Hi Tara, Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I am a USA Today best-selling author, married to my high school sweetheart, mother of two, chauffeur, maid, short-order cook, baby-sitter, and sarcasm expert. After working in the brokerage business for fourteen years, I decided to pick
up a laptop and write instead of slamming it against
my head out of boredom!
What were you like at school?
I was a cheerleader, so that probably tells you everything you need to know. Loud and bouncy with big hair.
How would you describe yourself?
Bat shit crazy.
Do you have any bad habits and What are your best qualities?
That’s probably a better question for my husband LOL! But you’d need at least ten free hours for him to list them all. My best quality is that I don’t think I have any bad habits.
Do you have any body piercings and tattoos? If so where and what are they.
I have my nose pierced. I used to have my belly button pierced, but then kids happened. I was three months pregnant with my daughter when I remembered I had that damn thing, and then went into a panic when my husband couldn’t get it out, thinking it would be stuck there forever and my stomach would rip wide open by the time I hit 9 months. It wasn’t pretty. I have 12 tattoos at last count. I have a few book-related ones, my children’s initials, lyrics to a Thirty Seconds to Mars song on my ribs,
and one on each of my shoulder blades for my mom
who passed away.
Where did the idea for seduction and snacks come from?
Seduction and Snacks consists mostly of true stories/conversations/quotes, aside from the whole getting knocked up at a frat party thing. My niece (who is ten years younger than me) and I always talked about wanting to open up a bakery/sex toy store since she used to sell sex toys through Pure Romance and both of us love to bake. Someday,
when they invent about 10 more hours in a day,
we’d still like to make this happen!
How much research did you do into the sex toys when
you wrote seduction and snacks?
Not much research since my husband and I are regulars
to sex toy stores LOL!
Are the characters in seduction and snacks based on someone you know?
Every character is based on people in my life, however, the names have been changed to protect the guilty.
Have you always been funny and is your hubby as
funny as you are?
I’ve always thought I was the funniest person I’ve ever met.
My husband only thinks he’s funny.
My personal favourite from the chocolate lovers and chocoholics series has to be Seduction and snacks. Love and lists and passion and ponies, I had tears from laughing so much. What ones are your favourites out of the two series and why?
I’d have to say Seduction and Snacks just because that was the first book I ever wrote. I never had any expectations for that book, I just threw it up on Amazon and hoped my friends and family would at least buy it. I never dreamed in a million years so many people would read that book!
Can you give us an insight into your main character of your latest book JED HAD TO DIE. What does he do that is so special about them?
Just like with all of my romantic comedies, the main characters are pretty much insane. And they like to drink and say and do stupid shit. I have to say though, my hero Leo Hudson might be my favorite guy I’ve ever written. He’s a nerd-turned-hot guy and he made me swoon!
Out of all of your books which one is your favourite and why?
Definitely my psychological thriller, Bury Me. Psychological thrillers are my favorite genre to read and I knew from the moment I published my first book that I would tackle that genre at some point. That book was the hardest thing I’ve ever written, but it’s the book I’m most proud of because it’s completely different from anything I’ve done before and it shocked a lot of people.
If you could pick one scene from one of your books to dive into in 'real life' which one would it be?
Oh gosh, there are entirely too many scenes in my romantic comedies that came from real life, so I’d probably rather forget any of those things actually happened than relive them again LOL!
Your next release is JED HAD TO DIE, What can readers expect in this book?
They can expect my usual brand of humor, but not quite as over-the-top as The Chocolate Lovers or The Holidays books I’ve written. There’s a touch more serious mixed in with the funny along with some mystery to keep it interesting.
What genre will your book be and what draws you
to this genre?
to this genre?
I’m calling Jed Had to Die a Romantic Comedy Mystery. I don’t even know if that’s a real genre, but that’s what it is! I love to keep people guessing when they’re reading a book, as well as make them laugh, so this book will have the best of both!
What actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead characters in your book?
I actually have a Pinterest board for my Jed Had to Die inspiration (https://www.pinterest.com/tarasivec/jed-had-to-die-inspiration/). My heroine, Payton Lambert looks like Brittany Snow in my head, and my hero, Leo Hudson reminds me of Chris Hemsworth. All pretty and muscly and…pretty.
Which one of your male characters is your favourite out of all the characters in your books?
Fisher from Fisher’s Light. He’s a war veteran with PTSD and every scene I wrote about him broke my heart. I have loved ones who are veterans that have suffered from PTSD, so Fisher will always hold a special place in my heart.
Which one of your female characters is your favourite out of all the characters in your books?
This one changes every day! Right now, I’d say Bettie Lake from Jed Had to Die. She’s tattooed and feisty and sarcastic and is modeled after a combination of a few of my friends, so naturally I adore her.
