Author * Speaker * Editor

Excellent storytelling, accurate historical reporting, and gritty, persevering characters

The Story behind The Pretender by Ta’mara Hanscom

This week we welcome Ta’mara Hanscom to the blog. She is here to share with us the interesting story behind her book The Pretender. First, as usual, a little bit about the book.

South Dakota: 1975. Eighteen-year-olds could order 3.2 beers in a bar and loaded guns were kept under the counter. Frankie Valli sang My Eyes Adored You, and American soldiers returning from Vietnam struggled with their new reality.

It’s within this tumultuous season of American history that Tillie Caselli meets Noah Hansen, and they are never the same again. Their lives were mysteriously intertwined – and had been for many years – yet they had no idea.

Questions for Ta’mara Hanscom

  1. What inspired you to write The Pretender? I was going through an extremely difficult time in my personal life. Things were very hard emotionally and I needed some sort of a respite. I had written a lot when I was younger, but one day during my trials I sat down at this old computer that my neighbor had given me and started to write. I wanted my story to be realistic (reality =  trials) but I also wanted God’s promises to prevail. I wrote the first 4 books (drafts) which was about 900 pages in less than a month.
  1. Why did you pick 1975? That’s a time not often written about. It was an interesting time in our country and, as you’ve accurately pointed out, it’s not often written about. There was a richness in that time period that gets overshadowed by modern liberties. However, there were many families (like my own) during that same period who sought to preserve our way of life, which was heavily immersed in the Church.
  1. How long does it take you to write a book? I’ve worked on this project for about 21 years total. It doesn’t take very long to write a book (maybe a month or so) but then comes the hard part—getting people to read it!
  1. Wow, you and your husband run a pizzeria. How do you manage to juggle that and writing? When we first started with just the one restaurant, it was more than a full-time job! We worked around the clock. Our kids were young during that time as well, so we were exceedingly busy. There were some years I didn’t get to write at all because I was too busy making pizzas! Over the last 18 years, we’ve grown our business into 3 restaurants, but we’ve managed to develop excellent management along the way. And while my husband is in the restaurants everyday, I have recently taken a step back and let him and kids run the show. They are extremely talented and gifted in the restaurant, and, honestly, at this point they do all the “heavy lifting,” or I couldn’t do what I’m doing now.
  1. What’s up next for you? To continue with The Caselli Family Series. The Pretender is only Book 1 in 5. We’re fully immersed in our second printing of the entire series and should have it finished sometime in the spring of 2018. I am hoping to have Book 6 finished by fall of 2018, but that’s only a hope at this point. And I have many other installments of The Caselli Family Series planned as well.

Ta’mara was born and raised in South Dakota, and loves her people and rich history. For many years she’s also had a deep love for Italy and her colorful chronology. She was fortunate enough to visit Italy on her 25th wedding anniversary, and added some of the details of her travels to my fictional series The Caselli Family Series.

Her favorite sport is baseball – Detroit Tigers – and she can’t wait until the next time she gets to see them play in Comerica Park. She lives for the next family barbeque.

She and her husband reside in Northwestern Iowa. They have three grown children and one grandson. They’ve rescued two cats and one Pomeranian. She teaches AWANA Cubbies and speaks at women’s events.

If you’d like a chance to win a copy of the pretender, please follow the directions below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for joining us, Ta’ mara! We look forward to reading everything in this series.


  1. My favorite time period(s) to read about is from the Civil War to the Present Day.
    Thanks for the opportunity to win this book.

  2. I like to read about the regency era if it’s historical fiction. My real favorite is futuristic dystopia though!