TARA S. NICHOLS TAKES A BITE OUT OF THE MOONLIGHT
Tara is the author of numerous books and can call Amira Press, Noble Romance, Cobblestone Press and Siren Publishing as her publishing houses. There's lots of fun information about Tara on her website, so make sure to check it out.
First off, thank you for joining us, Tara. It's an honor to have you with us and I'm excited you joined us! I know everyone is anxious to learn more about you, so, let's kick off this interview with some questions about you:
1. Do you have a movie that you must watch every Halloween? What's your favorite scary movie? Do you have a favorite scary character or character type?
You know, I don't have a favorite movie to watch on Halloween, but I really should remedy that. As for scary movies... well... Lost Boys was pretty awesome, but I might have been distracted by all the eye candy in that movie. I confess, my fondness for vampires is only a recent thing, until I tried my hand at a vampire anthology call, I would have said werewolves had always been my favorite scary hero. Now I might say vampires are tied with werewolves.
2. Do you have any Halloween traditions like decorating your house, having house parties, wearing costumes, etc.?
I used to throw great Halloween parties; huge bonfires in the dark woods with all my closest friends, carved pumpkins lighting the winding forest trail, and plenty of sugar to keep the party going late, but we've taken a break from that since my son was born. Now that he is four I think it's high time we renew that tradition. I haven't worn a costume since my husband, myself and two other friends crashed a Star Trek convention and won first prize for unique costume. We went as 18th century vampires.
3. If you do you dress up for Halloween, what will you be dressed up as this year? What was your all-time most favorite costume that you ever wore? Why?
I have a hideous green mask that I might wear if any unsuspecting "tricksters" come round my country home, ie, MY DAD!
4. Are you superstitious? Do you find yourself knocking on wood or throwing salt over your shoulder? If not one of these two, what is your superstition?
I wish I wasn't superstitious, but sometimes certain things can't be helped. A stray black cat showed up under a ladder on my wedding day. (So far so good), knocks on wood. But there is a scene in a story that I just can't bring myself to write for fear that it will come true.
5. Do you believe in ghosts? If so, have you ever had a ghostly encounter and tell us about it?
I believe it's possible that ghosts exist. Both my parents swear they heard a ghost in our old farm house, and I myself have never felt at ease there, but as for what happens to our spirit, I really can't say.
6. Tell us 3 funny or strange things that happened to you, or someone you know, on past Halloweens.
I mentioned earlier that my dad might be try to scare me witless this Halloween, well, we have a tradition to scare the heck out of one another. He got me and my sister-in-law good last time. Let me just say there's nothing creepier than getting into a car where you aren't sure isn't already occupied. Those horror flicks where someone is lurking in the backseat are scary for a good reason.
I was camping once with my boyfriend (now husband) and another young couple in the woods on a moonlit night. This was a strange place to camp though because it was just a granary that had been renovated into a small cabin on a farmer's land. We were sitting out by the fire when my friend and I saw something at the top of the hill. It was coming down a narrow path cut through the thin sapling trees. What ever this thing was made a horrible noise, a huffing, grunting sound. It glowed white and faded in and out of view. One moment it was illuminated bright white one moment, then gone the next only to reappear much closer.What was even worse was that it was headed right for us, and we just stood there, frozen to the spot, and watched it advance on us. We should have run instead of stare with our eyes open, but then if we had we wouldn't have learned that it was just a white bull walking in and out of the moonlight. I plan to write that into a children's story someday.
One of my funniest costumes has to be the year my neighbor and I dressed up as ghosts. The costumes were simple, two holes cut into a sheet, but for some reason my family didn't have a white sheet to spare. All we had was a pale pink one. Thankfully Pacman was all the rave at that time and I just told people I was Pinky and my neighbor was blinky.
7. If you could be any paranormal creature, what would it be and why?
Oh, that is hard. I think a werewolf, but I'd love to be able to fly. I am an avid nature buff and living part time as a wolf really appeals to me, but if I were a vampire, perhaps I could be like my winged vampire hero, D'iamonte, or at the very least have the ability to change into a bat.
Now, let’s get to your writing:
8. Why the paranormal genre? What was the draw for you?
I suppose, "because it's cool" isn't going to cut it, is it? :)
That said, I think it's because there are so many possibilities with paranormal plots and characters. I write contemporary fiction as well, and sometimes it's nice to be able to say the hero leapt tall buildings to rescue the damsel in distress. In a fantasy realm, the bad guys can be even more evil, capable of mutating, tearing an opponent apart with fangs, claws, even laser eyes for that matter. I also like the turmoil and angst that comes with paranormal heros. They're strong, usually an underdog, and yet gentle and compassionate. They've been outcast, not all of them, but they war with their inner demons just a little more than a mere mortal seems to.
9. If you could describe your paranormal writing with a word or phrase, what would it be? Please be creative and look beyond words like vampire, werewolf, etc., and delve into the core of your writing to tell us what word or phrase you want readers to take with them when they've finished reading your story.
I like a little humor in my writing, hence the mutated animal/human creatures in Awakening the Blood, for comic relief, but I also love a sizzling sex scene. Most of my work is contemporary erotica, but my paranormal stories are just as steamy. I plan to write two more stories to go with Awakening the Blood, (hopefully they will be sold as a unit someday). I also have another vampire novella partially written, and two werewolf stories, all with an erotic theme.
