Name: Tanya Holmes
Age: A lady never tells.
Where are you from: United States
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc:
I’m a wife and mother of three kids and I live in the burbs.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’m working on my third novel, a contemporary romance: Temptation’s Edge
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing as a means of expression at 13. It helped me escape and cope with all the drama that comes with being a teenager.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
After I completed my second novel.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
It was a collection of things really. I was 13 with a vivid imagination.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
No, not particularly. My voice was once described as “Dark and gritty,” but I think I’ve moved beyond that. I really don’t know how to describe my writing, honestly. It just depends on the book and the characters.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
For my latest release? Or my first book? If the former, it was a play off the hero’s last name. If the latter, the name came from a street where my grandparents lived.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
For my last release, The Darkest Frost, yes there is. It’s that falling in love means you have to accept that person, warts and all.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic ?
For The Darkest Frost, Volumes 1 & 2…none of it and all of it. J It’s a paranormal that’s been described as extremely strange, yet conceptually unique. So there’s a huge level of unreality involved, but what I reveal about the human condition and the struggles we face, that is very much realistic.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Nope. I should hope not. lol But on the human side, it’s just general observations about life.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Well, there are too many books to mention, but I can tell you who some of my favorite writers are: LaVyrle Spencer, Karen Marie Moning, Maggie Shayne, Richard Matheson, Stephen King, Diana Gabaldon…and many, many more.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
On Writing by Stephen King. It’s a re-read actually.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Trisha Wolfe – She’s not a new writer, but she’s a new-to-me author. Lili St Germain also, and J. M. Darhower
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Temptation’s Edge, a contemporary romance. I’m hoping to release it in the summer.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My editor, Nikki Busch
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, most definitely. It stopped being a hobby long ago.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Nope. I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out. I love all three lead characters.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Reading romance novels as a kid. I used to get lost in them. They made me want to write my own stories.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
BLURB: After two years in Saint Mary’s Asylum Coltrane Dawson is ready for the world, but is he ready for love?
Cole Dawson’s life is filled with solitude and one-night stands. Get on, get off, and get out—that’s his motto. Anything more would expose the darkness that still lurks within him, a darkness he’s not willing to share with any woman. That is, until a chance encounter puts him face-to-face with the one he’s wanted since forever.
Self-doubt and a crippling case of writer’s block have all but destroyed Nina Gray’s career. Everything changes after Cole shows up as “The Entertainment” at her birthday party. And when they cross paths again, entering into an unconventional business arrangement that some deem scandalous, the two embark on an emotional journey of discovery, forgiveness…and perhaps even more.
EXCERPT: TEMPTATION’S EDGE, © 2016, TANYA HOLMES
The Man Who Wasn’t There
“Know something, boy?” Hollander whispered from the other side of the counter. His reptilian smile looked as oily as his bald head. He inched forward, his hot breath steaming the Plexiglas between us. “You may have duped everybody else, but we both know you’re still nuttier than a Chunky bar.”
I shifted from one foot to the other and shot the asshole a distracted glance. Weighed down with anxiety, I’d only been listening with half an ear. Sweat burned into my eyes as I canvassed the stuffy room. There were no windows. Nothing in the way of air circulation. Just bone-white walls, a matching Formica floor, and a fleet of ceiling lamps. But the claustrophobic surroundings were the least of my worries.
I’d already said my goodbyes to everyone who mattered, ignored those who didn’t, and now this was the last step. Checkout.
Coltrane Elias Dawson was finally going home.
But first, I’d have to suffer this prick behind the Plexiglas.
“I’ve seen your kind before,” Hollander continued. He shot me a mocking wink with his good eye. A black patch, à la Long John Silver, covered the other. “You’re what I like to call a ‘repeat nutbag.’”
I sighed. “Are you done yet?”
“Done? Yeah, sure.” Hollander snickered and shoved a clipboard through a slot in the security booth. The attached pen swung over the counter’s edge, dangling by a frayed piece of yarn.
I glanced at the paper. “What’s this?”
“It says you received your property.” Hollander pointed a fat finger. His nail was discolored. “Now sign on the dotted line and get your crazy ass out of here.”
The coward always saved his insults for when we were alone. From day one, Hollander hadn’t missed an opportunity to bust my balls, and he seemed determined to take one last swipe. If the man said half the cockamamie shit he’d lobbed at me in front of others, he’d have lost his job long ago. Then again, maybe not. The tool’s uncle ran the place, so obviously nepotism had its perks.
I gave my John Hancock with one furious stroke of the pen. Tossing the ballpoint back on the clipboard, I straightened one muscle at a time and prayed the idiot hadn’t seen my hand trembling.
An old security guard with thinning gray hair lurked impatiently by the exit. He gave the phlegm in his throat a rude clearing. His way of telling me it was time to wrap it up, but I ignored him. I had to. Another incident was the last thing I needed, not with freedom just fifty yards away.
“It’s a big world out there,” Hollander added. “Real mean and scary.”
True, but anything had to be better than this snake pit. I slipped my hoodie over my head, pulled my black letterman jacket on and fastened the gray buttons in silence.
“Go on, Dawson.” Hollander’s good eye narrowed. “Beat it.” He turned away, but rounded to take a parting shot. “You’ll be back though. As the good book says, a dog always returns to its vomit.”
I didn’t give the prick the satisfaction of a reply. Just threw my backpack over my shoulder and headed out. The guard several feet in front of me led the way through a series of metal doors that slammed open on their own. These Spartan walls stank of disinfectant and misery, but they’d sheltered me for the past two years. Now I was being released into another controlled environment. To live with my big brother Trace, until I could manage things on my own, which probably wouldn’t be anytime soon.
