TAMARA IRELAND STONE is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Every Last Word, a story about a teen with OCD who discovers a secret poetry club that changes her life in unexpected ways.
Stone is also the author of Time Between Us, which has been published in over twenty countries, and its companion novel, Time After Time. The series follows a teen time traveler from present day and a girl in 1995 he can’t seem to leave in his past.
A former Silicon Valley marketing executive, she enjoys skiing, traveling, and going to concerts. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two children.
A bit more…
I’m blissfully married. I love hanging out with my kids. I watch way too many movies. I’m a terrible cook. I enjoy music (especially live music). I read a lot. I don’t sleep as much as I should.
And I’ve always been a writer. It’s a big part of who I am. Sometimes I write for the pure creative joy of it. Sometimes I write because it’s therapeutic. Sometimes my stories are funny, sometimes they’re sad, and sometimes they’re completely lame—but they’ve always been one thing: just for me. As much as I dreamed about being an author someday, I never thought it would happen, because that would mean letting other people actually read my stories. That scared me (it still does, by the way).
Here’s what happened:
In high school, I was on track to become a journalist. I spent five hours a day in the newspaper office and loved everything about it—from interviewing and reporting to layout design and headline writing (okay, the off-campus pass was pretty handy too). But when I was a sophomore in college, my counselor suggested that I consider a career in public relations instead. At the time, it was easier to secure a PR position than a role in journalism, and with my growing pile of student loans, it was probably a safer route. It wasn’t my dream job, but it was still writing.
I’m glad I followed her advice. Shortly after graduation, I was working in one of Silicon Valley’s leading public relations firms and I absolutely adored my job. It merged two of my passions—technology and writing—and I spent the next eight years completely caught up in a dynamic and fast-growing industry. I got to work with Apple’s Steve Jobs and a brilliant team of people on this and this. I traveled a lot. I worked closely with journalists around the country, managed major campaigns, and got to work with so many amazing individuals. I wrote a lot. I learned a ton.
I went on to work for a large company, and after a couple years, I found I missed the fast pace of agency life. I decided to start my own marketing strategy and communications firm. Fortunately, a few women I greatly respected in the marketing world agreed we’d make a great team. Fifteen years later, our firm is still going strong, working with Apple in addition to a bunch of other large organizations and exciting startups.
I’d love to say I never stopped the “just for me” writing throughout all of this, but I did. At first, I took fiction writing classes in my spare time, but then I got married and had a baby, and then had another baby, and then my business became more demanding, and suddenly there was no such thing as spare time. I wrote in my journal and penned some short stories every once in a while, but eventually writing took a back seat to everything else. Luckily, my kids never got tired of my bedtime “makeup stories” because those became a great creative outlet.
And then one day my husband asked me this: “If you could have any superpower, which one would you want?” We we making small talk. He thought it was completely innocuous question. “Time travel,” I said, without missing a beat. “But I wouldn’t need to go back to the Middle Ages or anything. . . and I wouldn’t want to see the future (I like surprises). I’d just like to go back five minutes or so every time I put my foot in my mouth.” He laughed because he knows I do that. “And I’d go see Green Day, back when they were playing on Gilman Street. Now that would be fun.” He smiled and asked, “You could take me along, right?” And just like that, a little story started coming to life.
I didn’t tell a soul, but the next day Bennett Cooper had a name, the ability to time travel, and a crush on a cross country runner named Anna Greene, who wasn’t even looking for a boyfriend and happened to live in 1995 — seventeen years in Bennett’s past. I couldn’t stop thinking about the two of them.
Writing their story was completely illogical. I had a busy job and two small kids and no time to wash my car let alone write a novel. But I looked for free time wherever it existed and found I had more than I thought. I wrote full chapters on my iPhone. I wrote in the middle of the night with a pen, paper, and a flashlight. I took classes, found critique partners, and spent a lot of time working on this story because I was hopelessly hooked. It was like being in my high school newspaper office again—for an hour or so each day I could get quietly lost in my own mind.
And when I thought it was ready, I showed my story to someone. And someone else. And someone else. And each time was incredibly scary. But I’m really glad I did it, but that story became Time Between Us.
So now I’m writing again, every day—no longer just for business or just for me—and I couldn’t be happier. I get to escape into my mind, creating stories about love and hard choices and families and friendships. And I’m still working with a few companies, because hanging out in the real world is pretty fun too. I’ll sleep at some point.