Spotlight: Deep Down Things by Tamara Linse



Deep Down Things by Tamara Linse
Genre:  literary fiction
Pages: 330
Publisher: July 14, 2014 by Willow Words
Cover Artist: Tamara Linse
Purchased: Amazon | BN | Smashwords | Kobo | other international ebookstores and through Ingram

Deep Down Things, Tamara Linse’s debut novel, is the emotionally riveting story of three siblings torn apart by a charismatic bullrider-turned-writer and the love that triumphs despite tragedy.

From the death of her parents at sixteen, Maggie Jordan yearns for lost family, while sister CJ drowns in alcohol and brother Tibs withdraws. When Maggie and an idealistic young writer named Jackdaw fall in love, she is certain that she’s found what she’s looking for. As she helps him write a novel, she gets pregnant, and they marry. But after Maggie gives birth to a darling boy, Jes, she struggles to cope with Jes’s severe birth defect, while Jackdaw struggles to overcome writer’s block brought on by memories of his abusive father.

Ambitious, but never seeming so, Deep Down Things may remind you of Kent Haruf’s Plainsong and Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper.

Excerpt 

Chapter 1
Maggie

Jackdaw isn’t going to make it. I can tell by the way the first jump unseats him. The big white bull lands and then tucks and gathers underneath. Jackdaw curls forward and whips the air with his left hand, but his butt slides off-center. Thirty yards away on the metal bleachers, I involuntarily scoot sideways—as if it would do any good. The bull springs out from under Jackdaw and then arches its back, flipping its hind end.

Jackdaw is tossed wide off the bull’s back. In the air he is all red-satin arms and shaggy-chapped legs but then somehow he grabs his black felt hat. He lands squarely on both feet, knees bent to catch his weight. Then he straightens with a grand sweep of his hat. Even from here you can see his smile burst out. There’s something about the way he opens his body to the crowd, like a dog rolling over to show its belly, that makes me feel sorry for him but drawn to him too. With him standing there, holding himself halfway between a relaxed slouch and head-high pride, I can see why my brother Tibs admires him.

I haven’t actually met Jackdaw before, but he and Tibs hang out together a lot, and they have some English classes together. I haven’t run across him on campus.

The crowd on the bleachers goes wild. It doesn’t matter that Jackdaw didn’t stay on the full eight seconds. They holler and wolf-whistle and shake their programs. Their metallic stomping vibrates my body and brings up dust and the smell of old manure.

With Jackdaw off its back, the bull leaps into the air. It gyrates its hips and flips its head, a long ribbon of snot curling off its nostril and arcing over its back. Then it stops and turns and looks at Jackdaw. It hangs its head low. It shifts its weight onto its front hooves, butt in the air, and pauses. The clown with the black face paint and the big white circles around his eyes runs in front of the bull to distract it, but it shakes its head like it’s saying no to dessert.

The crowd hushes.

Then, I can’t believe it, Jackdaw takes a step toward the bull. The crowd yells, but not like a crowd, like a bunch of kids on a playground. Some holler encouragement. Others laugh. Some try to warn him. Some egg him on. My heart beats wild in my chest like when my sister CJ and I watch those slasher movies and Freddy’s coming after the guy and you know because he’s the best friend that he’s going to get killed and you want to warn him. “Bastard deserved it,” CJ always says, “for being stupid.”

It’s like Jackdaw doesn’t know the bull’s right there. He starts walking, not directly to the fence but at a slant toward the loudest of the cheers, which takes him right past the bull.

I turn to Tibs. “What’s he doing?”

“He knows his stuff,” Tibs says, his voice lower than normal. The look on his face makes me want to give him a hug, but we’re not a hugging family, so I nod, even though Tibs isn’t looking at me.

Tibs is leaning forward, his eyes focused on Jackdaw, his elbows on his knees, and his shoulders hunched. Tibs is tall and thin, and he always looks a little fragile, a couple of sticks propped together. His face is our dad’s, big eyes and not much of a chin, sort of like an alien or an overgrown boy. He has the habit of playing with his fingers, which he’s doing now. It’s like he wants to reach out and grab something but he can’t quite bring himself to. It’s the same when he talks—he’ll cover his mouth with his hand like he’s holding back his words.

Tibs is the tallest of us three kids—CJ, he, and I. CJ’s the oldest. I’m the youngest and the shortest. Grandma Rose, Dad’s mom, always said I got left with the leftovers. Growing up, it seemed like CJ and Tibs got things and were told things that I was too young to have or to know. It was good though, too, because when Dad and Mom got killed when I was sixteen, I didn’t know enough to worry much about money or things. They had saved up some so we could get by. But poor CJ. She in particular had to be the parent, but she was used to babysitting us and she was older anyway—twenty-two, I think.

