The Mistress of Pennington's Tour

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Welcome romance writer, Tamara Carlisle...

 Hi, Tamara! It's really nice to meet you and be a part on your ongoing tour. I wish you lots of sales and success. Shall we get started with my questions? Looking forward to getting to know you a better. Love your author pic, by the way!

1)   What is your writing routine?

I usually write in the evenings while my daughter is at practice or doing her homework, and my husband is catching up with the day’s sports on television.  Despite the fact that, ordinarily, I am a compulsive multi-tasker, I focus exclusively on what I write during that time.  I write in silence with no distractions.  I can’t even listen to music while I write.  I channel the story as if transcribing a movie in my head.  My research is performed either before I start writing or afterward as a confirmation of the accuracy of certain details.  When finished for the evening, I’ll fill in my timeline with what transpired in the novel during the writing session.

2)   Which author/s inspire you to write?

I started to write as a child.  I read the Star Wars books (and saw the movies) and was amazed at the fact that George Lucas created his own universe with its own rules.  I wanted to do that.  I continued to write short stories for fun and shared them with co-workers from time-to-time, never intending to publish.  Once I had my daughter, I got out of the legal profession and found a career that allowed for a better work-life balance and more time to write.  In 2008-09, I wrote my first full-length novel, Away from the Spotlight.  My friends and family loved it, but I still did nothing with it.  Over the past year, I have read a lot of Indie Authors like Tracey Garvis-Graves, Colleen Hoover, Jamie McGuire and S.C. Stephens, among many others.  Their wonderful (then) self-published novels inspired me to publish mine.

3)   Which is your favorite romance subgenre to read? To write?

My favorite romance subgenre to read is contemporary romance.  I like to think that what is written on the page could actually happen.  While I do like and have read a significant amount of paranormal romance, romantic suspense and historical romance, it is a little harder for me to identify with the heroine.  Of course, it could be that I just don’t have any desire to be in any danger or live without modern conveniences.  Notwithstanding, I do have a paranormal romance novel and a historical romance novel in the works because the stories in my head were intriguing.  The paranormal romance deals with witches and warlocks at a college campus, and the historical romance is set in the Scottish Borders in the 16th Century and is based upon my knowledge of my ancestry.  I also have three other novels in the works in my preferred contemporary romance subgenre:  two involving musicians (I am a music fanatic) and one involving a relationship between two spouses of alcoholics in disintegrating marriages (it is not as depressing as it sounds) who met while one was on holiday.

4)   How do you deal with criticism/rejection?

Everyone has the right to their opinion.  We all have different tastes.  If someone doesn’t like what I wrote, fair enough.  If someone has constructive criticism, that’s okay too.  I’ll learn from it.  I was told that I could have fleshed out a few of my minor characters a little better in Away from the Spotlight.  I am taking that constructive criticism to heart in my next novel. 

That said, I don’t think I’d enjoy personal attacks, but I’d try to wax philosophical about it, recognizing that it is always a possibility when you put yourself out there.  In any event, my skin is fairly thick after years as a litigator.

5)   What do you expect from an editor?

Although my novel was self-published, there was no way I would publish anything without a second set of eyes looking at it first in extreme detail.  I expected that my editor would look at the manuscript from both form and substance perspectives.  With respect to the form, my editor checked vocabulary, spelling, grammar and punctuation.  I called her the “Verb Tense Police” because I made a few errors in that regard.  I also like to capitalize common nouns on occasion (often, actually).  With respect to the substance, she suggested that I flesh out a few things that I previously handled in a more summary fashion.

6)   Tell me about your latest release.

Away from the Spotlight details the romance between graduating law student, Shannon Sutherland, and English actor, Will MacKenzie.  When they meet, Shannon doesn’t know who Will is and Will takes great pains to keep it that way for a while.  Once Shannon learns the truth, Shannon is swept up in both the glamour and the drawbacks of Will’s fame.  At the same time, Shannon has her own busy life to lead in graduating from law school, studying for the California Bar Exam, traveling with a friend through the U.K. and Europe after the Bar Exam, and commencing her legal career.  Further complicating things, Shannon’s co-worker and former crush becomes single and actively campaigns for Shannon’s affections.  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?  You’ll have to read the book to find out.

7)   Tease us with a blurb or short excerpt.

     “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.

8)   Which is your favorite character in the book?  Why?

My favorite character in Away from the Spotlight is actor, Will MacKenzie.  I wrote about an actor because, 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 a person liked them or the perks and publicity of being associated with them.  With that premise in mind, I created a hero who initially struggled with fame and subsequently tried, to the extent possible, to live a normal life.  Since Will MacKenzie largely enjoyed a normal, grounded life, he was a genuinely good guy rather than the narcissist some famous people appear to become.  I fell in love with him just like Shannon Sutherland did in the story.

9) What are you working on right now?

I have five novels in various stages of development:  a paranormal romance that takes place on a college campus, two contemporary romances involving musicians, a historical romance set in 16th century Scotland, and a contemporary romance involving the relationship between two people in disintegrating marriages with alcoholic spouses who meet when one of them is on vacation in Scotland. 

10) Your biggest piece of advice to aspiring novelists?

I’m convinced that the secret to life is confidence.  If you think you can do it, you can (and everyone else will think you can too).  Do whatever you need to do to get published whether via a publishing house or via self-publishing.  If you self-publish, though, pay close attention to the detail relating to the form of the novel.  Ensure that the voice of the narrator is appropriate; idioms suitable for the characters are used; the vocabulary, spelling, grammar and punctuation are correct; and the book is properly formatted for e-publishing.  While I am not an advocate of form over substance, a lack of attention to the form of the novel can cause the reader to give up on the novel. 

11) Where can readers find you?

Away from the Spotlight is available in e-book format at:

More information can be found at:

My Author Website:

Away From the Spotlight
by Tamara Carlisle



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?

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 

Tamara will be awarding two $25 Amazon GCs to randomly drawn commenters during the tour.
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:
 Thanks for being here, Tamara! Comments??


  1. Thank you, Rachel, for having me here today. I look forward to checking in and chatting.

  2. Great interview, I enjoyed reading it.

  3. Confidence is a great thing--congrats on the release!


  4. Thank you, Ingeborg and Vitajex, for joining us this morning. I'm glad you liked the post. Confidence truly is the secret to life - I tell my daughter that all the time. When I first started practicing law, one of the senior partners had a gilded sign on his desk that read, "It can be done."

  5. I really loved the interview. this story sounds really good, and the characters are very likeable from the excerpt.

  6. I'm glad you like it, MomJane. Thanks for joining us this morning (it's morning in California anyway).

  7. I'm glad you used an editor. Too many self-published authors skimp by not getting professional editing. As a reader, nothing will cause me to put down a book faster than errors in spelling, grammar, verb tense shifts (etc.). I think this is one of the things that causes readers not to buy self-published titles--the general perception that the quality is poor.
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

  8. Catherine, I can't promise perfection, but we tried. It's a shame if readers avoid self-published authors. My favorite books of late have all been self-published.

  9. Thank you again for hosting me today, Rachel! I've had fun. I look forward to following your blog.

  10. I love reading books by self-published authors. I have found some amazing books.

    Thanks for sharing

  11. I wonder how you juggle 5 pieces of work? I do imagine them at various stages though.


  12. Susie, you and me both. Mary, it is hard to focus on all five. I primarily bounce between two of them, but enjoy them all equally. Thank you both for joining us.