Thursday, July 1, 2010

Coffee Shop Conversations: Q&A with Author Hope Tarr

Hello all you fabulous dames, and welcome to Coffee Shop Conversations!
Under this segment of the blog, I will be conducting interviews with Authors, Book Bloggers and anyone else relevant to the literary world willing to answer my questions. The coffee shop is symbolic in the literary world as being the place where a lot of the magic happens. We write, converse and even (dare I mention it) eat/drink in these crowded, noisy, but strangely cozy, watering-holes. Coffee Shops are great places to just relax, let the hair down and talk about life, love and good books! So without further adieu, let's get to chatting with my special guest:

Author Hope Tarr

Hope Tarr is the award-winning author of thirteen historical and contemporary romance novels including THE TUTOR. You can find her online at where she has a weekly blog and regular contests as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
(Photo by

 Hope Tarr on the web:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Lady Jane's Salon

Hope's Latest Release:
'The Tutor'
(In Stores Today)

"I wish for you to tutor me"

"Lady Bea Lindsey is desperate. She's newly engaged to a very nice but dull gentleman and is fully aware that if she wants any joy in her marriage bed, she'll have to call the shots. But first she needs to be taught. And who better to instruct her than irresistibly sexy rogue Ralph Sylvester?
Ralph is surprised by Bea's request, but he can't turn down the woman he's lusted after for the past nine months. He agrees on one condition. For the next seven days and nights, Bea must relinquish total control to him. No pleasure will be off-limits, no act of lovemaking forbidden, no desire too shocking.
It's every man's fantasy... until the student surpasses the teacher..."Source

-Read an excerpt: here
-Read My Review: here
 Get Your Copy Today:
RJ:Hey Hope, how are you doing? I am so happy that you could stop by for a little chat. First off, congratulations on your new book, 'The Tutor', set to release July 1st, 2010 (already shipping with some book carriers as we speak). What have the past few months been like; with the pre and post release promotion and the feedback you've received thus far? What have you experienced emotionally as well as professionally with the completion of this new book?
HT:Closure! When I finished my "Men of Roxbury House" Victorian-set trilogy with UNTAMED a few years ago, I regretted not having the chance to deliver a Happily Ever After for my secondary characters in that book: Lady Bea Lindsey and former street rogue, Ralph Sylvester. I thought  maybe "someday" I'd do that in a novella or even a short story. The category format of Harlequin's Blaze line proved to be the perfect length and publishing home for accomplishing my objective.
RJ:Why don't you tell me and the readers a little bit about your book, 'The Tutor, from the author's point of view? This isn't your first book, how does it differ from your previous novels?  What were you trying to accomplish with this book and do you feel like it's 'mission accomplished?
HT:THE TUTOR is my thirteenth romance novel and very likely the closest to erotica I've ever delved. It's set in late-Victorian Scotland and, [as] I said, picks up where UNTAMED left off. Lady Beatrice Lindsey is all grown up and about to wed a decent but dull fellow whom she knows needs a map when it comes to taking a woman to bed. Determined to have decent sex if not love in her marriage, she turns to her secret crush, former street rogue, Ralph Sylvester for seven sexy nights of private lessons. 
THE TUTOR is well…”hawt,” and I think fans of super steamy historical romances will have a lot of fun with the book—at least I hope so!  

RJ:What challenges or difficulties did you face with the writing of this particular novel?
HT:It's always a bit of a challenge to add on to what was a series. Ralph and Bea first met in Untamed. Even though they had but a few brief scenes together, still the seeds of attraction were planted in that previous book. For an author it's always dicey when you're starting a book with a relationship in progress. I took great care to keep the sexual tension and emotional stakes high even at the start of The Tutor and to carry that tension throughout.

