Thursday, November 24, 2016

Interview with romantic suspense author Tanya Newman

Romantic suspense author Tanya W. Newman is with me today. We’re having a lovely chat on this Thanksgiving Day about her newest book, The Good Thief.

Tanya W. Newman was born and raised in the upstate of South Carolina, where she discovered her love of a good story, a love that led to a Bachelor of Arts in English from University of South Carolina Upstate, and a Master of Arts in English from Clemson University.

Now married to her wonderful husband, Mark, for eleven years, Newman still resides in the upstate of South Carolina, where she sets many of her stories. Her first novel, The Good Thief, was published by Black Opal Books in 2016 and her upcoming novel, Winter Rain, is set to be published in 2017. In addition to writing and reading, she enjoys coffee, movies (usually an action/adventure with a love story added in), reruns of The Golden Girls, going for long walks, and spending time with her adorable son and daughter.

She is currently working on a sequel to The Good Thief.

Please tell us about your current release.
The Good Thief centers on shy bookstore owner Scotlyn Carter, who survived a traumatic bank robbery and subsequent kidnapping two days before Christmas. She escaped, but not before hearing one robber’s promise to find her—and kill her when he does.

Three months later, James McIntyre, the high school flame whose easy smile and mysterious eyes she could never forget, walks back into her life. Not only does she fall for James, but she also feels safe with him, and begins to think that maybe the robbers have moved on and will not find her.

But James is not all that he seems. He is back in Scotlyn’s life for a reason and has been in contact with the very thieves who kidnapped her. And he’s harboring a dark secret that, if brought to light, could not only destroy their relationship—it could end their very lives.

What inspired you to write this book?
I have no idea! No, really, ideas just come to me, usually in the form of characters or images. For instance, with The Good Thief, I kept seeing this image in my mind of this woman walking toward a man. Everything was dark all around, the woman’s wrists were tied together, and there was a lot of fear and anger between them, but there was also love. A question of how they got to that point grew from there. I didn’t know the characters or their motivations, whether they were good or evil, etc., at that point, but I knew that I was interested and I couldn’t get that image out of my mind.

Excerpt from The Good Thief:
She’d thought she was safe, thought they couldn’t find her—but she’d been wrong…

Scotlyn heard James close the back door behind him and stared at the ceiling for a while, enjoying the moment until deciding to go ahead and make some coffee. She sat up and stretched a long moment before pulling on her jeans and top and walking lazily to the kitchen. She found a bag of coffee grounds in the refrigerator, filled the pot with water, and set it.
She was standing with her arms crossed when she heard the back door open again, a little more slowly this time. Knowing that James couldn’t have been to the store and back by now, she called, “You forget something?” without looking back.
A large arm grabbed her then and, before she could react, a cloth covered her mouth. She remembered breathing in to scream, but then she became instantly drowsier than she’d ever been. Her head fell onto a foreign shoulder and, before she could get scared, everything turned to black.

What exciting story are you working on next?
My next book to be released by Black Opal is also a romance called Winter Rain that centers on three musicians—Spencer, Isabel, and Thomas—who are all working with the same band and who find themselves in a love triangle that ultimately has tragic repercussions.

I’m also currently working on a sequel to The Good Thief.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I wrote my first book at the age of ten. I had long been an avid reader (particularly of horse stories), and when I began my summer vacation between fifth and sixth grade, I decided to try my hand at writing a book of my own. It took me all summer long and by the time I was done, I had a whopping thirty handwritten pages! I even designed a cover based on pictures I’d cut out of magazines and did a little “About the Author” page at the end.
That summer definitely cemented my love of writing and storytelling, as it was a trend that I continued well throughout high school. It wasn’t until college, though, that I knew writing was what I wanted to do with my life. I started out as a Journalism major, but after taking a course in Early American Literature, I was inspired to change my major to English. A certain professor (who I still keep in touch with today) and a creative writing class reignited my love of fiction writing, specifically.

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?
I wish I were a full-time writer! But no, I teach English Composition at a local university four mornings a week and am also taking classes in Early Childhood Education with the hopes of eventually teaching first or second grade. I pick up my kids—my adorable five-year-old son and three-year-old daughter—in the afternoon and devote the rest of the day to them. I try to find moments during my office hours here and there to write when I’m not grading papers or meeting with students, and I get some writing in on Friday mornings as well when I’m home. I used to write a lot at night, but nowadays by the time nighttime rolls around, the day catches up with me and all I’m able to do is collapse!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I always have to have something to eat and/or some coffee whenever I write. I have to have something to occupy my hands or go back to when I’m not writing. That actually frees my mind to think and continue focusing on whatever it is I’m writing. If I don’t have something like that, I can feel ideas stall or fade away.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Lots of different things, like an actress, veterinarian, teacher, and lawyer.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Read, and read a lot! Keep books on your nightstand, in your bag, downloaded to your phone or tablet; listen to them in your car. Reading is a great way to get started, get inspired, find what you like and want to write, and then just write. Write what you want to write, what you feel the most about. I’m a writing instructor, but one thing I feel and that I always try to impart to my students is that the only way to get better is to keep doing it. Write a little every day if you can and you will eventually discover your own style and voice.

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Thanks for spending part of your holiday with me, Tanya. All the best with your writing.

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