I'm always excited to share an interview with you...getting behind the scenes information on authors is fun! Let's see what Tamara has to say once she's in the hot seat!
Hello Tamara Lush, and thank you for visiting today. Tell us a little about yourself.
By day, I’m a journalist with The Associated Press. At night, I write fictional romance tales about complicated, sexy men and the independent woman who captivate them.
Thanks! It sounds like you have an interesting life. Now on to some personal questions. If you could go back in time to when you were seven years old, what wisdom or advice would you pass on to yourself?
1. Don’t waste your money on moisturizers. Use coconut oil instead.
2. That guy? The sexiest, most arrogant one in the room? He’s not worthy of your time and attention. Move on. (Repeat as needed).
3. Follow your instincts. They’re always right.
For what are you grateful?
I’m insanely blessed to have a husband that loves and cares for me and I’m eternally grateful for him. I’m also grateful for my health, because without that, everything is incidental. My friends, my co-workers and my dogs are all sources of immense joy.
If a zombie virus took over the world, how many days do you think you could last before you were infected? And what would you do to postpone the inevitable?
I don’t think I’d last long because I’d likely have to write news articles about the outbreak and I’d get infected quickly. I’d wash my hands a lot, though.
Ouch. Well at least you'll know where the outbreaks are! What television sitcom is most like your family? Why?
The Addams Family. We have an unusual and macabre sense of humor.
What’s your favorite thing to do to relax?
Walk with my husband and dogs on the beach.
Okay... now I'm jealous...the beach! *sigh* Let’s find out a little bit about you as an author. Did you always want to be an author?
I always wanted to write, in some way. I started writing in grade school. I’d write little books about adventurous men who were archaeologists or explorers and their equally adventurous girlfriends. Really, I don’t think my themes have changed all that much, I guess.
What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult?
I loved Judy Blume as a child, but my favorite book was Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. As an adult, I love narrative non-fiction. Cheryl Strayed, in particular, is one of my favorites. For romance, I love Lisa Kleypas, Molly O’Keefe, Tiffany Reisz and Roni Loren.
Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?
My critique partner, Kat Faitour, got me hooked on writing to the sounds of rain and thunder.
How did you decide to write a contemporary romance story?
I decided to write contemporary romance because I love the genre and read it for years. I believe that romance novels are mostly stories of a woman’s experience – how a woman chooses love and life on her own terms. I believe that writing romance, and writing about women choosing (and usually getting) exactly what they want, is a deeply feminist act.
What have you learned the most from being in the writing business?
I’ve learned to have a neverending well of patience. Submitting my manuscripts to agents and editors took a level of patience that I didn’t know I possessed.
Tell us about your latest release:
My latest release is called Tell Me a Story. Here’s a blurb:
A flirtatious reading of erotica blossoms into something deep and tender in the steamy Florida heat...
Tell Me a Story
Emma, a free-spirited bookstore owner in Orlando, keeps her business afloat with innovative ideas. Her most popular evening event is Story Brothel, where customers can pay writers to read aloud to them in a story-time for two, complete with cocktails. Despite the name, the event is usually tame. But things take a steamy turn when a handsome, urbane businessman hires Emma for a session in a private cabana. Daringly, she shares with him a reading of her erotica. Soon both of them are feeling the effects … and Emma’s wondering what kind of lover is underneath his expensive suit.
Caleb may be a billionaire real estate mogul, but he’s never been captivated by a woman as he is by the lovely, quirky Emma. Her rockabilly vintage dresses make him long to strip them off and do very wicked things to her. And her refusal to share her personal life only makes him more curious.
Soon the couple are spending every available moment together. But Emma’s building is in danger of being razed out from under her bookstore … and worse, Caleb may be behind her problems. Can she trust him with her life as she does with her body? Or will the prickly walls built during her harsh past keep them apart?
For More Information
I wanted him the second I looked into his steel-blue eyes.
“How much?” he asked. It was a sexy voice, a deep voice, and I smiled—a smile that alluded to everything but promised nothing, aware of appearing coy and knowing and not-too-eager.
I was in the mood to flirt.
Before I could answer, my friend Sarah broke in. “It’s two dollars a minute. Two dollars, one minute of reading. Half goes to charity, half goes to the writer. But you can negotiate with the writer, if you know what I mean.”
