Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
I’m Tina Gerow. I write sensual paranormal romance under that name, and I also write erotic paranormal and erotic contemporary romance as Cassie Ryan.
I’m currently on that downhill slide to 50…in other words, I’m 48…going to hit 49 in December…or as I’ve started calling it – leveling up 😀
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born in Dayton, Ohio, but I’ve lived here in Arizona for most of my life with a pit stop for 10 years after college in Pearland, Texas for an ill-advised marriage, but a terrific mini career in band directing that turned out not meant as a long term endeavor.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Like I said, I grew up in Arizona. I fell into band early and flourished there, playing clarinet first and then branching out to play more and more instruments and loving every second. So I was ecstatic to accept a full music scholarship to Arizona State University. I’m not sure I would’ve been able to afford to go to college any other way.
I grew up with my grandparents, and they worked hard to provide for my sister and me, but even back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, college was pretty expensive. I graduated in December 1990 with a Bachelor of Music in Instrumental Music Education, and moved to Pearland, Texas just outside of Houston to teach beginning, junior high and high school band in a district with five other band directors spread over four schools. But when I got pregnant with my son, life happened, and we ended up moving back to my hometown of Glendale, Arizona.
Fast forward to 2017 and my son is going to turn 23 in August, my 2nd husband, Jon, is amazing. Due to some congenital health issues I’m now a full time author. I have one sister and some scattered nieces who live close by along with my husband’s family, and two more sisters, my Dad, and uncles, aunts, cousins and a gaggle of other relatives who live in Ohio who I rarely get out there to see.
And, of course, there’s our two fur babies – an 18-pound orange and white Maine Coon named Rocky who thinks he’s a tiny kitten and still fits in my pocket, and a ten-pound solid black Bombay cat who is a total Daddy’s cat.
Our son, Darian, is in college studying to be an American Sign Language Interpreter. He just got his AA and is now working to finish his BA and then get certified to be an interpreter.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My latest release from Random House is called My Addiction, and it’s the second book in the Club Desire Series.My next projects in the works aren’t set in stone yet. I’m working on some proposals for my agent on some exciting new lines that might be opening up, but I can’t talk about those quite yet. But stay tuned to my website and Facebook page for the latest news flashes about those!!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Since I learned to read I’ve always dreamed of writing my own book and seeing it on a shelf in a library. But it was always a dream I pushed to the back of my mind as too far-fetched. At least until I met my second husband. Jon heard me talk about my dream while I was working at American Express as a technologies project manager—a high stress job where I worked way too many hours and I needed an outlet before I gave myself an ulcer. He was the one who encouraged me to get out there and follow my dream. He convinced me that I could do it, and continued to encourage me every step along the way. So back in 2003 I attended my first Romance Writers of America meeting at the Valley of the Sun Romance Writers about 3 miles from our house here in Glendale. Once I got hooked into that network of wonderful writers, my dream seemed more possible, and then when I met my critique group – the group that today is called the Butterscotch Martini Girls, my career took on a life of its own, and I’ve never looked back.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
A wise woman (my first critique partner, and the founder of The Butterscotch Martini Girls, Judi Thoman), told me that if I was writing, then I was a writer. And if people asked me what I did, I needed to start saying that I was a writer, working as a technologies project manager to fund my writing career. 😀 It took me a few months while I got enough of my first book written to actually start believing it, but her enthusiasm was contagious, sowithin the first six months of meeting Judi I already considered myself a writer, and yep, was already telling people I was a writer, supporting myself by working as a technologies project manager. 😀
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I loved paranormal and grew up reading Piers Anthony, Anne McCaffrey, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Laurell K Hamilton, and, of course, watching Star Wars, and all of those. And one vacation with a friend when I ran out of books she loaned me Nora Roberts’s Born in Fire trilogy and I fell in love with the Romance genre. No longer was it the sappy books I had pilfered from my Mom when I would stay at her house when I was little – the weak, mooning heroines who always had to be saved by the hero, the heroes who were jerks and always told the heroines what to do. Now there was romance and seduction rather than “taking”, respect and falling in love, and a story with progression that seduced ME as well as the characters. That blend of paranormal and romance took shape inside my mind and somehow gelled into my first book which ended up being a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award Winner for Best Small Press Contemporary Paranormal for 2006:
Here’s the blurb:
What happens when saucy, independent musician, Cassidy James, finds herself with newly discovered psychic powers and must rely on handsome, maverick FBI agent Zach Hatcher to keep from becoming a psychic serial killer’s next victim? Cassidy must learn to control her powers to help stop the killer while learning that relationships between people with psychic powers are just as confusing, but much more steamy than normal ones. Zach fights to control his growing attraction for the killer’s intended victim, while overcoming his past, which has caused him to be leery of relationships with women who possess psychic gifts.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I actually brainstormed several titles with my editor. It was one of the ones I suggested that she liked and we went with. Since the serial killer was pushing open the door to these women’s physic potential inside their minds and it was killing them and leaving no physical evidence – that’s where the “into their minds” came from. Dangerous just seemed to add to the suspense piece of the title to clue the reader into what type of book it was, and altogether it sounded like a cool title. I don’t remember how many other titles we tried out, but that’s how most of my titles have been chosen, a collaboration between the editor and myself.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I started out a straight pantser – Have a general idea what the story is about, sit down and write. Write myself into a corner, and then pull my hair out trying to revise and fix the thing…LOL.
