Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?
Whoever would've thought I'd end up being an author? When I was six, I wanted to be a MLB baseball announcer, and when I was sixteen, I wanted to be a foreign correspondent. But I ended up customizing and implementing software systems for businesses. Eh? Still not sure how that happened. And now I'm writing romance novels.
I was born country so most of my stories have a rural feel to them, even though I've lived in the city the majority of my adult life. Life in the `burbs is fine with me! My husband and I love it here in the Seattle area, and Annie, our orange tabby cat, has taken a fond liking to our wooded backyard, so we're here to stay. Nevertheless, I do look back at my rural upbringing and have many fond memories, a lot of which are included in Down Home Ever Lovin' Mule Blues, my current release.
I have two books and two short stories out. The first book, Faery Special Romances, won the Fall 2007 NOR Award for Best Print Sci-Fi/Romance. Two stories have finaled in the P.E.A.R.L Awards and one story won. My current release is Down Home Ever Lovin' Mule Blues, available at any online store or any bookstore can order it. This book is set in Idaho, not too far from where I grew up, and features a rodeo clown/bullfighter patterned after retired bullfighters Leon Coffee and Jim O'Keefe. The hot shot moves were Leon's, the show and the cowboy protection was all Jim. He was really wonderful about teaching me the particulars of bullfighting, and especially about the mindset a man has to have to choose and stay in such a dangerous profession.
If you could be one of your characters - Who would you be? And why?
Probaby Keely, the faery princess in Faery Special Romances. For one thing, she's magic, and I yearn to clean the entire kitchen with a flick of faery dust. Wouldn't that be great? Besides, Keely's downright ballsy at times and I'd love to be more like her. On the other hand, she can be a little boneheaded, so I'd want to avoid that pitfall.
What's your favorite genre to read?
Humorous fantasy romance. If an author makes me laugh, then I'll buy every book she ever wrote and ever will write. I don't think there are many things in all of life that are nearly as important as laughter. At the same time, I want the romance, the anticipation, the hot sexual tension. Make me fall in love. Love and laughter turn the wheels of my world.
When you have writer's block how do you break free?
If I'm blocked, it's because the conflict is defective. Either it's too external, too shallow, too one-sided, or plain old not there. So I call my friends and whine a lot, then we work out the problem, they pat me on the head, and I go off to my corner to write.
Who is your perfect hero? And why?
The perfect hero is an alpha hero, but not an a$$hole. I can't abide rude people, and that includes men. When I'm reading, I want to fall in love with the hero, and I certainly can't do that if he has no respect for the heroine. So yes, alpha, but the leader type, not the mean type, who respects the heroine and has a sense of humor. Oh, and it's really good if he has a deep, dark secret. Yum.
What type of book have you always wanted to write?
I didn't want to write a book of any type. How I managed to get into this gig is a mystery to me. Writing picks you, you don't pick writing. Now that I am writing, I might want to venture out of romance and try a humor book. But I'm not so sure because books without romance (stories that should have it) annoy me. It's as if the author couldn't let her hair down all the way.
What is the best and worst advice you have ever received?
The worst advice was when a well-intentioned author told me that nearly all new writers start with backstory, so lop off the first three chapters. "Nearly all" doesn't include me, and I've needed to add to the beginning of nearly all my stories because I start too far in. Set-up is boring and I don't want to write it, but there simply has to be a certain amount of it or the reader is totally lost before you even get started. After judging contest entries for several years now, I will agree with this author-nearly all new writers write a dozen or twenty pages before the story actually starts.
The best advice was from Stella Cameron, who emphasizes that if you're serious about writing, then write. You wouldn't stay home from an office job if you didn't feel inspired, and you can avoid writing just because you don't feel like it. Make that page count. Get it done.
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I do all manner of characterization, plotting, and planning. Here's a four-part workshop on plotting:
Part 1, Premise: http://www.textyladies.com/?p=249
Part2, Character: http://www.textyladies.com/?p=255
What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?
I looooove research! Too much. Research can be a real time-sucker because you find a really cool factoid that leads to another, that leads to another . . . Let's say you wanted to know about hotels in Silver City, 1883. The next thing you know, you're learning about the Roman sewer system. This is a fun brain exercise but it doesn't get many books written so you have to be really disciplined (not!) about looking up what you need, then getting straight back to the manuscript.
Thank you for the interview, Tammie!
Thank you for this opportunity!