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