Interview With Hope Tarr!

Today, the Riskies are honored to welcome author Hope Tarr, a lovely person and a great writer. Hope lives in New York City, where she always looks fabulous (at least when I see her), is very involved in animal rescue projects and is one of the founders of Lady Jane’s Salon, a monthly romance novel gathering. Read the official deets at the bottom of the interview, and comment to win a signed copy of Hope’s Vanquished. Two commenters will be chosen for the prize!

Hope has two books out for your pleasure; the first is the Victorian-set The Tutor, which is out now, and the other is a reissue of her novel A Rogue’s Pleasure, out in just a few days.
What inspired you to write The Tutor?
When I concluded my “Men of Roxbury House” Victorian trilogy a few years ago, it occurred to me I’d left some loose ends dangling, two loose ends, to be exact. At the end of the final book in the series, UNTAMED, two secondary characters Lady Beatrice—Bea—Lindsey and former East London street rogue turned semi-respectable private secretary, Ralph Sylvester had begun falling for one another, landing squarely in the shadow land between lust and love. Only there hadn’t been time, or in my case, pages for me to devote to unfolding their story. And I thought that was rather a shame.

In THE TUTOR, Bea is all grown up and about to wed a decent but dull fellow whom she knows needs a map when it comes to taking a woman to bed. Determined to have decent sex if not love in her marriage, she turns to her secret crush, Ralph Sylvester for seven sexy nights of private lessons.

What intrigues you about the late Victorian period?

The short answer is: everything! If I had to focus on one aspect, I’d have to say the cultural contrasts, the glorious almost black-and-white differences between public morality and private behavior, the not always easy balance struck between innovation—the telegram, the typewriter, and even the telephone—and centuries’ old standards and conventions, and last but not least, the clothes!

We love risky writing; share some of what makes your book so unusual.
In life as well as fiction I’m a big fan of not only self-made men but also self-made people in general, so even though British set historical romance is my first love, I rarely write heroes who are members of the peerage or even middle class by birth. In THE TUTOR, Ralph has a checkered past, to say the least. He’s the son of a prostitute. After his mother abandons him, he joins a “flash house,” a thieving den for young boys, and earns his keep by picking pockets and running street scams. That he manages to better himself, to become not only respectable but self-sufficient in a society where class distinctions bordered on a caste system, isn’t just laudable to me. It’s damn sexy.
Did you come across any interesting research when you were writing the book?
Always. ☺ In this case, I had a lot of fun perusing The Kama Sutra, the original translated text by Sir Richard Burton (note: not the late actor). In THE TUTOR, Ralph uses the centuries’ old Indian sexual advice manual as a teaching…tool for his seven lessons with Bea. In keeping with that theme, I have each chapter start out by introducing the “lesson” along with a quote from Burton’s text.
You and a couple other authors founded the highly successful Lady Jane’s Salon; tell us about it, and what its purpose is.
Thank you for asking! I’m enormously proud of Lady Jane’s and so any opportunity to brag about m/our brain child is most welcome.

Launched in February 2009, Lady Jane’s Salon is New York City’s first and so far only monthly reading series for romance fiction and like most “firsts” it was born in response to a need. One night in November 2008, I was sitting in Hudson Bar and Books in the West Village with romance authors Leanna Renee Hieber and Maya Rodale and book blogger, Ron Hogan. We’d just returned from a “literary fiction” reading and were lamenting the lack of any literary forum in the city where romance writers and readers could come together and share the books we love. Amidst scotch and cigars, we mapped out the Salon, which in the sober light of the next day still seemed like a really good idea. ☺

Lady Jane’s meets on the first Monday of the month (unless otherwise noted) from 7-9 PM at Madame X (94 West Houston Street, Soho, New York). Admission is $5 or one gently-used paperback romance novel. Net proceeds support an end-of-the-year donation to a New York City women’s charity. With two articles in TIME OUT New York, a feature article in The New York Post, and author bookings through mid-2011, Lady Jane is going strong and ramping up for Her second birthday on Monday, February 7th. It promises to be quite a party.

Please check out our web site at www.LadyJaneSalon.com and chat with us on Twitter and Facebook.

What are you working on next?
My very first novella, Victorian-set, of course! “Tomorrow’s Destiny” is in A HARLEQUIN CHRISTMAS CAROL (November 10, 2010), a Christmas anthology based on the Dickens’ classic, with bestselling authors Betina Krahn and Jacquie D’Alessandro. It’s a very sweet trio of stories that I think readers of the genre as well as anyone who loves the winter holidays will both really enjoy.

Thanks so much for having me as a guest at the Riskies. What an honor! I hope visitors today will enjoy VANQUISHED and perhaps try out my two single-title historical romances out this summer: A ROGUE’S PLEASURE and MY LORD JACK, both originally published with Berkley and reissued as digital-first releases with Carina Press.

Hope Tarr is the award-winning author of thirteen historical and contemporary romance novels, one novella and numerous nonfiction articles on health and relationships, fashion, travel and leisure. Visit Hope online at www.HopeTarr.com where you can read her weekly blog and enter her regular and special contests. Photo by BizUrban.com.

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Louisa Cornell
12 years ago

Hello, Hope. What a great interview. I LOVE your books!! I can’t wait to read The Tutor.

I think my favorites of yours were the Enslaved, Vanquished, Untamed series. Great books !

What are some of your favorite research resources?

12 years ago

Hi Hope. Great interview. The Tutor sounds wonderful. I love the cover.

Megan Frampton
12 years ago

Thanks for visiting, Hope!

Hope Tarr
12 years ago

Good Morning:

Megan, thanks for having me today and for the lovely intro. I’m so pleased to be blogging with you today.

