Today's guest is novelist Tamara Carlisle as she tours her contemporary romance novel, Away from the Spotlight.
Tamara will be awarding two $25 Amazon GCs to randomly drawn commenters during the tour, all you have to do to be entered to win is leave an e-mail address with a comment below, or at any of her other tour stops.
Tamara Carlisle is a former attorney and business consultant. Away from the Spotlight is her first published work of fiction. Tamara currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her British husband and daughter.
Welcome, Tamara. Please tell us about your current release.
Away from the Spotlight details the romance between graduating law student, Shannon Sutherland, and English actor, Will MacKenzie. When they meet, Shannon doesn’t know who Will is and Will takes great pains to keep it that way for a while. Once Shannon learns the truth, Shannon is swept up in both the glamour and the drawbacks of Will’s fame. At the same time, Shannon has her own busy life to lead in graduating from law school, studying for the California Bar Exam, traveling with a friend through the U.K. and Europe after the Bar Exam, and commencing her legal career. Further complicating things, Shannon’s co-worker and former crush becomes single and actively campaigns for Shannon’s affections. Will the pressures of their careers and the temptations of others drive Will and Shannon apart? Can Will and Shannon live a happy life away from the spotlight? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
What inspired you to write this book?
Around the time that the Twilight movie was released and for quite a while afterward, I couldn’t open my Internet browser without seeing, front and center, some story about one of the actors or actresses in that movie. Every detail of their lives, real or rumored, was published. I wondered how they would date and ever know whether that person liked them or the perks and publicity of being associated with them. I thought that they would have to date someone who knew them before they were famous or someone who didn’t know who they were. However, considering how much press they were getting, who wouldn’t know who they were? The answer then occurred to me: a law student.
A law student has little free time in light of the vast amounts of reading required and working part-time as a law clerk reduces that free time even further. Based upon my experience, the last thing a law student wants to do in his or her limited free time is read or engage in any other sedentary activity such as watching television or going to the movies. Consequently, a law student might not be knowledgeable about relatively new actors and actresses.
With all that in mind, the idea for the novel came to me: a very famous, young actor meets a law student who doesn’t know who he is. I couldn’t get the idea out of my head and finally decided to write it down. Away from the Spotlight was born.
I had barely stepped away from the bar to pass the end of the high table when I thought I heard someone say, “She’s behind you.” At that moment, a middle-aged man in front of me pushed past me to get to an opening at the end of the bar and a guy to my right turned toward me and backed into my right arm. As a result, the pint in my right hand tilted toward me and poured over my wrist and my hand. Thankfully, my sleeves were pulled up so it didn’t soak my sweater and I had not gotten wet on my skirt or my legs. Before I knew it, though, the pints were taken from my hands and the guy who backed into me had grabbed napkins from the high table and was dabbing my right wrist and hand.
“I am so sorry,” said the guy who was still dabbing at my wrist and hand in a beautiful London accent.
I looked up and I cannot imagine that I didn’t blush. He was around my age, give or take a few years, and was very nice looking in an unusual, but very handsome way. He had highlighted dark brown hair that was not long, but thick and layered, spiking somewhat on the top and at the sides. He was probably a little over six-feet-tall with broad shoulders for his fairly narrow frame and what I imagined was a sculpted body underneath his shirt. He had chiseled facial features, perfect teeth, piercing green eyes with bushy, but not out-of-control, eyebrows as well as long lashes. Wisps of brown chest hair peeked out where his silvery-grey shirt was unbuttoned at the top.
I had always described my type as tall, dark and Irish-looking and, although he was English rather than Irish, he was what I considered beautiful in a man.
“I didn’t get you did I?” I said with my very American accent.
“No, not at all,” he replied. He grabbed my sticky hand and asked, “Will you marry me?” and then winked at me.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I have five other novels in various stages of development: a paranormal romance that takes place on a college campus, two contemporary romances involving musicians, a historical romance set in 16th century Scotland, and a contemporary romance involving the relationship between two people in disintegrating marriages with alcoholic spouses who meet when one of them is on vacation in Scotland (it’s not as depressing as it sounds).
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve written for pleasure since I was a child. In both my legal and consulting careers, I’ve spent a good deal of my time writing. At the large company I consult for at the moment, my writing skill is one of my claims to fame. Notwithstanding, with the publication of Away from the Spotlight, I finally feel “official.”
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Define “write full-time.” I write full-time because my consulting career requires a lot of writing (as did my legal career). However, I do not write fiction full-time, although some in my office might debate that. I have a full-time job, a long commute, and a family. I write romance novels on the side. I am a prolific reader as well. What this all means is that I live on little sleep. I am also a compulsive multi-tasker. For example, I can be writing a presentation for work, thinking about the plot of the novel I am working on, answering a co-worker’s questions via the company chat program, and participating in a conference call - all at the same time. I am notorious for having a can of Sugar-Free Red Bull in my hand at all times. Sugar and caffeine are the two most important food groups! I usually write at night while my daughter is at practice or does her homework, and my husband, who is fanatical about golf, rugby and soccer, is catching up on the day’s sports. I therefore get a few hours in every night.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I include goofy details just to make myself laugh. For example, Shannon’s friend, Pam, talks about trying to find someone in Germany like her favorite character from a spy novel. I really did that. One of my favorite books is The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins and I loved German Officer, Kurt Steiner, in that novel. I went to Oktoberfest in Munich one year with the intent to find a Kurt Steiner. Of course, I only managed to meet Italians. As another example, Will MacKenzie’s movie titles are music references. I went with a Cure theme for a few of them – it is the favorite band of my best friend from college and I’ve seen them many times over the years in concert. We even met Robert Smith once. Maida Vale is based on the section of London where Robert is rumored to live. All Castles Are Grey is based upon the Cure song, All Cats Are Grey.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be President of the United States. It wasn’t until I spent a semester in college in Washington, D.C., that I decided that politics was not my calling. I was disillusioned by how much politics involves fundraising and how little it involves substantive policy-making.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I welcome readers to say, “Hello,” or comment on Away from the Spotlight. I will read the comments here and I’m also available to chat via Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
Ways to connect:
Thank you, Lisa, for having me here today!
Glad to host, Tamara. Have fun touring! Readers, remember, Tamara will be awarding two $25 Amazon GCs to randomly drawn commenters during the tour, all you have to do to be entered to win is leave an e-mail address with a comment below, or at any of her other tour stops.