10. Do you prefer playing tricks on people or bestowing treats? Does that show through in your writing? If so, how?
Oh I like playing tricks. I hope it shows in my writing. When a reader or reviewer states that they couldn't predict the ending or certain unexpected events were revealed, I smile. To be called boring is one of the worst things I could imagine being said of my work.
11. Who decides what creatures you write about, you or your muse? What kind of influence do you have over your story, or is the muse always the one stirring the cauldron?
I'll have to confer with my muse, lol, or muses, hmm. The way I write is rather hard to pin down. Sometimes an idea pops into my head as a whole scene. I have to scramble to gt it all down, and the next moment I'm plotting, making lists of what will happen next to pull the whole story together. Someone once describe this as a Patcher, a combination of a Pantser and a Plotter. I like the term. How else does one stitch together all those pop in the head moments?
12. What was the creature that you had the most fun creating and why?
I really enjoyed the creatures; small mutated/morphed animals and humans that haunt Meara, who follow her around and unintentionally freak her out. I included a five legged worthog, and my favorite Izod, an ugly ex convict, man-mouse.
13. If you had the opportunity to meet just one of your characters in real life, who would it be and why? Which of your characters would you never want to meet under any circumstance and why?
I do believe D'iamonte is welcome over at my house anytime. He's tall dark and handsome, and did I mention he can fly? And the monster-sized helldogs that corner Meara outside her apartment aren't welcome, anytime.
Tara as a Witch
AWAKENING THE BLOOD
Reeling from her recent break up, Meara ditches a Halloween party held in a cemetery at the edge of town, and seeks out the one reliable man in her life - who just happens to be a statue with large bat wings. The winged man had always intrigued her, but that just seems to go along with her other idiosyncrasies – her ability to read emotions and dream the future.Even after years imprisoned in marble, D'iamonte can feel and see everything that goes on around him. Most of the time, his encounters have been unpleasant, but when his beautiful young mortal comes calling, late one Halloween, he is surprised and pleased that she feels bold enough to crawl in to his lap and have her way with him.Neither of them expects him to wake up.
This book should be considered 18+
What an agreeable awakening, D’iamonte thought as he stretched his unused muscles and shook the moss that had accumulated over the years from his hair.
His elbow thumped the wall, and his wingtips bent over at an uncomfortable angle. The small space, in which he huddled, didn’t allow him much movement. It was some sort of small storage building, full of holes and leaning. It smelled too, but anything was better than perching on top of that pedestal again. He’d run far, feeling it had been necessary, and then crawled into the derelict shelter to give himself enough time to recuperate, just in case he needed to fight.
He hadn’t anticipated not being able to fly. It was unnerving. Nevertheless, he’d have to stay where he was until the threat passed. Besides, he needed to shake off the blissful daze he found himself in. His encounter with that lovely mortal had energized and drained him at the same time.
He smiled, thinking about his narrow escape. At first, he couldn’t place what was wrong. His head was fuzzy, his legs had gone soft, and his heart was full of unexplained joy. He felt inebriated, but he didn’t know whether it was his body’s reaction to freedom or something in the blood of his victim.
Some victim, he thought with a smile. He’d recognized those bottomless, dark irises anywhere. She was the beauty who had returned to his side, time and again. She’d sat at his side professing her fears and her heartache to what she thought was just a statue. Most of the time, her mood had been subdued, perhaps a little coy, but this time, she had advanced upon him, seduced him, and freely given herself up to him in the most carnal of acts. In all his experience, that had never happened before, and he had to confess that it had been a very pleasant surprise. She was everything he desired; young, slim, a little bit wild, determined, and very mortal.
And then there was the taste of her, he smiled, remembering it fondly. She had an exotic flavor. There was something else hidden within her veins, something ancient. Her blood had tingled upon his tongue, but she was mortal.
He purred with satisfaction, and it vibrated off the walls surrounding him. He preferred mortals. They were warm, and he loved the sound of their heart beating in their chests. While his existence was bleak and filled with bitterness, mortals’ minds were most often pleasant and filled with hope. When he was with a mortal, the person’s happiness became his, even if it was only for a few moments. Some called it a perversion. He considered it fair play. If he was going to take something from them, then they should get something back, and they most certainly did when he chose his victims carefully. Most of them never knew what he was or what he’d taken from them. All they felt was intense pleasure.
This mortal had known what he was, though. For the first time, a lover had advanced upon him. Even though she took advantage, the act was not entirely selfish. He’d heard her tender words, her sympathy, and her sorrow. He’d responded to her seduction like any mortal man would, and his release had been even more agreeable than the taste of her blood on his lips.
Sliding the tip of his tongue along his teeth, he lingered on that thought. That was what had woken him, he was certain. Her blood was powerful, and for the first time, he wanted more. Once with her would not be enough, yet he feared it had little to do with hunger. She sent a thrill coursing through his veins, but it was not wise to return to the same victim time and time again. The risk of exposure was too great.
What did it matter? He was far too weak to do anything about it now anyway. Even though he’d taken blood from her it had not been enough, but perhaps after he found nourishment and rested a while, he’d go pay her a visit. He would just watch her for a while and see if he could figure out what was so special about her. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find her. He’d recognize that intoxicating scent anywhere.