Like that time when we were kids when CJ was babysitting and I got so sick. Turned out to be pneumonia. I don’t know where our parents were. Most likely, they were away on business, but it could have been something else. Grandma Rose had cracked her hip—I remember that—so she couldn’t take care of us, but it was only for a couple of days and CJ was thirteen at the time. In general, CJ had started ignoring us, claiming she was a teenager now and didn’t want to play with babies any more, like kids do, which really got Tibs, though he didn’t do much besides sulk about it. But that day she was playing with us like she was a little kid too.

We had been playing in an irrigation ditch making a dam. I pretended to be a beaver, and Tibs pretended to be an engineer on the Hoover Dam. I don’t remember CJ pretending to be anything, just helping us arrange sticks and slop mud and then flopping in the water to cool down. I started feeling pretty bad. Over the course of the day, I had a cough that got worse and then I got really hot and then really cold and my body ached. My lungs started wheezing when I breathed. I remember thinking someone had punched a hole in me, like a balloon, and all my air was leaking out. CJ felt my head and then felt it again and then grabbed my arm and dragged me to the house, Tibs trailing behind. All I wanted to do was lie down, but she bundled me in a blanket and put me in a wagon, and between them she and Tibs pulled me down the driveway and out onto the highway. We lived twelve miles from town, in the house where I live now. I don’t know why CJ didn’t just call 911. But here we were, rattling down the middle of the highway. A woman in a truck stopped and gave us a ride to the hospital here in Loveland. Can you imagine it? A skinny muddy thirteen-year-old girl in her brown bikini and her skinny nine-year-old brother, taller than her but no bigger around than a stick and wearing red, white, and blue swim trunks, hauling their six-year-old sister through the sliding doors of the emergency room in a little red wagon. What those nurses must’ve thought.

On the bleachers, I glance from Tibs back out to Jackdaw. The bull doesn’t know what’s going on either. It shakes its lowered head and snorts, blowing up dust from the ground. Jackdaw bows his head and slips on his hat. Then the bull decides and launches itself at Jackdaw. Just as the bull charges down on Jackdaw, the white-eyed clown runs between him and the bull and slaps the bull’s nose. Jackdaw turns toward them just as the bull plants its front feet, turns, and charges after the running clown.

Pure foolishness and bravery. My hands are shaking. I want to go down and take Jackdaw’s hand and lead him out of the arena. A thought like a little alarm bell—who’d want to care about somebody who’d walk a nose-length from an angry bull? But something about the awkward hang of his arms and the flip of his chaps and the way his hat sets cockeyed on his head makes me want to be with him.

The clown runs toward a padded barrel in the center of the arena, his white-stockinged calves flipping the split legs of his suspendered oversized jeans. He jumps into the barrel feet-first and ducks his head below the rim. The crowd gasps and murmurs as the charging bull hooks the barrel over onto its side and bats it this way and that for twenty yards. The bull stops and turns and faces the crowd, head high, tail cocked and twitching. He tips his snout up once, twice, and snorts.

While the bull chases the clown, Jackdaw walks to the fence and climbs the boards.

The clown pops his head out of the sideways barrel where he can see the bull from the rear. He pushes himself out and then scrambles crabwise around behind. He turns to face the bull, his hands braced on the barrel. The bull’s anger still bubbling, it turns back toward the clown and charges. As the bull hooks at the barrel and butts it forward, the clown scoots backwards, keeping the barrel between him and the bull, something I’m sure he’s done many times. He keeps scooting as the bull bats at the barrel. But then something happens—the clown trips and falls over backwards. The barrel rolls half over him as he turns sideways and tries to push himself up. The bull stops for a split second, as if to gloat, and then stomps on the clown’s franticly scrambling body and hooks the horns on its tilted head into the clown’s side, flipping the clown over onto his back.

Why do rodeo clowns do it? Put their lives on the line for other people? I don’t understand it.

The pickup men on the horses are there, but a second too late. They charge the bull, their horses shouldering into it. They yell and whip with quirts and kick with stirrupped boots. Tail still cocked, the reluctant bull is hazed away and into the gathering pen at the end of the arena. The metal gate clangs shut behind it.

