Tara Mills is a ‘lifelong wordaholic, contemporary romance writer, pampered wife, and proud mom’. If you like fun and flirty, saucy and sexy, exciting thrills and suspense, or simply a good chuckle, sit for a moment while you enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. I promise, she will sweep you away with her heroes and heroines, not to mention, she is a sweetheart of a lady…
Congratulations on your 3 releases, Tara, on ‘In Love and War’, ‘Friends and Lovers’ and ‘Accidents Make the Heart Grow Fonder’ – Each is a wonderful happily-ever-after!
Thank you! It’s so nice to visit with you today.
When your muse takes you into different territories from suspense to fun and flirty, does she throw you for a loop? And how do you handle your muse at those times?
My muse is a well-rounded chick. There’s nothing she likes more than shaking things up. Stories are like recipes to her. It’s like she’s standing over a pot, wooden spoon in hand, tasting and tinkering, reaching for this and that to get the right balance and blend in whatever we’re creating. She just never gives me the recipe in advance, so I sometimes find myself racing around, digging for things in cabinets, the fridge, and pantry when she barks out what she wants next. She’s crazy about surprises and loves to keep me on my toes.
I recently read on your pages, ‘Love really is worth fighting for, but picking your battles isn’t so easy…especially when lives are at stake.’ I love the way it reads, Tara 🙂 How do you, or your muse, choose your battles, black moments?
I love that line, too! As far as choosing the battles goes, the story and the subject matter generally dictate the trials and black moments the characters will face. I like my stories to have substance, even my ridiculous slapstick comedy, Accidents Make the Heart Grow Fonder, as entertaining as it is, still touches on some important themes. I have to admit that I’m crazy about research. The bibliography for In Love and War is over four pages long — for a romance! But I wanted it to ring true. Yes, there’s tenderness, humor, and steamy love scenes, but Dylan’s working in an unstable war zone. It was only natural that he should find himself in real danger. That’s a pretty tense and exciting part of the book. Friends and Lovers is another story that offsets the warm and wonderful love story with another relationship that’s gone horribly bad and how, when these two very different relationships intersect, all hell breaks loose. Yet, even then, I managed to infuse the pages with lighter moments. I think it’s great that so many people have absolutely loved Dylan’s golden retriever, Max, in In Love and War. He’s the comic relief.
Would you say falling in love is just as much a battle of the heart and mind when it comes to the heroes and heroes who have been hurt in the past?
Absolutely. I think people guard their hearts and mask their feelings far more than they do their own bodies. It’s as if they can take the pain of a broken arm, but a broken heart? That would be excruciating. Stories like this resonate with everyone because we’ve all been afraid of being hurt. Opening yourself up to another person is both brave and terrifying. No one enjoys feeling vulnerable. Love is a leap, a gamble, and ultimately, a force to be reckoned with.
How do you pick and choose each battle and the resolutions to creating the perfect happily-ever-after to make it special for each hero and heroine?
I love to leave my couples on a high note and make the ending very personal for them. Naturally they need to resolve, or at least come to terms with the issue(s) between them, but even I don’t see everything until I’m writing it. Sometimes, not even then. I actually changed a great deal of, In Love and War, during edits and added some emotionally moving things at the end that really touched my heart. It was perfectly fine as originally submitted, but I was on a roll and kept on going. I’m so glad I did. I really love it now.
Some writers choose to focus publishing with one particular source and others branch out to more than one. I see you write for different publishers…If I may ask, as one writer to another, and for those working to break in out there, what are the benefits to writing for more than one publisher?
I chose to submit to several publishers because it’s never a good idea to put all of your eggs in one basket. Not only did I want to compare how various publishers work and what kinds of support they offer their authors, but we’ve all heard of publishers who’ve closed their doors. I didn’t want to find all of my books affected by something like that, so I split them up.
What 5 tools or marketing strategies would you suggest to focus on once breaking into the publishing industry?
Put up a webpage! That’s very important. So is blogging, even occasionally. Create an author presence on the web and make connections with readers and other writers. Join things, network, leave comments and write guest blogs or do interviews. All of these things will start showing up on searches of your name and titles. People will eventually find you. It just takes a little time. Patience isn’t just a virtue in writing, it’s a must. Annoying, but true.
Any chance we can have a taste of the next happily-ever-after coming our way?
Sure! My next release, coming from Beachwalk Press June 17th, is called Grading on Curves. Here’s the blurb.
One-on-one instruction never felt so right—or so wrong.There’s nothing unusual about Mia Page’s attraction to the young science teacher at the middle school. After all, she’s not the only one who finds him enticing. But when he pulls her son aside to ask for her phone number, she knows she’s in serious trouble. Since her divorce four years earlier, she’s been out of circulation, choosing to focus on parenting instead, and she’s not entirely sure she can handle an entanglement with the sexy Mr. Walden.There are also other reasons why getting involved with Curt would be a bad idea. He’s two years shy of thirty, and she’s on the downside of that unmentionable number. He’s adamant about never having kids, and she has a son. Even the guy’s romantic gifts are suspect. Energy saving light bulbs? He has to be kidding.On the other hand, he’s fun, sweet, and smart. He stimulates her intellectually, emotionally, and Lord help her, physically, opening her eyes to life outside her comfortable world. Yet their differences quietly gnaw at Mia even while she succumbs to their undeniable chemistry.As their romance deepens, so do Mia’s fears that Curt will eventually hurt her. On edge, all it takes is an innocent comment to provoke her into drawing first blood. Mia recklessly wounds Curt, learning only too late that this blade cuts both ways. Frantic to make amends, she fears it might be too late to admit the feelings she’s tried so hard to suppress.
Here’s an excerpt.
Casey was almost to the Explorer, but Mia barely noticed. Her entire focus was centered on the sexy teacher instead.
She could feel the beads of perspiration popping out all over her at the way his lightweight shirt caught the breeze, billowing out of the back of his sexy-assed pants. Was that linen? It couldn’t be. It draped like rayon but without the wrinkles. Whatever it was, he wasn’t exactly dressed to roam school hallways or stand with his back to a class while he wrote on a chalkboard. She envied and pitied the poor adolescent girls who had to look at that supremely scrumptious derriere every day then suffer each night in a private torture all their own.
No, this guy belonged on a beach, seated at an umbrella shaded table with his long masculine fingers curled around a glass of wine.
Okay, putting Curt on a beach was probably a mistake. In a flash she had him bounding out of the surf in low slung swim trunks as water ran down his sun-kissed body. She moaned softly at the damp line of glittering hair bisecting his chest. It tapered away across his solid abs then picked up again at his navel as a solid arrow plunging inside his waistband. Mia’s fingers twitched as she did a virtual walkthrough, quite willing to follow that trail wherever it led. Exploration was highly underrated these days.
“Mom! Are you coming?”
Casey’s call jolted her back to reality. Well, one thing she could say for certain, this fantasy was galaxies better than the usual gloom and doom.
Hurrying to the SUV, Mia climbed in and drew her seatbelt across her lap. “Did I hear Mr. Walden say he teaches science?” Silence followed her question. Looking up, she caught Casey giving her a strange look. “What?”
“Don’t even think about asking me to pass him a note at school,” he said flatly.
Mia broke into a startled laugh. “Are you kidding?”
The boy shook his head slowly. “I know that look, Mom. I’ve seen it a hundred times this year, and I’m not doing it. Don’t even ask.”
Thanks Kay. This has been fun!
You are welcome. Thank you for sweeping me away. I always have fun with you, Tara!