Friday, June 22, 2012

THE FIRE AND PASSION FOR GENRE FICTION


Coffee is fresh and hot! Grab a cup.
My guest today is award winning paranormal romance writer, Tamara Hogan. She found her path to writing genre fiction by way of being a "good little" English major in college and a case of knowing what she didn't want to write. And talks about how she found her way to writing paranormal romance served with a twist of sci-fi on the side. 


I'm one of those writers who came out of a university creative writing program feeling more beat up than energized. I knew, even way back then, that I wanted to write genre fiction instead of literary fiction.  But like a good little English major who wanted a good grade, I spent my university years writing poetry (which I loved, and was pretty good at), reading literature (which I loved as well), but writing the type of fiction that met professors’ and classmates’ expectations rather than had any sense of real passion or authenticity. When I graduated, I felt like a poser. My enthusiasm was dampened, my voice felt compromised, and I needed to take a serious break from writing.

I never dreamed that the break would be over twenty years long.

That's totally on me. Life got in the way, as it often does. I built a technology career, got married and divorced, got sick, fell in love again. Over the years, I took the occasional writing class to keep my hand in—finishing nothing, but rediscovering my love of genre writing. Taking workshops for pleasure rather than for a grade, and from working writers, was an utterly liberating experience for me. Over the years, I'd also gained enough confidence to simply not care what other people thought about what I liked to read or write.

One night, watching Motley Crue with a friend, inspiration hit. I was watching all of these middle-aged women lifting their shirts, flashing their middle-aged boobs at drummer Tommy Lee. I remember thinking to myself, "Why are these women behaving this way? Is he half incubus, or what?” (Incubi are mythological sex demons.)

What if he was?

That sole thought set my imagination on fire, and led to the creation of the world that I built for the Underbelly Chronicles series. Screw the rules, I wrote a book I wanted to read: a love story with mystery and science fiction elements, with naughty language and love scenes and a (gulp) rather sympathetic villain. I reveled in the writing, rediscovered my joy—especially when the manuscript was named a 2009 Golden Heart finalist and a Daphne du Maurier paranormal winner, and sold in a three-book deal to Sourcebooks.

I tell myself that things happen for a reason, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have regrets. I grieve for that young writer, for books not written, for the career that might have been. But what would that career have looked like had I embarked upon it right out of school? Would there have been any fire, any authenticity, in my work whatsoever? Any spark at all? And coincidentally, during those years I didn't write, when my energy was going toward other things, look what happened to the romance genre, particularly in the paranormal realm. I couldn't have written these books twenty five years ago, and there certainly wasn’t a market for them.

So…maybe I lost some time, but I'm trying like hell to make up for it now. Maybe things do happen for a reason. ;-)


CHASE ME BY TAMARA HOGAN – IN STORES JUNE 2012

(Amz | BN | Sourcebooks | Powell’s
BAM | Sony | Kobo)
THE SECRETS SHE'S UNCOVERING WILL BE HIS TO KEEP...

Centuries ago, when their ship crashed to Earth, paranormals of all types settled secretly into our world, quietly going about their business with humans none the wiser. Self–ruling and careful to stay below the radar, all is threatened when Valkyrie archaeologist Lorin Schlessinger and her werewolf geologist partner Gabe Lupinsky inadvertently draw evil attention to Earth and its treasured natural resources.

As the threat intensifies, Lorin and Gabe struggle to contain the chaos they've unleashed, and to resist their explosive mutual attraction...Read an excerpt here.

“Hogan’s sharp, funny dialogue and strong but subtle character development elevate both the story and the fierce chemistry between insecure, bespectacled Gabe and lusty, aggressive Lorin. Paranormal fans will enjoy this fresh take on the genre.” — Publishers Weekly






Tamara Hogan loathes cold and snow, but nonetheless lives near Minneapolis with her partner Mark and two naughty cats. When she's not telecommuting as a quality and process engineer for a global networking company, she enjoys writing edgy urban fantasy romance with a sci-fi twist. A feral reader with an unapologetic television addiction, Tammy is forever on the lookout for the perfect black boots. Her debut, Taste Me, was a 2009 Daphne Paranormal Winner and 2009 Golden Heart Finalist.  For more information, please visit  www.TamaraHogan.com or follow her on Twitter, @TamaraHogan1.

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11 comments:

~Sia McKye~ said...

Tamara, welcome to Over Coffee!

Interesting path. I'm glad you didn't stay the "good little English major but was willing to step out and write what you like to read. It takes a certain courage to do so and I like the thought that you don't care what people think of what you read or write.

KarenG said...

A very fascinating post. It boils down to writing what inspires you, and if that's middle-age rock groupies then so be it! Wishing Tamara all the best!

Jo said...

Not much point writing something you wouldn't like to read is there? As a book it wouldn't be much good I would think. Thanks for sharing your story.

Kat Sheridan said...

The books sound like so much FUN! You inspire me that you found your inspiration later in life, and that you said "to the devil with it" and wrote what you wanted. That's me exactly. Sometimes I think we get waylaid in life so we can learn what we need to know to succeed later. Best of luck to you!

Tamara Hogan said...

Good morning, everyone, and thanks, Sia, for extending such a warm welcome. The more I think about it, the more I value the break I took between college and writing and finishing my first manuscript. The confidence, resilience and life experience I picked up during those twenty years have been immensely useful - especially when you put your imagination out there for strangers to judge!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Inspired by a Motley Crue video - now that just rocks! Literally.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Experience, if you allow it, tends to give one a wiser perception of life. Yes, we can wish we started our writing sooner. But truthfully,our living life does bring layers to writing.

I'm not saying a twenty-something doesn't have a story to tell or the ability to tell it, but life experiences takes a bit of time to accumulate and those experiences add validity to our writing and our characters.

Tamara Hogan said...

Wise words, Sia.

RaShelle Workman said...

Great post. Congrats to finding your voice, and writing something you loved.

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YSPARK?
YSCRO ?
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" PLAYDOTA".
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ZETAS are helping destroy the Queen.
And so is RICE.

michelle said...

Great interview!
It just goes to show, that 20 years of "marinating" is not a bad thing, after all...