Head thrown back and arms splayed, the clown isn’t moving. Men jump off the rails and run toward him, and the huge doors at the end of the arena open and an ambulance comes in. It stops beside the clown. The EMTs jump out, pull out a gurney, and then huddle around the prone body. One goes back to the vehicle and brings some equipment. There’s frantic activity, and with the help of the other men, they place him on the gurney and slide him into the ambulance. It pulls out the doors and disappears, and the siren wails and recedes.

Tibs stands up, looks at me, and jerks his head, saying come on, let’s go. I stand and follow him.

Get to know more about Tamara with this Q&A below: 


How do you pronounce your name?

tuh-MARE-uh LIN-zee. Don't worry—hardly anyone gets it right the first time.

What does the name of your blog, “writer, cogitator, recovering ranch girl,” mean?

The real reason I tagged myself “writer, cogitator, recovering ranch girl” was that I needed a tagline for my blog, something that helped me to stand out. “Writer”was obvious. I love old-timey words, and I had been finishing up a historical novel at the time, and so “cogitator” popped into my mind. I have friends who are“recovering alcoholics” (and “recovering Catholics”) and I thought that that fit me well—the idea that my childhood was something I needed to recover from. AsMaile Meloy wrote in her story “Ranch Girl,” you can’t have much worse luck than being born a girl on a ranch.

Why is it bad luck to be born a girl on a ranch?

Western culture is a very male culture. A lot of women I know, myself included, saw that phenomenon growing up and the only way they could see to have self-worth is to be a man, hence the title of my collection How to Be a Man. A lot of women in the West wear men’s clothing and drink beer and hunt and watchfootball and generally be as masculine as they can be. They shun everything feminine, and they have no women friends—heaven forbid. They think of themselvesas this third thing, this third gender. Not a woman definitely, and they can’t be men, so they think of themselves as genderless almost. It’s very destructive to thepsyche.

Who did you read as a child?

I loved all things British—Pooh and The Wind in the Willows and The Secret Garden. I also loved Joan Aiken and Frank L. Baum. I was glad to go from gradeschool to middle school because I’d exhausted the library. In middle school, I discovered the Newberry Award books. Later, I read a lot of westerns and lovedthem, particularly Louis L’Amour. He doesn’t stand the test of time well, though. I went through a scifi/specfic phase as a teenager and still have a fondness for it. I haven’t read much romance or mystery, and I’m not quite sure why. Literary fiction is and always has been my greatest love.

Who are your favorite writers?

My favorite writers. Well, it often feels like the writer of the last book I read because I fall in love almost every time. I fall in love with minds. But I’ll take a run at it.

  • My all-time favorites are Ernest Hemingway and Virginia Woolf.
  • For novels, Douglas Adams, Julian Barnes, Michael Cunningham, E. L. Doctorow,

  • William Faulkner, Charles Frasier, James Galvin, Kent Haruf, John Irving, Stephen King, Barbara Kingsolver, Cormac McCarthy, Ann Patchett, JodiPicoult, Terry Pratchett, Anne Rice, J. K. Rowling, Anita Shreve, and Alexander McCall Smith.
  • For short stories, Sherman Alexie, T. C. Boyle, Raymond Carver, Charles D’Ambrosio, Anthony Doerr, Aryn Kyle, Dennis Lehane, Maile Meloy, AliceMunro, Antonia Nelson, Tim O’Brien, Benjamin Percy, Donald Ray Pollock, Annie Proulx, Karen Russell, Jim Shepard, and Tobias Wolff.
  • For nonfiction, Steve Almond, Judy Blunt, Augusten Burroughs, John D’Agata, James Herriot, and Mary Roach.

There are lots of writers that I really want to like and I have their books but I haven’t gotten around to reading them.

See what I mean? And this isn’t all of them by a long stretch.

What’s the earliest memory you have of writing a story? When did you first call yourself a writer?

I’ve always written. The first story I wrote a beginning, middle, and end to was called “The Silver Locket” and was the story of a girl who goes back in time tobecome her own great grandmother. It was inspired by a friend named Cami who was into a British YA mystery writer named Joan Aiken. Together we readeverything of hers. Cami wrote a story that ended with a head rolling in a gutter. Prior to that, I had read all the time, but I hadn’t realized that a person couldactually BE a writer. When I actually called myself a writer is a different story. I think I was 30. I wrote all of my life, but no one I knew was a writer, and I thoughtof writers as someone who published a novel, and so when I began to imagine I might just be published is when I tentatively played around with the idea of calling myself one.

Why do you write?

