It's Tuesday! Today the fantabulously talented and funny Tara Mills is my guest and I can't begin to tell you how happy I am abou that.
Tell me, what do you like to write, and why? I write contemporary romance because modern women are much more interesting to me. We’ve come a long way, and have so many more choices now. We decide what we want, who we want, and how we want him. I love that. Modern women no longer need a husband in the traditional sense. We’ve leveled the playing field. Relationships begin on an equal footing and both men and women get to choose each other. That, in itself, strikes me as more romantic than negotiating for virginal brides.
· When offered your first publishing contract did you
B) Jump out of your seat and run around flailing your arms chanting OMG OMG OMG
C) Pee your pants
D) B & C
E) None of the Above You’re lying if your answer isn’t B If not A-D , what was your reaction?
B) No question. I’m a little hyper anyway, so yep, running around like that is absolutely part of my repertoire.
· After how many published titles do you think it’s appropriate to write your own autobiography?
I’ve spent a lot of time musing on this and think it all depends on the damage and potential blowback you should expect if you’re planning to write openly and honestly about your life. Do you really want to open that can of worms? Is it worth it to leave this wonderful person with guilt when they learn they failed you in some significant way? How far will you go when admitting something hidden deep in your heart? Can you afford the consequences? Those are really the questions I ponder. I guess I don’t see true autobiographies as puff pieces, but rather a minefield. Tread carefully or avoid it altogether.
· How important to you are the names of your characters?
Very important. Names naturally convey certain qualities and characteristics so I try to make them fit the character’s backgrounds, physical presence, even their profession in some way. My demonstration cook’s name in Caution: Filling is Hot, for example, is named Piper Frost. She obviously decorates cakes.
· How do you go about nabbing that perfect title for your books?
Titles are tough. I often come up with several over the course of writing a story. If I’m still not sure, I put out feelers, pleas for help in naming my next book. My daughter-in-law is great at coming up with ideas. We bounce a lot of stuff back and forth.
· What are the occupational hazards of being a writer?
Poor posture, deteriorating eyesight. Of course, aging doesn’t help that, either. You also have to make time to get exercise when you’re tied to a desk day in and day out.
· Do you have a quote or slogan you try to live by?
I always think of that line from, Throw Momma from the Train. “A writer writes—always.”
· Have you ever taken the writing to the bathroom with you?
Sometimes for me it’s the only place I can find that elusive peace and quiet. Until my 5 year old sniffs me out. Chuckling here. No. I’ve never had to resort to that.
· Pantser or Plotter?
I’ll have you know how proud I am that I just used these terms. Since I’ve just recently learned what they meant. Go me. Always keepin’ up with the author slang.
Congrats! I’m still learning the jargon. As far as your question is concerned, I used to say I’m a pantser, but actually I think I’m an amalgam of the two—a plotser. I always have to have my cute meet to begin any book. Then I’ll build the skeleton around it, which probably qualifies as plotting. Only then do I sit down and flesh it out. That’s pure pantser. One scene will tumble into the next, driving the story forward, showing me more of my characters as I go along. I love writing organically. So much comes as a delightful surprise.
· What do you like to write in? (i.e PJ’s and stompeez, a prom dress or perhaps a bathtub?)
Oh, I’m so bad. When I’m in full writer mode, I throw on whatever’s handy in the morning, usually jammie bottoms from the floor and one of my husband’s big T-shirts. Imagine Penny from the Big Bang Theory going through her disturbing gamer phase, but without the Cheetoes in my hair.
· How do you react to a bad review?
I stew over it. You can’t really respond to a negative review, and my idea of negative is pretty ridiculous. I actually mope when I get a three.
· Do you feel like a complete dumbo (like I do) when people ask for your autograph?
I tend to get stuck on stupid and fumblerooski all my words when someone asks me for mine. I don’t feel like I’ve earned it yet. I feel silly and hope my handwriting is legible.
· Have you ever been a character in one of your books?
There’s a little something of me in every one of my characters, to a degree. The closest is probably Sabrina from Accidents Make the Heart Grow Fonder. That story, and her character, was spawned by a personal experience of mine so I suppose that makes sense. She’s still her own person, but she’s been saddled with my baggage and klutziness. From all the reviews I’ve read so far, she seems to resonate with a lot of other women, too. I love hearing that.
