Monday, March 14, 2011

Interview with Tamara Hogan and Giveaway - March 14, 2011

Please welcome Tamara Hogan to The Qwillery as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge interviews.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Tamara:  Great question! Hmm, probably how I use music as a tool to get in the writing zone. Rather like how a dog knows it’s time for walkies when a leash is snapped to its collar, clapping on a headset means it’s time to write. In addition to the headset blocking out background noise wherever I happen to be writing, music triggers emotional reactions in me very quickly—don’t put on The Finale of “Wicked” unless you want to see me bawl like a baby! Knowing that, I’ve created some iPod playlists that help me more quickly access the emotional state of the POV character I happen to be writing that day. I’m also influenced by a song’s pace. When the music I’m listening to is fast, I type fast—kinda like how, when you’re rocking out in the car, driving down the highway, you look at the speedometer and notice that, somehow, you’re driving a good 15 miles over the speed limit? ;-) I consciously use this reaction as a productivity tool when I’m doing writing sprints or fast-drafting. Current favorite: The Prodigy’s “The Fat of the Land,” listening straight through.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Tamara:  I’ve always been a genre girl. Early Anne Rice—her vampires, and “The Witching Hour”—was a huge influence. I love Stephen King. I’ve read (and own) everything Nora Roberts has ever written, and her work has taught me so much about dialogue tagging and pace. I’m always delighted by dark and twisted, so there are times when only Anne Stuart will suffice. I’m a big “Dune” fan, and I love Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan saga. There are phases in my own writing process where I simply can’t read Bujold because she’s so good it psyches me out. Nalini Singh is simply a goddess to me.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

Tamara:  I’ll go hybrid with this answer and say I’m a…pantsalotter? At the beginning of the writing process, I do a fair amount of character development work, have a pretty firm idea of the hero’s, heroine’s and villain’s goals, motivations and conflicts. I’m aware, at a very high level, of how the story I’m working on has to drive the overall Underbelly Chronicles series arc. I typically know how I want to begin and end the story, I have a fuzzy vision of several key plot points, and I typically have a short list of scenes I think I’ll need. Then I…fly into the wind. The plot firms up along the way.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Taste Me?

Tamara:  Music, of course. ;-) I was watching a famous band perform, and was absolutely riveted by the…debauched?...behavior of the drummer. I remember thinking, “He must be half incubus.” Something in my head went click, and I started writing (world-building) the next morning.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do to create the world of the Underbelly Chronicles?

Tamara:  Building this world was a blast, because I, very selfishly, found a way to utilize so many of my personal interests. I revisited classic mythology, sought out ancient religious texts, studied modern pop culture, expanded upon my own technical knowledge, and gleefully delved into futuristic science and theory. One of the first issues I had to consider was the creatures’ origin story. If I was going to propose that mythological creatures were real—and I was—how did they come to exist in the first place? Did they evolve here, alongside humanity, or did they come from someplace else entirely? I found the latter idea to be much more fertile ground from a story-telling perspective. I loved twisting our “known” history to accommodate their very existence.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Taste Me?

Tamara:  I think it’s a tie between the first time Lukas and Scarlett share a scene in the book (excerpt here! Mature readers only), and the concert scene, which spans several chapters and zigzags back and forth between Lukas’s and Scarlett’s point of view. I live near Minneapolis, home of First Avenue—the club Prince made famous in “Purple Rain”—and I’m fortunate to have had years of access to a vibrant live music scene. I’m still trying to weigh just how many concert tickets I can reasonably write off as business expenses. J 

TQ:   How many books are planned for the Underbelly Chronicles? Will there be any short stories or novellas set in Underbelly Chronicles' world?

Tamara:  The Underbelly Chronicles is plotted through nine books, but the world is complex enough to support additional stories of any length. Most of the characters introduced in TASTE ME will be featured as heroes or heroines in later books in the series. (Readers are already asking for Lukas’s sister Sasha’s story!) Sourcebooks has contracted the first trilogy in the series, and I have high hopes that readers will want to visit the Underbelly again and again!

TQ:  What's next?