That’s a complicated question. Because it’s my passion. Because as a child I felt I had no voice. Because I love to read, and writing is like reading only better.Because I have to to stay sane—just ask my husband. Because I’m fascinated by people, and writing and reading is the closest you can get to another person’s consciousness. But a deeper reason is that writing is all about desire. All people everywhere live in a constant state of desire. It is truly a human condition.Whether it’s something as small as a snack or something materialistic or something as large as a mate for life, people want. People need. One reason that weare such good consumers and why advertising works so well is because we by our very nature have this endless hole within us that needs to be filled. Everyreligion is built on this. So, this is my deeper answer to why I write: Because I’m human. Because I desire. It’s a way to take the world into myself and to makeit part of me. It’s a way to place myself into the world. It’s a way to connect with the world and with other people and to imagine for one small moment that we arenot alone and that we have the capacity to be full and content and meaningful.

Where do you get your ideas?

That’s the wrong question. It should be: How do you recognize an idea when you see one? Ideas are all around you. Everything and anything can spark a story.Say, someone told you to write about walls. Thomas King, who’s Native American, was given 24 hours' notice to write about walls, and he came up with ahumdinger. (Sorry—I don’t remember the name of it!) It’s about a man wanting his walls painted white but the history of walls bleeds through, and then finally,when he has them torn out and new walls put in, the stark white walls makes him look brown. Virginia Woolf wrote a story about a blob on her bedroom wall, which turns out to be a snail or a slug, I think, but it’s a great story. I’m sure there are more stories about walls. It’s about what you put into the idea, what lightsyou up and interests you, and it can be as specific as something that happened to you as a child or as general as wanting to write about the color green. I also findthat when my head is in my writing—in other words, I’m not blocked and avoiding—ideas come so fast and thick I can’t keep up. Everything sparks an idea for astory. Then it’s a problem of way too many ideas and feeling guilty about lost opportunity.

What is your writing process? What is your least favorite part? Your most favorite part?

I avoid. I feel awful. I inevitably read things and feel inspired, but still I avoid. Then I make myself sit at the computer and start. It’s hard, really really hard. But thensomething magical happens. The real world goes away and the world I’m creating becomes more real than the real world. It’s like the real world is in black andwhite, and the world I’m creating is in technicolor. Sure, sometimes it still comes slowly and painfully, but sometimes it comes like lightning from my brain. And thenI’m in love. When I finish a story, revised and all, I’m in love with it. I can’t see its flaws. I want to take it to dinner and then make out with it in the back seat. Then,like all affairs, after a while I start to see the story’s strengths and weaknesses. Then I either revise some more or I write a new story or both. My least favorite partis the avoiding stage, and my most favorite part is when the writing is going well and the world I’m writing is more real than the real world.

Deep Down Things doesn’t easily fit into a category. Why is that?

I think it has to do with my interests as a reader and a writer. I don’t read much genre, and I haven’t written it. There’s nothing wrong with genre ~ it’s just adifferent animal. Genre seeks to affirm preconceived notions. It takes a received form and plays with it, but the arc must remain essentially the same. There’s valueand entertainment in that. However, what I love to read and write is the complicated messy parts of life, the genre of literary. I want my fiction to challenge andexpand what I know, and I want to challenge my readers to do a little more of the work. Above all else, I want fiction that tries to express the subtleties andnuances of lived experience, yet be in some way satisfying. So that’s why Deep Down Things doesn’t fit into a category.

Why four points of view?

Because I’m a masochist? Seriously, the book was initially conceived as having a structure similar to the movie Love Actually. I was exploring the question: howcan you have a bunch of different story lines going yet make them come together as a unified whole? I initially conceived more story lines than just the four ~for example, there was going to be a high school student who tried to seduce Tibs. The thing about point of view, though, is that whenever you give someone thenarrative spotlight, they have to have an arc. It has to be their story and they have to change, or refuse to change, in their own arc. And therefore if you have fourstories you have four arcs, and then it all has to hold together into an arc of its own. Another initial model for Deep Down Things is Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying.That novel is not only my favorite Faulkner but one of my all-time favorite books. Kent Haruf’s Plainsong was a model late in the process, but I actually didn’tread the book till after I had written the first draft of Deep Down Things.

Maggie and Jes’s medical journey is harrowing. Does this reflect something in your life?

