Beverly and Tamara: Welcome to SSLY. Thanks so much for joining us today. So first why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
Thank you ladies. I so appreciate your having me today. I am a Nashville-born writer, still live within twelve miles of that city. My husband is a nationally-known composer of classical music, so creative endeavors take top spot in our daily schedules.
I began my romantic suspense BONES ALONG THE HILL after the heroine whispered in my ear, “Hi, my name is Neva and I fix the faces of the dead.” Cool way to meet a character. It left only about 80,000 words to be developed. BONES debuted in November of 2014 and has been well reviewed and well received.
I am currently working on a paranormal romance set in Rugby, Tennessee. Title is BLESSED CURSE.
Tamara: What do you HAVE to have when you are writing?
Silence. My nest is in the den. I curl up in my recliner with my laptop and, depending on the time of day, a cup of coffee or a glass of water. Usually, one or both of my Maine Coon cats are on the chair arm or sitting on my shoulder, but they learned long ago not to walk on the computer.
Beverly: When did you start to write and who influenced you?
My mother was an avid reader who passed the love of reading to me. She wrote an incredible fantasy about a dwarf who lived in a hollow tree. She wrote it with a co-worker. They each swore never to publish it, that it was only for their children. I don’t remember the first thing I wrote. At fourteen, I was a finalist in a Belmont College literary contest but did not win.
Tamara: What do you think are the qualities that make up a “hero”?
Heroes come in many sizes and shapes, but all of them have something to overcome, something to prove, something to correct. They’re inhibited by a past experience or a mental or physical challenge. They’re seeking something they lost or trying to rid themselves of something they’ve acquired but don’t want. They break through when it’s needed, have compassion where it’s called for, kick ass when they must and in general leave the story world in better shape than when they found it.
Beverly: Can you describe your favorite character? And which of your books is he/she in? How do you come up with your characters?
Claudia Yates is my favorite character from BONES. She’s older but still powerful, wise but still learning, effective and yet vulnerable in all the right ways.
I spend months learning my characters. Neva Oakley from BONES and Jorie Wainright from CURSE came to me. Cool. But a novel is never about only one character. Like the 80,000 remaining words after Neva spoke, I only needed ten or so more characters after these ladies arrived. Those ten or so characters per book were laboriously created one molecule at a time and then adjusted, honed, changed and developed over several months.
Tamara: What are the hardest scenes for you to write? Suspense? Sex? Dialogue? And why?
Suspense. I tend to either reveal what’s coming too quickly or have my character’s reaction be pretty much, “oh, wow, that was awful.” In rewrite, I spend most of my time tightening the suspense, ratcheting the horror to scream level and making my characters skitter along the ragged edge of hysteria.
Beverly: What is your favorite scene in your favorite book?
The battle between Neva and her adversary from BONES.
Tamara: What is your dream vacation?
Dave and I often take dream vacations because we’ve budgeted for them over time. We’ve been to Hawaii, cruised the Mediterranean, toured the Caribbean, visited Canada and toured most of the continental United States. One of our favorite vacation locations is St. Martin Island where we essentially sit on the beach, bob in the ocean and eat at fantastic restaurants. But we have never been to Ireland, and for an auburn-haired daughter of the Auld Sod, nothing could be dreamier than to walk the Emerald Isle.
Beverly: What is the kinkiest thing you’ve ever done? Or would like to? What? We are all about the love! Fine! If you don’t like that question what was your worst date ever?
Actually, I recommend this to any wife and have done it more than once. Just be aware that timing is everything here if you intend to actually eat your dinner. Dress where he can’t see you. Wear something ultra sexy, leaving off either all underwear or in the case of bra necessity, your panties. Wait until you are at the restaurant and (this is essential) have ordered your dinner. Lean across the table and whisper to him that you have on no underwear. If you get home before things are out of control, I will be surprised.
Tamara: LOL. Love that! What are your favorite types of heroines? Do you like the damsel in distress who needs saving or the kick-ass variety? Why?
I like balance. I enjoy kick-ass heroines, but find them often thinly drawn and possessed of magical powers that allow them to do things not possible in nature. I’m fonder of the damaged heroine who finds her power as the story goes along. My heroes do sometimes save my heroines but my heroines return the favor in spades. As I said, I like balance.
Beverly: How many books have you published? What genres? What drew you to that genre?
I’ve published two. The first was e-published years before e-publishing was cool and is no longer available. BONES is the second. The first was paranormal which I wrote because I love the genre. BONES is a suspense because if done well, suspense grabs the reader by the throat and won’t let go until the last page.
Tamara: If you could spend the day with any person from history, real or fictional. Who would you choose and why?
Aristotle or Plato from ancient Greece because I would like to know how that enclave of culture came to be in the midst of what was generally a barbarous world.
Beverly: What is your “guilty pleasure”?
Sonic’s diet cherry limeade with extra diet cherry.
Tamara: What dream or goal have you yet to realize?
Haven’t hit the NY Times best seller list yet.
Beverly: What was your most embarrassing moment or the craziest thing you’ve done? C’mon dish!
Years ago, I approached the bus stop in downtown Nashville wearing a dress with a gored skirt. I had panty hose beneath the skirt and saw no reason to also wear panties. The wind caught that skirt just right, raised it to waist height, featuring my nearly bare bottom et al. When I finally managed to batter it down, I found eight men staring at me in various stages of lust.
Tamara: What song are you?
Beverly: LOL. How do you know you’re in love? Is it a physical reaction, an emotional reaction or both?
I’ve been “in love” three times in my life. The first two made my palms sweat and my heart hurt. The third was a gentle realization. The first two times, I fell into love. The third, I climbed into love. The third began with like, then admiration. Trust followed, then desire and finally love. That love has deepened over the past 31 years into something special on the face of the earth. I think you know you’re in love when you can enumerate the reasons why and few of them are followed by “but.”
Tamara and Beverly: Okay. We are SSLY so I have to ask. Who loves you?
I am well loved by my family and friends, but the love that forms the beat of my heart comes from my husband. He is my greatest fan, my best friend, my forever supporter. He sees no fault in me most of the time and is forgiving when he does. He gives me as much room as I want to be who I am. He is my running buddy, my sports buddy, my creative partner.
Now for some quick fun questions:
Boxers or briefs? Briefs. The less cloth the better.
Coffee or Tea? Coffee.
Tall, dark and handsome or Blond and buff? Blond and buff.
Hairy chest or smooth? Hairy
Chocolate or Vanilla? Surely you jest. Chocolate.
Kinky or Sweet? Sweet with a good dose of kinky.
Fast or slow? Slow
Public or private? Private
Top or bottom? Bottom
Check out Bones Along the Hill
A decade-old mystery, a power-mad enemy and his human-trafficking ring stand in the way of the hopes and dreams of funeral home facial restorationist Neva Oakley.
TO THE BONE
Neva Oakley is a funeral facial restorationist with a legendary skill at making the dead look alive. But for all her talent, she can never bring back Gray Ledbetter, her first love,who took his own life ten years ago.
Davis Pratt, too, is consumed. Long ago his younger brother disappeared, and Davis won’t give up hope. Perhaps that’s why he and Neva are such a good couple. Or perhaps that’s why they can’t move forward. Then the search leads them to the Oakley cemetery and a murder tied to a human trafficking ring. Suddenly, impossible crimes threaten both family and friends, crimes that cannot be ignored. Not even the Nashville PD can keep Neva safe, but if she and Davis succeed, together they just might solve all their mysteries and free each other to embrace their future.