Today I’m happy to welcome Tamara Lush, author of Hot Shade and Into the Heat, which was just released on Tuesday, January 19. Welcome, Tamara! I’m glad to have you here.
What made you choose your genre, or genres? I’ve always been drawn to sexy contemporary romance. Although I enjoy reading historical romance, I’m firmly grounded in the modern world. I love to read contemporary romance and it was a natural fit when I started to write my first story.
Describe your writing process. How do you get to know your characters? Flesh out your ideas? Create your villains? Probably because I’m a journalist in my day job, a lot of my process is inspired by real-life events. My first book, Hot Shade, was inspired by a real Italian journalist who is on the run from the Mafia after writing an expose. The heroine in that book is a young journalist, and many of the frustrations and details in the book are things that I experienced as a young reporter. My second book, Into the Heat, is about an Afghanistan war veteran with PTSD. I’ve covered some stories over the years involving PTSD, and I’ve always wondered – and worried – how veterans move forward.
My second book was actually inspired by a walk on the beach. It was a couple of years ago, in November, and my best friend and I went to a sand sculpture contest here on Florida’s Gulf Coast. These were detailed and elaborate sculptures that took days to carve. We came across one sculpture of a woman’s face, and there was a man sitting on the sand, putting final touches on the carving. I turned to my friend and said, “Wouldn’t that be an interesting detail for a book? A sexy guy on the beach, creating a sand sculpture?” We began brainstorming immediately.
What do you enjoy most about writing? I love the feeling of creating a world for two complicated, sometimes confused people who are struggling to find love and acceptance. Perhaps because I write a lot of harsh stories in my day job, I also really enjoy writing the happy-ever-afters. It’s why I started writing romance – it was a creative outlet and an antidote. In my fictional stories, everything turns out okay.
What do you dislike most about writing? The traditional publishing process is extremely slow. I’ve had to draw from a well of patience that I didn’t know I had. Working in journalism has spoiled me to think that everything should happen fast.
Tell us a bit about your most recent project. Into the Heat is my second novel. It was released Jan. 19. It’s about Leo Villeneuve, an Afghanistan war veteran with PTSD. He returns to the Florida island where he met his first love, Jessica Clarke – and runs into her on a beach during a sand sculpture competition. Trouble is, Leo is not only running from the pain of war, but from something that happened in his hometown of New Orleans. Jessica’s also got secrets of her own. It’s a story about first love and second chances, and also one of forgiveness.
What’s next on the agenda? I’m self-publishing an erotic contemporary novella in February called Tell Me a Story. It’s a billionaire romance with a literary twist. The story begins at a literary event called Story Brothel, and a handsome and mysterious stranger pays a writer to read him a story.
What are your interests outside of writing? I do yoga, cook and walk my dogs. There isn’t time for much else!
Quick Ten List
- What’s your favorite color? Blue, the color of the Gulf of Mexico on a bright day
- Favorite song?
- Favorite food/drink? Food: Vegan pizza/Drink: Lavender Kombucha
- Favorite movie? Goodfellas
- Favorite TV show? Right now, it’s a show from Spain called Velvet. The first two seasons are on Netflix with subtitles. It’s like Downton Abbey meets Mad Men, set in the world of fashion in 1950s Madrid.
- Favorite book? When Things Fall Apart, Pema Chödrön
- Favorite place? San Francisco. It holds wonderful childhood memories and it’s where my husband and I were married.
- Favorite way to spend a free hour? Walking with my husband and dogs
- Favorite animal? My Tibetan Spaniel, Dino
- Favorite quote about writing? “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.” – Anne Lamott
During the day, Tamara Lush writes news as a journalist with The Associated Press. At night, she writes fictional romance tales about complicated, sexy men and the women who love them.
When Tamara isn’t reporting, writing or reading, she’s doing yoga, cooking for her Italian husband or chasing her dogs on a beach on Florida’s Gulf Coast. She loves connecting with people on social media.