Tara Fox Hall’s writing credits include nonfiction, horror, suspense, erotica, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She also coauthored the essay “The Allure of the Serial Killer,” published in Serial Killers – Philosophy for Everyone: Being and Killing (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010). Her first e-novella, Surrender to Me, was published in September 2011. Her first full-length novel, Lash, published in April 2012. She divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice.
Jen: Tell us about Promise Me and where it can be purchased.
Tara: Promise Me can be purchased at www.melange-books.com in late May 2012. Midnight Thirsts 2 can be purchased after late June 2012. Both titles will be available on Amazon as well.
Jen: At what age did you discover writing? When where you first published? Tell us your call story.
Tara: I was interested in writing at a young age. My mother used to bring me home small, cloth-bound books that I would write down stories of unicorns and cats. When I was older, I won a state contest for my description of a huge 60’s furry pillow, my favorite thing at the time. It was huge enough to lie on, and covered with pink fur. The judges probably wondered if I just had a great imagination.
I always got A’s in writing through high school. My high school English teacher, Mr. Bowker, was very supportive. I met him years later at the grocery store, and the first thing he asked me was did I still write. In college, my Civil War professor told me that one of the papers I’d written for class was so good that I should try to get it published, which thrilled me to my toes.
My family liked that I wrote, but they emphasized that I needed to have some kind of day job. When I came home and told them that night what my professor had said, they said that was nice, but that was all. So I filed the paper away and went back to my math and science studies and forgot about being a writer.
After graduation, life got in the way of writing, not that I felt that much desire for it after coming home tired from my 9-5 job. I had bought a house in the country on my own, and cleaning up the mess left by the previous tenants (plus adjusting to country living) consumed all my free time for the next two years. I wrote poetry on and off, but couldn’t spare the time that a book or even a short story would require. But even though I tried to stifle my creativity, it kept finding ways to emerge. After I married my husband, Eric, he began to encourage me to write more, after seeing some of my poetry. I submitted a nonfiction article to a friend’s small print magazine, Catnip Blossoms!. Harald liked it enough to print it. Encouraged, more short nature articles followed. It was the story about a dying moth, Sunset, which resonated with everyone who read it, and lead to the many more articles that followed through the years.
Jen: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
Tara: My father, Doug, wrote me a short horror fiction story called Knock Knock. Inspired, I added to it, and am trying to get that published. My mother also likes to write, but she prefers songs , complete with music. She wrote this great little Easter Song called “I Saw a Little Bunny Go Hop, Hop, Hop.” She used to teach it to her kids in school (she was a grade school teacher). I’m still after her to try to get it published.
Jen: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?
Tara: Neither. I look for inspiration all around me, and jot down ideas on whatever’s handy when something strikes me. An idea will just appear, sometimes in the middle of a conversation, or just come unbidden when I’m thinking to myself, or because of something I see. Then I make a beeline for my computer, or scribble down on the nearest paper. I’ve used the back of my grocery list, scrap from the recycle bin at work, the end of a receipt, and the back of the dentist or vet bill before. When I have enough, I get the feeling that it’s time to finally sit down and put all the pieces together into a book or short story. Some book ideas have been hanging out there for a few years now, because I’m waiting to get the inspiration to finish them. If I rush the story, it isn’t as good.
Jen: Do you have a theme, object or person that appears in all of your stories?
Tara: Devlin (vampire) appears in almost all the vampire stories, sometimes as hero and sometimes as villain. Lash (weresnake) appears in almost all the vampire books as well, even when he is not named. And all my vampire stories—from novel to microfiction, horror to romance—are set in the same world. You’ll see characters from one story appear in another, sometimes as main characters, or sometimes for a cameo, as Devlin appears in the story Night Music in Midnight Thirsts 2.
Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest? Most rewarding?
Tara: Finding time to write with all the social media and promotion is the most challenging, especially when the internet doesn’t cooperate. The easiest part—and most rewarding—is the actual writing itself. I’m always happy when I’m writing, no matter what the subject is.
