Author Chat with Tami Charles (Muted), Plus Giveaway! ~ (US Only)
Today we're excited to chat with Tami Charles author of
Read on for more about Tami and her book, plus a giveaway!
Meet Tami Charles!
Tami Charles is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous books for young readers, including the picture book All Because You Matter (illustrated by Bryan Collier) and the novels Like Vanessa and Becoming Beatriz. In her teens and early twenties, Tami enjoyed a taste of fame as a member of an all-girl R&B trio. They performed for Boyz II Men, BET, and Showtime at the Apollo, and had a one-hit wonder on the radio. After college, Tami worked as an educator for thirteen years before pursuing her childhood dream of becoming an author. For more information on Tami and Muted, visit tamiwrites.com and mutedbook.tumblr.com.
A ripped-from-the-headlines novel of ambition, music, and innocence lost, perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo and Jason Reynolds! Be bold. Get seen. Be Heard.
For seventeen-year-old Denver, music is everything. Writing, performing, and her ultimate goal: escaping her very small, very white hometown. So Denver is more than ready on the day she and her best friends Dali and Shak sing their way into the orbit of the biggest R&B star in the world, Sean "Mercury" Ellis. Merc gives them everything: parties, perks, wild nights -- plus hours and hours in the recording studio. Even the painful sacrifices and the lies the girls have to tell are all worth it. Until they're not. Denver begins to realize that she's trapped in Merc's world, struggling to hold on to her own voice. As the dream turns into a nightmare, she must make a choice: lose her big break, or get broken. Inspired by true events, Muted is a fearless exploration of the dark side of the music industry, the business of exploitation, how a girl's dreams can be used against her -- and what it takes to fight back.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
In the 1990s, I had the pleasure of meeting two girls in middle school who also held the same dreams as I had. Together we formed an R&B singing group, modeled after our favorite of all time, En Vogue. We had the talent, the passion, and the drive. My besties and I would sign up for every talent show, every festival, any opportunity to get seen and be heard.
Trying to make it in the music industry was like being on a rollercoaster, and we shared some unforgettable moments. Always coming so close to making it big, but never quite hitting the mark. The search for fame does the most incredible thing. It sucks you in, gets you hooked, spits you out at will leaving you to decide if the journey is truly worth pursuing. This experience launched the book that would eventually become Muted.
A bit about the book:
Seventeen-year-old Denver and her best friends Shak and Dali want to be stars. They get that chance when they start recording a demo with legendary singer/songwriter Sean “Mercury” Ellis. An angel at first but a monster in the end. It’s up to Denver to raise her voice, mute the monster, and reclaim power for both herself and her friends.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel for sure. It was actually titled something else, and I really liked it,
but Muted worked so much better. I’m going to save that other title for a future book.
YABC: Do you have a favorite writing snack?
Give me ALL the plantain chips! It’s an addiction.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
Denver’s eyes. She has a condition called Heterochromia where each eye is a different color.
I wanted deep symbolism behind her eyes. The blue eye represents the sky, which is literally
where she’s narrating the story from. She’s on a plane ride home. And that sky also represents
the limitlessness of Denver’s dreams. Her other eye is brown, representative of Earth, soil, home, which
is exactly where she’s headed. She’s on her way home.
YABC: What’s a book you’ve recently read and loved?
SPIN by Lamar Giles. Dude is the master of whodunits, I tell ya!
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I’m hoping to write a couple more picture books, especially after Muted.
This is my way. I’ll write a novel with heavy themes, and then I turn to picture books for an emotional cleanse. It’s important for me to strike that balance.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
I had a hard time with Dalisay. I wanted to show her vulnerability, but there were also
some things that took place behind Denver’s back. I had to make the choice to leave a few of those moments up to the reader so they could ultimately interpret Dali’s intentions. Were there reasons Dali kept secrets from Denver? Was it out of love? Loyalty? The pursuit of her own dreams? Maybe a combination of all? Layering this into her character was difficult and I can only hope that readers see her in the nuanced way I aimed to write her.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Give me revisions any day over drafting! For me, the magic is in the fixing. My first drafts
are always a hot mess. I typically need to step away from it for a bit and then come back with fresh eyes.
Once I’m revising, I’m picturing the book in my head like a movie and then I’m hooked!
YABC: What advice would you give to new writers?
Don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s. Celebrate the moments without quantifying them.
If you wrote a sentence today, great. If you wrote nothing and maybe just “thought” about the
story you’re writing, that’s a win, too. Clap for other authors, for sure. But don’t forget to clap
for yourself along the way!
By: Tami Charles
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: February 2nd, 2021
Three winners will each receive a copy of Muted (Tami Charles) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*
I love the cover! Denver is just beautiful, and I like the font/lettering on the cover. This isn't a book I'd usually read, but after reading the summary and seeing it's based on actual events, it pulls me to it.