Wednesday, 27 March 2013

#OBSpringFling - Author Interview - Tamara Carlisle

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Tell us a bit about your family. My father is from California’s central valley and is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.  He served in the navy during the Vietnam War and went into the semiconductor industry after several years of active military duty.  Once he made it to a certain level in his career, my father moved the family from Southern California to Silicon Valley, where I attended junior high and high school.

My mother is from Maryland and met my father when she was in high school and he was at the Naval Academy.  They got married after my father graduated from college and my mother graduated from high school.  My parents divorced not long after I graduated from law school.  My mother then attended the University of Southern California (USC) and followed me into the legal profession, becoming a paralegal (we even worked at the same firm for a while).

I have a slightly younger sister who is married and has a daughter in high school.  My sister followed me to USC, where she graduated with an accounting degree the same year I graduated from law school.  After several years as an accountant, she went into the consulting industry.

My father remarried late in life to a much younger woman (younger than my sister and me, in fact) and has a seven year-old son.  My half-brother and I surprise a lot of people when we introduce each other as brother and sister, and when my daughter and niece introduce him as their uncle.

My husband worked in the U.K. forestry commission in Scotland at the time I met him when he was on holiday in Santa Monica, California.  We met at the Ye Olde King’s Head Pub (which is the basis of The Royalist in Away from the Spotlight).  After a few years in a long-distance relationship, we married and he emigrated to the U.S.  Our daughter was born two years later.  She is now 13 and getting ready to go to high school.

What is your favorite quality about yourself? I learn very quickly.

What is your least favorite quality about yourself? I sometimes expect too much of others.

The above quote is my dad’s favorite from his college days (which I find interesting considering he went to a military academy).  My dad used this quote whenever my sister and I complained about how bad something was.  Over the course of my life, I have found that it is a pretty accurate statement.  Sadly, things can always get worse even if they are already awful.  I am well aware that I need to become more of an optimist.

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? I am most proud of my daughter.

What is your favorite color? I used to say that my favorite color was plaid (my husband would kill me for using that word instead of “tartan”).  While I do love everything plaid, my favorite colors are dark green and teal.

What is your favorite food? My favorite foods are cheese, peanut butter and anything Indian.  I just finished a round of antibiotics and having to forego milk products for a week was painful – no cheese and no curry!

What’s your favorite place in the entire world? It is a tie between Los Angeles and London.  Although I currently live in the San Francisco Bay Area, I have spent the vast majority of my life in Southern California.  While I enjoy living in the Bay Area, most of my favorite everything is in L.A.  When I lived there, I felt like I lived in the center of the universe.  Once my daughter is in college, I suspect I’ll return.  I love London as well.  I cannot imagine ever being bored there – there is so much to do and see.

What inspired you to write your first 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.

What made you want to be a writer? I started to write as a child.  I read the Star Wars books (and saw the movies) and was amazed 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 or two, 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.

Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it? I did not learn anything while writing the book since a lot of it was based upon my experience.  However, I subsequently learned a lot about publishing and marketing a book.

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it? I have had writer’s block in the past.  I have a number of projects going at the same time.  When I am blocked on one story, I move to another one.  Taking a break by working on another story allows me to later return to the project with a fresh set of eyes and ideas.

Can you share a little of your current work with us? I currently am working on The Call of the Limelight, which I hope to publish very soon.  The story is about the relationship between an Irish musician and an American business woman.  Kate Maxwell and Niall Robertson meet in Scotland when Kate is on holiday with her then-fiancĂ©.  They share an evening together at a bar in Glasgow and part ways, never expecting to see each other again.  When Kate hears Niall’s band on the radio many months later, she contacts him.  The following is an excerpt that takes place after Kate contacts Niall:
The very next morning, I had a text waiting for me, apparently sent not long after I had sent mine.  I smiled excitedly as I opened the message, supposing that, if Niall hadn’t remembered me, he wouldn’t have replied.  “On the road.  It’s one big blur & I couldn’t tell u where I am right now.  I made arrangements & will have a ticket for u at will-call in Los Angeles.  It will be wonderful to see u again, Kate. – Niall.”

I noted his use of the singular, “ticket.”  Clearly, he wasn’t inviting Alan or perhaps he did note the use of my maiden name.  Confirming that I would be there, I replied, “I’ll see u in 2 mos.  It will be wonderful to see you again too.  Take care of yourself on the road.  And, remember, no supermodel girlfriend at dinner, please. ;-) – Kate,”

In light of the fact that he was on tour, I didn’t expect to hear from Niall again.  Nevertheless, he replied almost immediately.  “So you really think I’m living the clichĂ©?  No supermodel girlfriend.  I told u – I am rubbish with women.  A hit record hasn’t changed anything. – Niall.”
I couldn’t help but reply, “I do believe that a hit record hasn’t changed u, but I don’t agree with your opinion of yourself with women.  U were good with me & I’m a woman – at least I appear to have all the right parts.  Let me check . . . Yep, they’re all there.  C u soon. – Kate.”

