August 26 – Tara Sheets

Hi friends!

Welcome to Read-A-Romance Month!

While I read romance all year long, August is the month we celebrate romantic fiction! Come back every day to read the fun author Q&As – calendar here –  and each weekday in August, we’ll also have an author guest hosting the Romance of Reading FB page. Today Tara Sheets is doing the Q&A, and no one’s on the page, since it’s Sunday.

This year is significantly smaller in scale. If you’re interested, you can read about some of the reasons why here. It’s been a crazy year, and a complicated few months.

Happy August. Isn’t life better with #ATouchofRomance?! xo

2018 RARM Questions:

Why do you write books? 

I grew up in different countries and my father’s work required us to travel and move around a lot, so we didn’t always have outlets for entertainment other than the stories we brought with us.  Ever since I was a little girl, I was fascinated by books.  I read fairy tales and fables from countries all over the world.  When I got older I read romance because I needed to know there would be a happy, emotionally satisfying ending. I loved that books had the power to take me anywhere I wanted to go, no matter where I was.  There’s magic in that. I wanted to write books that could bring that same sense of adventure—the escapism and wonder—to other people.

 

What do you consider to be the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?

Honestly, I think trying to become a writer and putting myself out there has been the most courageous thing I’ve ever done.  Even though I knew I loved writing, I never actively pursued it as a career until after I was well out of college, had started a family, and tried other careers that didn’t stick.  It wasn’t until my mother got sick with cancer that I really took a hard look at what I was doing with my life.  Before she died she urged me to go after my dreams and not to squander my chance for joy.  So I signed up for my first novel writing class, scared to death, terrified to submit my writing to strangers.  It hasn’t been easy for me.  The first time I turned in an assignment, I got so stressed out I literally broke out in hives under my sweater.  It’s been years since then, and I’m happy to report that I’m much better now! I love writing, and I’m grateful I took the leap to pursue my dreams.

 

Tell us why you write romances or include strong romantic elements in your books?

I write romance because I believe love is what matters most.  You can go through life running at goals and acquiring things and moving mountains, but I truly believe that love is the driving force behind achieving true happiness. It’s the only thing that makes this crazy roller coaster worth the ride. Romance books remind people that hope floats, and in spite of all odds, happiness is possible.

 

Tell us about a romantic moment in your life. (Either romantic love, or romantic sensibility.)

Back when I first tried to complete an entire book, I signed up for a class where we were supposed to write a novel in a month, and I had no idea how that was even going to be possible.  Caring for a toddler and a special-needs relative with emotional and physical disabilities took up all my time and energy. In those days my husband and I were so broke. All our money went to bills and putting food on the table.  So the day before my class began, I broke down. I cried because I didn’t even have a working keyboard (some of the letters stuck) and I had no idea why I was even trying to pursue a dream when it seemed the odds were stacked against me.  That night, my husband went out and bought used computer equipment on Craigslist so I could participate in the class.  I’ll never forget the fold-out table, the keyboard, and the articulated arm he purchased, just so I could keep my dream alive.  I know this doesn’t sound very swoony and impressive, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt more supported or loved than that moment.

 

If you could tell your younger self anything (either as a writer or as a woman) what would it be?

Be confident! Oh my God, I would tell my younger self to hold my head high and be confident.  I would say “You don’t have to try so hard to be what other people want.  You don’t have to try so hard to make other people happy in order to feel loved. You are valuable and you are important, just the way you are!”

 

Tell us something you uncovered in research that fascinated you.

When I was researching the San Juan Islands in the Pacific Northwest, I went down a rabbit hole about the orca whales in that area.  One of the things that fascinated me was learning that there are two completely different groups of orcas, even though they look so similar.  There are resident orcas who travel in large pods and prefer to eat Chinook salmon.  Then there are the transient orcas who travel in much smaller pods and eat marine mammals like seals and porpoises.  What’s so interesting to me is that resident and transient orcas completely ignore each other. If they happen to pass each other in the ocean, they don’t intermingle or breed, even though technically they are the same species.

 

How do you handle the voices in your head competing for their story to be written? (Thanks Eileen!)

I don’t usually have a problem with voices vying for my attention because when I’m writing a book, the main characters take center stage and everything else seems to fade into the background. If anything, when it’s time to write the next book, I have to do a lot of brainstorming and plotting before the next characters’ voices become clear in my head.

 
If you could live for a month somewhere (either in the present or past) where (and when, if applicable) would it be? Why?

I think if I could live for a month anywhere right now, I’d love to spend a month traveling in Italy.  I’ve always wanted to immerse myself in that lovely landscape and see all the sights without being rushed or on a tight schedule.  I think I could dream up a lot of fun stories and characters if I had a full month to spend there.

 

What is (one of) the most remarkable/inspiring things that has happened to you as a reader or writer?

Winning the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® award for my debut novel, Don’t Call Me Cupcake was an incredible experience. I will never forget that moment, and how much overwhelming gratitude I felt for my writing community. My Golden Heart® groups, the Mermaids, the Dragonflies, and the Lucky 13’s, have continued to inspire me every day with their amazing talent and unfailing support.

 

Tara recommends:

 

Seana Kelly    –     www.seanakelly.com    –     @Amazon

Seana’s debut book, Welcome Home Katie Gallagher, is one of the cutest romantic comedies I’ve read in a long time.  If you’re looking for a fun read that will make you laugh out loud, Seana Kelly has you covered.

 

Hope Ramsay   –   hoperamsay.com    –    @Amazon

I love Hope’s fun, small town romances.  Her characters feel so real, I miss them after I’m done reading.

 


Tara Sheets is an award-winning author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction. Her stories have earned first place in literary contests nationwide, and her debut novel, Don’t Call Me Cupcake, won the 2016 Golden Heart® award sponsored by Romance Writers of America.

Tara began her career as an author in the Pacific Northwest, inspired by the rain and the misty mountains and the rivers of Starbucks coffee. She now lives in the warm, wonderful South where she can stand outside with no coat on, and she finds that pretty inspiring too.

When not writing, Tara enjoys life with her book-loving family and a book-eating dog named Merlin. She is represented by Sarah Phair at Trident Media Group.

Learn more at tarasheets.com.

 

 

Buy Tara’s books:

availableon-amazon         availableon-nook      availableon-kobo

*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and many text links connect to a Read-A-Romance Month affiliate portal. Thanks so much for your help & support!

 

Authors on The Romance of Reading page:

 

1   –   Jeannie Moon           💜         2   –   Lenora Bell

3  –    Nancy Herkness       💜         6   –   Kimberli A. Bindschatel

7   –  Cathy Maxwell            💜         8   –   Amelia Grey

9  –  Liz Talley                     💜         10  –  Dylann Crush

13  –  Marilyn Brant             💜         14  –  Sharla Lovelace

15  –  Sally MacKenzie        💜         16  –  Regina Kyle

17  –  Mimi Milan                 💜          20  –  Christine Nolfi

21  –  Susie Orman Schnall  💜       22  –  Caroline Linden

23  –  Shirley Hailstock          💜         24  –   Talia Surova

27  –  Lisa Patton                    💜        28  –  Tracey Livesay

29  –  Danelle Harmon          💜        30  –  Minerva Spencer

*   31   –    Christina Lauren (modified guest host)