Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Today I have a the wonderful Harlequin Blaze romance author Tawny Weber being interviewed here on the blog. I was lucky enough to have Tawny get in touch with me for an author interview, author guest blog and two book reviews for her April 2009 and May 2009 Harlequin Blaze releases. The first guest blog for her April 2009 release, Coming on Strong, will be Thursday, March 26th and the second guest blog for her May 2009 release, Going Down Hard, will be posted at the end of April. I will be reviewing Coming on Strong soon and watch out for my review of Going Down Hard in April. Now for my interview with Tawny Weber!

* * * *

Phoebe Jordan: When did you know that writing romance was going to be the thing that you would do with your life? Which author inspired you to start writing romance?

Tawny Weber: I’ve always loved reading romance and used to wish I could write. But it never occurred to me to actually try until 2001 when my husband and I were playing “if you could do anything” and I said if I could do anything, I’d be a romance author. He asked why I wasn’t trying and it just went from there. *grin*

Phoebe: Did you know what type of romance you wanted to write about or did you experiment with different genres before you chose the one that you felt was for you?

Tawny: I knew I wanted to write in for either Harlequin Temptation or to write romantic comedy paranormal. I tried both, but found that I had a better feel for writing my Temptation hopefuls. But then the line closed and I shifted focus to Blaze which is where I sold my first book.

Phoebe: What was the first fiction you ever wrote? And do you still have it with you?

Tawny: The first fiction story I ever completed was called Sweet Indulgence. It’s sitting on my hard drive. *grin*

Phoebe: How much research do you have to do for your novels and does it take you a long time to gather that research?

Tawny: I don’t do a lot of research for my books. They are all contemporary, usually set in familiar places. I’ll do some research into careers or particulars that the story needs as it comes up.

Phoebe: How did you come up with the concept for your upcoming April 2009 Harlequin Blaze novel Coming on Strong?

Tawny: I wanted to do a runaway bride story with a twist and thought it would be fun to turn the typical “married because he wants sex and she won’t go for it without a ring” on its ear by having HER be the one who’d wanted the fling and him holding onto his virtue until he got a wedding ring. I added a luxury resort aimed at the rich and famous trying to avoid the paparazzi and ta-da—I had the premise.

Phoebe: How did you come up with the concept for your upcoming May 2009 Harlequin Blaze novel Going Down Hard?

Tawny: I came up with the premise for Going Down Hard while writing Coming On Strong. After getting to know the characters in Belle and Mitch’s story, I wanted to do a bodyguard story. Sierra and Reece met in Coming On Strong and both were such strong, independent characters who basically got turned on by challenging each other. I also wanted to tie it in to a degree one of the minor threads in Coming On Strong, the paparazzi angle of being stalked via photos.

Phoebe: How do you come up with each of your characters for your novels? How do you choose their names out of so many names out there?

Tawny: Hmm, confession time. Belle and Sierra are named after my dogs. *grin* What can I say, I love the names. As for characters, I do start with a premise and can pretty easily imagine up character types that would fit that premise. But then developing the types into actual characters takes me much longer. I will write and rewrite the first three chapters until I know the characters and what drives them—their fears and issues and where those issues came from. Once I’ve got that, the rest of the story comes together pretty quickly.

Phoebe: Do you have a process of how you start to write your novels?

Tawny: Painfully? *grin* I start with a premise and write an outline—a long synopsis. I send it to my editor and once she green lights it, I start writing. I’ll spend as long writing and rewriting the first three chapters, as I will the entire rest of the book. Once those chapters are written, I know my characters and their motivations—as well as have a lot of ideas for scenes that will drive the story. I tweak my outline to fit, note any scene ideas I came up with and then dive in to finish the book. In the beginning, I’ll get maybe 3 pages a day. Once I’ve got the partial finished, I’ll average 8-10 and in the last few chapters I’m usually at 12-15 a day.

Phoebe: Which do you like best, writing a series or writing stand alone novels? How is writing each different for you?

Tawny: I love writing series because I love reading them. One of my favorite authors is Nora Roberts. I was reading her way back in her category days and my favorites were always the family stories. It’s delightful to revisit characters that I fell in love with in earlier books. That’s influenced my preference for writing series, I think.

