Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Women Who Rock Wednesday: Tara Kelly

Welcome to Women Who Rock Wednesday! I'm excited to feature Tara Kelly today. Her debut novel, HARMONIC FEEDBACK, came out last week and it is a book I truly adore and read in one night because I was so sucked into Drea's world. I wish I could go back in time and give this to my high school self as another reminder that "fitting in" and trying to be "normal" is a lot less important than finding yourself and the people who love you for who you are.

Anyway, I will let Tara talk about her book and more now!

Q: I've been singing the praises of HARMONIC FEEDBACK for months now, but in case my readers missed it, will you tell them what the book is about?

Tara: Harmonic Feedback isn't about Asperger's Syndrome. It's about a girl who is trying to figure out what normal means--and if normal is something she even wants to be.

Q: I don't have Asperger's, but I really related to Drea's struggle to fit in and I think a lot of teens will. Also I obviously loved the musical drive of the book. Can you talk a bit about what motivated you to write this book and what you hope readers will get from it?

Tara: Coming from a family of socially-awkward folks--I have ADHD, my brother is on the autistic spectrum, and I suspect my grandmother had AS, I've always wanted to write from the POV of someone who sees the world differently. Someone--who from the outside--is easily misunderstood. Drea is much different than I am. She's far more literal and logical, but it was her struggle to both understand the people around her and understand herself that I could most relate to. That alien there's a party and you're watching it from the outside, wondering why you weren't invited. So I used that feeling to connect with Drea and really get inside her head. My other motivation was I wanted to write a book for all the 'freak' kids out there. The book I needed to read in high feel a little less alone.

As for the musical aspect...well that's easy. Music is such a huge part of my life, it's like breathing, really. And my characters tend to pick that up *grin*

Q: When did you decide you wanted to be a writer and who are some of your inspirations? We especially like to hear about women on Women Who Rock Weds, but feel free to include men too!

Tara: Since I can remember, but I guess it really hit home in the 5th grade when the teacher picked one story to read in front of the class. And it just happened to be mine. Writing, like music, was my form of escape. It literally saved me during my teen years, I think. As for inspirations...I did have an infatuation with Emily Dickinson. Yes, I was a goth, what can I say. I also LOVED Joyce Carol Oats--she was probably one of my biggest influences. Poppy Z Brite was a big influence too. And I read a LOT of Christopher Pike. Yes, I was quite the little horror addict.

But if I had to pick one book that made me want to become a writer, it was Anne of Green Gables. I related so much to Anne and read that story over...and over...and over.

Q: In addition to writing, you are a one-woman band. Can you tell us a bit about your music and who inspires you there? Also do you feel the pull more towards music or writing or do they bring about a nice creative balance in your life?

Tara: I write music, much like I write the seat of my pants. I can't do one without the other--so creative balance, for sure. I play entirely by ear (honestly, I can't read music at all--I'm a fraud like that), but the playing by ear deal runs in my family. I think my dad is the only one who reads *grin* As for how I got to be a one-girl-band...well, because I can't just stick to one instrument. I want to do it all. In fact, I can't even decide if I'd rather be a musician or a producer. Why not both? I'm a believer in letting the imagination run wild and doing what makes you happy--even if you completely SUCK at an instrument.

If anyone wants to hear my masterpieces or monstrosities (depending on your cup of tea), feel free to check out my music at

Q: I'm dying for the next Tara Kelly book after reading and re-reading HARMONIC FEEDBACK and I'm sure anyone who reads it will be as well. So can you tell us what is in the pipelines for you?

Tara: Of course. My next book, C-Side Tales, comes out next year, and I'm very excited about it. Harmonic Feedback deals with music, obviously, but C-Side focuses solely on what it's like to be a band in today's music world--which has changed significantly in the last ten years. To steal my agent's summary--the story revolves around a 17-year-old girl who has to battle wicked stage fright (and a crush on the superhot bass player) to convince the members of her new band that she can hack it as their lead guitarist.

The other book I'm working on is called Nyx & Thor. Told in alternating points of view, it's a love story about two Vegas teens--a bully and the girl he torments.

Q: I have two standard questions for my women who rock. The first is a two-parter. What was the first album you bought and the first concert you attended? Be honest, we don't judge :)

Tara: know I always say the first album I bought was Alice in Chains "Dirt", but I was thinking about this the other day. It might have been Bjork's Debut album. Either way, it was ONE of those :) The first concert I went to on my own (not my parents dragging me) was White Zombie and Babes in Toyland. And even today, that remains one of my favorite concerts of all time.

Q: Please dish about the moment where you felt most like a rock star. Maybe it was a moment of big success in your career, an "I'm Not Worthy!" Wayne's World type moment where you met someone cool, or a time where you just got the rock star treatment.

Tara: Probably when Poe pulled me up on stage, had me dance and sing with her, and gave me a hug. Poe is probably one of my favorite female musicians...I just have the utmost respect for her. So that was a moment I'll never forget. I just hope we get to see her on concert again one day soon!

This Week's Contest:

If I hadn't already gotten you excited about HARMONIC FEEDBACK, I am willing to bet you are pumped now. Fortunately, Tara is putting a copy of the book up for grabs in this week's contest.

To enter all you have to do is leave a comment. However you can gain additional entries:

+1 for tweeting or posting on facebook about this interview
+1 for tweeting or posting about HARMONIC FEEDBACK
+5 for blogging about HARMONIC FEEDBACK

Note your additional entries in your comment as well as giving me an email address or some way to contact you if you win. Please note that due to postage expenses, this contest is for US mailing addresses only.

Winner will be announced in 2 weeks on June 16th when author Wendy Toliver is our guest for Women Who Rock Wednesday!


Sara said...

I adored Tara's novel... Drea was so easy to relate to and I loved Justin!

+1 Tweeted Contest:

+1 Tweeted about HF:

+5 Blogged about HF!

Thanks for the contest and interview...

Sara @ The Hiding Spot

Sara said...

Sorry! I didn't link that first tweet correctly!

Contest Tweet (again):

Sara @ The Hiding Spot

Robby said...

I have been DYING to read this book. Tara seems so great, as does Harmonic Feedback. And she saw Babes In Toyland. It doesn't get much better than that.

jpetroroy said...

I can't wait to read this!

jpetroroy at gmail dot com

Sylvia said...

I really want to read Harmonic Feedback! I love books that involve music and a sweet love story, I can't wait! Thanks for this contest:)


Bee said...

Wow, the cover's so gorg! And I love the premise...

Don't enter me, I'm international :(

marina said...

this book sounds really cool!!!

Audrey; (AyC) said...

A book about music and being "normal"? I'm definitely interested :) I recently read some of Tara's blog posts and she really seems like a genuinely awesome person, HF is already on my wishlist :P

thanks for the interview Stephanie :)