Then I learned how to lessen the “pain”.
I tried outlining, but I would rather stick a fork in my eye than do that for every book and scene! Just NOT my thing!!
So I moved on to finding the main idea, or elevator pitch, as the editors/agents call it. Then brainstorming it with my critique group to finish fleshing out the idea, conflict, big black moment, HEA etc. Then I write a character sketch for each of my major characters in their 1st person POV to get to know them. I also start a character spreadsheet to keep track of everyone’s eye color, hair color, mannerisms, age, height, and any other special details. Which side their dimple is on, where their scar is – etc etc etc. Saves me TONS of time flipping through pages looking for it later!
Then, and only then, do I sit down and write.
I write one chapter at a time, and if one of my critique partners has time I’ll send them a chapter at a time to critique for me, if not, I’ll send them a chunk, or even the whole book. But I prefer a chapter at a time so it gives me time to make fixes or even change directions if things aren’t working.
I call my style a brainstormer/pantser…lol!
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
It depends. Someone asked me that about Seducing the Succubus and I had to laugh. I told her (facetiously) it mirrored my personal life quite a bit, and that I liked to get dressed up on the weekend and go downtown looking for archangels to see if I could get together a threesome to bring back for some play whenever I could. LOL!!!! It took her a few minutes to realize I was kidding though…
I do have a weird sense of humor at times. 😀
But then, my most recent book, My Addiction, had quite a few of details about the heroine’s childhood that mirrored my own, both the good and the bad. Some of it was tough to write, but I think that’s one of those things about writing. It can be very personal and cathartic at the same time. My critique group knows me very well and they know some very personal details because of the books, and I know quite a bit about them for the same reason.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I haven’t HAD to, but there have been times I have used my travels to add into books. There are parts of Stone Maiden and Fire Maiden that I wrote while we were vacationing up on the Mogollon Rim in Northern Arizona. That forest environment ended up in several scenes when I hadn’t originally planned on setting those scenes there. But as I was writing, the environment just seemed to lend itself to future scenes, and by the time I got to them, that’s where they ended up taking place. A more recent Tina book, Sleeping With Shadows, is set in New Orleans—which I did travel to on a writers conference with the Heather Graham’s Writer’s for New Orleans Conference. Granted, I wrote the book a few years later. But that city just never got out of my blood, and I grabbed tons of brochures and took notes, pictures and filed away story ideas while I was there. There were scenes also set in Houston and Pearland, Texas from that book—where I had lived for ten years. So, while I don’t think it’s necessary to travel somewhere new to write a book, everything a writer does, sees or hears, and everywhere they go is possible fodder for a future scene or book! 😀
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Except for Sleeping With Shadows and the Butterscotch Martini Girls Butterscotch Martini Shots Boxed Set which were designed by fellow Butterscotch Martini Girl, Kayce Lassiter, all of my covers were designed by the art departments at the different publishers who published my stories.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Going into each story I don’t have a specific message in mind. I make all of my heroines strong women. Smart, capable, able to get themselves out of situations without the help of the hero if needs be, but also strong enough to be vulnerable and accept his help without being needy or a doormat.
By the same token, I create heroes who are strong, but caring, able to protect their heroines without smothering her, show her how he feels, be a good man of his word with honor and respect, and also know his way around a woman’s body, if you get my meaning 😀
In other words, I think all of us, both women and men—my heroes and heroines are the kinds of people we all want to find as partners for relationships. And the do exist out there. What I want people to take away is they don’t have to settle for being treated as less than they deserve. No partner will be perfect and none will be the polished hero or heroine from the pages of a novel, but you CAN find the happiness of the Happily Ever After that I write in my novels. THAT does exist in the world, so don’t settle for less than that.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
I have so many favorite authors I would be here all day listing them, and I find new favorites all the time. My traditional favorites are Jane Austin – my all-time favorite. Then there’s Jennifer Ashley, Cheyenne McCray, Kayce Lassiter, Piers Anthony, Anne McCaffrey, Sherrilyn Kenyon, laurel K Hamilton, Nora Roberts, Christine Feehan, Stephen King, Sabrina Jeffries, Jo Beverley, Brit Blaise, and too many more to list 😀
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I would do more with the suspense at the end. I was crunched for time and had already asked for an extension due to a death in the family. But I’m not happy with how the suspense worked out. It felt rushed and the reviews showed that too L
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned all about the ins and outs of a combination flogger, and also the different salves and their success rates for helping heal different types of damage from an overuse of caning.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I would love Sandra Bullock for the actress, but I think they would have to do a casting call for Dex. There just aren’t any black male actors out there I can think of who are built, 6’8”, look like sexy Doms and have that hot presence that would be called for in this role. But I’ll bet they could find one who would be amazing with Sandra with a casting call. YUMMY!!!