What has been the best reaction to one of your books that you've had from a reader?
There have been so many, it’s hard to narrow it down to one. I get the most amazing emails, PMs, handwritten letters and gifts from readers, and each and every time one of them takes a minute out of their day to tell me they appreciate the words I’ve written makes me want to cry like a baby!
Would you ever do a crossover book with characters from different series of your books?
A few of my Chocolate Lovers characters made a cameo in The Holidays series. I don’t know if I’d actually do an entire crossover book, but I had a lot of fun bringing those characters back for a few scenes in that new series, that I’m definitely going to have to do it again!
When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed reading from a very early age. No matter where my family and I went, I always had my nose in a book. When I was a teenager, I started jotting down notes about certain books and how I would change parts of them or make the ending different. I didn’t actually sit down and write a full book of my own until I turned 30 and got really bored at work! I actually wrote poetry in my teens and had a few of them published when I entered them into contests. My husband still has a bunch of the really cheesy, mushy love ones I wrote him in high school, much to my horror.
How much of your books are realistic?
I always draw from real life for my stories, because it’s true that reality is stranger than fiction! My romantic comedies have the most real life things in them, but even in my serious books there are scenes or conversations sprinkled here and there that were based on things in my life.
Is your real name your author name or just a pen name?
Sadly, it’s my real name. I wasn’t very creative when I first published because I honestly never thought anyone would read my books, so secrecy never even entered my mind!
How much research do you do before diving into
the writing cave?
the writing cave?
It all depends on the book and the subject matters in that book. I’ve taken to Facebook to ask small, easy questions about certain things, I interviewed a French Pastry Chef on the phone, emailed back and forth with military veterans, taken a tour of a fire house and asked a million questions to the firefighters and paramedics who worked there, had a paramedic beta read one of my books and make corrections as needed, went on a tour of a prison and utilized Google so much that I have several friends and family who I’ve made swear an oath that they will delete my browser history if anything ever happens to me.
Would you consider writing with another author?
Many times! But, it’s a very hard thing to do. No two authors write the same and you really need to be in sync for something like that to work. Right now, I have a hard enough time writing my own books with my hectic schedule that I’d never want to make another author deal with my crazy!
Are your stories old ones you have saved or new ones?
At this point, they are all new ideas. I don’t have the patience to come up with an idea and then not do anything with it immediately. When a story idea hits me, it totally consumes me and I can’t think about anything else until I get it out of my head.
Do you write full-time or part -time ?
I’ve been writing full time now for four years.
If you were approached to turn one of the chocolate lovers into a movie what one would you pick and why?
I’ve actually been approached a few times about Seduction and Snacks, but nothing ever came of it. I’d definitely pick Seduction and Snacks if it ever happens again because that’s where all the craziness started!
What's the nicest thing a fan/reader has done or sent you?
So many things!!! Seriously, I can’t even believe how sweet my readers are. I’ve received the most amazing gifts over the years from a handmade pillow with my book cover on it to cookies with my book quotes on them. Everything is so very special to me and my office is filled with every single item, stuck into every corner of the room!
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured. And do you have a daily word count for each chapter?
Hell no! I’m a hot mess when it comes to being structured or organized. I can’t force myself to write, even if I’m on a deadline. It has to come naturally for me, so I write when the mood hits or when I’m so obsessed with a certain scene that I can’t stop thinking about it.
Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
Always on my laptop and always in the most uncomfortable chair in the most uncomfortable position. It’s almost like a superstition at this point. I don’t know what it is about the damn chair on our front porch, but the words just flow like crazy when I sit there. My husband always tries to be sweet and set up something comfortable with blankets and pillows and candles out under a tree and I’m like “NOPE! THE WORDS WON’T COME IF I’M NOT HUNCHED OVER FEELING MISERABLE AND UNABLE TO STAND UP STRAIGHT TOMORROW!”
Where do your idea's come from?
A lot from real life, but also from music. I’m kind of weird in that I can’t listen to music WHILE I write because it’s too distracting, but I get so much inspiration from it if I listen to it when I’m plotting.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where the idea takes you?
I always tell myself “I’m totally going to outline the next book so it will be easy and perfect and I’ll never get stuck on a scene!” And then I sit down to outline and within five seconds start throwing things and threaten to light my laptop on fire. I can’t plan. It just doesn’t work for me. I have a general idea for the plot, I know how I want it to start and I know how I want it to end. Everything in the middle comes to me as I write.
What is the hardest and easiest part about writing your book?