Sure enough, I received a reply again almost immediately, “I nearly choked when I read your text.  I am quite well aware of your girl parts.  No need to remind me.  But you must be a married woman by now & I should not be thinking about them.  I do have some scruples.  Okay, so I’m a musician & I don’t have many, but I do have some.  – Niall.”

How did you come up with the title? Away from the Spotlight deals with the issues in maintaining a relationship in the public eye.  Spotlight seemed appropriate for a story about an actor and a term that references being in the public eye.  I found that there were a number of published books with the title, Spotlight, or with the word, “spotlight,” in the title.  I tried to come up with a title that differentiated my book from the others.  Since Will and Shannon try to have a normal life outside the intrusion of the media, I thought Away from the Spotlight appropriately conveyed that message.

Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot? Yes.  While Will MacKenzie and most of his friends are pure fiction, most of Shannon’s friends are based upon one or more real people.  Although the plot also is pure fiction, the background details in terms of the law school experience, studying for the bar exam, traveling in the U.K. and Europe, and commencing work as a lawyer are all based upon my personal experience.  I hope that these real-life details give this fairy tale of sorts its realism.

How important do you think villains are in a story? All stories, regardless of genre, require an obstacle to be overcome.  The actions of a villain serve as one type of obstacle.  Since there are many other types of obstacles (e.g., the actions of another who is not a villain per se, an event or circumstance, a miscommunication, etc.), a villain is not an absolute necessity.  Villains can be a lot of fun though.  I particularly like it when a villain in a series turns a new leaf and becomes a good guy.

What contributes to making a writer successful? I believe that what makes a writer financially successful is hard work, a good product and a bit of luck.  What makes a writer personally successful is enjoying the work, connecting with others, and learning something new.

Do you have any advice for writers? This advice goes for anyone:  I am convinced that the secret to life is confidence.  If you honestly believe you can do something, so will everyone else.  That said, know yourself, play to your strengths and work on your weaknesses.  If you are truly confident, there should be nothing that anyone can say that shakes your sense of self and confidence in your abilities.

What do you do to unwind and relax? Music serves as my stress relief.  I am a music fanatic and have a music collection that spans six decades.

If you could leave your readers with one bit of wisdom, what would you want it to be? As I mentioned above, the secret to life is confidence.  I include two others here:  (1) knowledge is power and if you are not listening, you are not learning, and (2) beware what you put in writing whether in a letter, text, e-mail or internet posting because it is a reflection on you - with screen shots and other methods of maintaining information, whatever you put out there may be permanent.

Buy at Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Romance (PG13)
Connect with Tamara Carlisle on Facebook



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Books Sold - 6 Nov 2011 to 31 May 2012

Some of you have asked me for my total number of books sold to evaluate KDP Select so here it is. Bear in mind, that results will vary based on genre and author. Good luck and remember, Keep Moving Forward.

Total - 120,836

1. Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out
Amazon Kindle - 42,559
Paperback -
Smashwords -

2. Frequent Traveller
Amazon Kindle - 35277
Paperback -
Smashwords -

3. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 1
Amazon Kindle - 462
Smashwords -

4. Mirror Me Martha (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 281
Smashwords -

5. Drive On Hope (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 190
Smashwords -

6. Blog-A-Licious Directory 2012
Amazon Kindle - 1
Smashwords -

7. Pandora's Reading Room 1
Amazon Kindle -
Paperback - N/A

8. The Cat That Barked (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle -

9. Dora's Essentials - Examining Anxiety
Amazon Kindle -

10. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 2
Amazon Kindle -

11. Elevenses from Around the World
Amazon Kindle -

12. Genetically Modified Foods vs. Sustainability
Amazon Kindle -

Blog-A-Licius - Sherbet Blossom



Dealightfully Frugal

Blog-A-Licious - The Few, The Proud, The Wife


My Soul Slippers

Blog-A-Licous - Textbook Mommy

Blog-A-Licious - Blue Frogs Legs

Blog-A-Licious - Pretty All True

Pretty All True

Blog-A-Licious - tbaoo



Powered by

Blog-A-Licious - The Invisible Art

Blog-A-Licious - Rediscovering Domesticity

Rediscovering Domesticity

Blog-A-Licious - Quiver Full

Blog-A-Licious - Cori's Big Mouth

Blog-A-Licious - Great Fun


Blog-A-Licious - Busy Wife

Blog-A-Licious - Steps To Happiness

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Blog-A-Licious - Toby & Max

Blog-A-Licious - Amelie

Raising Amelie

Blog-A-Licious - Peas In A Pod

Blog-A-Licious - Riley

Blognostics - Poetry


My Awards - September 2010

My Awards - September 2010
Awarded By Jo Frances

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded By Alejandro Guzman

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded by Kriti Mukherjee

My Awards - April 2011

My Awards - April 2011
Awarded By Roy Durham

My Awards - June 2011

My Awards - June 2011
Awarded By Sulekha Rawat

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