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Write, write, write. Don’t get caught up in worrying about who is going to read your stuff, just write. Some people will like it, some will hate it. Don’t worry about it. Just write it. Don’t write to please anyone. Just write! Keep learning, hone your craft. Read, study. Write! Read Stephen King’s On Writing. Take Classes, go to seminars, Write some more. Be open to feedback. Don’t be a diva and think your work is perfect and never needs changes. But realize that not everything suggested is for the best. But be OPEN to suggestions. And then – write some more! And most important. DON’T GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAM! DON’T LET ANYONE STEAL YOUR DREAM!
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without you! I love each of you! Drop me a line! I love hearing from you! I love it when you write reviews, when you comment on my Facebook page, when you write me tweets, when you talk about my books. I love it when I see you reading my books! You guys are awesome!! Thank you SO much!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie by Jennifer Ashley
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The Ghost Who Lived Under My Staircase. I don’t remember who wrote it, but it was a purple book and I loved it! My great grandmother helped me sound out the words until I could read it by myself and had it memorized. It became my favorite book, and probably started my love of the paranormal! 😀
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My cats and my son make me laugh. Seeing others hurting or in need and not being able to help them makes me cry.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Jane Austen. She was a women in a male profession long before it was accepted for women to be writers who wrote some pretty timeless stories. I would love to talk to her and tell her how much her stories are still loved today and tell her about how strong she is to have stood up for herself when so many people probably tried to make her fit into the mold of what women were expected to do at the time.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I’m a genealogy fiend. At night after I’m too tired to write and everyone else has gone to bed I spend my time on Ancestry.com going through the leaves and filling out our family tree. I’m fascinated by all the history unfolding, and love finding out the stories about those people who are connected to my past.
Also, my husband and I are extremely geeky. Every morning when we get up, we go to Starbucks and then go Pokemon Go hunting before he works. He’s an A/V outside salesman, so he can work anywhere and pretty much works 24/7, so me stealing him for breakfast for an hour doesn’t make me feel too guilty since he’s on the phone or iPad for the rest of the time.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I’m a total Whovian. I hardly ever miss Doctor Who and have it set to tape in case I won’t be home when it’s on. I also love watching Untold Stories of the ER, Star Trek The Next Generation, and Family Guy. And hubby and I love different Discovery Channel and History Channel shows too.
As for movies, I love most things except for horror – ugh! I’m a wimp! Action adventure is fine, but no horror! Pride & Prejudice is my absolute Favorite movie – either one – the one with Colin Firth, AND the one with Matthew MacFadyen, followed closely by The Quiet Man with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Favorite Foods is tough – can I just say yes? LOL.
I’m allergic to cilantro and I don’t like anything spicy. I’m also a texture person, so no guacamole or bananas once they are chewed up they are squishy and icky feling…LOL! But I love the flavor of banana in banana bread or popcicles. Yeah – I’m weird. And no raw tomatoes – squishy, larval red things – but cooked tomatoes are fine. LOVE Italian food!. But I grew up in a country/farm family, so meat and potatoes are always good! And desserts, of course…LOL!
Color – PURPLE is my favorite, and was my first word, right before chocolate!!!!
Music – YES! I don’t like too much rap, but other than that, I’m eclectic. My playlist has classical, blues, pop, rock, show tunes, country, bluegrass, a bit of everything, including some great Disney songs! 😀 Can you say, Frozen??? 😀
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Actually, my plan if I suddenly win a TON of money is to open a shelter in this area. Not only for the homeless, but for people who need help in other areas too. Like to apply for foodstamps, since now it’s only done by computer, or need rides to the DMV to renew their license or the get their ID. Services to help train for jobs, to help find homes or living situations for kids who are kicked out of their homes for being gay or trans, living situations that are workable for vets who have PTSD and can no longer live inside (there are LOTS of them out there!).
We’d have a receptionist who can field all those people who come to our shelter and find out what they need, and help them get it – medical? psychiatric? legal? food? safe place? showers? place to wash their clothes? A ride? job services? to contact family?
In other words, I want to help people. I think I would still write. But that’s what I think I would do with my time, even on a smaller scale if I don’t get that ton of money, and I do try to do small bits of that now as time and my health allows.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Tinagerow.com & cassieryan.com we also have quite a few giveaways and events on our critique group blog at https://butterscotchmartinigirl.wordpress.com/
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Amazon Authors Pages