And as I said, the book is very sexy even for a Blaze, and I've written quite a few of them, contemporaries as well as historicals. But The Tutor more than any other book called for me to take a break from some boundaries. Fortunately an historical setting, in my case the 1890's, provides sufficient emotional distance for readers that an author can have more leeway when writing "those" scenes. At least that's what I tell myself. ((wink))

RJ:Where did the inspirations for your plot, characters and setting come from for 'The Tutor'?
HT:I'm a big fan of Robin Schone and The Lady's Tutor in particular was an inspiration for me. There's something about a Victorian woman taking charge of her sexuality by seeking out an experienced man as her tutor that's both titillating and empowering. Robin's heroine was a married woman while my Lady Bea is unmarried albeit newly engaged, but the principle is the same. They both have come to the conclusion that they deserve happiness, both in bed and in life beyond it. 
RJ:The first 3 adjectives that come to mind when describing your Hero and Heroine in 'The Tutor' are?
HT: I loathe "perfect" characters so both Bea and Ralph are gloriously flawed. At the same time, they're sensual, sexual, and caring about others beyond themselves, be it an abused cart horse or the humans in their lives. For both Ralph and Bea headstrong, passionate, and romantic pop to mind.
RJ:The writing process differs from author to author. Some are planners while others just jump right in. Some consider themselves night writers, while others need daylight and a park bench or a coffee shop (wink) to set the mood for creativity. What's your writing process and atmosphere like?
HT:I'm neither a planner or a pantzer. I'm what I call a puzzler. I start with a detailed synopsis but from there I write the scenes that come to me: jumbled, out of sequence, a mess basically. In the last few weeks, I cut and paste and move text around, basically stitching everything together and voila, it's a book. It's a terrible "process" but it's the only one that really works for me. Even selling on proposal--generally the first few chapters and synopsis--means I've usually written later scenes already.

RJ:When did you first start writing, and what inspired you to pick up a pen in the first place?
HT:I wrote my first book, Beyond Love's Reach between the ages of 12 and 14. It was Tudor-set and tender and of course terrible but the seed was planted. Enough said...
RJ:If you were mentoring an aspiring author, what advice would you give them? 
HT:Tenacity is almost as important as talent. I know a lot of wonderfully talented writers who've never finished a book.  Maybe some contest judge was too frank in his/her feedback, maybe they let a well-meaning but heavy handed critique partner rewrite their book, or maybe they're so enormously self-critical that anything less than a perfect manuscript caused them to set it aside. All of the above, none of the above, who knows. If you believe you're a writer, don't give up.
RJ:If you weren't writing and publishing novels, what profession would you most likely be engaged in right now? 
HT:Publicity. I write a mean press release and I love the promotion part of the business, so if I wasn't doing it for myself, I'd do it for other writers and/or causes about which I'm passionate.
RJ:What's your favorite romance novel of all-time?
HT:Among the classics: Jane Eyre and Rebecca are two favorites. Among contemporaries, as in writers living now, On Bear Mountain by Deborah Smith is a beautiful book.
RJ:What's coming up next for you (book-wise or otherwise) and do you have anything that you would like to say to the readers?
HT:I'm thrilled to have two of my back list single title historical romances, MY LORD JACK and A ROGUE'S PLEASURE, reissued with Carina Press in July 12th and August 16th, respectively. And coming November 10th is "Tomorrow's Destiny," my single-title novella in A HARLEQUIN CHRISTMAS CAROL, a Christmas anthology with Jacquie D'Alessandro and Betina Krahn.
RJ:Name something shocking or interesting about yourself that the readers don't know.
HT:Interesting, here's hoping (so to speak).  I'm a Co-Founder of Lady Jane's Salon (, New York City's first and so far only monthly reading series for romance fiction. We launched in February 2009 and we're booked through 2011.

Also from 1996 through 2002, I founded and directed a national grassroots campaign, The Pet Overpopulation STAMP OUT. The STAMP OUT's goal, a U.S. postal commemorative stamp urging the American public to "Spay/Neuter Your Pet--Save a Life" was reached in September 2002 and launched in a national ceremony emceed by Benji. :)

HT:Thank you so much for having me, Rita! 

And thank you so much for stopping by, Hope! To all the readers, be sure to make use of those links above to better acquaint your self with this fabulous author! This has been great and I hope all of you have enjoyed this (the first) edition of:

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