Tamsen Schultz will be awarding a $30 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
1. Woohoo! You are a published author. Describe a strong character trait you possess, good or bad, and how it helped you become a published author. I might be just the tiniest bit stubborn. Actually it’s more like a superpower I have that can sometimes be used for good and sometimes for bad. When it comes to writing, it’s definitely used for good. I suffer from one of those personalities that when I want something to happen (personally), I make it happen. It might take YEARS, but I’ll get there. That’s how it was/is with writing. At first I stubbornly persisted until I found a publisher and now that I am publishing, I stubbornly fight (with myself) to find the time to keep writing.
2. Sometimes an author begins writing a story before they are aware of its genre. Did you choose your genre, or did it choose you? I chose it, no question. I had never read a romance novel until my thirties. I had read mysteries, high concept literature, classics, you name it, but I had never read a romance or a romantic suspense novel. When I did, I fell instantly in love with the combination of mystery, emotions, and psychology. I wanted to live in that world and so that’s the world I write in.
3. The plot thickens, or does it? Which one are you, a pantser or a plotter? For “The Frailty of Things” I was a pantser with a plan. I knew several of the characters already (from writing them as secondary characters in previous books) and I knew I wanted to take the book outside of Windsor, where all my others are set, but I didn’t start out with a set crime or plot. However, in “An Inarticulate Sea,” which should be out late fall/early winter, I created a detailed outline for it—I mean pages of notes and details. It was kind of an experiment and while I did like it, I think I need to find some middle ground between complete pantsing (which leaves me lots of excuses why I can’t possible write because I have no idea what to write) and complete plotting.
4. Fear 101: As writers it is our duty to make our characters face their fears. Have you ever included one of your own fears in a storyline? Small things, yes. I hate being cold (not a real fear I know) and I don’t love flying…a couple of characters *may* share those traits. Kit, in “The Frailty of Things” isn’t so much afraid of her past, but parts of it were just really painful and she has no wish to revisit them. Of course I make her do that and, of course, she comes out stronger in the end as we all do when we stop hiding. But I tend to write what makes me curious rather than my own fears, things like “I wonder what would happen if I found a dead body on the side of the road,” or “I wonder what would happen if I saw something I wasn’t supposed to and had NO clue what I’d seen.” Within those questions is room for me to create lots of my characters own fears.
- Fear 102: Yes, deadlines are terrifying. Have you conquered the juggling act between writing and the rest of your life? What do you do when it feels like the balls are dropping all around you? I get hyper-focused when the balls are dropping around me…I’m one of those people who will just buckle down and do one-thing-at-a-time until whatever is done needs to be done. My husband refers to it as WOB-mode (Woman of Business). I’m sure it’s about as charming as it sounds.
6. Switch positions with one of your main characters in a scene. What is the outcome, disaster or divine intervention? Okay, so there is a scene in “The Frailty of Things” where Kit is walking through a winter storm to get to the hiding/meeting place she and Garret have agreed on. She’s pretty stoic about it and stays focused on why she’s doing what she’s doing. She knows that she has to walk through the ice storm (in Vermont, in February) in order to stick to the plan that will lead to the war criminal/assassin who is after her being caught. And once he’s caught, she and Garret can finally start a real life together and she can finally work on repairing her relationship with her brother. In short, she has a lot riding on sticking to the plan and she does it admirably. Me, I’m not so sure. That thing I mentioned about the cold, I really do HATE being cold. I don’t know that I would have the same focus Kit did to get to the meeting place. I might have just told Garret to take care of everything and I’d meet him at the coffee shop after.
- Where is your favorite place to write? Add that one comfort food that you can’t do without. I love to write anywhere it’s quiet – a library, my office, the porch. As long as it’s quiet and there are no interruptions, I’m good to go. (Keep in mind I have two kids and a husband who works at home, “quiet” isn’t as easy to come by as one might think.)
As for comfort food, I love food and love cooking but strangely enough, food while I’m writing bothers me. I think because when I eat I have to switch my attention from my writing to getting the food in my mouth without dropping it on me or my computer. Because of that, I tend to like to drink while I write, sometimes it’s black coffee, sometimes a huge bottle of water I refill (which gives me a reason to get up from my desk every now and then and stretch my legs when I need to use the ladies room), and sometimes it’s whiskey or wine. Drinking and writing is definitely the way to go.