Tamara:  I just typed THE END on the second book of the Underbelly Chronicles series, CHASE ME, which teams up Valkyrie archaeologist Lorin Schlessinger with by-the-book werewolf geologist Gabe Lupinsky as they excavate the site where Lorin suspects their ancestors’ spaceship crashed. CHASE ME is scheduled for a March 2012 release. I’m starting research and character development work for TEMPT ME, the third book in the series. In addition, I’ll be at the Romantic Times conference in April—catch me at Club RT Thursday afternoon! —and participating in a panel discussion at RWA National during the last week of June called "The Road to Novel Completion: Potholes, Pit-Stops and Poppy Fields, Oh My!" Follow the yellow brick road as my Ruby Slippered Sisters and I share the tips and techniques that help us dodge life’s flying monkeys and finish that darned novel.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Tamara:  So glad to be here! Thanks so much for the invitation, and the thought-provoking questions.

Tamara's Books
Taste Me
Underbelly Chronicles 1
(March 1, 2011)
Hot, sexy urban fantasy romance by a new author with talent to burn…
He Wants Her So Badly He Can Taste It…
Ever since their tempestuous fling years ago, incubus Lukas Sebastiani has known that siren Scarlett Fontaine was meant to be his. But when you’re a sex demon with an insatiable desire, relationships are way more than complicated…
Her Siren Songs Bring Men to Their Knees…
Rock star Scarlett Fontaine desperately needs a break after a grueling tour. But with murder and mayhem surrounding her band, and the one man she never thought to see again put to the task of protecting her, life is going to be anything but peaceful…
Every encounter between them creates more turmoil—and heat—until Scarlett pushes Lukas to the boiling point, and unleashes forces that go way beyond anything she can hope to control…

Chase Me (Underbelly Chronicles 2) is slated for release in March 2012.

About Tamara

Tamara Hogan loathes cold and snow, but nonetheless lives in the Minneapolis exurbs with her partner Mark and two naughty cats. When she’s not telecommuting as a quality and process engineer for a global networking company, she writes urban fantasy romance with a sci-fi twist. Taste Me was a 2009 Daphne Paranormal Winner and Golden Heart paranormal finalist under the title Underbelly. For more information, please visit
Tamara's Links
Ruby Slippered Sisters (group blog)
The Giveaway


What:  Two copies of Taste Me are being provided by Sourcebooks so 2 commenters will win a copy of Taste Me. A big thank you to Sourcebooks.

How:  Leave a comment answering this question: what music inspires you? Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)  Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)  Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)  Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Monday, March 21, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*


  1. I would say that Alternative music inspires me the most. I like The Offspring alot. I also like 80's rocker chicks like Heart, Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, & Annie Lenox. I can turn the volume up and just plow thru whatever I am doing. It really does give you extra energy and focus.

    user1123 AT comcast DOT net

    3 Entries Total

    +1 Commented answering question
    +1 Follow The Quillery on Twitter as GeishasMom73
    +1 Tweeted the contest here:

  2. The music depends on what kind of 'inspiring' I need. Cleaning? Something I can bop around to and sing along (loudly!) with. The soundtrack to Mama Mia! works well for this. Driving? I love to listen to Country radio. Writing or just enjoying quiet time? Classical, like Pachelbel's Canon or Sleepsong by Secret Garden. Dancing? 80's alternative.

    So... comment, follower & retweet... +3.

    P.S. WONDERFUL interview!!

    P.P.S. Serious giggle: My word verification is "wasup"...heh...I am 12... ;)

  3. Music....I have different playlists according to what I am doing:
    usually I listen to Glee songs while cleaning, 3OH!3 while prepraring to go out and Damien Rice, Travis, The script while translating

    aliasgirl at libero dot it

    +1 comment

  4. @Stacie, it sounds like our musical tastes align pretty tightly! I heard a theory once that proposed that the music of our coming of age years is forever a personal touchstone. The 80's was that time for me. What a great decade for female performers - and they're all still performing! I saw Benatar perform a couple of years ago. FABULOUS. And her husband is so, so hot.

    @rissatoo, have you ever visited Minneapolis? Some of the best dance and music clubs in America, I'm just sayin.' ;-)

    @Reading mind, I listened to a lot of 3OH!3, Alice In Chains and Nine Inch Nails when I was writing the scenes from TASTE ME's villain's point of view. AIC, in particular, has long been a favorite band of mine; something about their dissonant harmonies just enraptures me. Unfortunately drugs ravaged the band; original bassist Mike Starr OD'd just last week. What a criminal waste of talent.

  5. My musical taste fall somewhere in the classic rock I find I can always find a pick me up or a fight the power song.


    beatrixtroels (AT) gmx (DOT) com

  6. I love rock music. Alternative, metal, grunge you name it. I adore the band Tool. Anything with a guitar. I just love that instrument. It's so musical to me it sounds like a voice.