Sitting down and actually writing it! I know once I start, I won’t stop until I finish, which means long hours, forgetting to eat, barely sleeping and forgetting I have kids or a husband. I have to be 100% committed to the story and obsessed with it before that can happen. Which means focusing and trying not to worry about 100 other different things going on in my life at any given time. It can be a struggle. But the best feeling in the world is when my brain finally won’t let me do anything else or think about anything else but telling the story. The easiest part is writing “The End” LOL! Or maybe that’s the part when I stop feeling so stressed!
Do you ever get writer's block and of so how do you overcome it?
Oh lord, all the time. I have it right now. Although I don’t think I’d really call it writer’s block, more like pressure and stress! I have a story in my head that I can’t stop thinking about. I take notes on it every day, I dream about it, and I stare up at the ceiling in bed at night thinking about scenes I’m excited to write, but when I try to get it out of my head, nothing happens. With the kids going back to school and them being in a ton of sports, I’m all over the place right now. I’m stressed about too many things to be able to calm my mind and just think about my story. It happens every once in a while, at certain times of the year, and I’m the worst person to live with when it happens. It makes me sad when I’m not writing, but I can’t force it. I know taking some time off is good for me and when I finally feel that need and pull to write again, it will be amazing, but for now, my brain needs a little break to get back on track.
Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
I real A LOT. One of the perks of this job is having amazing author friends and never having a short supply of books on my TBR! I have so many favorites it would take me years to list them all! I’m so blessed to know so many talented people.
What are you reading at the moment?
Right now I’m reading The Prince and the Player by Tia Louise and I LOVE IT! It’s fun and sweet and HOT.
Do you let the book stew- leave it for a month and then come back to edited?
Never. I get everything done all at once while the story is still fresh in my mind. If I take a month off after writing it to edit it, I’ll have already moved on to another book and will never remember everything I need to about the previous book to edit it properly!
Who designed the covers?
I’ve used a bunch of different designers over the years, but lately, I’ve been doing my own. For Jed Had to Die, I needed to have that cover turned in over 6 months ago, and I only had about 24 hours to get it finished. There was no way I could ask a cover designer to scramble like that for me! Luckily, I’m pretty handy with Photoshop!
How are you going to publish your book? (eg Indie, traditional or both).
Jed Had to Die is being published indie, but my paperbacks are now being published with EverAfter Romance, which means you just might be seeing it in book stores on release day!
How do you relax?
I take naps. Lots of naps. I wish someone would have told me when I was a child how amazing naps are, and I would have believed them.
What is your favourite quote?
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway. And I just so happen to have this tattooed on my arm!
What is your favourite film and why?
Gone With the Wind. I’ve watched it at least once a year ever since I was little. Scarlett O’Hara is the definition of a strong heroine, even if she could be a little bratty at times!
What is your favourite band/ artist?
Thirty Seconds to Mars, hands down. Best band ever.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Hopefully still writing and doing what I love! Maybe by then I will have learned how to be more organized and structured, but I’m not going to hold my breath.
What famous person dead or alive would you like to meet and why?
Jared Leto, from Thirty Seconds to Mars. Technically I already met him during a meet-and-greet at one of their concerts, but I legit turned into an idiot who forgot how to speak. I had this whole speech planned out in my head for MONTHS where I’d tell him how his music inspires me and how a few of my books were named after his songs…I said nothing. I stood there looking at him with wide eyes and my mouth dropped open in shock as soon as he smiled at me. Basically, I just want a do-over of that day where I look halfway intelligent and like I know how to talk.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors.?
Write because you HAVE to, not because you think it will be easy and make you a ton of money. NOTHING about this job is easy. It’s 24/7 and it’s HARD. You should write because you can’t imagine doing anything else. You should be so passionate about the stories in your head that you don’t care if you make five dollars or five million dollars. If you’re writing for any other reason, you’re doing it wrong.
What star sign are you?
Taurus. Strong-willed and bullheaded. Yep, that’s me!
If you had to do your debut book all over again would you change anything?
Never. That book is crazy and a hot mess, but it’s MY crazy hot mess! It’s the book I’m most known for and I’m so proud of that insane thing!
What was your favourite book growing up?
My Sweet Audrina by V.C. Andrews. That’s where my love of psychological thrillers first came about when I was a teenager. It’s a haunting and thrilling romance that I’ve probably read at least fifty times over the years.
Are there certain type of scene that is harder to write than others?
The screw-up scene. You know the one. Where the characters are moving along happily and then one of them does something stupid to ruin their lives and split them apart! I always get anxious leading up to a scene like that, but it has to happen. Otherwise the book would end a few chapters in!
What did you do before becoming an author?
I worked at a brokerage firm for fourteen years in the Compliance Department. We were basically the police of the company, so I spent my days yelling at brokers for not following the rules and slapping them with fines. No one liked the Compliance Department. It was fourteen years of misery LOL!
