Tamara will be awarding two $25 Amazon GCs to randomly drawn commenters during the tour.
Away From the Spotlight
by Tamara Carlisle
1. How did you come up with ideas for your book?
Around the time that the Twilight movie was released and for quite a while afterward, I couldn’t open my internet browser without seeing, front and center, some story about one of the actors or actresses in that movie. Every detail of their lives, real or rumored, was published. I wondered how they would date and ever know whether that person liked them or the perks and publicity of being associated with them. I thought that they would have to date someone who knew them before they were famous or someone who didn’t know who they were. However, considering how much press they were getting, who wouldn’t know who they were? The answer then occurred to me: a law student.
A law student has little free time in light of the vast amounts of reading required and working part-time as a law clerk reduces that free time even further. Based upon my experience, the last thing a law student wants to do in his or her limited free time is read or engage in any other sedentary activity such as watching television or going to the movies. Consequently, a law student might not be knowledgeable about relatively new actors and actresses.
With all that in mind, the idea for the novel came to me: a very famous, young actor meets a law student who doesn’t know who he is. I couldn’t get the idea out of my head and finally decided to write it down. Away from the Spotlight was born.
2. What components are necessary for the genre of this novel?
The main ingredients for a successful romance story are: (1) a desirable, fantasy hero, (2) a likeable, relatable heroine, (3) interesting settings that makes sense for the characters, (4) a believable premise (i.e., could these particular characters really fall in love?), (5) an interesting conflict that is not overly contrived or drawn out, and (6) a satisfying resolution of the conflict (i.e., “happily ever after”). In addition, a published work must also be well-edited so that spelling, grammar, continuity, appropriate idioms, and other issues of form don’t pull the reader out of the story.
3. What expertise did you bring to your writing?
I did not bring any expertise in the “art” of writing as Away from the Spotlight is my first published work of fiction.
Notwithstanding, I did bring expertise in the “skill” of writing from my many years of practicing law and working as a business consultant. As a litigator, I wrote extensively, including case analyses, memoranda of points and authorities in support of motions, and trial documents. As a business consultant, I prepare and deliver presentations, analyses, and communications on a multitude of subjects, including those in the areas of compliance and finance.
While I cannot promise perfection, in light of my skill, the voice of the narrator in Away from the Spotlight should be appropriate; there should be no issues of consistency; and my grammar, spelling, idioms, and punctuation should be correct.
4. When did you first decide to submit your work? Please tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step?
I was inspired to publish earlier this year after reading novels by some popular self-published (at that time) romance authors: Tracey Garvis-Graves, Colleen Hoover, Jamie McGuire, and S.C. Stephens, among others. I admired what they did and decided to do it myself since I had a completed novel in Away from the Spotlight.
5. Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I start writing and outline as I go to ensure a linear progression and accurate references to the timing of prior events. In addition, I use it to recognize and fill in gaps between milestone events. In Away from the Spotlight, I also used it to ensure that Shannon’s Eurail trip worked logistically.
6. Do you have any hobbies and does the knowledge you've gained from these carry over into your characters or the plot of your book?
My love of music, travel, college football and all things British are reflected in Away from the Spotlight. Due to my love of music, Will and Shannon bond over music upon meeting and attend a concert together on their second date; and Will has famous musician friends who make multiple appearances in the story. With respect to my love of travel, Shannon travels to the U.K. and Europe after the California Bar Exam just as I did after taking the California Bar Exam. During that trip, I reference my love of college football, and the USC Trojans in particular, when Shannon talks to Will’s father about it. Because of my love of all things British, Will is English; Will and Shannon meet in a pub and frequent and number of others; and Will and Shannon meet in London when she is traveling after the California Bar Exam.
7. Do you have an all-time favorite book?
My all-time favorite book is The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins. I love that Higgins turns a World War II spy thriller on its head, making the bad guy sympathetic and the good guys flawed and not always so good. I referenced this book in Away from the Spotlight as follows:
“Pam has this fantasy of meeting someone like a character in her favorite book. It’s a World War II Spy Thriller and the bad guy, who’s really not a bad guy, just on the wrong side, is a tall, blond Prussian-type. She’s hoping to meet someone like him while we’re in Germany. Tonight is her last chance.”
8. Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your book(s)?
