Name: Tamara Lush
Where are you from: St. Petersburg, Florida
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc:
I was born in northern California and split my childhood between there and Vermont. I received my undergraduate degree in journalism from Emerson College in Boston and then after a series of newspaper jobs in New England, I moved to Florida. I live near the Gulf of Mexico with my husband and our two dogs.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’m releasing the print version of my novel, Tell Me a Story, on November 14! The novel is currently available in e-book form in five parts.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing as a child, little stories about adventurous men and women who did exciting things around the globe. I was heavily influenced by Raiders of the Lost Ark. Seriously, I began writing as a child because I loved to read and wanted to create stories.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Although I have been a newspaper reporter since my early twenties, I didn’t consider myself a writer until I published my first book in 2015.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I am a journalist in my day job and I cover lots of horrible, tragic things. I wanted to write a story that ended happily.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I enjoy writing in first person and feel like my style is more minimal and direct. I’m not a flowery writer.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
My book, Tell Me a Story, is about a bookstore owner and romance writer who reads her erotic work to a billionaire during a literary event. The hero, Caleb, falls in love with Emma, the heroine, when she tells him a story.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Interesting question. No one has asked this so far! The message is that love begins as a fairy tale and then real life intervenes. But despite hardships and difficult times, love can endure. Even when people change.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The premise of the story beginning – a writer reads her work at a literary fundraiser – is based on a real-life event in my city called Story Brothel. A friend of mine who runs a group called Wordier Than Thou hosts Story Brothel, and people pay readers $2 a minute for writers to read a story out loud. It’s never as sexy as it is portrayed in my book, though.
There are one or two scenes in the book that are based on real life, but it’s up to readers to guess what they are.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Fear of Flying by Erica Jong was a definite influence. It’s both feminist and erotic. It also captures the complexity of marriage.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I have many, many favorite authors, too many to list. My critique partner, Kat Faitour, is a new author and she is writing smart and sensual romance.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My co-workers and editors at The Associated Press have been incredibly supportive about my fiction. I am eternally grateful for that.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I do, because I write for a living as a journalist. Writing fiction is just a slightly more creative path. My life is about reading, and writing.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve always been a lover of the written word and have been captivated by writers who can tell stories well enough that I am transported to a different time and place.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
From the beginning of Tell Me a Story:
I wanted him the second I looked into his steel-blue eyes.
“How much?” he asked. It was a sexy voice, a deep voice, and I smiled-a smile that alluded to everything but promised nothing, aware of appearing coy and knowing and not-too-eager.
I was in the mood to flirt.
Before I could answer, my friend Sarah broke in.
“It’s two dollars a minute. Two dollars, one minute of reading. Half goes to charity, half goes to the writer. But you can negotiate with the writer, if you know what I mean.”
The man smiled and ran a thumb over his full bottom lip as he looked me up and down.
Sarah laughed and wiggled her dark brows.
“That’s why I called it Story Brothel. It’s between the reader-” she clapped him on the shoulder “-and the writer. God, I love this. I feel like a madam. Like the Heidi Fleiss of Florida fiction.”
She reached to squeeze my arm, then leaned into me and lowered her voice playfully. “Remember: half for charity. No skimming.”
I rolled my eyes. “Like I’d do that.”
Sarah stood on her tiptoes and kissed me on the cheek.
“He looks rich. Maybe he’ll pay you extra so you can save the bookstore,” she whispered.
I scowled, not wanting a reminder of work. This was my rare night out, a time when I wasn’t buried in orders or paperwork or my writing. It was when I transformed myself from serious shop owner into romance writer, like some pulp fiction superheroine. Glasses off; wild, curly hair down; blood-red lipstick staining every napkin and cocktail rim in my path.
And maybe this man’s mouth in a short while.
I was long overdue for male attention. At least, that’s what I told myself as I took in his charcoal suit, his crisp white shirt, and the platinum glint of a wristwatch dial.
I hadn’t been kissed in a long time-not well, at least. And not by a man this interesting looking.
An unfamiliar song came on, some Arabic-lounge groove with strong, heavy drums. It was how my heart felt against my ribcage.
Sarah moved into the crowd. I kept smiling. So did he.
“Story Brothel,” he murmured in a voice so low I could barely hear the words.
Because he was tall, he had to tilt his face and his gunmetal-blue eyes downward to look at me.
I shook my head dramatically and clicked my tongue against the roof of my mouth.
“You don’t seem like the type of man who’d come to an event like this.”
His eyes glittered and teased. They were such a gorgeous hue that popped against his long, dark lashes. He wasn’t the most handsome man I’d ever seen, but he radiated confidence and sensuality.
His features-high cheekbones, a slightly big nose, a strong jaw-wouldn’t have stood out on their own, but the combination was irresistibly masculine.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I find rewriting and self-editing extremely challenging. Also, trying to focus while social media hums in the background is difficult. I’m easily distracted.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No. I do travel a fair bit as a journalist, however, and personally, with my husband. This year we went to Iceland and it was heavenly. Simply gorgeous and otherworldly.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Hang Le designed the cover of Tell Me a Story
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Knowing when it was finished! I think every writer wonders if they should spend more time writing, tinkering, editing their words.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned a lot about writing a serial novel, and when to release each book. My biggest takeaway: marketing a book is difficult and a constant learning process. Marketing is harder than writing!
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead?
I would love for Helena Bonham Carter to play the heroine, Emma.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Read. Read in all genres. Read every day. Then read some more. You can’t be a good writer unless you read.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am reading It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover for fiction, and a book by two of my former colleagues called Juniper, about their micro-preemie baby.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Hmm. I don’t. The first big chapter book I recall reading was Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. It’s still one of my favorite books.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My husband makes me laugh all the time about all sorts of things. I don’t cry often, but when I do, it’s because I’m frustrated with a particular situation that’s beyond my control.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
I would love to meet the Dalai Lama because I think he is a being filled with pure light and goodness.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why? There won’t be anything written on my headstone because I want to be cremated!
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I do yoga and love to take photos. I also spend a lot of time with my dogs.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I enjoy Louis, the TV show by comedian Louis C.K. Also, Velvet, a TV show out of Spain. I don’t watch a ton of TV or movies.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music:
Foods: Sushi, coconut, gin, tonic, coffee
Music: Tropical chill
Colors: All shades of blue
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Be a yoga teacher.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2bdnIm7
AMAZON: (The Story Series complete novel, all five episodes in paperback): http://amzn.to/2dgnSxE
AMAZON: (The Story Series, five e-books): http://amzn.to/2cnv6MU
Thank you for having me on your blog!