My guest today is award winning author Tara Lain who writes some of the quirkiest and probably the prettiest heroes out there. She also has a sure hand with the world building for fantasy with two great titles to her credit.
Welcome Tara. I hope you find my chair really comfy! Now, on to the questions.
Elin: Although you are justly well known for your M/M romances, I know that you also write M/F fiction. Which came first and do you find that the two genres require a difference in how you structure your plots?
Tara: I’ve only written one actual MF romance. It’s a little holiday novella called Be Bad, for Goodness Sake. I wrote it mostly to see if I could and I wanted a book to self-publish. So that was my experiment. Aside from that book, all my stories are either MM or MMF ménage. In the ménages, all three people are lovers so there is still a MM element to the books. My first novel, Genetic Attraction, is a MMF ménage and the only book I’ve ever written with a woman as the main POV character. So I guess the ménages came first, but I quickly learned that I loved writing the MM portion of the books, and started writing purely gay romances as well. I love the interesting fluid dynamic and lack of gender roles you get in MM fiction. The ménages are definitely more complex to write because I’m dealing with the desires, goals, back-story, and emotions of three people. All must be motivated and all must have great reasons to love each other. The most complex book I’ve ever written from a plotting point of view is Golden Dancer. It’s a MMM romantic suspense so it has both three main characters and a complex mystery.
Elin: I was very excited when reading Fire Balls to see that Rodney paints in egg tempera, a difficult medium to handle that dictates a very specific painting style – not the first thing that would occur to a writer contemplating writing an artist. How much research do you do for your novels and do you enjoy it for its own sake.
Tara: I don’t love research. I love writing out of my own experiences, and when I have to research a character or situation, I worry that I may get it wrong and disappoint someone. LOL. But I do love the things I learn while researching. In the case of the egg tempera, that is my own experience. I have done a fair amount of painting as well as mixed media collage. My painting teacher showed us how to make “thick white” paint and I loved using it in my work because I adore the texture. I wanted to pass that on to Rodney.
Elin: You write fantasy M/M – Spell Cat and Brush with Catastrophe – as well as contemporary romances such as the Balls series. Which do you enjoy most? Is there any genre you’d love to try?
Tara: I think I am a natural contemporary writer. Even my paranormals are essentially contemporary with some powers added! I like the restriction of creating the “magic” of true love in a realistic setting. I am planning to write a dystopian scifi I hope this year. That will be a departure for sure.
Elin: What are you enjoying reading at the moment? Any recommendations for us? Is there any one book that you’d wade though fire and flood to rescue?
Tara: I just finished reading Belinda McBride’s The Bacchi which I enjoyed immensely. I’ve just started Clancy Nacht and Thursday Euclid’s Le Jazz Hot which won a Rainbow Award. Among my fave authors that are always on my Kindle are Jet Mykles, Z A Maxfield and Lynn Lorenz. There are bunches of others! I would run into a burning building to save my Kindle! And I have collections of plays and poetry that I adore and would always want to have nearby.
Elin: Out of all your characters, who have you most enjoyed writing? Whose voice was the hardest to capture?
Tara: I loved writing a bunch of my characters. Roan Black who plays a role in four of my ménages is a wonderful combination of gentleness and ego with a touch of pure wisdom. The inimitable Rodney Mansfield in Fire Balls was a kick to write, as was JJ LaRousse in Snow Balls, my new release. I love flamboyant men with a twist! There are some minor characters that have been a blast and who will be getting their own books. Jerry, who everyone adores from Fire Balls will have his own story, as well the twins, Robin and Bobby, in Snow Balls. I’m looking forward to writing those books! Hardest to capture? Hmmm. My villains can get a little two-dimensional because I don’t love conflict and don’t like to live in the bad guy’s mind too long. LOL
Elin: What are you working on at present? Can you tell us a bit about it?
