Tara Mills – author of Caution: Filling is Hot coming from Crimson July 16, 2012
I’m Tara Mills and I write contemporary romance. I actually chose this name in my teens for privacy reasons. I wanted a name that was close enough to my own that it wouldn’t feel strange to sign it or answer to it. It’s also a while lot easier to pronounce and spell than my married name.
What’s your marital/family status? Would you share one physical description with us?
I’m very happily married to my high school sweetheart and we’ve raised three pretty incredible sons. My oldest is graduating from college this summer and expecting my first grandchild three days after the release of Caution: Filling is Hot. Should be a pretty exciting week for all of us. Just one physical description? I guess I’ll go with the obvious. I’m petite – five feet tall to be exact. Almost everyone towers over me.
Do you have a secret passion?
My secret passion is for my colored pencils. I sketch, color to relax, and design. I like to design houses and tinker with floor plans. If I didn’t love writing so much I would have gone to school for architecture.
One thing about yourself you’d never change.
I’d have to say it’s my upbeat personality. I have a good attitude and I smile – a lot.
If you could live anywhere else, where would you live and why?
I love where I’m living but I’m quite open to living elsewhere – provided I don’t have to deal with traffic. I’m a very timid driver. We’ve considered the merits of both coasts and island living but for now, our friends and family will continue to influence our decision to remain where we are.
Do you write about where you live?
I think where we live, or where we’ve been, does influence our settings. I know it does for me. The most obvious example of this is in my other upcoming Crimson title, Forest Fires. It would be impossible to deny that connection.
First memory of creative writing?
I got a typewriter for Christmas when I was in fifth grade and immediately wrote and illustrated a story for my teacher. She’s the first person to predict a life of writing was ahead for me. She even wrote that on my report card. I treasured it. It’s always been my plan to dedicate one of my stories to her.
Why do you write romance novels?
Is there anything more essential, more universal, than pairing up? There’s a biological, as well as an emotional compulsion inside every one of us to seek out our balance – that one person who will ultimately complement us. I like that romance doesn’t just recognize that fact – it embraces it. Not only that, but romance novels hit all the other notes on the scale too. You like suspense? Read this. You prefer mystery? Here’s one you’ll love. Interested in history? Check this one out. Love a good laugh? This is an author for you. Romance unapologetically covers it all. I love that.
What else do you write?
I write essays, poetry, short stories, political and social commentary, I even wrote a play called Triple Sec.
One thing from your book that you took from personal experience?
The store where Piper works is very identifiable. My aunt picked it up right away. It’s lovely.
What did you cut from your book that felt like severing a body part?
Fortunately, that wasn’t something I had to deal with. I can’t say I won’t have to face it with my other titles but Caution managed to get through the process relatively intact and unscathed.
Do you identify closely with one particular character? Who?
Yes and no. How you respond to a situation can influence the way you write a scene, but ultimately the characters are their own people. I’m merely transcribing their story. It doesn’t belong to me. Most of the time, I feel like I’m reading their story, not creating it. I’m taken by surprise a lot.
What’s the best and worst parts about a writing life?
The best part is the writing, knowing something is working because your heart is racing or you suddenly burst out laughing at what you just read on the screen in front of you. Knowing your emotions are engaged is a good thing. The worst part about the writing life is finding a door that will open for you. I visualize the industry as a popular nightclub with lines of hopefuls trailing off down the block and bouncers scanning lists and turning anyone without an ‘in‘ away without even blinking. That can be disheartening.
Give us a hint about what your next book’s like.
I’m about ready to shop my story In Love and War and I’ve got two other works in progress going. One is called In the Mood, about a rising singer who damages her vocal cords while on tour and falls for the man hired to save her career. The other is called Soothe Me Baby and it’s a follow-up to my story Accidents Make the Heart Grow Fonder. In this story my psychiatrist hero Rob, is frustrated because all his dates invariably end up as professional sessions. He has a lot more success getting into women’s heads than their pants and he’s getting pretty tired of writing referrals. All that changes however when Gabriella Ziti starts flirting with him while they wait in line to pay for their coffee one morning. She tells him when and where to meet her later. She doesn’t give him much choice – not that he’d want one anyway. He’ll be glad he turned up.
You can read more about my titles, along with the first chapters of each, on my website http://www.taramillsromance.com