    +1 comment
    +1 follower

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  7. @Vivien, I'm a big Tool fan, too. I might make some enemies here, but I like almost every kind of music...except country. Dixie Chicks is about as country as I can go. That said, I love the lyrics to a lot of country songs. What great stories those writers tell!

  8. +1 Follower=BLHmistress
    +1 Commented, Answered question
    +1 Tweeted!/BookLovershaway/status/47377369199153154

    What music inspires me is 80's metal-especially Bon Jovi they have been a big part of my life for almost 30 years whether I have been angry, hurt or happy their music has helped me thru all the good times and bad times in my life.

    3 entries


  9. What music doesn't inspire me. I think everything inspires me in a certain way. Depends on my mood and what kind of music that I've been jonesing. I pretty much listen to everything.
    +1 blog follower/twitter follower @iqb2001
    +1 answered question

  10. I think all kinds of music inspires me because what I listen do really depend on what I'm doing or how my mood is at the time.

    Thanks for the interview and giveaway! It's always nice to get to know the author and it was interesting to read what inspired Taste Me!

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower


  11. I love a lot of different music, including alternative rock, reggae, classic rock, and classical, but what really gets me is Celtic music. There something about those pipes, drums and bagpipes, that inspires me.

    GFC follower

  12. @BLHmistress, don't the 80's totally rock? I was listening to some GoGo's this morning as I was writing, and having a great time.

    @Danielle, I find that music can both feed a mood, and create a mood. What would we do without it?

  13. @winnie, thanks for stopping by! Glad you enjoyed the interview.

    @Barbara E, I also enjoy Celtic music, especially vocals. Sinead O'Connor, Delores O'Riordan of The Cranberries (so unique) and Dido all have such clear, piping voices.

  14. I love all types of music it just really depends on my mood. But usually it's a toss up between Alternative,Soul R&b and jazz.

    +1 follower

  15. It depends on my mood and what I'm doing. If I'm thinking hard, just music no lyrics. Swing actually makes tedious tasks easier. I LOVE Rock! And I've played everything from classical to rap in whatever mood strikes! :)

    I follow gfc and twitter (@BooksThings)
    books (Dot) things (at) yahoo (Dot) com

  16. @Aanchal, jazz is a musical genre I enjoy but don't know a whole lot about. I need to rectify that!

    @Melissa, great point about swing! Like my heroine Scarlett Fontaine, I'll listen to everything from Gregorian chants to death metal - taking a pretty broad detour around most country music, for some reason...

  17. How ironic that you ask this question. Music is it for me. I love the R&B, Rock, and have such a large collection thanks to my daughter the music queen. when your daughter's whole world is music, she knows what she likes and especially knows her mom will like it *s*
    I love Nickleback. Many of the songs are just downright sex.
    Yum *S*



  18. I love all different sorts of music, but lately the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Santigold and Arcade Fire have been especially inspirational. Great interview, I'd really like to read this book!

  19. Music that tells a story is what inspires me.

    treerose AT yahoo DOT com

  20. Well i like pop but i also enjoy some jazz, and some indie.
    Arctic Monkeys.

    +1 comment

  21. Please withdraw my name from the contest. I won Taste Me on another blog. Can't wait to read it! Good luck everyone!

  22. I love all music what inspires me is music thats upbeat from Shakira and Pink to ACDC no slow songs for me that just slows me down and I like to keep busy and moving .
    I follow via twitter @lilblupixie
    I tweeted!/lilblupixie

    3 total entries

  23. It depends on my mood and what I am doing. I love to have instrumental classical music on when I am working on my fiction writing. It is wonderfully relaxing and helps me focus.
    When I want to cheer myself up or just want some 'me time', I pop on a musical and sing along! There's nothing like blasting out a good power ballad to improve your day!

    +1 comment
    +1 follow

    nickijmarkus @

  24. I love all kind of music, for working in the household rock is it for me, but while painting I love to hear any kind of sad songs...
    greetings, Ina

    inale87 at gmx dot at

    2 entries (comment, follower via GFC)

  25. Depending oön my mood very different music can inspire me: I love rock songs (Aerosmith, Nickelback) just as much as classics (Tchaikovsky is ym favourite but also love Brahms) and country!

    +1 commented

    +1 I'm an old and loyal follower :-)

    +1 tweeted:

    posted on Facebook too:

    Thank you for the generous giveaway!

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com