Tara: I recently finished a novella for Valentine’s Day about the romance between a hard-core vegan, raw food fanatic who falls for a cupcake baker. It’s called Hearts and Flour! LOL. I’m starting a new book about the generational machinations of two wealthy families and how it affects their children. It’s called the Gay Arrangement.
Elin: Could we please have an excerpt?
Tara: Absolutely. Here’s a nibble from my current release, Snow Balls.
SNOW BALLS by Tara Lain; MM “Opposites Attract” Romance
Available NOW from Amazon ARe and other resellers
Big, handsome and hunky, JJ LaRousse looks like an alpha male but acts like an interior decorator. And he’s trying to be happy about it — until a robbery at the famous Laguna Winter Fantasy brings JJ face-to-face with tough cop, Ryan Star. JJ hears Ryan likes guys who are manly men, so he drops his voice an octave, colors over his pink hair, and tries to pass as a football fan. Ryan Star may be tough but he hides in the closet at work since he learned in New York that being a gay cop can cost you your life. His attraction to that big, handsome kid threatens his anonymity, but he can’t seem to resist. JJ is just his type. But then JJ goes skiing and comes face to face with his greatest nemesis– and all the secrets come out of the closet. Can Ryan love JJ for who he really is? More important, can JJ?
“David. David. Oh my God, oh my God.” JJ grabbed the smoothly muscled arm of his friend and boss.
David trapped JJ’s other waving hand between his. “OK, calm down. What is it? Did one of the exhibitors wear pink and orange together again?” David grinned. Nobody knew better how overreactive JJ was. Thank God, David loved him anyway.
He needed air. He took a deep breath. “The cop. The one I told you about. Oh my God of CSI, he wants me to come to the police station and look at mug shots.” JJ retrieved his hand. He needed it for fanning.
David looked up at JJ. It wasn’t far up since the handsome gallery owner stood a slim six foot one to JJ’s six four. “OK. That’s not hard. The police station is only a ten-minute walk away and I’m here to finish setting up the booth. Perfect timing.”
“Oh God.” JJ collapsed onto a packing crate.
“That’s the hand blown glass you’re sitting on, darling.”
JJ jumped up. “He’s just so…”
David laughed. “That’s a different kind of problem.”
“I’ve got to go to the men’s room.”
JJ took off at a run to the men’s room at the center of the festival grounds. Inside, he stuck his carefully spiked head under the faucet, pulled out his comb, and flattened the do. Of course, the pink streaks still stood out like candy canes in his light brown hair. Nothing to be done about it now. He washed his hands and headed back to the booth.
David glanced up from the last packing box. “What happened to your hair?”
“Rod says the cop likes guy’s guys.” David tucked in his T-shirt with the What Would Anna Do? logo, his homage to Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue. He pulled on his Windbreaker and zipped it up. He did a twirl. “With a cap, can I pass as Daniel Craig?”
David put his hands on his hips. “First off, how does Rod know who or what the cop likes? And even if he’s right, it’s never a good idea to try to be something you’re not. You know that. Pretend at the beginning and you have to keep living your lies. That’s a drag.”
JJ stuck out his lip. “It’s not exactly a lie. Hell, look at me.”
David frowned. “JJ, you’re gorgeous. And you’re a catch just the way you are.”
“But I’m such a…” he waved his hands “…fruit!”
“Strawberries and cream. Any man would be lucky to get you.”
JJ sighed. “Thanks. But I need to be more, you know, masculine.”
David smoothed the crease between his own brows with two fingers. “Who said that?”
JJ frowned. “You mean besides my father?”
“Ancient history. You have a life now with people who love you as you are. Don’t go looking for appreciation from those without the discrimination to give it.”
Many thanks to Tara for agreeing to be on my blog today. If you would like to check out her new releases and keep track of WIPs follow her at the links below.
Author blog: http://taralain.blogspot.com
Book blog: http://beautifulboysbooks.blogspot.com
Savvy Authors: http://www.savvyauthors.com/vb/member.php?2398-Tara-Lain
FB Page: http://www.facebook.com/taralain