Today, I’ve been blogging over at Flirty Author Bitches, about the joys and of travelling, and how I’m looking forward to being convinced that the American continents really do exist.
Hi everyone! I’m delighted to be visiting Kay today to celebrate the release of my new MM contemporary, enemies-to-lovers story, Beach Balls.
One of the questions writers get asked the most is “where do the ideas come from?” Kay and I have somewhat different challenges. She works a lot in historical, paranormal fantasy so she is creating whole new worlds with roots in history. I write primarily contemporary. Even my paranormal romances take place in a contemporary setting. So I have to find new ideas in the real world. But chances are if you asked either of us “where do we get our ideas” we’d tell you, “Everywhere!”
I know Kay has to do a lot of research for her books so I imagine her pouring through references and finding new inspiration on each page. Look, a different kind of ritual. A new weapon. A unique costume. For me, I am inspired by a myriad of things in my daily life. My day job is in marketing which puts me in touch with so many different kinds of companies and products. One of those I read about was in genetic sequencing and that became the profession of my heroine and hero in my first book, Genetic Attraction. My Balls to the Wall Series all take place in beautiful Laguna Beach, California. In Laguna, they have a famous art pageant where people dress up as works of art. That became the motif for my book, Volley Balls, where the hero, David, poses as the statue of David in the Pageant of the Masters.
Beach Balls, my new release, is packed full of inspiration from my daily life. In the book, one of the heroes is a rebreather diver. The idea came from a friend of mine who is a serious diver. He even told me about coming out of the water wearing a dry suit and stripping it off to reveal his shorts and shirt ala James Bond. I used the sequence in the book. There is also a big land deal in the book which is based on some actual cases in the southern California area.
So I guess the message is be careful what you tell a writer. You might be the inspiration for the next book!
If you leave a comment with your email, and if you feel like it you could Like my Facebook page, and you can win a copy of either Volley Balls or Fire Balls.
Thanks so much for dropping by, Tara! Yup, historical research can be hard (but fun) work, but writing contemporary also presents its own challenges, as I’ve recently found. I had great fun drawing the setting from real life in my upcoming contemporary paranormal, Catching Kit…and, yes, if was fun being inspired by every day situations and friends for a change. So yes, definitely be careful what you tell a writer!
Read on for an Adult excerpt from the new Beach Balls and to find out more about Tara’s books.
“Painstakingly strange with brushstrokes of joyful chiaroscuro.” Welcome Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane
My guests this week are Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane… “two unlikely friends and co-writers from different sides of the same continent. Heidi, from Northern Canada, is a history geek with a soft spot for Highlanders and Victorian pornography. Violetta is a Yank (and a Southerner, and a Japanese-American) with a cinematic imagination and a faintly checkered past. Together, they write strange and soulful interracial and multicultural m/m with a global sensibility and the occasional paranormal twist.”
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New Release Mailing List for Heidi and Violetta (new releases only)
Welcome, Heidi and Violetta!
Q. Please tell us about your new release, Salting the Earth.
Heidi: Salting the Earth is an erotic fantasy all about a somewhat neurotic young man whose encounter with the Irish sidhe forces him to confront truths about himself that he’s been running from for a long time. That’s the sophisticated version. You could also call it a gender-bending fairy gang bang. It’s a part of Storm Moon Press’s “Like It Or Not” anthology, which is a selection of non-con stories, so it’s also an exploration of consent.
Violetta: Put in simplest possible terms, it’s about a man who gets drunk and climbs a hill with a shovel and a salt shaker. And then he makes a terrible mistake, although it’s not his fault at all, and he couldn’t have known better. The story has multiple levels of myth and memory and sexual experiences of searing pornographic intensity all woven together. It does not have anything remotely resembling a happy ending. We can write happy endings—we love writing them, in fact—but Salting the Earth called for ambiguity.
Q. How do you find writing together? What’s the process? E.g. do you write a chapter each, or one does a first draft, the other polishes?
Heidi: Neither of those, actually! We use Google Docs and work simultaneously (often in the exact same sentence!) Once in awhile one of us will edit or work on a scene without the other, but we largely work together.Violetta: We often work together on the same passages, sometimes finishing each others’ sentences. We’ll write longer passages alone, but we always go back and edit each others’ work. We like to keep our drafts as clean as possible, so we plan heavily and edit as we go along. That way, we keep the style totally consistent. I had a very different style from Heidi in my solo writing; cowriting, we combine our styles to form a new one. Kind of like Voltron, but less clanging and clanking.
Q. I loved The Saturnalia Effect (set in a prison!) and I’ve also read a story by you guys set in a Scottish castle. How do you get your cool ideas for settings? And what comes first – setting or character?
Heidi: I’d actually say we start with a concept, and sometimes the setting is at the centre of that, and sometimes a character is. So for “Salting the Earth”, King Finnbheara and the story of Eithne the Fair was at the centre of our planning. For The Saturnalia Effect, the setting of the prison was where we started. But no matter what we start with, we always put out an effort to make sure the setting is authentic and integrated and essential to the story, no matter where or when that may be.
Violetta: We’re both really into setting—and not on its own, but how it relates to characters. In my mind, they’re always dynamically related. We have so many special memories that link us to where we’re from and where we’ve been. A lot of our characters are displaced, too, and that’s definitely true of Ronan, our protagonist in Salting the Earth. He’s Irish but he doesn’t feel at home in his own country anymore because of something that happened to him when he went on a trip to America. And then, when he enters the fairy mound, that’s another level of displacement, both physical and emotional.
Q. Describe your writing style in ten words (each!)
Heidi: Magic hidden in the mundane. Oh, and gratuitously filthy dialogue.
Violetta: Painstakingly strange with brushstrokes of joyful chiaroscuro. No quarter given.
Q. You guys seem to have a billion things coming out over the next few months! What’s the secret?
Heidi: No secret, we just bust our asses and don’t make or take excuses. It helps to have someone who keeps you accountable, and someone who can pick up the slack when you’re blocked. But you also have someone wrestling with you for creative control (and oh, we do wrestle sometimes!) so maybe it evens out. Mostly I think we just work very well together.
Violetta: Except for this last month or so, we write every day. And the only reason we’re not writing every day now is that we have so much editing and promotion to do! This summer is also so busy for us because so many projects for the past year ended up coinciding in terms of release dates. We’d like to release more evenly, but since we’re working with several different publishers—Carina, Loose Id, Riptide, Storm Moon Press—that’s not really an option.