Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Interview with Tami Hoag

To say that this interview excites me would be a gross understatement. Every since I can remember reading adult books only one author comes to mind as that 'favorite author' and that's, Tami Hoag.

When she replied to my inbox to her asking if I could interview her I jumped with joy.

Ms. Hoag's writing has done more for me than any other author and one day I hope to meet her. My  best friend got me hooked on her in high school. She's been a 'bonding' source for Laura and I.

I safely can say I have read every one of her books and there isn't a single one I can remember putting down and thinking, "meh." All of her works are practically perfection and help to transport me out of my current reality and bring me into her wonderful worlds.

Here is a link to my latest review of Ms. Hoag's newest release, The 9th Girl. I seriously loved it!

So without further delay ... Here is the wonderful interview with myself and the very talented, Tami Hoag!


Ms. Hoag - Thank you for taking the time to virtually visit Memories In A Box blog. I have to admit, you are the interview I have secretly hoped for since I started this blog. My first question for you is pretty simple ... What made you start writing?

---I've had a love of books as long as I can remember--before I could read them by myself, even.  As soon as I learned how to put sentences together, I wanted to be a writer. 

When you were starting off, was there ever a moment where you just knew this was what you were meant to be or did you wake up one day and everything suddenly lined up all in your favor.

---I always knew this was what I wanted to do, and I was always determined to make it happen.

As I mentioned in my email Ashes to Ashes was the first novel I read of yours. What inspired you to write it? And Dust to Dust? I loved those two books.

--- ASHES TO ASHES was inspired by a real-life case--or series of cases, I should say. Someone was murdering women, placing their bodies in a Minneapolis park and setting them on fire. I was watching the coverage on the news, and was shocked, horrified, fascinated (as every suspense writer would be), but when I spoke to friends who lived in Minneapolis, the story wasn't even on their radar because the victims were street prostitutes. My friends didn't feel any real sense of danger to their lives. I found that sad because, while the victims' lives had taken a bad turn that led them to prostitution, they still had parents and families that loved them and mourned them. Their lives were no less precious than the life of a spoiled rich socialite, in my opinion. So I wanted to write about that.

---DUST TO DUST developed in an entirely different way.  There was no true-story inspiration. The idea grew out of a lot of little "what if" questions.

My favorite novel of yours is Dark Paradise. I remember thinking that when I finally married and settled down not only did I have to do it in Montana but it had to be with a man just like JD Rafferty. How did you come up with these two great characters and why did you pick that setting?

---That's so funny because JD and I butted heads every step of the way through that book. I kept thinking he was the most contrary man I had ever dealt with.  Marilee was inspired by a woman I met who had been a court reporter for a long time.  I think we all see the court reporter doing her thing in the courtroom and get this idea that they're all prim and proper and buttoned up. They look so calm and cool. I had never considered the stress that comes with that job  As for the setting, Montana is a favorite place of mine.  It's just so incredibly beautiful and wild and pure, and the small towns have become so wonderfully, weirdly eclectic with the mix of ranchers and artists and Hollywood people. Wonderful from a writer's standpoint, at least. That influx of outsiders can also be a source of conflict, which was what I wanted to write about. 

Another one of my fav's is Lucky ... what's that all about? Where was he from, is he a figment of your imagination or is Lucky's Lady based on anyone you happen to know?

---Lucky was entirely a figment of my imagination, I'm sad to say!

Is it hard for you, after all of these years, to keep your stories fresh?
---Not really.  I'm a very curious person, so I always have new questions to ask and always find new angles and perspectives from which to examine the questions.

I feel like, as a reader, your work has shifted from romance, to mystery/romance to now more solid mysteries. I'm not complaining at all! I love all of them ... but why the transformation?

----For me, all stories are about the psychology of the characters and the dynamics of their interpersonal relationships.  Suspense allows me to explore the darker elements of people's minds and relationships, and gives me more latitude for different types of characters. For instance, Elena Estes from DARK HORSE and THE ALIBI MAN. She's a very flawed and not always likable heroine I probably wouldn't have been allowed to write in romance. In romance you want a heroine you would be friends with in real life.  In suspense you don't necessarily have to like her, you have to want to understand her, which is trickier to write.  But I like writing the grittier, edgier stuff, and I like not being bound to wrap the story up in a pretty, happy big red bow at the end.

I have a lot of indie and small press author friends and we are always looking for ways to sharpen our craft and polish our novels. Do you have any advice?

---I'm very much a "method actor" type of writer.  I need to fully immerse myself in my characters, and feel really passionate about telling their story.  This can be a bit of a descent into madness, but I think it's the thing that gives depth and weight and realism to what I write. But every writer is different.  It's a different journey we take for different reasons. I often wish I could be more detached and analytical as I write, but that isn't who I am. I guess the lesson is that you have to find your own voice and be true to it.

Do you have any regrets about your books? Something you wish you would have done just a bit differently?

----I try not to do that to myself.  When I finish a book I always tell myself I did the very best I could at that time in my life, and I let it go.  And once it's published I will rarely look at it again.

When you sit down and write, do you have any rituals that you must do? I know I prefer to have certain music on to help me focus. And others who have to sit in a certain chair.

---I have my writer's den, and I'm a creature of habit.  I'm on my fifth ochre yellow and white office. I have the world's most ergonomically correct chair (I'm on my third one of those).  Depending on where I'm at in the process I will either have the tv on in the background or music. I need that little bit of sound going on. When I'm deep into deadline I will run the same three or four movies over and over and over in the background because I don't have to pay attention to them, but the voices are familiar, like having friends keeping me company. And at the bitter end of deadline, like many writers I know, I will crave orange-dyed junk food. For COLD COLD HEART it was crunchy Cheetos. For THE 9th GIRL it was cool ranch Doritos.

The 9th Girl, wow. I have to say that I didn't see that playing out like it did. Really had me by surprise. What made you come up with that plot? Usually when I read your stories I can kind of see where things are heading but this one really caught me off guard. I really loved Zombie Doe.

---The thing is, I seldom know how a book is going to twist at the end. I might have an idea when I start, but as the story unfolds (I don't write from an outline) and the characters develop, that will change many times before I get to the end--and I mean right up to the very climax of the book. So I'm always amused when someone says they knew who the killer was on page 210 because I probably didn't know until page 510.

I know Cold Cold Heart is next in your new releases but what is coming up after that? Any little hints you could give me?

---I work on a ridiculously short timeline, so I have nothing in the pipeline.  I just signed off (It's October as I write this) on the last of the edits for COLD COLD HEART, which comes out in January.  So I'm now just in the idea phase of the next project, trying to decide who's dead and why. I know it will be another Kovac and Liska book. Following THE 9th GIRL, Liska has transferred out of homicide to the cold case unit, which means Sam is having to adjust to a new partner, and is extremely cranky about the whole thing. Kovac's motto is Change is Bad.

Thank you so very much for taking the time to stop at Memories In A Box. You have no idea what a thrill this was for me and how much I will cherish this. The only thing to top this would be to meet you in person.

---You're welcome!

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