AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: ALISON TYLER
Joining the bunnies of JR today is author Alison Tyler…
Tell us a little about Morning Noon and Night, what inspired you to write it?
What could be better than 24 hours of sex? Morning, Noon, and Night is a compilation of 24 stories—well, 25 because there’s an extra for good measure—that focus on round the clock connections.
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
My characters often arrive first and wander around in my mind for a while before their story is clear to me. (There’s a foursome right now who are getting on my nerves. I’ll have to let them speak soon.) But other times, I’ll simply have one word—like Broken, Pierced, Burned or Plucked—and the story will write itself around the title. Can you tell? I like past-tense verbs.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
When I started writing, I naively didn’t even know there were genres. I wasn’t aware of the term. I wrote all the time for a wide variety of sources—articles, reviews, and puff pieces for magazines and weekly papers. I ghost wrote and I wrote on my own. My late-at-night writing always had an erotic bend—but I didn’t understand that my work would be called “genre” fiction. I simply wrote novels that entertained me.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
I tend to fall in love with the characters of my current wips. Sometimes I even start dressing like them, or listening to the music I think they’d like. Right now, I’m deep in a story called “All Things to All Women.” I love my man in this sepia-toned piece so much. He’s dreamy.
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
Jack in Dark Secret Love (Cleis Press, July 2013) is a dom’s dom. There’s a scene I wrote from his point of view which was almost scary. The whole series is written from the girl’s side of things. But once (maybe twice) I slid into Jack’s body—and that was a wild ride.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
I mentioned the foursome in my mind? These frisky couples are mined from people I know. But you’ll never be able to spot them once I’m through with the story. I write stories about strangers all day long. That’s how I entertain myself. A couple walks past me, and I create a whole world—a universe—around them.
Every so often, I take someone I don’t like and star that person in a story. Those Girls features a heroine I adore. But her inspiration came from a woman I can’t stand to be in the same room with. Go figure.
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
Not writing. I go a little insane if I don’t have twelve projects I’m working on at once. I write on everything, everywhere. Bits of junk mail. The back of my hand. If the words don’t come out, I lose my sanity.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
I haven’t had my hair cut in four years. I just realized that this morning.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
One? No. Many? Yes. I like to dip sugar cookies in chilled white wine. I like to buy expensive cards to send people for no reason. I like to buy rings that will fit on the middle finger of my right hand. Without a ring there—or a stack of rings—I feel naked. In a bad way. I like Bazooka Joe bubble gum. And yes, I save the comics.
What TV Show are you addicted to?
Entourage. I could watch it with the sound off. I love the shots of Los Angeles as much as I love the camaraderie of the characters.
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don’t flow?
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
Music is major in my life. I write about key songs a lot on my blog. Sweet Little Bullets from a Pretty Blue Gun. Anything Anything. Keep it Copacetic. Whiter Shade of Pale. I often end up buying songs almost as gifts for my characters. My current series of novels—starting with Dark, Secret Love—was built on songs. Each chapter was influenced by a different song. Can’t choose just one—but I will say, my favorite two songs of all time are Miss You by the Stones and D’yer Mak’er by Led Zeppelin.
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
My story in Morning, Noon, and Night is a little unusual. This piece is a gangbang story—a romantic, happily ever after gangbang story. So the thing is, there would be the actress for the main character and then the five guys at the bar. I’m sure I could cast them if I tried, but I’d rather let readers make their own fantasies come true.
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
Paris. No, wait. That might have been my second contract. I think I was in my bedroom with a towel wrapped around me. Fresh from the shower. I’d sold a story to Playgirl, and I just screamed.
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
Let’s say it was a long time ago. I can’t remember how old I was, but I do remember the book: Just Another Love Story. I still have it. Such a good novel!
What author causes you to “go fan girl”/ squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
Elmore Leonard. Kristina Lloyd. Sommer Marsden. Anthony Bourdain. Joyce Carol Oates. John Albert.
If you still have one of those pesky non writing jobs what is it?
Thankfully, I write and edit full time. But I work in many different fields.
Do you have a favorite movie you have seen in the last few months and/or an all time favorite?
Although I worked at a movie theater, and used to slide into theaters to avoid going to classes, I haven’t been as much of a junkie lately. I tend to re-watch my favorites over and over—The Godfather, The Usual Suspects, American Beauty, No Way Out.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
Go Deeper Press asked me to do a sequel to my first novelette, Those Girls. I’m thigh-high in that book while I’m editing two collections for Cleis. My summer is all about the anthology—I have a book due for Cleis Press each month starting in June and running through the fall. I’m a busy girl, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
Lucky me—I’ve co-written with several of my dream authors. Thomas Roche is one of my go-to authors, and he and I have worked well together. I’d also love to co-write a story with Sommer Marsden. We talk about getting together on a single piece all the time.
How do you pick your characters names?
Usually, they introduce themselves to me.
Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
Both. Different plots call for different styles. Sometimes, characters don’t realize their connection until the end. Sometimes, the heat is there from the get go.
What is your reaction to people who say one of the following…”Oh you write romance, I thought you were a real writer”, “Romance isn’t a real writing career” or the ever popular “Oh, one of those books”.
I slice their jugular. At least, metaphorically speaking.
And for the silly side – What is your favorite type of chocolate?
Don’t hate me, but I’m not a chocolate girl. I live for Sweet Tarts, jelly beans (not Jellybellies, but jelly beans), and big gumdrops.