Cara Tanamachi lives near Chicago with her husband and five children (two by biology and three by marriage), and their 85-pound Goldendoodle, Theodore. Raised near Dallas, Texas by her Japanese-American dad and her English-Scottish American mom, she was the oldest of two children (the debate still rages whether she or her brother are currently the family favorite).
The University of Pennsylvania (Go Quakers!) grad worked as a newspaper reporter, and then published many novels under the name, Cara Lockwood. A former single mom, she spent eight years dating (hilariously and awkwardly) before finding the love of her life on Bumble (yes, Bumble!). She believes we all could use a little more happily ever after.
Okay, so, let's get this out of the way: how do you say my name? I'm KAIR-ah. Okay, so that's the easy one, I know. My last name looks complicated but it's fun to say, I promise: TAH-nah-mah-chee. See? Easy. Now, you'll be saying it all the time: TAH-nah-mah-chee. Rolls right off the tongue.
Second - where does that name come from? My Japanese-American Dad. My great-grandfather was born in Fukuoka, Japan, but as a younger son on a rice farm who would not inherit, he sought his fortune in America. My grandparents, Tom Tanamachi and Mitsuye Nimura, met and married in the Poston Internment Camp during World War II.
They'd both been born in California, but their families, like the 122,000 other Japanese Americans living on the west coast in 1942, were forced from their homes because of Executive Order 9066, for the crime of looking like our wartime enemy.
After the camps, my grandparents settled in Texas, thanks to the amazing generosity of another Tanamachi family, not related, but who, like my family, had roots in Fukuoka.
Dad was born and raised in Texas. He met my mom when they were both undergrads at Baylor University. My mom, an elementary school teacher, also grew up in Texas. Her great-great-grand-people are from England, mostly, with some from Ireland and Scotland.
I learned the power of story early. The very day I learned to read my first picture book, I begged Mom to keep the car light on on the way home from the bookstore so I could finish my brand new book. Being the amazing mom she is, she indulged me.
Eventually, I'd read much more at the University of Pennsylvania, where I decided I wanted to be a novelist when I grew up. Dad, being the amazing father he is, practically suggested I find a profession that might pay a living now, so I worked as a journalist and then a marketing writer. Eventually, I would write my first novel, made all the sweeter by not living in Dad's basement while I did it (thanks, Dad!).
I wrote for twenty years under my formerly married name, Cara Lockwood. In that time, I've had two amazing kids, divorced, dated (hilariously), found the true love of my life on Bumble (yes, Bumble), re-married, gained three fantastic stepkids, and somewhere along the way, also became a dog mom to a goofy yet endlessly lovable goldendoodle.
I'm writing under my maiden name Tanamachi now, because for me, it was time to get back to my authentic self: the one who knows more than anything that life is what happens when you're making other plans, the one who paid her own rent while she wrote her first rom-com in 2000 and the one who loved stories so much she read them by dim car-light.
I believe love makes life worth living, and humor allows us all the courage to keep on going, even in the face of grief, disappointment, and heartbreak. I think being reminded of the power of these two amazing gifts we all carry in us (the ability to love and to laugh) is the key to living in our happy places.
Read my Q&A with Chick Lit Central.