What is the worst job you've done?
Probably the first job I ever had when I turned sixteen. I worked for an ice cream place at the mall. You couldn’t beat all the free ice cream you could eat, but cleaning out the ice cream machines at the end of a shift is something that will haunt me forever. I always came home smelling like rotten milk.
What's the difference between erotica fiction and porn. Do you think readers get them mixed up?
Erotica fiction to me means that the main focus of the story is still the love/relationship development of two people, but with a lot more hot sex scenes than a typical romance. Porn is just porn. It’s sex scene after sex scene just to arouse people when you don’t care about developing relationships or love! I don’t think readers necessarily get the two confused because they’re readers. Reading is their passion and they know the difference. It’s the critics who have a problem differentiating between the two because more often than not, they’ve never read anything in this genre and wouldn’t know what it was if it smacked
them in the face!
Do you think erotica is an easy subject to write?
Hell no! It’s HARD (pun intended). I think I spend more time trying to come up with different ways to say “thrust” than I do writing an entire book.
What is the most erotic scene you've written?
The speaker scene in Burned. That was a memorable one…
Is there any subject you would never write about and why?
The murder of a young child or someone killing a dog. I mean, I don’t want to say never because my brain is a crazy place to be and who knows what I’ll come up with next, but those are two things that give me nightmares just thinking about them. I don’t know if I could handle writing those scenes because I’d be sobbing too much to see what I was typing.
Would you let your partner read your books ?
My husband has read a few of my books. He’s very critical. Sometimes it can be a good thing, but most of the time, I want to stab him. It’s best for our marriage if he just pretends like he’s read them all and smiles and nods whenever people ask him about them.
What was the best reaction you have had to the sexy scenes in your book by a friend ?
I normally tell friends they aren’t allowed to speak to me or look me in the eye for at least 4 – 6 weeks after they read one of my books. Honestly, when their husbands come up to me and tell me my book got them laid and then give me a high-five is probably the best!
What would be your perfect date with a partner be?
Anything that involves showering, putting on pants and leaving the house. That doesn’t happen very much around here with my crazy writing schedule!
What is your secret fetish that you have never told
anyone about ?
I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you ☺
Are you any good in the kitchen and what is your specialty?
I’m pretty handy in the kitchen. I love cooking and trying new recipes. I’m definitely known for my Chicken Paprikash. That’s the dish everyone always begs me to make for them and it’s impossible for me to make a small batch. I spend all day cooking it when I do, and there’s always enough for a small army.
What's the most romantic thing hubby has done for you?
We’ve been together 23 years, what’s romance?
LOL, just kidding! Honestly, at this point, his support of what I do is the most romantic thing in the world. Whenever he makes sure I eat or tells me to take a nap because he can see my head is about to explode…that’s the good stuff.
With such a amazing woman and author like yourself for a mother, do any of your children follow in your footsteps and write.?
My daughter does! She’s very artistic and loves to draw as well, but she’s always filling up notebooks with little short stories and asking me to critique them.
Has your hubby done any writing?
He’s mostly just done a lot of talking about wanting to write a book LOL! He’s tried sitting down a few times to write, but he doesn’t have the focus for it. The good news is that he appreciates what I do so much more after he tries to write!
Are you superstitious?
YES! See answer about always writing in the same place LOL!
What is it that you enjoy about writing erotica?
I just love telling all the parts of a couple’s story. You have good times and you have bad times and you have sex. It’s real life and part of a relationship.
What do you think makes a good comedy author to you?
I don’t know if I’m the best person to answer this since I never think what I write is funny! I’m always telling my beta readers the chapters I send them are stupid and not funny at all and then they have to yell at me. I’d have to say a good comedy author doesn’t force the funny or try to write something funny just because they think it’s what will sell or what’s popular. Comedy is really hard to write. It’s the hardest genre for me to write, but it’s something I have to do because I’m just a very sarcastic, joking person by nature. The characters in my comedies speak the way I do and say things that I would say. You know, when I’m drunk.
What is next for you after JED HAD TO DIE?
Next, I’m going to finally finish up The Ignite Trilogy
and book #3 – Scorched.
Do you have anything else you would like to tell your readers?
Just that I love you all more than words can say! Thank you
so much for your continued support and riding along on this crazy train with me!
PLEASE GO TO TO AMAZON AND CHECK OUT TARA'S BACK CATALOGUE OF TITLES, SHE HAS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE, WHETHER YOU WANT TO LAUGH OUT LOUD OR WANT A WEEPY BOOK. SHE HAS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE. AND KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN FOR JED MUST DIE COMING 1ST NOVEMBER.