A strange longing squeezed my chest when I glanced back at the closed metal door. Stockholm syndrome had to be real. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be mourning this hellhole already.
But I kept walking. No more safety. No more hiding. I was determined to push myself to the edge. That meant testing my comfort zone. According to my new shrink, Doctor Joseph Rosen, it was the best way to take control again. Some called the old man’s approach ‘radical’ and ‘dangerous,’ but I was ready and willing to try anything.
I just hoped Temptation, West Virginia was ready for me.
Snowy wind nipped at my face as the last metal door thudded shut behind me. The finality of it ramped my fear to unreachable heights. My heart clubbed my rib cage. Heat seared my neck. So this was it. This was what I’d spent two years working toward: a world without concrete walls, Plexiglas…and straightjackets.
I squinted at the aloof yellow dot in the sky and blew into my hands, my breath misting into a fleeting cloud of warmth. Stepping into the frigid light of day, I ambled down the salted walkway, my wary gaze darting to and fro. Endless rows of ominous-looking trees lined the courtyard, their skeletal branches weighted down with thick sleeves of snow. Shadows danced beneath them in the wind. Even the lone crow squawking overhead looked spooky as hell.
Now wasn’t that something? Coltrane Dawson. Unnerved by a bunch of bony trees and a friggen bird.
Hell, if anything, I should’ve been scared of the thing that had followed me out here—the so-called ‘security guard’ walking right beside me.
Have you honestly thought this through? the man asked. He clapped my shoulder and squeezed, but I didn’t feel the shriveled gray hand, and it had nothing to do with the twenty-five-degree wind-chill. Look around you, boy, he said. It’s not safe out here.
Here, being the courtyard of Saint Mary’s Asylum.
The weathered gray face staring up at me had glistening black spheres for eyes and a furrowed brow, yet none of it was real. The man was just one of a dozen or so imaginary things I pretended not to see and hear—illusions that sometimes appeared when anxiety got the best of me. Illusions I’d gotten quite good at ignoring. Saint Mary’s never would’ve released me otherwise. Nobody, including Doctor Rosen, knew how bad it was, and I planned on keeping it that way.
We really shouldn’t leave, Cole, the hallucination said. Look at all the eyes. So many eyes.
Go away, I said in my mind.
I can’t go away. I have to protect us. Don’t you see? They want to rip into you. They want to eat your flesh.
I drew a strengthening breath, then another. Eyes don’t eat anything. They don’t have teeth.
Enraged by my logical challenge, the thing’s gentle façade vanished. You’re going to die out here, you know that?! The eyes—they’ll devour you!
“Not without teeth they won’t,” I said aloud. “Now fuck off.”
I hope you die, Cole. It’s what you deserve. Death. And you’d best believe it’s coming for you. Hear that, shithead? It’s the sound of the reaper’s blade. You’d better run! He’s looking for your ass! His eyes are everywhere. Hahahahahahahahaha!
Even before the screaming started, I had already grabbed my iPod and cranked up the volume. My hands shook as I shoved the earbuds in, drowning the thing’s curses with Rachmaninoff. The music shut the voices out, helped me focus on reality—and in this particular instance, reality had come in the form of a flesh and blood man. My brother.
Trace stood fifty feet away in the parking lot, leaning up against a black Jeep, his hands shoved inside the deep pockets of a navy peacoat. His wife Shannon was hugged up next to him, looking as blonde and beautiful as ever. Their baby boy, Tracemore Jr., rode her hip.
I picked up the pace and waved as the illusion followed on my heels, continuing its blitz of dire predictions.
Catching sight of me, Trace smiled in recognition. I yanked one of the earbuds out just as he cupped his hands around his mouth and yelled, “Hey, bro!”
Even as the thing continued roaring epithets and threats, I feigned a grin.
Trace’s smile brightened in response. He and Shannon made a beeline toward me, and our big sister Beverly wasn’t far behind. She exploded from the Jeep’s passenger-side door and hit the ground running, arms open, auburn ponytail bouncing, her eyes dripping with tears.
“Coltrane!” Bev shrieked. Her happy squeals echoed across the courtyard.
Obviously, my ‘companion’ didn’t share her joy.
With a hateful scowl, the man who wasn’t there stormed off, muttering curses as he walked through the trees and vanished.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Plotting. It’s the bane of my existence.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I don’t have a favorite author. I have favorites. J There are just too many talented people out here for me to single one out.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Thanks to the Internet, I’m one click away from whatever research I need to do. J
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Kim Killion of The Killion Group
Marisa Shor of Cover Me Darling
And me. J
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Getting from point A to point Z. lol
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
That even when I’m not writing, I’m writing, and my subconscious mind is still working when it seems like I’m not.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Read. Read. Read.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thanks for your support. It means a lot. You make it all worthwhile.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Green Eggs and Ham
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Babies and animals. Both make me laugh and cry.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Frederick Douglass. He led a very interesting and tumultuous life.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
I’m drawing a blank here. lol
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I love painting and drawing. I’m also a rabid movie lover.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Current favorites include: Outlander, Bates Motel, Supernatural, The Walking Dead, Gotham, The Originals, Scandal, The Vampire Diaries, Sleepy Hollow, and Tyrant
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I love classical music, the color black, and (my latest obsession) Ethiopian food.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Working in the IT field.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
About Me: http://about.me/tanya.holmes
Tanya’s Street Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/857612364291737/
Tanya on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7734306.Tanya_Holmes
Tanya on Amazon: Author.to/TanyaHolmesOnAmazon
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