Louisa, I’m so pleased you enjoyed my Men of Roxbury House series: Vanquished (today’s giveaway), Enslaved & Untamed.

Re my fav research sources, Google and Wikipedia have spoiled me but still, I loves me some actual books. I’ve amassed a modest research library over the years. Absolutely essential for me: THE LONDON ENCYCLOPEDIA, THE GENTLEMEN’S CLUBS OF LONDON (delicious!), and FOUR HUNDRED YEARS OF FASHION; the latter I picked up at the V&A museum bookstore years ago. It’s pretty much going with me to the grave. 😉

Hope Tarr
12 years ago

Thanks, Crystal. The cover gods were indeed kind to me on THE TUTOR. And I so enjoyed getting to give Bea and Ralph their own Happily Ever After (after the requisite work, of course). Originally I’d thought to do a novella for them but once Blaze began doing historicals as well as contemps–my Scottish Medieval, BOUND TO PLEASE was the launch–I thought, “Perfect! 55-60,000 words should wrap it up nicely.

Diane Gaston
12 years ago

Hi, Hope!!!!
I still feel proprietary about you. (I knew her when, people! When Hope was a member of Washington Romance Writers–I remember right after her first sale–I was so impressed–sitting in a bar at RWA talking about books and cats and psychology)

So good to have you here at the Riskies.
I can attest to what a great place Lady Jane’s Salon is, having had the chance to read there when Amanda and I were at BEA last year.

I’m thrilled with your success, Hope! And love that you landed in Blaze, then “blazed” the Historicals for them. The Tutor sounds like a GREAT idea for an Historical Blaze.

Thanks for visiting with us today!

12 years ago

Your covers are breathtaking, Hope! As is your picture!
And I love that you’ve gone outside the box and used non-peer heroes. Ralph sounds fascinating!

Great interview!

12 years ago

I think Hope is one of the best Blaze writers.I am yet to read her books other than Blaze titles.And the interview was great!Looking forward to reading more of your books.

All the best!

Hope Tarr
12 years ago

Hi There Diane, honey! You are so sweet and having you and Amanda read from your anthology was one of my Lady Jane’s highlights. Can’t wait to have you back.

Folks, Diane and I go back as in waaay back–1997. She was so kind and gracious to me when my first book came out in 2000, came to all my events and such. So it was an honor as well as super cool to buy her award champagne at RWA in Dallas!

So, as thrilled (and proud) goeth, right back atcha, Diane. 🙂

Hope Tarr
12 years ago

Thanks, Jerrica.

It was so much fun to see you both at the RWA/NYC Author Nook Fair and of course to meet the aptly named Miss Bella. Shew is not only beautiful but color coordinated, a true fashion plate.

As for my pub shot, complete credit goes to my wonderful photographer, Biz Urban at BizUrban.com. We were walking toward Gramercy Park here in NYC last summer–it was 95 plus degrees, so not exactly corset weather–and her eye caught that amazing, amazing doorway and we stopped. It was a private residence and the owner came out as we were shooting. Though she was nice enough about it, we hustled along–but not before we got some great shots.

Hope Tarr
12 years ago

OK, clearly I am a terrible typist. “Book” Fair. ((blushing))

Hope Tarr
12 years ago

Thanks for the kind words on my Blazes. I hope you’ll try one of my single-title historicals at some point. I’m a history geek, so the longer format lets me really interleave the history with the story. For VANQUISHED, today’s giveaway, I had loads o’ fun learning about the British women’s suffrage movement and photography in the 1890’s.

Diane Gaston
12 years ago

Omigosh, the champagne is worth mentioning, isn’t it? Hope was there with celebratory champagne…And it was a challenge to get back to my room that night!

Janet Mullany
12 years ago

Hi Hope, it’s wonderful to have you visit us today. I’m so looking forward to reading at Lady Jane’s in October!

Kim in Hawaii
12 years ago

Aloha, Hope! I had wanted to visit Lady Jane’s before we moved from Baltimore last summer, but it was not in the cards. But I am excited to experience it next year when we all descend upon NYC for the RWA National Convention.

And thank you for “tying up” loose ends by writing the story of a secondary character. I am looking forward to reading The Tudor.

I volunteer with the Hickam Thrift Shop and the Hickam Friends of the Library. Surprisingly, I come across many “research” books in our donation bins, thus demonstrating our military families are well read (just desparate to lessen the weight of their household goods). Books abou the Victorian Age are fun reads!

Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

Sorry to jump in so late, but welcome to the Riskies, Hope! LOVE the dress in your photo. 🙂

12 years ago

I love the idea of Lady Jane’s Salon – what a fantastic thing to plan!

Hope Tarr
12 years ago

Thanks,Louisa! I’m signing The Tutor tonight at the East Hampton Library Authors Night. I think Barbara Metzger and I are the only two romance novelists under the very big tent. Wish me luck!

Hope Tarr
12 years ago

We’re looking forward to having you guest at the Salon, Janet. October will be here before we know it.

Hope Tarr
12 years ago

Thanks, Amanda!

Hope Tarr
12 years ago

Thanks, Alison. We have a lot of fun plus, the Salon fills a niche (NYC romance reading series) that no one really talked about being empty until we…um, filled it. 😉

And I love that the net proceeds help to give women in need a real life Happily Ever After.

Hope Tarr
12 years ago

And the winner is…snehausa87!

Please email off list at hope@hopetarr.com with your name and mailing address and I’ll get a copy of VANQUISHED mailed to you… anon i.e., this week.

Thanks to The Riskies for being such gracious hostesses and to everyone who commented for making me feel so very at home.

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