The Sharp & Sexy Books of Tamara Lush

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Photo by Tamara Lush
Photo by Tamara Lush

Interview with Tamara Lush


Residence 11

Do you think Hollywood will start paying more attention to Wattpad writers in the future?

Tamara Lush:

I think finding romantic comedies through Wattpad is tailormade for Hollywood. They go together like chocolate and peanut butter. But I think that in general, Hollywood could offer more in this genre.

There’s a certain aesthetic of European TV that’s a little sexier and a little more adult than mainstream American movies and TV. There’s a show from Spain called Velvet on Netflix. It tells the story of a Madrid department store in the 1950s. It’s very sweet, but it’s also very sexy. It’s one of my favorite shows of all time.

There’s one out of Italy called The Ladies’ Paradise (Il Paradiso Delle Signore). That’s also about a department store in Milan in the 1960s, the awakening of a young woman who comes from the country. Beautiful, not quite too sexy, but very sweet and very romantic.

And then I just binged another one out of Spain, La Casa De Papel (Money Heist). It’s more of a thriller, but there is romance and it’s incredible. I think Hollywood could do well to find stories like that, and I think they could find lots and lots of them on Wattpad.


Residence 11

How does the Wattpad community help you with your work?

Tamara Lush:

Writing is such a solitary thing—I could literally go days or weeks without talking to anybody other than my husband and my dog. But with Wattpad, there are people commenting on my stories, messaging me, and talking to me about my characters.

I actually met my main Beta-reader on Wattpad. She really connected with one of my stories, and now she reads all of my stories before publication. She goes through them and we talk about my plots and plot points.

She’s a mother and she lives in Iran. She’s Muslim, and she speaks many languages. She’s also a new writer, and she sent me some of her work as well. She’s my Beta reader and a friend. I think that captures the collaboration on Wattpad.

Many American readers might think, “Oh, somebody like that would not automatically gravitate to steamy content.” But that’s the beauty of Wattpad. There are people from all over the world connecting with other people from all over the world, giving these amazing perspectives on life, love, and storytelling.

My core tribe of Beta readers and critique partners come from the indie romance community. One is from the Philippines, one is from Australia, one is from Michigan, one is from Wisconsin, and one from Florida.

I love the global aspect of Wattpad because it allows me to see things from other women’s perspectives. But it also shows me that women all have the same desires and struggles throughout the world.


Residence 11

What are the stories on Wattpad that inspire you?

Tamara Lush:

Irrevocable by Nanah Muhammad. It’s a Muslim romance from a young woman from Nigeria. She’s a personal friend of mine from Romance Writers of America. I got her on Wattpad. I was like, “You’ve got to write on Wattpad. You’re gonna love it. Trust me.” And she did and her books are taking off.

The Canefield Killer by Rodney Smith. He writes crime thrillers, completely the opposite of what I write, but they’re really good.

How We Were by Meg Hahn. It’s new adult novel set in a gritty, small town Texas. But I just gobbled that up like ice cream.

Tiffany Reiz: She’s an erotica writer who is traditionally published and on Wattpad as well. She’s an amazing, amazing writer.



Residence 11

Why do you think this genre is often overlooked by the mainstream press?

Tamara Lush:

Generally, the mainstream press has overlooked romance and erotic romance because it is a genre written by women, for women. Traditionally has always been thought of as a fluffy, insignificant genre that’s filled with hack writers. But nothing could be further from the truth.

The people who are writing romance now are accomplished, educated, thoughtful, and some of the best writers of any genre. The romance writer Lauren Dane wrote a tweet that I thought was really important …

That’s a really powerful thing. That’s a very true thing!


Residence 11

Who is the one female author of classic literature that you would most encourage young people to read – and why?

Tamara Lush:

I would say if I were to pick one book and one author, I would pick The Awakening by Kate Chopin.  That is a really sort of uniquely American and beautiful book about early feminism, marriage, and motherhood. I think that that book is, I think that book is kind of overlooked sometimes, but I love it.

For a more current read, Cheryl Strayed’s Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail had a massive effect on me.  I was finishing it up in New York City in 2012. I was tiny hotel room in Midtown when I finished it.

I just remember weeping when I read this one quote: 

“What if I forgave myself? I thought. What if I forgave myself even though I’d done something I shouldn’t have? What if I was a liar and a cheat and there was no excuse for what I’d done other than because it was what I wanted and needed to do? What if I was sorry, but if I could go back in time I wouldn’t do anything differently than I had done? What if I’d actually wanted to fuck every one of those men? What if heroin taught me something? What if yes was the right answer instead of no? What if what made me do all those things everyone thought I shouldn’t have done was what also had got me here? What if I was never redeemed? What if I already was?”


Residence 11

How does your work as a journalist enhance your fiction?

Tamara Lush:

I’ve been a journalist for close to 25 years now, and it has given me a discipline for writing. That has been invaluable in fiction. It’s just ingrained in me to get up and write. I’ll write something every day, whether it be a thousand words or 4,000 words or whatever, but I will write.

Journalism gave me that discipline and that has enhanced my fiction work habits. As a journalist with deadlines, you have to write the words. There’s no such thing as writer’s block in journalism. I take that and apply it to fiction.

Thanks for reading our special interview!

Now it's your turn. Join the conversation in our comments section—we'll include your thoughts in a future article!

  1. If your could get Netflix to adapt any story in the whole world, what story would you choose? Who would you cast as the lead?

  2. Wattpad readers, this one's for you: what's your favorite Wattpad story or book? Tell us why you love it!

  3. Writers in the audience, this one's for you: what are the books, television shows, ior movies that inspire you?

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Interview with Tamara Lush

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