Today’s guest is celebrating the release of her first book, so I thought it fitting to give her a post on the first of the month. Her bio over on Samhain says: “Tarra Blaize was utterly thrilled to have her first novella accepted on her birthday, the age she swore she’d be published by since high school. She lives in New York City and can be found wandering Central Park during the summer and curled up in bed reading during the winter.” And seeing as how she’s written about demons, I thought I’d torture her a little with one of my interviews.
Don’t bother looking for trouble. It’ll find you.
An Angels and Demons story.
Layla Roads’ life is a laundry list of irony. Trailer trash. High school dropout. Beautiful liar. Highly skilled computer hacker. And one additional, extraordinary gift: the ability to see the demons and angels engaged in a ferocious battle on the urban streets at night.
When kidnappers hold her brother, Layla finds herself up to her neck in a plot to bring down a powerful blood demon. A crude, sexual, violent demon who kills without flinching, pushes her buttons, and looks at her with too-knowing eyes. What’s worse is she feels an answering tug of desire.
It doesn’t take Gethin long to figure out he has a pretty traitor on his hands—and that she’s being blackmailed. As a lone human female her quest to save her brother is hopeless—just like the attraction between them. For even if Gethin helps her save all she holds dear, she can never be his…
Leah: Hey, Tarra, welcome to my blog. I always love
scaring hosting first-time authors who are new to interviews and guest blogging. Let’s start this off, shall we? I’ll start off with an easy question … do you have any writing rituals?
Tarra: The closest I have to a ritual now is curling up in bed with my laptop and a cup of hot, sweet coffee. Ideally I write a chapter and then go back and edit it, just enough so that I’m satisfied it’s solid enough to build the next chapter on top of it. Also, reading an entire chapter out loud helps me catch all the bumps interrupting the flow. Reality doesn’t always allow that, though. Deadlines come around, or I get stuck obsessively editing a chapter when I should be moving on. At that point I turn to Dr. Wicked’s Writing Lab: it’s essentially a mini NaNoWriMo whenever you want. Best way to push onwards!
Leah: “I get stuck obsessively editing a chapter when I should be moving on.” Huh. Sounds awful familiar. (Checks to make sure Tarra’s not cheating and copying her answers. Drat, nope she’s not.) So tell me when you first realized you wanted to try getting published? Was it an Aha! moment? Or was it a dream from when you’d been little? Or were you dragged into it kicking and screaming?
Tarra: I’ve always been an avid reader. I learned at an early age to read, and read fast. I started writing longer romance fiction in fifth grade (I still have the first “book”, it’s equal parts painful and cute) but focused on the idea of publication in the beginning of high school. Several friends and I would write young adult vampire romances and swap. At that point, I began to realize that with practice and persistence, I might not end up living in a cardboard box. My writing just snowballed into bigger and bigger projects I kept mostly to myself until two wonderful writers I met at RWA convinced me to step out of my shell and submit a novella to Samhain Publishing… and here I am.
Leah: Congratulations! With your latest release, did you have any specific inspiration? Did you do anything to help keep you in their world – music or a movie or something?
Tarra: Actually, I had wanted to submit a novella to the Angels and Demons anthology for months, but each week ticked by with nary a word on the page. I have scores of ideas swirling around in my head at any given time, but I can’t force them onto the page. They tend to pop up in my head, stay vague for ages, and then the smallest trigger will have ideas cascading in every direction. The trigger for this story was actually a dream. In it, I was a double-crossing spy (who later became my heroine, Layla) who was posing as a secretary for a big, bad, outrageously sexy demon. I was heartbroken that I was about to betray someone I’d come to care for, but I knew that I had to do it.
How much more of the dream can I tell without giving away plenty of the plot? Let’s just say that I kept several of the events I dreamed of, even if the majority of the premise was changed to make for a coherent story!
I do occasionally listen to music when writing, but generally that’s only to block out other noises or if I’m trying to nail a certain mood or tone. The only time I have to listen to music is when doing first rounds of edits. After that, I start reading chapters out loud until they sound right. It’s no fun when you’re sick, but it really helps!
Leah: If you could go back to meet yourself as you were just getting out of high school, what advice would you give yourself?
Tarra: I’m not sure if there’s any advice I would give myself, actually. So far the good things in my life far outweigh the bad, and I wouldn’t want to risk losing any of what I love now to fix things that can be handled in other ways.
Leah: When you’re not writing, what do you like to do just to kick back and relax?
Tarra: Oh, my. Where to start? I love long, lazy days in of reading, spending quality time with the significant other, and occasionally watching television. As I live in New York City, wandering around is one of the best forms of entertainment possible. It means window shopping and actual shopping, exploring museums, playing Frisbee in Central Park, people watching and striking up conversations with complete strangers, biking along the rivers and hopping on ferries. There are so many awesome bars and restaurants hidden in every nook and cranny that deserve exploration as well.
Leah: *chuckles darkly while thinking “just wait until she realizes those days of quality time and television watching are going to evaporate now she’s been sucked into the dark underbelly of book promotion”* All right, almost done, here’s your last question, but it’s a trick question, so be careful how you answer: Sweet or Spicy?
Tarra: Thankfully they’re not exclusive. Spicy dark hot chocolate has both. So do the best kind of men!