There are few authors that touch us on a level that we can’t explain. The beauty, the simplicity, the way that they are able to string words together touch our hearts in ways that few writers do. Tamara Ireland is one of those authors. Her writing is beautiful, she makes you understand and wish for more in life.
We’re proud to be part of the blog tour for Every Last Word blog tour and bring you a guest post from the author herself. But first lets get the introduction of the book out of the way.
About the Book:
If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.
Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.
Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.
Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.
About the Author:
Tamara Ireland Stone (www.TamaraIrelandStone.com) is the author of Time After Time and Time Between Us, which Melissa Marr praised as a “beautifully written, unique love story,” and has been published in over twenty countries. A former Silicon Valley marketing executive, Tamara enjoys skiing, hiking, and spending time with her husband and two children. She lives just outside of San Francisco.
CELEBRATE YOUR UNIQUE SELVES prize pack
One (1) winner receives:
· Two copies of Every Last Word for you and a friend;
· plus a $50 Visa gift card to enjoy a day out celebrating your friendship!
Giveaway open to US addresses only.
Prizing and samples provided by Disney Hyperion.
HERE’S THE GUEST POST WHICH IS AMAZING!
Words, Walls and Wonderment: Welcome to Poet’s Corner
Poet’s Corner is a secret room hidden beneath the theater of a Northern California high school. I created everything about this place in my imagination, but no fictional setting has ever felt more real to me.
It’s special. Because the whole story started here.
Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner in Chapter Six, but it was actually the very first chapter I wrote. I had such a clear picture of this room in my mind, and I couldn’t wait to get it on paper. The rest of the story evolved over the next two years, but this chapter barely changed from the first draft to the final.
I’ll Show You…
Follow me. You’ll never find Poet’s Corner on your own.
I lead you down a narrow stairway, through a labyrinth of dimly lit hallways, and into a small janitor’s closet. I push aside the mops and brooms that hang against the far wall, feeling for the deadbolt, and when I find it, I slip the key inside. The door opens with a squeak.
It’s pitch black. Stay here while I flip on the closest lamp. I know where I’m going.
There. Now you can see where you are.
The room is long and narrow with high ceilings, and it’s painted entirely in black. There are small couches and oversize chairs, and all the furniture is funky and mismatched, like it came from completely different time periods. At the front of the room, there’s a makeshift stage with a tall stool in the center.
Ah… I see you’ve noticed the walls. The walls are the most important part.
They’re lined with scraps of paper in different colors and shapes and textures, all jutting out at various angles. Paper ripped from spiral-bound notebooks. Plain paper, three-hole punched. Graph paper, torn at the edges. Napkins and Post-its and brown paper lunch bags and even a few candy wrappers.
Step a bit closer and you’ll see the handwriting on each one.
For the last decade, students have been secretly meeting in this room on Mondays and Thursdays during lunch. Now the walls are almost completely covered. They’re tactile, alive with words.
Here’s one of my favorites. It’s a poem by my friend Chelsea, titled “Over You”:
It only took two hundred and forty days
and eighteen seconds
But I can finally say it:
I’m over you.
I no longer think about
the way your hips move when you walk
the way your lips move when you read
the way you always took your glove off before you held my hand
so you could feel me.
I’ve completely forgotten about
texts in the middle of the night, saying you love me, miss me
inside jokes no one else thinks are funny
songs that made you want to pull your car over
and kiss me immediately.
I can’t remember
how your voice sounds
how your mouth tastes
how your bedroom looks when the sun first comes up.
I can’t recall
what you said that day
what I was wearing
how long it took me to start crying.
It only took two hundred and forty days
and eighteen seconds
to wipe you from my memory.
But if you said you wanted me again
or two hundred and forty days
and eighteen seconds from now,
I’m sure it would all come back to me.
Did you bring a poem?
I watch you shake out your arms as you work out the nerves. Then you take a piece of paper out of the front pocket of your jeans and nervously unfold it. You clear your throat. And then you speak.
Your voice is strong and clear, and your words are perfect because you wrote them.
I clap loudly.
“Heads-up,” I yell, as I toss you a glue stick.
You glue the back of your poem and give it a home one of the walls.
By the way, I just let you break one of the rules, but that’s okay. You’re a special guest.
I’m going to leave you alone here so you can read the walls on your own. Get comfortable. Write a poem. Hop up on stage and read it aloud. Be brave. You aren’t here to impress anyone.
It’s all for you.
Writing as Therapy
This room is special to me because it’s where this story first took hold in my mind, but it’s also important because this is where Sam learns about the healing power of words.
When I first started outlining this novel, I knew Sam would discover writing as a form of personal therapy. Like her swim routine, weekly therapist appointments, and daily medication, writing would become yet another tool she used to manage her mental health.
But the more I wrote, the more the writing-as-therapy aspect of the story began to take on a life of its own. I was often in tears as I found myself tapping into my own personal experience with words and their healing power.
Writing—the simple act of putting words on paper and getting them out of my head—saved me when I was a teen. Even though I never let anyone else read my stories, poems, and journal entries, my notebooks were always my safe place. Words were my friends.
I simply love writing. I love finding that one word that perfectly fits what I’m trying to say. I love putting words together, flipping them around, playing with them. I love the cadence of a paragraph, when sentences work together so fluidly, they sound musical. I love it when words move me to tears and laughter and swoons and chills and… whatever they feel like doing.
I loved making Sam feel all that for the first time.
Creating A Corner
If you’re wishing for your own Poet’s Corner right now, go create it.
You don’t need a secret room. Find like-minded people at school and ask a teacher if you can meet in his or her classroom during lunch. Or find one friend you trust and share your writing with each other.
Just be sure the rules of Poet’s Corner apply: You can’t criticize anyone’s poetry, but especially not your own.
Otherwise, I’ll have to pelt you with paper balls and glue sticks.
Go. Be brave with your words.