HJ: Which I will have you know I LOVE THAT BOOK.
· Would you ever play yourself in a movie or TV production of one of your books?
Nope. I can’t read aloud and I’m far too shy.
· Have you ever gone a little REDRUM after a few days shacked up in the ol’ writing hole?
I love immersing myself in writing, but I will refer you back to my slovenly Penny comment. That’s about as bad as I get. I somehow manage to get my hair and teeth brushed, even if it doesn’t happen until 3pm when I suddenly realize I’d better start thinking about what I’ll be making for dinner.
· What do you think is your biggest accomplishment in writing? Your biggest failure?
My biggest accomplishment is seeing how much I’ve grown as a writer this past year. I’ve learned so much. My biggest failure? I suppose not knowing how to get my foot in the door for too many years. I let disappointments bench me for over a decade.
HJ: The people that should feel disappointed are the readers who were cheated of your awesomesausageness all those years! Accidents had me crying from laughing so hard. “A CORSET!?” oh man, I still giggle.
· Do you do research for your novel? Me... I could totally walk into the Bio Buzz pick up a bong and be like..It’s for research dude! Lol
I love research. I can get really distracted pursuing anything and everything I can find so my books will ring true.
· Speaking of bongs. Have you ever written anything while high on the weed, drunk on the wine or chill from the pill?
I have...I’m on bottle number two. I’ve had a drink or a glass of wine on my desk far too many times to count. I always wait until hubs is home from work before I indulge. He’s usually the one playing bartender. Sometimes he’ll even deliver. Good guy.
· Do you laugh at yourself ever?
All the time. If you can’t laugh at yourself, you could be missing out on the best jokes ever!
· How much of your childhood reflects upon your musings?
I used to do it a lot more often but as you age, read, and discover far more interesting subjects than self-reflection and analysis, that tendency subsides. Still, if you need to call up memories, they’re always there.
· How do you like these questions so far?
Anything striking your fancy? Ok, moving along… Love ‘em.
· How do you feel about being interviewed? I don’t mind it.
· How do you feel about global warming?
Very concerned. I see the effects firsthand and patterns have changed rapidly where I live. It’s sobering and scary.
· How do you feel about Antonio Sabato Jr.?
I can’t say. I’ll have to Google him. Okay, I’m back. He’s very handsome. Don’t know what he’s like as a man, but he’s not a guy most women would kick out of bed for eating crackers.
HJ: Thanks…I just spit my water all over. For eating crackers….ha ha ha
· Are you jealous of other writers? Not yet. I admire a lot of them.
· What makes you laugh? Cry?
I laugh at silliness and I have a soft spot for slapstick humor. Very juvenile, I know. What makes me cry? Cruelty. I simply can’t understand how people can purposely hurt another person, or an animal. Anything that can suffer mistreatment and pain. We truly are a vicious species sometimes.
HJ: Confession #452 I still giggle when someone says boner or duty
· Vacation or staycation?
Both sound awesome. I love getting away, but getting back home again is bliss.
· Fancy Schmancy wedding or a Vegas wedding?
Neither. I’m going to elope to an island for my next wedding. Small, intimate, very special is what appeals to me. Naturally I’ve already told my current husband what I plan. Wink. It keeps him on his toes.
HJ: Sounds like incentive for a vow renewal eh? *HINT HINT current husband*
· Favorite season? Mine’s football :P
I’m crazy about autumn.
· Who were some of your inspirations for writing? Lewis Carroll For your characters? My characters are products of situations I dream up and their characteristics suit the occasion. They develop and grow from there. I really try not to borrow from people or characters already out there. If I have, it was done unconsciously.
Did you enjoy this interview? Very much. Thank you for having me on, HJ.
It’s always a blast with you Ms. Mills! I just started reading Grading on Curves. As you all should too! New release Grading on Curves by Tara Mills available now! You won’t be sorry!
Available now at Beachwalk Press, Amazon, Amazon UK, and Barnes & Noble,
Visit Tara Mills Romance or find me on Facebook.
Love stories that will captivate your heart!