Each month, the VA’s Center for Women Veterans profiles a different woman Veteran author as part of its Women Veteran Authors Book Corner. This month’s Women Veteran Authors Book Corner author is U.S. Army Veteran Tamara D. Files, who served from 1989-to 1993.

Tamara D. (Howell) Files, MA BSN RN is a registered nurse in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and the founder and co-owner of a small business that specializes in life coaching and consulting.

Files wrote “Sitting on the Moon” and “The Leopard Butterfly” to inspire her young nieces through the process of grief and loss. The stories are based on true events and encourages hope and peace. Although the books were written with children in mind, they are an inspiration for all.

What are you doing now?

I have been in the health care industry for over 20 years. I’m a registered nurse and mental health counselor. Also, I am in the beginning stages of owning a small consulting business with a focus on whole health and wellness.

Where and when did you serve?

I am a Gulf War-era Vet: 1989-1993. My tours were at Fort Jackson; Munster-Dieberg, West Germany; and Fort Hood.

What was your proudest service memory?

Just a few days after I started, I was selected as the first squad leader. This confirmed my inborn leadership abilities and skills. It also set the tone for the next few years (and beyond) for me. As the first squad leader, the whole platoon was guided off my pace. Most of them did not appreciate my long strides when completing our 12-mile road march. I was sent to the back a couple of times because I would not “slow down!”

What was your inspiration for writing?

I have always enjoyed writing poetry, short stories, and speaking engagements. Technically, my first book (as reminded by my Mom) was at the age of 12 (early ‘80s), winning the “Young Authors” award. My Mom still has this, handwritten and illustrated by me. The two most recent books were inspired by significant life experiences and individuals who are dear to me.

How has your military experience shaped your creativity or how you express yourself?

Military discipline has only enhanced what has always been there. Seeing other places, meeting and learning about new people and cultures brings grounding to keep an open mind for new experiences and different perspectives for thought, conversation, creativity, and/or change.

What advice would you give other women Veterans who may be considering writing?

Do it now. Someone is waiting to hear your story and needs your voice of encouragement. We are the only ones who truly hold ourselves back. Keep the naysayers out of your circle.

How can women Veteran authors help shape society’s understanding of women Veterans’ military experience and their contributions?

By letting society know that there is more to us than the uniform you see. Looking beyond that is a wealth of resources and experiences for challenging times or just for the simple joys of life.

What were some of your obstacles and challenges in writing this book?

Processing my grief to help others through theirs; having the first-timer’s agenda in learning what is needed from the illustrations to the ISBN codes and printing.

What are your recommendations for illustrating, book cover selection and publishing?

Find an illustrator who shares your passion for the story being told. The book cover should capture and keep the attention of readers. When possible, self-publish even though it is extra work.

How has writing this book helped you?

Writing “Sitting on the Moon” and “The Leopard Butterfly” has brought me joy when others have been inspired/uplifted by the stories.

What is your favorite quote?

The most powerful for me at this time is Psalm 121: “I will lift up my eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my Help…”

If you could choose one woman from any point in time to share a meal with, who would she be?

That woman would be “Mama-Nancy” (Jones-Hill), my great-grandmother, who I knew well the first 23 years of my life. However, we never had a one-on-one conversation about her life experiences (1905-1994) and how she became the woman that I knew.

By Michelle Terry is a CWV Outreach program manager

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Published on Jun. 4, 2022

Estimated reading time is 3.5 min.

Views to date: 500

One Comment

  1. Nanette Windley June 20, 2022 at 9:10 am

    When I first seen this, I could not help but to wonder “REALLY”. I said this because in 2001 I was raped by an MP at Camp San Luis Obispo, CA and although I reported the crime NOTHING was done; in fact, his career went on while my time in uniform became so unbearable, I don’t dare claim Veteran statis. The pain, shame, lack of self-esteem, lack of confidence in the Army to truly help victims of MST. Today I still deal with this. Of course, I have been left with an everyday reminder: both physical and mental. The physical reminder is a dent on my forehead from a rock where I was held down on the ground. My mental, I don’t speak, engage, or have anything to do with any males including my own sons. I lack trust in males, the Army, the government and people period. 2012 the VA sent me to New York for inpatient services which was a nine-week program. I still have counseling as of today. I just wish the military understood what the harassment from the 649th MP unit did to me. I was not a member of that unit I was with the 349th QM unit at the time and neither unit did anything as I said. Yes, I am bitter, the person I am today IS NOT WHO I SHOULD BE, but due to the rape and not having the ability to deal with it has completely changed me. Thank you for allowing me to vent. BLESSINGS

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