The lucky winner has been drawn, and it’s….drum roll please… Sandramh!
Congrats, Sandra! You’ve won an ebook copy of TL Hart’s Walk-in! Look for an email from me soon on how to collect your free ebook from Bella!
Happy second Monday of the month, all! TL Hart”s first lesfic mystery is Walk-in, published by Bella Books. It’s a Lambda Literary Award nominee, WOOT WOOT!!!!!!
Man, I love that cover! Anyway, after a fun conversation with TL on facebook regarding potential travel to the Lammy award ceremony (we are both finalists in the Lesbian Mystery category), I decided this woman was entirely too fun to keep to myself. So I sat down with her and we chatted about books, caffeine, ghosts, and muses. Drop a comment and you’ll be entered to win a free ebook of Walk-In! I’ll leave comments open for about ten days and then draw for the lucky winner! So, onward and upward! Here we go!
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing!
I started writing at about ten—some story about nurses that made it to 30 pages. I knew it was drivel, even at that age. Over the years I filled a forest’s worth of spiral notebooks with everything from poetry (very bad) to short stories (a little less bad) to beginnings of all kinds of novel (getting closer to readable). I entered a contest for unpublished writers for a new series of steamy romances by Harlequin and placed second. I was invited to do a book for them, and totally with the bliss of ignorance did so. MICHAEL’S WIFE by Harlequin Temptation was the result.
I published WALK-IN with Bella Books some twenty years later. It’s not that it took me that long to do another book—I have written several—it just took me the long way around life to submit another one!
(here’s the back cover copy for Walk-in!!)
Being rich makes coming back from the dead so much easier.
Dallas socialite Jennifer Strickland narrowly survives a harrowing car accident and returns to a home she doesn’t remember, friends she doesn’t recognize, and a husband she doesn’t like. Dreams of a mysterious raven-haired beauty send her to a psychiatrist who discovers Jennifer’s experience was nearer to death than she imagined.
Notorious gay rights activist Dr. Cotton Claymore was beaten and left for dead in an alleyway. Her body didn’t survive the trauma, but her spirit did—in the body of Jennifer Strickland.
Living as Jennifer, Cotton has to convince the two most important people in her life that she is back and find the person who murdered her—before they do it again.
(Now you know you want to hustle right over to the Bella site and score yourself a copy of Walk-in! Click right here and away you go! Kinda like magic!)
Walk-In is your first mystery. A wee birdie told me you have had your fingers in a number of other genres as well. Tell us a little about your checkered and varied writing past.
I’m shopping a big women’s fiction manuscript that starts at the end of the Vietnam War, and I’ve nearly completed an urban fantasy, complete with dragons, jinnies, and a few aliens from another planet. I also have a follow up for WALK-IN in progress for Bella Books. Oh, yes, I can’t stick to one genre.
Walk-In (WI) began as a standalone, but now you’re spinning something out of it. Can you tell us about the story you’re working on now involving one of the secondary characters from WI? What is the timeline for the book?
Right now, I’m almost halfway through a new book I’m in love with. It’s a twisted kind of ghost story on the funny side with my heroine from WALK-IN’s best friend, Aggie Burke. When Aggie’s old, religious grandmother dies and finds the afterlife isn’t exactly what she thought it would be, she makes a few visits back to make amends with her favorite grandchild. GREAT GRANNY’S GHOST is underway!
WI is a Lammy Award finalist. That’s HUGE!!!. Where were you and what was your reaction when you heard the news? I can only imagine how amped up you were.
I was at work—I’m a hairstylist by day—and had a spare minute to check my Facebook page. There were half a dozen congratulatory messages on being a finalist for a Lambda Literary award. I didn’t even know I’d been nominated. Needless to say I was late starting my next client. I was thrilled beyond words. That’s a huge lie—I’m never beyond words.
Are you going to the award ceremonies? How do you feel about that crazy business?
I am going to the award ceremonies! Of course, I am. This is unlikely to happen again. I’ve never been to a fancy red carpet event. And, it’s a chance to go to New York City! I love NYC.
Tell us a little about your path to publication. How did you wind up knocking at Bella’s door?
I had some difficulties with having a lesbian protagonist in mainstream publishing. Don’t let anyone tell you LGBT works are as easy to place as hetero titles. I had one house tell me they had published their “lesbian book” for the year.
What did it feel like when Bella told you they were interested in your story?
Christmas morning. It felt like I woke up and ran downstairs and found Santa sitting cross-legged on the floor reading my book while the reindeer waited on the roof.
What’s a must have for you when you’re writing? What aids the creative process?
Diet Coke. Starbucks. Chocolate. Caffeine.
If you had access to a time machine, which moment in time would you travel to and why?
A hundred years in the future. I’m a crazy optimist, so I want to see what’s ahead. My maternal grandmother came to Texas as a child in a covered wagon and lived to see men walk on the moon. I can’t begin to imagine what will be there in a hundred years. Oh, and if I can take two trips, I’d sure like to see a huge herd of dinosaurs—from a safe distance, of course.
What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
I’m the best knife-thrower in my family. I’m fearless. My mother always said I wasn’t afraid of the Devil himself. It was not meant as a compliment.
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
I ziplined over Las Vegas for my 65th birthday. I have other crazy things, but if I told you about them, I’d have to either kill you or go into the Witness Protection Program.
Advice for beginning writers?
Don’t worry that there is a right way to write. Just tell your story.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
I would be a doctor. House, with a better personality and no substance abuse issues.
Just for fun:
Night or Day? Night for sure.
Beach or Pool? Beach on a stormy day.
Steak or Salad? Make it a ribeye.
Favorite Drink? Diet Coke
Favorite Book? Stranger in a Strange Land
Favorite TV Series? The Blacklist
Favorite Movie? Chicago
Favorite Actor: Kevin Spacy or James Spader tossup.
Favorite Actress: Susan Sarandon or Meryl Streep tossup.
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? I like olives way better than pineapple.
Hawaii or Alaska? Can I go to Paris instead? Please.
Finish this sentence: If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be:
The person who was first to be brave enough to eat a lobster. Or Benjamin Franklin.
Okay. Back to the boring old questions! What is the biggest challenge (or challenges) you’ve had overcome as a writer?
My ability to be distracted is neck and neck with my tendency to procrastinate. Shiny new plot or finish a work in progress or watch reruns of Iron Chef?
When do you write and how come? (Morning, afternoon, evening, middle of the night, all of the above LOL) I write in my head before I go to sleep at night. Fall asleep working out details of scenes. Then I procrastinate for a few days/weeks, then write it down and rarely change much after that.
Where do you write at home or do you write outside the house and why?
Mostly at home on my days off work, but I keep a notebook with me or have written scenes on the back of electric bill envelopes. I was one of six children in a small house with tons of noise. I can write in the middle of a circus.
Do you like to outline or are you a “by the seat of your pants” writer? (You might have already answered this in one of the above questions!
I’m the Queen of the Pantsers. If I write an outline my brain thinks it has already told the story and doesn’t want to play. My urban fantasy I’m working on didn’t give me a real clue of what it was about until chapter 27…such fun!
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Dickens. Heinlein. Fanny Flag. Patricia Cornwell. Margaret Atwood. Michael Connelly.
What do you do when you’re not writing? Hobbies, etc…
I love to cook and am really good at it. I love to eat and am really good at it—see photo. I like to play poker. I work the New York Times crossword every day—in ink.
Anything else you’d like your fans to know?
I’m a late bloomer and an incurable optimist and curious to the point of needing treatment. That’s why I write.
The END! Don’t forget to drop a comment for your chance to win a copy of TL Hart’s Walk-in!!!!