Thursday, September 21, 2017 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Meet Tamara Eaton

The Write Way Café welcomes Tamara Eaton, who started with 'what if' and ended with Weeping Women Springs.

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
I started writing a Nancy Drew take-off in sixth grade. We’d call it fan-fic now. So I thought about writing a book early on. In high school, I thought I’d write a romance novel and figured I’d have it written by the time I was 25. Well, that ended up being put on hold for a long time. When I finally returned to writing I didn’t write in the romance genre.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
My path was a long one for this first book. This story had been on my mind since college, but I was 47 when I sat down to write for National Novel Writing Month and on November 1 needed a story idea so that old idea came to me and I started to write. That first draft I didn’t do much research, just wrote a story. After I finished that draft I did the research. In historical fiction, I find that research often becomes a rabbit hole that once you start you end up lost for hours if not days. For me, I try not to get too lost in specifics, but I want it to sound authentic and I am careful to get the facts right of things outside my fictional world. Most of my research was online, though I’m fortunate enough to live with a WWII history buff who gave me lots of ideas. He makes documentary films and we’ve interviewed a lot of WWII vets as well as some of the women who either served or worked in the war factories. That became helpful background.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
As I mentioned the story was one I had in college. I imagined this town filled with women who had hidden themselves away from the world. It all starts with what if—and then I needed to figure out why they would do this and Weeping Women Springs was born. I think I needed a lot more maturity to write the story it eventually became.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
Weeping Women Springs is set in New Mexico and I chose that place because I needed somewhere isolated. Originally the village was set in Arizona, but for a variety of reasons I switched it to New Mexico, primarily because I’d lived in NM for quite a few years and loved the state.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
My characters are completely fictional except for a few minor ones except for names. I’ve borrowed names from various people in my life. Maxine Fiekens was a sweet neighbor in SD and her daughter Peggy, the postmistress of the village we spend our summers in. So I borrowed Maxine’s name and Peggy’s name and put them in Hope Springs. Peggy has the same profession she had when I met her, running the post office. All characters are parts of me I suppose, at least things I’ve seen people do or imagine them doing.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
Since I edit for other people, my blocks usually come from outside sources. It’s easy to let their stories come before mine. However, on the writing front, I faced a couple obstacles in getting the story right. For example, when I started I knew little of Point of View and why you should stick with one character. I also had all kinds of characters in there telling their stories, so I had to whittle it down to five main characters.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
I think the biggest surprise was how little I knew about writing a story, even after being a lifelong reader and had written stories before. When I set out to put something down, there were so many details I didn’t know and had to learn. I’ve learned since there is no right or wrong way to do it, but sometimes we get lost in the process and guidelines and I had to figure out what worked for me and my story.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about the effects of World War II and the Korean Conflict on women left behind?
I rather answered this question for the last one, but the primary lesson I learned was about grief and moving on—and I took this to the extremes where each character represented a different aspect(s) of the grieving process. I learned a lot about individual events of the war, mainly as they fitted in with my timeline I’d look for an event which happened in the war at that time and that led me to different battles which we don’t necessarily hear about, such as Attu in Alaska.

What are some of your favorite books and why? 
One of my favorite authors is Barbara Kingsolver. I loved The Poisonwood Bible and The Lacuna. Both of these stories had some influence on my book’s structure.

What are you working on now?
Currently, I’m attempting to finish up my second novel set against the backdrop of a coal mining disaster in 1913 Dawson, New Mexico, the second deadliest mining disaster in US history. The bulk of the story takes place over one night when three women bond while waiting for news of their husbands. It’s called The Waiting Shadows, and has been well-received by those who have read parts of it. I still have a couple more scenes to write and a thorough revision to go through. I’ve been working on this one for two years, and hope to have it done in the spring.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
Actually the idea I have for my next book will be in a different genre. I imagine it being a bit of a suspense/thriller type story and set more in the present than I’ve written before though the roots of the story are in the late 60s.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
I’m a terrible procrastinator for my own stories. I do great if I have a deadline, but left to my own devices, I put off making time for it. My goal is to become more disciplined and make sure I work on my own stories every day.

Thank you for having me!

Hope Springs has a secret–the waters mysteriously uplift the spirits of whoever drinks them. When the town’s young men depart to fight in WWII, tragedy strikes. Grief dilutes the waters unique effects, and hiding the village away from the world may provide shelter from the pain—but at what cost? Preoccupied with honoring their loved ones’ memories, five shattered women struggle to gather strength to overcome their loss, and find hope again.


Tamara Eaton is a "western woman." She lives in the southwest, and wide open spaces of the desert and prairie are often portrayed in her work--fiction and poetry. Several of her stories have been published online and in print. When she isn't writing, she is often editing for others. Weeping Women Springs is her first novel.

Website     Facebook    Twitter: @LiteraryTamara


HiDee said...

Sounds fascinating! Thanks for being with us today, Tamara.

Unknown said...

Thank you for being on our blog! Your story and your style are amazing.

Tamara Eaton said...

Thank you both, HiDee and Lynn for having me. :)

Chuck Robertson said...

Hello, Tamara. It's me, Chuckster from CC. I enjoyed reading WWS. I think your next novel will be great, too.

Tamara Eaton said...

Hey Chuck, thanks for stopping by. I appreciate the compliment. Wishing you well on your writing.