Phoebe: What process did you have to go through to get your first book published and did it take you long?

Tawny: I started writing in 2002 and sold in May of 2006. I wrote 5 manuscripts before my 6th one sold. 3 were Golden Heart finalists and 1 was targeted at the single title market. In late 2005 I won the Harlequin Blaze 1st chapter contest. But all I had written was that first chapter. I quickly finished the next 2 chapters and sent it to the editor. After she read them, she wanted the full, and then bought it 3 weeks after I turned it in.

Phoebe: How did you feel when you finally saw your first published book came out and how do you feel about your other novels being published?

Tawny: OMG. It was such a total dream come true. Very surreal, very emotionally overwhelming. I actually wasn’t the first person to notice it on the shelf. I was in the local bookstore with my family and my youngest daughter saw the book on the shelf and yelled “Look Mommy, it’s YOU!” Every book has that same element of awe, of teary eyed excitement and terrified hope that readers connect to it.

Phoebe: Do you ever get writers block? What do you do to get rid of it so you can get back to writing your novels?

Tawny: I get tired, but I can’t say I’ve ever had writer’s block. I might not know my way through a story, or understand my characters motivation but those aren’t blocks. When I’m tired or stuck, I talk to my critique partner or my editor, I brainstorm ideas, I play with character worksheets or read craft books. If that doesn’t work, I resort to exercise and cleaning. *grin* Distractions that keep my body busy but let my mind mull over the issue. It usually only takes a day or so before I find the answer.

Phoebe: What is your biggest reader pet peeve, if you have any? (stock characters, unresolved endings, predictability, everything wrapped up hurriedly in the end, etc.)

Tawny: Gratuitous sex. Or gratuitous violence. Or gratuitous anything. I hate feeling like the author threw something in there because it fit a requirement, but doesn’t actually move the story forward or intensify the plot.

Phoebe: Which aspects of writing do you enjoy the most and why? And what is your biggest writing pet peeve? (overuse of exclamation points, adverbs, bad guys named Wayne, etc.), if you have any?

Tawny: Probably the same as my reader pet peeve.

Phoebe: What is the one writing tool can you not live without?

Tawny: My iPod. Wait, can I have two? Because I have to have my computer, but I’m pretty sure that’s required for me to stay sane anyway. *grin*

Phoebe: How do you handle your writing schedule and your personal life without going insane?

Tawny: We home school, so my daytime hours are focused on my children. I write at night—I always have and it works really well for me. Once the family is settled into their own evening interests, I put my headphones on and focus on the story. The insanity comes in when I have early morning commitments that mean I have to actually sleep and not have the freedom to write as late into the night as I like. When that happens, I just try to balance it and make up the pages and writing time later.

Phoebe: What do you do to relax after having spent a long while writing?

Tawny: Sleep. *grin* I write late at night, so when I’m done, I go to bed. After I finish a book, though, I do try to refill the creative well in different ways, depending on my mood and how hard the story was to write. I might read voraciously for an entire weekend, a book never leaving my hands. Or I’ll get out and go somewhere—a movie, a concert, anything that gives me a lot of outside visual impressions.

Phoebe: Do you have any hobbies?

Tawny: I love to scrapbook. It’s a fabulous way to unwind, create a visual story and spend time with my favorite memories all at the same time. I’m learning to knit, but am really, really bad at it so far.

Phoebe: Is there any advice that you would give to an aspiring romance writer that you wish someone had given you?

Tawny: I’ve been really lucky to be a member of Romance Writers of America and have access to an incredible wealth of advice and information. I think the most important advice I ever received and would pass on is to know your voice, to learn what makes your writing unique—and use that strength to make your stories stand out.

Phoebe: Is there any writing tips, research tips, promotion and marketing tips that you would give to an aspiring romance writer that you wish someone had given you?

Tawny: I write category, and the best advice I’ve ever gotten is to read the line. That’s not only the best way to understand what’s selling for that line, but to learn pacing, characterization and plot as it works for that particular line.

Phoebe: Do you have a favorite genre you like to read? Who is your favorite author(s)?