8. Writing inspirations? My readers are my biggest inspiration. I always want to give them my best book. I know not everyone will like what I write or any given book, but my goal is to always give them the best I can for that story.
9. You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them? I would have loved to meet Gabriel Garcia Marquez. His writing is so sensual and elegant but still so raw at times. I have an image that his life was as sensual (and I don’t really mean sexually sensual, but five-senses sensual) as his writing and spending time with someone like that, someone who values everything from the taste of a mango to the heartbreak of a dead lover, would have been amazing. Of course, I could be completely wrong about him, but I’m going to cling to my version of his personality. In fact, the character Marco Baresi, in “The Frailty of Things” is loosely based on my imagined version of Marquez.
10. I’ve gone mad – why don’t you come with me? Some people just don’t understand us writers. Name a quirky, writer-thing you do that friends wish you didn’t. Hhhhmmm, maybe stay quiet. Like a lot of writers, I spend a lot of time in my head. Which means I’m staring a lot at what may seem like nothing (and could be nothing because all the action is really happening inside my mind). Sometimes my husband will come into our bedroom, look at me, and ask what I’m looking at…most of the time I don’t even realize I look catatonic because there’s an entire movie happening in my imagination. I think it can be a bit disconcerting at times.
The Frailty of Things
by Tamsen Schultz
Independence. Kit Forrester is a woman who wears her independence like armor. Despite keeping secrets and hiding her past, she’s built a life she loves and is accountable to no one. Until, that is, one of the world’s most wanted war criminals sets his sights on her and she must weigh the risk to one against the chance of justice and closure for many—a decision Kit couldn’t make on her own even if she wanted to.
Certainty. As a man who makes his living in the shadows of governments and wars, certainty isn’t a part of Garret Cantona’s vocabulary, and he’s just fine with that. But when Kit walks into his life, he realizes he’s never before been so sure about anything or anyone. Suddenly, he finds he’s looking at the world, his world, in a different light. And now that he is, he’s determined to protect it, and her, in whatever ways he can.
Frailty. No one knows better than Kit and Garret that an appreciation for what is, or what was, or what might be, can be born from the uncertainty and fragility of life. But when a hunt for a killer leaves Garret no choice but to throw Kit back into her broken and damaged past, even his unshakable faith in what they have together might not be enough to keep it from shattering into a million pieces.
“Tell me,” Kit said. “And you have five minutes to decide because after that, I’m going to bed. And after that, you’ll be leaving.”
Doubt flickered across Caleb’s face. He didn’t believe her. Fine.
She rose from her seat and headed toward the sink.
“You don’t want to know, Kit,” Caleb said.
She turned back and didn’t bother to bite back the harsh laugh that escaped her. “I don’t want to know? How could you possibly know what I want or don’t want, Caleb? Do you have any idea what my life was like after you left? Do you have any idea what I know and what I’ve seen? Oh, I know you think you have the corner on life’s horrors, Caleb, but you need to get over that. Now, either tell me why you want to know or get out and leave me alone.”
She saw doubt flicker across his face and mentally she started counting down from ten. If he didn’t speak by the time she reached zero, she was done.
“It’s about Dad,” he said. Finally.
If he had expected to shock her, he fell far short. She let out another not-so-nice laugh. “Dad?” she said.
He gave a hesitant nod.
“Just what is it you think you can’t tell me about our father, Caleb?”
She paused and spared a glance at Garret who was standing, arms crossed, watching them.
“Do you honestly think anything you have to tell me about our father is going to shock me?”
Author Bio and Links:
Tamsen Schultz is the author of several romantic suspense novels and American Kin (a short story published in Line Zero Magazine). In addition to being a writer, she has a background in the field of international conflict resolution, has co-founded a non-profit, and currently works in corporate America. Like most lawyers, she spends a disproportionate amount of time thinking (and writing) about what it might be like to do something else. She lives in Northern California in a house full of males including her husband, two sons, four cats, a dog, and a gender-neutral, but well-stocked, wine rack.
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