Jen: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Tara: I’d like it if Devlin haunted my dreams. I do feel like the Promise Me characters, including Lash, are old friends, because I’ve known them for five years. I have only dreamed of Danial and Theo once, and they did not look like I expected, though I somehow knew it was them. They were both older, but no less formidable. And Theo saw me watching them, then came for me with a menacing look, like I was an enemy of Danial’s invading his space. I was happy to wake up.
Jen: What five authors or people, past or present, have been important to your writing? What question or comment have you always wanted to say to them?
Tara: First, to William W. Johnstone: thank you for all your Mountain Man, Out of the Ashes, Gunslinger, and other action/adventure book series. They compelled me to learn to shoot, and be responsible for my own safety. I wrote you a letter years ago, back when email wasn’t an option. I still have your letter in return, thanking me for my comments. I always appreciated you took the time out of your day to read my letter, and send me that reply. 🙂
To J.A. Johnstone: I was sorry to hear of your uncle’s death. He was a very special man. I think it’s wonderful that you are finishing his incomplete stories, and I wish you the very best of luck in your writing career. You will surely be the very best J.A. Johnstone, as he would have wished for you.
To Eve Mattel, of the Wolf Pirate Project: Thank you for all your mentoring of Promise Me, and your support. I could not have trimmed the book down without your help, or made it as great a work without all your suggestions and critiquing. I wish you all the best.
To Stephen King: I would not be a horror author without first having been your fan for the last two decades. I remember reading a hardback of Pet Sematary in bed, and being so young it was hard to hold the book up to read, because it was very heavy for my young arms. And it scared the hell out of me. I kept being worried one of my cats would be killed in the road and they would “come back wrong.” Thank you for always being an inspiration.
Lastly, to Harald Moore, of On The River Magazine. Thank you for publishing my nature/wildlife rescue stories in Catnip Blossoms!, Meanwhile… and On The River. If you hadn’t believed in me years ago, I could have never come this far.
Jen: What did you do to celebrate your first book?
Tara: I went out to dinner with my husband, stepfather, and mother, and we drank, ate way too much great food and toasted that I was finally an author. I ended the evening dancing with my husband near the restaurant buffet tables to the song, “American Pie.” It was a wonderful feeling, after five years of rejection.
Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Tara: I have no free time anymore. Just Kidding! I make cat beds for donation to shelters, or for non-profit groups to sell to raise money. I also make them for giveaways to my fans. I love to sew, though I admit, I have only moderate success with clothes. I am constantly trying to make the pattern better, which usually ends in disaster.
I also knit scarves and send them out west to Native American reservations, as I love to knit and this is another way of helping out others.
I am a big fan of old movies, specifically those set in the 30’s with James Cagney or Humphrey Bogart. But I enjoy current movies, too, of most genres, except romantic comedy and slapstick comedy.
I cut all my own firewood with the aid of a 55HP John Deere tractor, chains, a chainsaw and hydraulic splitter. My husband and my mom help me out, of course; I couldn’t do it by myself. That takes up the rest of my free time.
Jen: Where can you be found on the web?
Tara: Here’s a start:
Tara’s Blog: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5286654.Tara_Fox_Hall/blog
Tara’s Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/pages/Tara-Fox-Hall/151813374904903
Tara’s goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5286654.Tara_Fox_Hall
Tara’s page at Melange Books: www.melange-books.com/authors/tarafoxhall/tarafoxhall.html
Tara’s manic readers page: http://www.manicreaders.com/TaraFoxHall/
Tara’s page at Bradley Publishing: http://www.bradleypublishings.com/Tara_Fox_Hall.php
Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Tara: If you read my books and like them, please put up a review of whichever you like best on any social media site you prefer. Nothing cheers my day more than seeing a new good review. If reviewing isn’t your thing, please contact me through social media, or at my PO Box in Maine. I love to hear from fans, even just to say, “Hi, I liked your book!”
- The prize is a print copy of Promise Me.
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