Debut author Tammy L Bailey joins me today to talk about her life and her new book with The Wild Rose Press. LORD BACHELOR, a contemporary romance, released on December 7. I'm very happy she dropped in to say hello!
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I like to search out and cast my characters before I sit down and start writing. I will either watch a ton of romance movies or go through actor/actress photos to see who would have great chemistry together. I know it’s hard to tell from a picture, but it helps me visualize them together. I also like to run the pictures by my sister and my friend to see if they approve. Most of the time, they love who I pick to play my lead characters.
What do you want readers to come away with after they read LORD BACHELOR?
I want them to fall in love with the characters. I had such a great time writing both Abby and Edmund, especially Edmund. I want readers to read the last sentence with a smile and a giddy laugh. I know how I feel when I read a great book or watch a great movie. I think about the characters and the story for days. I hope, when readers close the last page of Lord Bachelor, the characters and the story stick with them. Perhaps, if the readers are having a bad week (we ALL have them), they can think about the book and smile.
Did you always want to be a writer?
I believe my first aspiration was to become a singer. I remember performing songs with my cousins in front of our families on family game night when we were all six or seven. I played a very mean air guitar, too. Of course, I’m not a great singer (horrific, actually), so I turned to acting in high school. I even helped with writing our senior play called, Mixed Nuts. It was a compilation of music through the decades. I did have a few dancing parts, and was named, ‘Most likely to star in Flash Dance 2’ at my senior prom. In between all these aspirations, I wrote sappy poetry or short stories, never once believing I’d become an author. It was something that helped me get through my parents’ divorce and the awkwardness of being a teenager.
How did you get started writing romance?
I would have to say after watching Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth one weekend. I was mesmerized. Soon after, I spent all my free time reading every historical romance I could find. Between reading and wearing out the 1997 version of Pride and Prejudice on my VHS (I still have the tapes in my entertainment center), I decided to come up with a Regency love story of my own. Although my first real attempt at writing will probably never see the light of day, I had a great time developing the characters.
I think a lot of us wore out that VHS tape. Colin Firth was the perfect Mr. Darcy. But I digress. What comes first for you – plot or character? And why?
With Lord Bachelor, the character came first. I knew how I wanted to write Edmund, so I built a plot around him. When I’ve written other books, I have the plot and then start looking around to cast the characters. For some reason my male characters seem to be more British than American. Ironically, I’ll cast them and then, soon after, see them on a commercial or an advertisement for their latest project. When I saw ‘Edmund’ staring in a new American television series, I jumped up and started pointing at the television. My wonderful and understanding husband’s nonchalant response was, “He’s one of your British guys, isn’t he?” I had to laugh.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m definitely a panster. I’ve purchased books and watched Youtube on how to plot novels, but it’s too distracting. Since I have a lot of dialog in my books, there are times when I will sit down and just write down a conversation between the two characters. Sometimes this can go for a few chapters. When I finish, my document will look more like a movie script.
If you could get rid of something in your life that would give you more writing time, what would it be?
Cleaning! I work full time which takes up about twelve hours of my day. This includes getting everyone ready for school, me ready for work, and the commute to and from work. Then there’s dinner and helping with homework. If my house cleaned itself, I’d have much more time to write and market my current book, I think.
I hear about the cleaning. I hate it, too. Do you have any pets? Are you cat person or a dog person? Or are you into totally different pets, like goldfish?
When I was very young, I had a black lab. She was the best dog, but died on Mother’s Day when I was nine. Although I like animals, I don’t own any pets. Between my family’s schedule, the poor thing wouldn’t have any company for hours at a time. A few years ago, my youngest son won a goldfish at a carnival. We named him Cooper, after Alice Cooper, and he lived for over a year. I still miss the little guy.
What are your hobbies away from the computer?
I’m a romance movie junkie. I love romances and can sit and watch every Jane Austen adaptation ever made, or just a great romance. I also enjoy movie nights with my younger son. We like Star Wars and Avenger movies. My older son is a fantastic drummer, so I enjoy listening to him play.
How do you choose the names and physical characteristics of your characters? Do you base them on real people?
I do base them on real people, mostly actors/actresses I’ve watched and can imagine them playing a different character or role. I will go through a casting call before I start writing a book. It helps me lay the groundwork for all the scenes.
Tell us a little about your current work in progress.
I’m just beginning a cowboy contemporary romance. My hero and heroine are long lost loves. Well, sort of. They met when they were young, thirteen or so. Now, thirteen years later and all grown up, they meet up again. Only, they don’t recognize each other, and they don’t exactly hit it off. She’s a bit of a control freak, and he has a trusting issue. I’m hoping to get a lot of writing accomplished during the holiday break.
How can readers reach you or find you online?
Here's the blurb for LORD BACHELOR:
Edmund Rushwood is a single English lord in possession of a great fortune who is in desperate need of a rich wife.
In accordance with his father’s will, Edmund has until he turns twenty-six to find a wealthy bride or lose his vast inheritance. To retain his selfish lifestyle, he agrees to join an American dating game show to find the woman who can save him. He doesn’t bargain on meeting Abby Forester, an impoverished, spirited American woman who is content to live out her father’s dreams in his vintage record shop.
With covert intervention from an unlikely source, Abby lands on the dating game show as one of Edmund’s potential brides. As their worlds entangle and love begins to bloom, Abby discovers Edmund cannot marry her and retain his wealth at the same time. Will love keep them together, or will greed triumph and tear them apart?
He smiled. “Just say thank you, and we’ll call it even.”
For a long moment, she stared at him, mouth agape, not sure if this was some sort of British humor she didn’t understand. Well, she supposed it didn’t cost her anything to give him what he wanted.
His smile widened. “I thought American girls were all about, uhm,” he paused, his gaze sliding to her slightly parted lips, “…affectionate forms of appreciation.”
Abby exhaled. Did he really expect her to kiss him? Well, she wasn’t going to, no matter how many times her gaze wandered to his mouth. “I don’t know you, and you certainly don’t know me, Mr. —”
“Lord,” he corrected her with the slightest conceited bow. “Lord Rushwood.”
She resisted the urge to roll her eyes. “Pardon me. Lord Rushwood.”
“You may still call me Edmund.”
This time she brought her hands to her face, ready to let out a frustrated scream. He didn’t move as she parted her fingers and peeked through them. Growing more annoyed, she dropped her hands to her sides and squared her shoulders.
"I have thanked you…Edmund, so I will not be wrapping my arms around your neck and inviting you up for a night of, whatever you call it in England—”
She closed her eyes and brought in a therapeutic breath. “Never mind,” she replied, trying to extinguish the blush spreading like a wildfire into her face.
Tammy L. Bailey grew up in historical Appomattox, Virginia. After graduating from high school, she joined the military where she served five years in the active duty Army, three of those years in Hawaii. She retired as a Master Sergeant in the Ohio Air National Guard in 2011. She now resides near Cleveland, Ohio with her husband and two sons.
A huge Jane Austen, she began writing historical romances when she was in her early thirties. Lord Bachelor is her very first contemporary romance.
When she’s not writing, she enjoys Star Wars movie night with her 9-year-old son and going to drumming practice with her 12-year-old son. Football is her favorite sport, “Show Me The Money” by Lux Lisbon is currently her favorite song, and her favorite movies are period dramas.