Student author finds inspiration in the sweeter things

Faour's ultimate aspiration is to be an author, as she finds joy in sharing her ideas. Photo courtesy of Faour.

J.R.R Tolkien has inspired many many people, and UNC senior Tamara Faour is no exception. Faour read “Lord of the Rings” when she was nine years old. She loved how Tolkien put together the worlds in the story, and it allowed her to slip into the world itself and become a part of it.

The events and characters in “Lord of the Rings” were impactful to her. She respected the characters and felt that she could relate to them. Not only did Faour love reading fiction as a kid, she loved writing it, and has been doing it ever since. She was even part of a small writers group called the “inklings” when she was younger.

Faour is an English major and has thought about making writing her career for three years now. Even though she’s not sure about it, she considers herself a writer all the time.

Faour has written called “Cordial Cherries” about a stern woman named Helen who leaves her small hometown of Kirk to work in the city. The story follows the young woman and her experience in the city during the 1940s. Faour wrote this story for her grandmother as a birthday gift, and it’s based off of a story her grandmother would tell her. Also, cordial cherries are her grandmother’s favorite candy.

“I wanted to write something that would tickle her a little bit,” Faou said, chuckling.


The main character, Helen, was based a little bit from her grandmother, but Faour sees herself in the character as well. Helen’s stern demeanor was based off Faour’s observation of people in her generation. She noticed that often people had a certain “briskness” and a “no nonsense” attitude. Many people are often trying to be independent and not be bothered by anything else besides work. People like this can lose their way in life, and a taste for the sweet things in life, like cordial cherries. Faour says this is an issue she sees often in others. This is why she incorporated this into Helen’s character.

“When you have that type of attitude it makes you a harder person because the softness and the joys I love to find, can be considered frivolous.” Faour said.

Faour’s writing process is a long, but it depends on the project she’s working on. When she has an idea, she writes it down in a series of quick notes. Then she’ll write out a really rough draft, often filled with incomplete sentences and statements. Sometimes this can be difficult and overwhelming, but to her, it’s best because she has her thoughts down somewhere. Then she’ll type it out in a Word document, fixing the errors as she goes.

Revisions, however, are just as hard as writing because when Faour writes, the thoughts in her head seem to flow perfectly until they get on paper. When revising, she doesn’t realize how jumbled her thoughts are, and many times she changes whole paragraphs.

When Faour writes a story, she’ll notice that she doesn’t know much about a topic, so she’ll research more about certain elements that will add to her story. She would do extensive research through articles, documentaries and books. Originally she used to do research for academic papers, but now she does it for fun, and it allows her to immerse herself deeper into the story she’s writing.

For “Cordial Cherries,” she was writing for her grandmother, so she didn’t go deep into research. She thought about the story for a week by keeping notes and thinking about it in car rides home. She wrote the story in two days. When she writes something  as a gift for someone,

“It’s kind of whimsical the way they come out because I know it’s not a competition or something, it’s just for fun,” Faour said.

Faour submitted the story to “Scribendi,” a publication that only accepts work from honors students in honors programs. This journal is part of the Western Regional Honors Council, and covers colleges and honors programs across 13 states in the western area. Faour is part of UNC’s honor program, and for a project she is working on the first part of a novel.

“I know that it’s easier to get your work looked at once you’ve been published, so I was looking for opportunities to try and send out work,” Faour said.

Last fall, she wrote “Cordial Cherries” and she thought the story turned out nicely. Her honors director along with her family encouraged her to send it in.

“I know that I ought to keep trying. I know that if I don’t send it out then nothing will happen,” Faour said.

When Faour writes personal pieces for people, she tries to think about what they need at the moment, and what she loves about them. When she was writing “Cordial Cherries” she was thinking about her grandmother.

“It reflected my grandma’s humor, and also her pepperyness. She’s a pretty strong woman,” Faour said, laughing. “I think that was what mostly just what was there inside my mind for that person at that time, and it’s different every year,”

Faour has been writing personal pieces for people for a very long time now. She used to write poetry for people, but to switch it up she started to write short stories.


“Writing is such a precious way to express yourself,” Faour said.


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