“You know those faces you see in the clouds, on the moon, and on the surface of rocks? Pattern recognition, that’s all it is, right? Pareidolia? Or glimpses into hidden realms?“
— Tamra Andrews
A recent returnee of the Writers’ League, Tamra lives in Spicewood, TX.
Scribe: Welcome, writer! Tell us — what do you write?
Tamra Andrews: I write about the magic and mystery of nature. Years ago, I worked as an astronomy librarian at the University of Texas, and I fell in love with sky legends. Over the years, that love grew into a passion for nature myths, which inspire my work. In the early 2000s, I wrote two encyclopedias of myth and legend, published by ABC-CLIO, and two teachers guides, published by Greenwood Press, that link science to the study of myth. Now I’m writing fiction. You know those faces you see in the clouds, on the moon, and on the surface of rocks? Pattern recognition, that’s all it is, right? Pareidolia? Or glimpses into hidden realms? My middle grade fantasy series, Mirror Child, explores that idea. Mirror Child: Book One: The Woolgatherer was just released in March of 2022. It’s available on Amazon. And my first picture book, Jack and Jill and the Man in the Moon, was released in May. This story is based on ancient legend that explained the faces we see in the pattern of light and dark spots on the lunar surface. To the people of ancient Sweden, these were the faces of Jack and Jill, and the legend they told of the children’s visit to the Moon served as the basis of the Jack and Jill nursery rhyme.
Scribe: If you could choose one author to blurb your book, who would it be, and what would you want it to say?
TA: Alice Hoffman. I love the rhythm of her words, and her stories are pure magic. I’d want her to say exactly the same about me!
Scribe: You have one book you’re allowed to push onto all of your friends, and they’re forced to read it to remain your friend — which one would you choose?
TA: Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz. The bonds I’ve built with the dogs in my life have given me insight into the spirit that unites us and made me a more content and gentler person. If everyone could recognize our common bond with animals and respect them for their unique abilities and minds, the world would be a calmer, happier, and more loving place.
Scribe: Tell us your WLT story.
TA: In the late 90s, I joined what was then the Austin Writers’ League. Through my affiliation with the League, I did a couple of school visits to talk about writing radio scripts on astronomy and articles for children’s magazines, and I sold my first book, Legends of the Earth, Sea, and Sky, at the Writers’ League booth at the Texas Book Festival in 2000. The Writers’ League has expanded so much since then, and I’m excited to be a member of WLT now as a fiction author.
Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?
TA: I’m really into middle grade fantasy, but also picture books. Now that the first book in my Mirror Child series is complete and out there, I’m excited about finishing the next two. These stories are American fairy tales, set in different parts of the country. So I travel, I camp, and I write with my white German Shepherd, Lyla. I’m looking forward to that! I’m thrilled about Jack and Jill and the Man in the Moon and I have more ideas, including another picture book, which I plan to release next year.
I’d also like to create instructional content for my website. I’m an education writer as well as a children’s author, and my Mirror Child books are rich in content that aligns to CCSS standards and could be used in reading instruction. So at some point I plan to create writing prompts and literary analysis to encourage students to explore the themes and literary techniques in my books in more depth. And I have lesson plans and activities I want to write for my Jack and Jill book.
Scribe: Here at the WLT, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one book that has come out within the past few years that you couldn’t put down? (Bonus points if the book is Texas related!)
TA: Well, it’s close-to-Texas related! It’s set in Louisiana. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. And it wasn’t published in the last year, but I read it in the last year! The Shipbuilder, the second book in my Mirror Child series, is set in the South, presumably in the Louisiana swamps, so I’m reading swamp books. And this one is great!
Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion!
TA: I use elements of traditional tales, such as fairy tale motifs, and I rely on literary language and metaphor to infuse my stories with magic. Jack and Jill and the Man in the Moon is my absolute passion. And the illustrations are gorgeous! Claudie C. Bergeron, an illustrator from Quebec, creates images sparkling with light and color, and I feel exceptionally lucky to have her as the illustrator for Jack and Jill and the covers of my Mirror Child books. You can read more about my books and see Claudie’s gorgeous covers at tamraandrews.com.
Scribe: Where can our readers find more of you?
TA: Admittedly, I’m JUST getting started with social media!