Their story reflects many things in my life. First and most directly, when I was a technical editor for an environmental consulting firm, I worked with a wonderfulwoman who had two boys. She is my same age and is one of those ideal mothers. If I were able to choose my mother, she’d be at the top of the list. But then shehad her third child and he had severe spina bifida, just like Jes. He died when he was 6 years old, and he would have been 18 this year. I hope this book in somesmall way honors what they went through. There are a few other things that contribute to the story. My husband and I lost five babies to miscarriage, the first at sixmonths. In past times, we would have been childless, but with the miracle of modern science we were able to have our twin boy and girl. They are our genetic material carried by a saint of a woman who acted as our gestational carrier. She is amazing and I would trust her almost more than I trust myself. A third thing thatcontributes is that our son was born with a severe cleft lip and palate. He’s perfectly fine, but he’s had to have a number of surgeries throughout his life. I am sothankful to all the medical professionals who have made so many things possible.

Deep Down Things is a tragedy. Why don’t you write happy endings?

My mom asks me that all the time, as do a couple of my sisters. I fear I was born with a broken funny bone. I find things funny, but they’re usually English geekkinds-of-things—Monty Python, Terry Pratchett. The things that most people find funny, I usually find incredibly sad or incredibly angry. One of the reasons why, Ithink, is because the basis of a lot of humor is stereotyping, reducing someone to one dimension, and my goal in writing is to find the complexity of life, toexpress lived reality. That’s why I’m drawn to the genre of literary. (Not at all to insinuate that the other genres are anything less!) I don’t think of my endings asdark—what I often try for is closure without resolution, which is the way life is. There’s always a tension when I write between the messiness andmeaninglessness of life and the creation of a satisfying piece of art.

Deep Down Things is self-published. Why did you choose that route?

I have to admit that I crave the legitimization that comes from traditional publishing, and that’s why I resisted self-publishing for so long. It took me 11 years andalmost 200 queries to get an agent. (Read more about my journey to get an agent here.) I’ve written and rewritten two novels that have gone out to publishers~ one of which is Deep Down Things. Though I’ve gotten some very nice notes from editors, neither was picked up. Some might call me a slow study ~ I callmyself pig-headed, and that’s a good thing. I don’t know if you’ve been reading much about this, but the squeeze that is being put on traditional publishing bydisintermediation has brought about the rise of a new type of author: the hybrid author. (The great Chuck Wendig has been talking a lot about this.) There’s nolonger just two tracks ~ traditional publishing and self-publishing. The tracks are becoming melded and diversified, and much more of the power is back in the hands of the author. Also much more of the responsibility for getting a book out and connecting with readers. That’s where the hybrid author comes in. She or he issomeone who, with the help of her agent, chooses the best route for the work at hand and then has to make it so. This is wonderful and terrifying ~ for everyoneinvolved. Also, traditional publishers now consider the success of a self-published title in their decision to take book on. In other words, they will take on a bookthat’s doing well under self-publishing (and I suspect that this will become the norm, rather than the exception). I’m also made for it. It’s like all my various backgrounds come together in this one endeavor. Of course the writing part ~ I’ve been writing and improving my craft my whole life. But then also editing ~ I’vebeen an editor in all different capacities. I’ve also been an artist and taken art classes for years, not to mention jobs as a document designer. I took classes inelectrical engineering and computers for a number of years, and all that experience goes into making a website and working with digital publishing. And I’m inmarketing and have done freelance marketing for years, which prepares me to be a promo-sapiens. And I love social media and tend to be a bit of an earlyadopter. Not to mention I’m a bit obsessive.

CJ discovers new facets of her sexuality in Deep Down Things. Are you gay?

No, I’m not lesbian. I am a happily married heterosexual. However, like so many things, sexuality rests on a spectrum. People’s real sexuality, not simply whatthey profess to be. On the spectrum of homosexual to heterosexual, I’d say I’m not out on the end. I’m attracted to minds, and that’s why I fall in love with booksand authors, no matter who they are. Haven’t you had that experience? The one where you read a book and you become obsessed with the author and readeverything you can about them and fantasize about running into them somewhere and you make this deep connection and are friends for life? Very stalkerish? Iwrite gay characters for the same reason that I write characters of all different stripes. I’m trying to figure out and portray the human condition, and sexuality is all wrapped up in gender, which is something I’m very interested in too.

Are you Christian?

