Tara Fox Hall’s writing credits include nonfiction, horror, suspense, action-adventure, erotica, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She is the author of the paranormal action-adventure Lash series and the vampire romantic suspense Promise Me series. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice.
What inspires you to write?
I always liked to write, since I was a kid. As I got older, my short story subjects moved from unicorns to ghost towns to my life in the country. But I didn’t get serious about writing until my mom had a bad health scare. I’d always wanted to write her a book, and now had a deadline of a year, at most. I began Promise Me that night. Six months later, her health issues had been resolved completely, and I had several finished books. She liked them so much, I kept writing them for her, sequel after sequel. And since the first books were already done, I decided to ask a professional editor for their opinion on whether to try to get them published or not. If the editor’s assessment had been negative, I would have kept writing but never gone public with my stories.
Per above, I wanted to write a book for my mother. But all I had for a premise was an old vampire tale I had been working on half-heartedly for years. There was only about seven pages, with the typical flimsy vampire novel plot; vampire loves girl from afar, rescues her, she has a relationship with him, they decide they can’t stay together….then with a few plot twists, they live happily ever after. I wrote a first chapter from my notes, printed it off, and gave it to mom. She told me that night that it was boring, unrealistic, and nothing happened, “and if I didn’t make it more interesting, she wasn’t reading any more.” I was crushed, of course, having written it for her. So I let everything else slide for the next week, took a hard look at all my plot points, and decided what I had so far was drivel. I needed a story she could believe in, that was as real as I could make it. So I thought about what I would do if I found a real vampire. How would I really act? What would really happen? Then I changed the setting to a rural farm that resembled my own place, gave the heroine a lot of my attributes and world views, and decided that she would rescue the vampire instead of him rescuing her. And Promise Me was begun. 🙂
Tell us about your writing process.
When creating a rough draft of a manuscript, authors usually do their own thing. For me, it’s jotting down all kind of ideas on where the plot should go (or might go), as well as the key events or period of time I want to cover in the book. As I write, I check my notes for ideas on what comes next. This usually results in several ideas not being used in the final draft, as they—for whatever reason—have nothing to do with the central plot of the given work in progress. This is not to say that the ideas aren’t good, only that they aren’t relevant to the ideas the book presents (or don’t work to move events along in a series work). These “N/A ideas” get put aside. After the final draft is complete, I again read through the book several times for content, answering questions left hanging (ex: how did character X get home for the next scene, where did character Y get the gun he’s got in Chapter 4, etc.). This is done to make sure that everything flows evenly and the action moves right long. But there is also a final step I do, which is read through to make sure that every word I’ve used is necessary. As I read, if I begin to skip sections out of boredom, I take a hard look to make sure those sections need to be there. Anything that is superfluous is deleted, like a sentence whose subject is restated from the one previous. Passages of merit that don’t belong are cut out and saved for a possible later use in a future book.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Neither. For a long work like a novel, I imagine the scene, and knowing them, plot out how they react to a given thing. Some short stories are from dreams, and they are dreamed complete; all I have to do is wake up and write it down, complete with dialogue. I guess you could call that listening 🙂
What advice would you give other writers?
Don’t give up. work to perfect your craft, and do everything you can to learn about what kind of writing best suits you.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I tried for five years to find an agent and was rejected across the board. I got professionals to write me query letters, tried publishers, even went so far as to tell an agent I’d write her anything she’d wanted, if she’d take me on as a client. All got me nada. But this service did have one piece of fab advice no one had told me before: to take an excerpt from the novel and try to get it published. The first publisher I tried rejected me soundly. The second publisher I tried was Melange, and they accepted Surrender To Me…and later many other of my works, including the highly successful Promise Me Series. 🙂
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think ebooks are the future, much as I like my paperbacks. Other than that, I’m just watching and waiting 🙂
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?
Paranormal, Romantic suspense, Horror, Suspense, Erotic, fantasy
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print