Name: Tamsen Parker
A little about yourself `ie your education Family life etc:
I grew up in New England and after doing my undergrad degree in Ohio, came back to work for a few years and then went to graduate school in urban planning. I currently live north of Boston with my husband and my daughter where I write emotionally intense erotic romance, and enjoy good food, sweet rieslings and gin cocktails. I also have a fondness for monograms and subway maps.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
2016 has been a great year so far! I became a USA Today bestselling author, Personal Geography came out in audio, and Intimate Geography is a finalist in All About Romance’s Reader Poll for Best Erotic Romance. And I should have some more news to share soon! Signing up for my newsletter is the best way to keep up to date.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
After I had my daughter, I didn’t return to my previous job. I spent a lot of time reading when she’d fall asleep on me as a newborn, and I was reading mostly romance. My brain was itching for something to do so I started writing, not really having any intention of showing it to anyone and…well, you see how that turned out ; )
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think anyone who writes can call themselves a writer. But I really started identifying myself as a writer to other people after I’d published.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
My writer bestie Amy Jo Cousins calls it “Elegant Superfilth,” which I think is pretty accurate. I use relatively tame language to describe graphic acts, which lets me get away with more.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
I wouldn’t encourage readers to use them as How-To manuals or anything, but I do aim for relatively realistic kink and for flawed and multi-dimensional characters. Some elements of my books are more fantastic than others, but that’s why it’s fun to write fiction : )
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I tend to write with what I call a grain of truth. Which means that while everything in my books is fiction, something similar might have happened to me, or a character could be an amalgam of personality traits from people I know.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I don’t usually talk about my current reads but here are a few of my recent favorites: Star Dust by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner, True Pretenses by Rose Lerner, A Seditious Affair by KJ Charles.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m about to start edits on Book 4 of the Compass series (I should have a title and a firm release date soon!), I’ll be releasing a couple of stand-alone short stories that were previously published in anthologies, writing Books 5 & 6 of the Compass series, and oh yeah, working on a fun side project with Amy Jo Cousins.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members. The romance community is fabulous. I’ve found some great friends and writing partners both online, and through professional organizations like RWA and my local chapter, NECRWA.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, I do. Being an author, especially being involved in self-publishing, is like running a small business. Finding success in this industry is really challenging and authors are some of the hardest working people I know.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I wouldn’t change anything about Craving Flight. I would, however, have liked to have had more time. Two months to research and write a book isn’t really enough for me, particularly with the subject matter.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Here’s a snippet from Book 4 of the Compass series, which will be coming out in July. It doesn’t have a title yet, but fans of the series will recognize the hero, who’s actually kind of a villain in Book 1. Enjoy a taste of Slade and Pressly!
I shake out my hands out on the way to the door, hoping to disperse some of the nerves that have gathered, but of course it doesn’t work. At least gripping the handle to turn it offers a momentary reprieve. Maybe being able to hold on to Pressly will offer the same.
When I open the door, she’s standing there, hands in the pockets of a short trench I remember, and it surprises me. I’d recognize that coat anywhere. I gave it to her. I’d noticed her coveting it whenever we strolled by the upscale, bay-windowed store. When I’d told her to go try it on, she’d demurred.
“My old one is fine.” But it hadn’t been. The liner had been in shreds and the hems were getting threadbare. The first time I’d walked in there meaning to get it for her though, I’d realized what she hadn’t said because she’s sensitive and made of class: We can’t afford this. $1500 for a coat? I’d had to walk out, shame sour in my stomach.
Pressly had never made me feel like I wasn’t good enough because I couldn’t give her the things she’d grown up with, but I’d felt that way all the same. Later, when I’d gotten my first big promotion, that was how I’d told her. A big box in the center of the dining room table in the apartment we’d move out of in a year because I’d made it.
And she’s wearing it now? After I’d told her to dress in something she didn’t mind destroyed? My insides feel as if they’re a dripping wet kitchen towel being wrung out. Does she not remember? I’d been so fucking proud of myself and I’d thought she had been too. Maybe I was wrong.
It’s only when she lays a hand on my arm that I realize I haven’t said anything. That I’ve been standing frozen in the doorway, staring stupidly at a twelve-year-old trench coat.
“Not the coat,” she says as she squeezes her fingers just above my elbow. When I drag my gaze up to her eyes, they’re wide and intent, that ever-shifting blue practically swirling with every blink. “You can do whatever to anything else I’m wearing, but please let me take off the coat first.”
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I travel a lot to conferences. This year I’ll be at NECRWA’s annual conference, the RT Convention, RWA’s national convention and Fall in Love with New England. I haven’t had to take an official “research” trip, but I have made Mr. Parker go to a speakeasy for inspiration for my short story in the For the First Time anthology.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
All my covers have been designed by Amber at Book Beautiful. She is brilliant and very patient with me, even when I’m being unreasonably picky.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Time management. Trying to balance spending time with my family while trying to put out a high quality book is rough. It’s easier now since I’ve put a great team together and have a better idea of what I’m doing, but it still requires quite the balancing act.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
One of the things I love about being a writer is that I get to learn things all the time. For Craving Flight, it was about Orthodox Jewish culture and traditions. I’m currently working on a book set in Washington DC, and have had to learn about title conventions and security procedures. Next stop? Learning how a venture capital firm works…
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
There’s no one right way, do what works for you.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I’ve been catching up on The Good Wife which is great, and I loved The Man from UNCLE—the drunk dancing scene is fabulous. And because of kidlet, I watch more kids’ movies than I would otherwise. Tangled and Brave are favorites around here.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I’d either go back to my old job in consulting or become a lawyer. I also have a certification to be a yoga teacher so that’s always something I keep in my back pocket.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Amazon Authors Page http://amzn.to/1LmAhwv
Thanks so much for having me, Fiona!