I am not. I would say I’m spiritual without a particular affiliation. My family didn’t go to church when I was growing up, though I visited with friends, and I’m deeplyambivalent about the institution. As a feminist and humanist, I strongly object to all the horrible things that have been done in the name of religion, and since I was not raised immersed in its metaphors and traditions I find them hollow and constructed. However, I whole-heartedly believe in the function that religion plays in our society: community, the ten commandments, do unto others, be a good person. You do not have to bepart of an organized institution, however, to be a good person and know right from wrong and try your best to make the world a better place. All that said, thestories of the bible are timeless and have had an immense impact on our culture, and I often have an underlying story or metaphor that I’m riffing on when Iwrite something. Having that structure to reference prompts my creativity. And so the story of Jes is the story of Jesus in a ways large and small. Can you spotthem?

The characters in Deep Down Things are all white. Do you see that as a problem?

Yes, I do. I thought a lot about this. Because three of my point of view characters are siblings, they needed to be of the same race, which of course would be myrace. I thought about making either Jackdaw or Bo African American or Hispanic, but I couldn’t make Jackdaw because he was the bad guy. How could Imake my bad a guy a different race than I? Unless I was specifically exploring the racial aspect of it, that seemed lazy and unethical and so many things. A veritablemine field. I seriously considered making Bo part African American, but then she seemed to play into the stereotype of the good-but-sharp-tongued black personwho’s motherly and a nurse. Also, what would be the ramifications of having my lesbian character be black? That’s exoticizing the other. Maybe it was a lack ofcourage on my part, but with so many things going on already, I didn’t want to throw that into the mix. In general, just know that I think a lot about this, and I’malways trying to have a more diverse cast of characters.

What are you reading?

Boy, you ask difficult questions. The thing is, I could honestly say that I’m reading hundreds of books at one time. That’s because I tend to “taste” books before Iread them from beginning to end. I’ll buy a new book and then read it for a half hour or hour before bed. Then I’ll put the book aside and not pick it up again foryears. Lately, I’ve been reading the books of my fellow Wyoming writers who are also great friends. Nina McConigley is out with a fabulous book of short storiescalled Cowboys and East Indians. Pembroke Sinclair is out with a YA horror novel called The Appeal of Evil. Mary Beth Baptiste is out with a great memoirabout coming West called Altitude Adjustment. You should check them out.

Do you have an MFA?

No—my master’s is in literary studies and my thesis was on 1852–54 pioneer diaries. I’ve taken a lot of workshops, however, in the classroom and online andat writers conferences. I highly recommend them. Be it an MFA or a local writers group, any time you can get others to look at your work and give you solidfeedback is helpful. Solid feedback does not mean only “oh, you are so wonderful”—but you do need some of this for your ego or you won’t have the strength togo on. Neither does it mean brutal comments like “This isn’t working” with no further explanation or direction. It means detailed criticism of one reader’sreaction to what’s working and what’s not working—the more detailed and specific and articulate, the better. Still more important, volunteer to read your writer friends’ work.You’ll learn more from commenting on theirs than you will reading comments on your own. I am thinking about getting a low residency MFA, however, as I’malways trying to improve my writing.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Read a lot. Write a lot. Write in the style of what you like to read. The best writing often comes from what obsesses you and makes you uncomfortable. Bebrave. Persevere. Make a lot of writer friends.

What’s next for you?

Oh, so many things! First, I imagine there’ll be a lot of procrastination and a few times in the depths of despair, but then there’ll be those moments of glory when thewriting is flowing and characters are running across the page. That’s not what you meant? Seriously, thank you for asking. I’ll be coming out with a historical novelin January 2015, the first book in a trilogy tentatively called the Round Earth Series. Set in 1885 Iowa and Kansas City, Earth’s Imagined Corners is about Sara,whose father tries to force her to marry his younger partner. Instead, she elopes to Kansas City with a kind man who she just met named James. Little does sheknow, he has a troubled past. Finally, I’m also working on a young adult series called the Wyoming Chronicles, which are re-imaginings of classics set incontemporary Wyoming. The first, called Pride, is Austen’s Pride and Prejudice set in present-day Jackson Hole.

About the Author

Like the characters in Deep Down Things, the author Tamara Linse and her husband have lost babies. They had five miscarriages before their twins were born through the help of a wonderful woman who acted as a gestational carrier. Tamara is also the author of the short story collection How to Be a Man and earned her master’s in English from the University of Wyoming, where she taught writing. Her work appears in the Georgetown Review, South Dakota Review, and Talking River, among others, and she was a finalist for Arts & Letters and Glimmer Train contests, as well as the Black Lawrence Press Hudson Prize for a book of short stories. She works as an editor for a foundation and a freelancer. Find her online at tamaralinse.com and on her blog Writer, Cogitator, Recovering Ranch Girl at www.tamara-linse.blogspot.com


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