The man smiled and ran a thumb over his full bottom lip as he looked me up and down.
Sarah laughed and wiggled her dark brows. “That’s why I called it Story Brothel. It’s between the reader—” she clapped him on the shoulder “—and the writer. God, I love this. I feel like a madam. Like the Heidi Fleiss of Florida fiction.”
She reached to squeeze my arm, then leaned into me and lowered her voice playfully. “Remember: half for charity. No skimming.”
I rolled my eyes. “Like I’d do that.” Sarah stood on her tiptoes and kissed me on the cheek.
“He looks rich. Maybe he’ll pay you extra so you can save the bookstore,” she whispered.
I scowled, not wanting a reminder of work. This was my rare night out, a time when I wasn’t buried in orders or paperwork or my writing. It was when I transformed myself from serious shop owner into romance writer, like some pulp fiction superheroine. Glasses off; wild, curly hair down; blood-red lipstick staining every napkin and cocktail rim in my path.
And maybe this man’s mouth in a short while. I was long overdue for male attention. At least, that’s what I told myself as I took in his charcoal suit, his crisp white shirt, and the platinum glint of a wristwatch dial. I hadn’t been kissed in a long time—not well, at least. And not by a man this interesting looking.
An unfamiliar song came on, some Arabic-lounge groove with strong, heavy drums. It was how my heart felt against my ribcage. Sarah moved into the crowd. I kept smiling. So did he.
“Story Brothel,” he murmured in a voice so low I could barely hear the words. Because he was tall, he had to tilt his face and his gunmetal-blue eyes downward to look at me.
I shook my head dramatically and clicked my tongue against the roof of my mouth. “You don’t seem like the type of man who’d come to an event like this.”
“I don’t?” His eyes glittered and teased. They were such a gorgeous hue that popped against his long, dark lashes. He wasn’t the most handsome man I’d ever seen, but he radiated confidence and sensuality. His features—high cheekbones, a slightly big nose, a strong jaw—wouldn’t have stood out on their own, but the combination was irresistibly masculine. Intriguing. Fuckable.
“No. And I’ve never seen you here before.”
“This isn’t a one-time only thing?”
“It’s a monthly thing, for the Orlando Literacy Council.”
“So you’re an experienced…story…?” He motioned in a half-circle with his hand, and a salacious grin crept on his face.
“Whore?” I offered with mock innocence.
“You said it. I didn’t.”
That made me giggle.
“What’s that quote about writing and prostitution?” he asked.
I tilted my head, and a grin the size of the Everglades stretched across my face. It was impossible not to react because his question surprised me. Even though I owned a bookstore, meeting well-read, hot men was a rare event in my central Florida city, which was better known as the home of a giant cartoon mouse.
“Writing is like sex. First you do it for love…”
He chimed in. “…then you do it for your friends, and then for money.”
How did you decide on your story plot?
Tell Me a Story came from an actual literary event in my city called Story Brothel, where people pay writers to listen to them read aloud. I loved the concept and wondered what would happen if an erotica writer met a handsome man at Story Brothel and read him a sexy story.
How did you choose your characters names and location for your story?
I love the sound of the name Emma. And I wanted a very masculine, yet unusual name, so I went with Caleb. I set most of my books in Florida, and Tell Me a Story is no different. It’s set in Orlando, largely because that city is a place of fantasy and fairy tales – and Tell Me a Story is a fairy tale for adult women.
Do you have a favorite scene? Why?
My favorite scene is the beginning, when Emma and Caleb lock eyes and banter. When he buys her a drink, and they flirt erotically without touching or saying anything particularly sexual. Sometimes the biggest turn ons come from witty banter.
I agree. Minds are so sexy! Do you have a character that you identify with? Who and why? No, the characters in Tell Me a Story are purely fictional! I don’t live half the exciting life Emma does.
Let our readers know how they can get a hold of you…
Readers can find me at www.tamaralush.com -- that’s where they can check for new releases and sign up for my newsletter.
I’m also very active on Facebook. My page is: https://www.facebook.com/tamaralushwrites/
Is there anything else that you want to share… feel free!!
Thank you so much for having me on your blog!
Thank you for stopping by!
Musings from Michigan