Tawny: Romance and fantasy. I love both, although romance is my always number one favorite. My favorite authors are Nora Roberts, Vicki Lewis Thompson and Jennifer Crusie.

Phoebe: What are you reading now? And what do you plan to read after that?

Tawny: I just finished reading David Eddings’ The Belgariad and The Malloreon series last night. I have Kate Carlisle’s bestselling debut, Homicide In Hardcover on my nightstand to read next.


  1. Hey, Miss Tawny! Fancy meeting you here, my Bandita friend! What a great interview. Thanks, Phoebe. It was great getting so much info! By the way, I'm a huge fan, Tawny, as you know. And I think Coming on Strong is a fantastic story. Yeah, I've got connections and got a copy ahead of release. Lucky moi! Good luck with the back to back releases. I think they're going to be huge hits!

  2. Anna!!! *waving* Hey you, how wild to see you here ;-) Sending the fan kudos right back at you, since I absolutely loved Tempt the Devil. You, my dear, are brilliant! And thank you tons for the luck wishes. Fingers crossed the books resonate. I definitely had fun writing them, so I hope readers have as much fun reading them.

  3. Hi Ms. Tawny! Swinging over from the Lair to say hi. :> Great interview Phoebe! It's always good to hear about your writing, Tawny. I always enjoy learning more about what you're up to. Had to LOL about your daughter saying "Look it's YOU!" My oldest son (8) tells everyone, "My mom writes books, but I can't read them till I'm a lot older."


    You and I like a LOT of the same authors too...hmmmm...wonder how that happened? Grins.

  4. Hi, Tawny, great interview. I learned more about your writing process and new books that I knew. I loved your comment about gratuitous anything (sex, violence, quarrels -- my pet peeve) being what you don't like. Your books are so tightly written and every scene advances the story so well.

    Coming on Strong and Going Down Hard (pause a moment while I giggle -- I always want to mix up these words in a naughty way1) sound delightful. I love how you've tied the two stories together and can't wait until they come out in the next two months!

  5. ROFL Jeanne - my girls both say the same thing. I always reply with "Lots and lots older!"

    Thanks for coming by!! Banditas rock ;-)

  6. Hey Jo!!! Thanks for coming to visit ;-) Thank you, too, for the kind words about my books *g* I think the thing about gratuitous scenes that bugs me the most is that they waste space. So much can be shown in a sex scene, a violent scene, etc, to move the plot -why waste the space?

    And aren't those fab titles? Kate Carlisle gets the credit, she's so clever!!

  7. Hi, Tawny and Phoebe! Great interview *g*

    I have to admit I love these two stories and the hero in Going Down Hard is absolutely yummy :-)

    What's next for you, Tawny?

  8. Oh, yeah...do give us a "Coming attractions by Tawny Weber" update!

  9. Okay I'm getting REALLY aggravated because now I KNOW the first of these new books is out, and I still don't have mine. It's preordered at my B&N, but it's not here. GRRRRRR.

    Tawny, you already know I love your writing, but I hadn't heard you talk about what you do when you get stuck. Is "stuck" always in the first three chapters for you? You seem to put a lot of emphasis on those to know where you're going. I hear a lot of other writers say they write fast through the first draft and then go back and layer/rework. Did this process come automatically to you--setting up a solid first three chaps, then going on, or did you try other ways first and end up where you are now?

  10. Hi, Tawny! I actually love Cassandra's question. I have been trying for A YEAR to write a book and have a great first three chapters. Finally. After that...nothing. I know exactly where the story needs to go, but it's a dark place I don't think I can visit right now.

    I've decided to write another story instead. One with...wait for it...a hook! At least, I think it's a hook. Who knows? *g* But it's a heck of a lot easier to write, for sure!

    So...how do you manage to pull a book together in time to meet a deadline? I'm afraid I would be a total deer in the headlights!

  11. LOL - coming attractions? Thanks for asking, ladies ;-)

    In September, I have a blazed titled Feels Like The First Time, which is a really fun class reunion story with a costume mix up twist that puts my geeky heroine (the gal dubbed "girl most likely to die a virgin" by her graduating class) into a black leather dominatrix costume to meet her ex-classmates... and her hero. This story kicks off a series called Dressed to Thrill, with 3 other Blaze authors (Samantha Hunter, Karen Foley, Lisa Renee Jones) that's going to be a ton of fun.