I have five novels in the works, but I am working on two of them primarily:
The first novel involves a romance between a young Irish musician, Niall Robertson, and a somewhat older business woman, Kate Maxwell, from Los Angeles. They meet in Glasgow, Scotland, when she is on vacation with her then-fiancé. Niall and Kate spend a romantic, but fairly platonic, evening together. They exchange contact information, but do not remain in contact. While they remain out of contact, Kate breaks it off with her fiancé and Niall’s band is signed. Kate contacts Niall after hearing his band on the radio. They meet again when Niall’s band is in concert in Los Angeles. Kate then finds that trying to maintain a relationship with an increasingly famous and itinerant musician is tough.
The second novel involves a romance between Julianne Cameron and Rob MacDonald, two spouses of alcoholics who meet when Julianne is on vacation in Fort William, Scotland. I wrote this one after reading a number of blogs and discussion forums that dealt with the issue of cheating in romance novels and the fact that it turns a lot of readers off – I wanted to create a story where the issue wasn’t so black and white. Did Julianne and Rob cheat? Were their actions justified in light of the circumstances? Did they deserve a second chance at love?
I hope to publish at least one of these novels by the end of the year, and the other in early 2013.
9. Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?
There is a black moment in Away from the Spotlight when Will breaks up with Shannon because he believes that she is better off without him in light of the trouble his fame is causing her and her fledgling career.
I based Shannon’s experience on one of mine that occurred when I was a few years older than Shannon. I suffered a break up, albeit for different reasons, that nearly broke me. I was a wreck for quite a while and felt like I was living in a black hole of despair. My friends took me out every night I wasn’t working late so that I didn’t have to be alone. While my ex was living it up in the new relationship that had been the final cause of the ending of ours, I was not a lot of fun to be around and was completely incapable of being with someone else despite my attempts at dating. I remembered that pain and used it in the story. Shannon and I both had our happy endings eventually though, although hers involved a reconciliation and mine did not. My happy ending ended up being with someone else. (I did receive somewhat of an apology and expression of regret from that ex many years later though.)
10. If you were a casting director for the film version of your book, who would play your lead roles?
Although some of the actors and actresses are a bit too old now, here’s my take on some of the characters:
Will – Henry Cavill, Richard Madden or Robert Pattinson
Shannon – Emilia Clarke or Kate Winslet
John – Kit Harringon or Ethan Peck
Pam – Emma Stone
Niall – Jonathan Rhys-Meyers
Rachael – Busy Philipps
In the closing weeks of law school, Shannon Sutherland meets handsome and charming Englishman Will MacKenzie. Initially swept off her feet, Shannon finds that Will has a secret that, once discovered and the consequences realized, could destroy their fledgling relationship. Will and Shannon take great pains to have a normal relationship but, ultimately, find it impossible to do so. Will the pressures of their careers and the temptations of others drive Will and Shannon apart? Can Will and Shannon live a happy life away from the spotlight?
“I met someone. His name is Will. He’s English, I think.”
“That would be different for you.”
She wasn’t wrong. I had very casually dated a number of men I had met in the various pubs in Santa Monica. They were from all over Europe, but not one of them had been English for some reason. There were Scottish, Irish and Welsh men among them, but never English. I had commented on occasion on the fact that I never seemed to meet English men at the English pubs I frequented.
“I’m going to see him again tomorrow night.”
“What’s he like?”
“Drop-dead gorgeous, smart, funny and with excellent taste in music. Just my type. Well, better than my type, actually. It’s hard to believe someone that perfect has any interest in me.”
“Please” Rachael said. “You get hit on every time we go out.”
“That’s overstating things quite a bit.”
“You seem oblivious to it half the time.”
I guess I did ignore some of it. When you spend time as part of a female minority in bars full of drunk men, it was hard not to think that some of them would have hit on me for no other reason than that I was female, regardless of how I acted, what I said, or what I looked like. I therefore learned that getting hit on wasn’t necessarily a compliment and, the later it happened in the evening, the less of a compliment it was.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Tamara Carlisle is a former attorney and business consultant. Away from the Spotlight is her first published work of fiction. She currently is working on two additional novels: one is about love in the music industry and the other is a work of paranormal fiction. Tamara currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her British husband and daughter. For further information, go to http://www.tamaracarlisle.com.
Library Thing: http://www.librarything.com/author/carlisletamara
Tamara’s Goodreads Author Page also includes a blog detailing trivia relating to Away from the Spotlight.
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