Though I was an English major in college, it took me almost twenty years after graduation to write my first manuscript. I built a technology career, got married and divorced, battled (and still battle) more than my share of chronic health problems—but one night, at a Motley Crue show of all places, I got the idea for the world I came to call The Underbelly Chronicles. The next morning, I woke up a couple of hours early, went to a local coffee shop with a pen and a notebook, and started writing. The manuscript did well on the romance contest circuit, being named an RWA Golden Heart paranormal finalist, winning a Daphne du Maurier Award, and ultimately selling to Sourcebooks in a three-book deal. My debut, retitled TASTE ME, was published in March 2011, with its follow-up, CHASE ME, releasing in June 2012. Despite my books winning several prestigious awards, Sourcebooks chose not to publish the third book in the series due to disappointing sales. So, with TEMPT ME, I join the ranks of indie-published authors. Isn’t it amazing that there are now so many ways for writers to get their words out into the world? ;-)
What part of being a writer do you love most?
Craft-wise, I love world-building, and developing three-dimensional, well-motivated villains. When the words are flowing, I experience a sort of transcendence that’s difficult to describe. Like TASTE ME’s heroine, siren singer/songwriter Scarlett Fontaine says, it feels like I’m jacked into the universe.
Which part do you hate most?
Staying in the chair and pushing through on days when the words aren’t flowing.
What life advice have you been given, that you wished someone had given you sooner?
That it’s OK to put your own needs first. That it’s OK—sometimes absolutely necessary—to say “no.” It gets easier with time. ;-)
If you could have a magical power, what would it be and why?
I would love to have a universal translator, like Lt. Uhura has in Star Trek. It would be useful during international travel, yes, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to know what our pets, and wild animals, are saying with all their barking, meowing, growling, and chatter? To know when they don’t feel well? I’m half-convinced that the kitty revolution is well underway, and humanity simply doesn’t realize it yet.
Do you find writing sexy scenes difficult, or your favourite part?
For me, love scenes aren’t any more challenging to write than other scenes. I write in deep third person point of view, so I’m used to writing every scene at a saturated physical and emotional level. Certain words squick me out—I can’t use “pussy” or “cunt” to save my life—and I can get mentally wrapped around the rails considering questions like, “In this situation, would a dude refer to his penis a cock, a dick, or something else entirely?” What ends up being most difficult for me when writing love scenes is keeping all the body parts straight. Where was her leg again? Didn’t she unzip his pants earlier in the scene? Why does the hero suddenly have a third hand? That sort of thing. ;-)
I’d love to be an Underbelly Chronicles succubus. They absorb ambient emotional energy for sustenance, and emit pheromones in response, but I think the best part would be knowing how the people around you are really feeling. There’s no hiding one’s emotional state from an incubus or succubus—and I hear the sex is pretty great, too!
Vampires – romantic leads, or monsters that have lost their literary way?
To me, it depends on the individual vampire, and on the author’s world-building choices. The vampires in my world are allergic to UV rays, and they drink blood for its healing properties. In my world, bagged blood is readily available and provides adequate sustenance, but drinking from the vein is extremely pleasurable, very intimate—or it can feel akin to rape if it’s done without someone’s consent. The act of drinking blood isn’t weighted down with any particular moral baggage, but the behavior the individual vampire exhibits while getting those needs met might be monstrous indeed.
If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?
Jules Cassidy, from Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series. I’d eat whatever he recommended, because he has absolutely exquisite taste and probably know the chef personally.
Who are your favourite authors and why?
I’m a feral reader, and have many favorites. J.D. Robb, Nalini Singh, and Kresley Cole are auto-buys for me. I adore old-skool Anne Rice, Frank Herbert, and Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series. The common thread, to me, is master-class world-building.
I’m four chapters into my next Underbelly Chronicles book, ENTHRALL ME. It’s the story of how the staid and responsibility-bound Vampire Second, Wyland, allows himself to love a completely inappropriate woman, the edgy, young vamp investigative journalist Tia Quinn, who readers may remember from the concert scene in Book One, TASTE ME.
Where can fans find you online?
I love hearing from readers! My home page at www.tamarahogan.com has links to my social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads), my published book list, my email address, and a way to subscribe to my newsletter.
Thanks so much for inviting me to spend some time with you and your readers today, Nicky!
Always a pleasure – come back anytime Tamara!