Why don't you start by telling my readers a little bit about yourself?
Sure. I'm a creative/artistic type. I love words; reading, writing, and rhyming them. Writing comes quite naturally for me whereas math - not so much. I also like sketching, designing anything and everything, coloring, I've even dabbled in painting. In the real world I'm a wife, mom, new grandma, and dog owner.
Are you a pantser or plotter? (some combination of both?)
I used to say I'm a pantser but that's not entirely accurate. I think I'm both. I need my cute meet between my hero and heroine and from there, I can build on it. I'll have specific ideas about some things I'll use to fashion the framework of the story upon, but the real writing itself, fleshing it out and giving it vitality and energy is generally done as a pantser. Imagine each chapter, or even scene, like an individual domino. One falls against the next and propels the story forward and that's how my stories progress.
When do you like to write? Mornings, Afternoons, Middle of the Night, or somewhere in between?
I'm most productive when I'm working in an empty house. I need silence and solitude to maintain my focus. However, I have been known -- on too many occasions to count -- to pop out of bed and start jotting down notes, ideas, even dialogue when it hits me. Nights are great for the creative juices.
What advice would you give to others in the journey to becoming published?
Set up a website, blog, or both and use them! Publishers need to be able to find you, see that you know how to market yourself, and be able to gauge your writing abilities. This is your introductory handshake, your winning smile. Get active on Facebook and join Goodreads. There are so many resources and connections to be made. Meet other writers and don't be shy about asking questions. If there's one thing I've learned, the writing community is incredibly generous with their time and wonderfully supportive of each other. Find out what works for others and tailor some of the advice to suit your own needs.
Did you have a long line of submissions before you “got the call”?
Oh gosh yes. Enough so that it deterred me from submitting for a long time. I continued to write, but I scrapped my goal of being published until I finally made some important changes in my life. I left my longtime job and decided to refocus on my writing. That happened in the winter of 2011 and into 2012. I started pulling my manuscripts off the shelf, dusting them off, polishing them up, and sending them out. I also put a lot of work into getting a website up and running. That was an important move. My first contract offer came in April and they continued to come in. I haven't slowed down since.
Is there any other advice/recommendations you'd like to share?
Continue to read and seek out superior writers, those books that will have you stunned and amazed, not just by the content, but the quality of the writing itself. Learn from them. Always aspire to improve your own writing. Even gifted athletes understand the importance of constant practice. Learn your particular weaknesses and work on them. Challenge yourself to improve. There is an end zone in sports, but a writer will never get to spike the ball or cross the finish line. There simply isn't one. All we can do is refine our skills and continue to grow at the craft. Write because you love it. Write because you have to.
Where can we find you and your books? (Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Bookstores)
Please visit my website, Tara Mills Romance for all kinds of fun and flirty reading. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest. My books are all on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, All Romance, and so many more. Links for the individual titles can be found at Tara Mills Romance along with blurbs, the first chapters -- or in the case of short stories, excerpts -- and links to reviews.
What are you cooking up next?
Oh boy. I'm midway through a story called, In the Mood, working on the follow-up to my screwball romantic comedy out with The Wild Rose Press, this one called, Soothe Me Baby, and I'm trying to find time to work on a supernatural comedy romance for Beachwalk Press tentatively titled, Sizzle. But my summer schedule isn't very conducive to creative writing. I think I'll get more accomplished once I hit fall. Then, look out! :)
Now for some fun stuff!
Coffee, Tea, or Something Harder?
Coffee--blonde and sweet.
Cake or Ice Cream (or both)?
Ooo ... I think I'll say both, but separate because I don't want the ice cream to make a puddle under the cake. On the side is very big with me.
Favorite all-time read? Movie?
Favorite all-time read is impossible to answer. I have too many favorites, books I reread over and over again. My favorite movie is A Room With A View.
What's your favorite vacation place?
Or do you like to stay close to home? Travel is wonderful and I haven't been to nearly enough places yet to choose a favorite. I can tell you though, I love being home. I really do. I'm quite content here.
If you were stranded on a desert island, which fictional character would you choose to bring with you?
I 've never seen the show but I think MacGyver would be pretty handy to have along. I'll choose him.
If you were going to pick a book/movie character to become...who would it be?
I asked my husband for help on this and he asked, "You mean besides Sally from When Harry Met Sally?" I laughed. Guess that answers that. Weird because I didn't even mention the cake question to him.
Oh, I'm all about fantasizing, at it constantly. I dream of having one of my books made into a movie. I imagine myself being interviewed by someone big. I also--this might sound a little weird--fantasize about sitting beside someone I really admire and simply having a very engrossing conversation with them. Sometimes we'll be swinging, sometimes we'll be on an airplane together. George Clooney is my number one choice right now, though I wouldn't turn down JK Rowling.
Thanks for being here today Tara!! It was so much fun for my readers and myself to get to know you! :)
Tara has a new release coming soon, If You Want Me, and recent release, Stolen Moments, both with Crimson Frost Books! Check them out and watch for what's next with this talented author!
(Released: August 21, 2013)
(Release Date: September 19, 2013)
(Isn't this a gorgeous cover? I love it!)
(Isn't this a gorgeous cover? I love it!)
(Released June 14, 2013)
(Released: January 18, 2013)
These are only a few of Tara's wonderful books. For more information about Tara's books, please check out her author page (and like it too!).