    Then next year I have two anthologies out, one in May that will be a Blazing Bedtime Story, another at Christmas time. And I have a Forbidden Fantasy hitting the shelves in Sept of '10.

    Whew, that's a lot, huh?

  12. Hey Cassondra!! Um, the book might not be actually "out" out yet *g*

    As for stuck... no, its actually not usually the first three chapters for me. Maybe because I expect those chapters to be rough, hard and like pulling teeth *g* Those opening chapters are crucial for me to set up the plot, to introduce the conflicts, but most of all to understand the characters and what drives both their goals and their fears.

    But after those chapters, its really about building on that foundation for me - heading toward the only other scene I actually know *g* the dark moment. When I get stuck, its usually because I don't know why my characters aren't getting anywhere, its because I wrote something that didn't make sense to the actual issues I laid out in the beginning, or its because I've plotted myself into a maze and can't find my way out.

    I'm not a draft writer, actually. I write one draft, send it to Beth then edit it. Send it to my editor, then edit it. Thats it :-)

  13. Caren!! Hey there ;-)

    I think sometimes stories aren't ready to be told. And if you know where yours needs to go and aren't ready, then moving on is a smart thing, IMO ;-)

    Deadlines? I love deadlines LOL. Actually, I'm not kidding. I work really well with pressure. Before I sold, I used to enter contests just to have a deadline so I could get in the habit. So writing to deadline works well for me. To make it work, I use a spreadsheet that tracks my page progress, I know that I have to write daily and usually how much my weekly goal that I need to hit is. Those all push me to stay focused and movign forward.

  14. Another Bandita swinging by from the Lair to say hi!

    I can't wait for these two books - Coming on Strong and Going Down Hard! I hope the Amazon UK pigeon flaps his wings hard for me!

    What I love about your books is that I was a huge Temptations fan. I never really got into Blaze until you started writing for them. Your Blazes are spot on for me. All the fun of a Temptation, but with that extra heat. The yummiest heroes and the cutests shoes helped too.

    Phoebe - what a cool blog! I've bookmarked it. And thanks for linking to us at Romance Bandits.

  15. Wow! Those are a lot of comments we have here. Tawny it was so great interviewing you since I loved your previous Harlequin Blaze novels. I see some of you Bandita peeps are popping in to say their piece and I much appreciate it.

    Just remember Tawny is has a guest blog on Thursday, March 26 where she will be talking about how she came up with Coming on Strong.

    P.S. if you ladies at the Romance Bandits ever get a Badge or widget I would love to put it on my blog.

  16. Aww, Anna!! Thank you :-) I loved Temptation too and really miss the line. I am honored that you get that feel when you read my stories.

    Phoebe, this was so fun. Thanks tons for having me here ;-)

    In the immortal words of the Gov of CA - I'll be back...


Thank you for visiting my Talk About My Favorite Authors blog. Comments written here are much appreciated and I hope that you enjoyed your visit and will be coming back soon.

About Me

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Phoebe Jordan
I'm a part-time aspiring romance novelist, book reviewer and blogger. I've always wanted to travel the world and learn everything I can about other countries. Learning the Italian language is one way of trying to make that dream come true. Traveling will help me with my writing because I'll be learning about the history of the U.S., Latin America, England, Italy, and Ireland, the countries I find so fascinating while reading the romance genre.
I read and review romance novels of almost every subgenre along with erotic romance, mystery, sci-fi/fantasy and young adult novels. You can find the reviews at my blogs, Talk About My Favorite Authors and Phoebe Jordan's Reviews. I’ve also started a live podcast show called TAMFA | Phoebe Jordan hosted on Blog Talk Radio. This show is dedicated to everything I love about romance and young adult novels. I love having romance and young adult authors live on my show to be interviewed and showcase their books.

I plan to write contemporary romance, romantic suspense, erotic romance, paranormal romance and young adult when I get my writing career started with help from Keta. I'm not sure what genre I'll write to begin with since I love to read so many different romance genres.
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