Thursday, 28 March 2019

Hidden Diamond: Tamara Hughes's Bewitching the Beast and Writing Experiments

There are lots of great authors and books out there, so many that it can be hard for readers to find the books that they love to read.  So I want to share the gems hidden among the chaos.  Each month I'll feature a new Hidden Diamond author.

I have another fellow Soulie for this week's Hidden Diamond, sharing her latest release from Soul Mate PublishingTamara Hughes writes paranormal and historical romance and her Bewitching the Beast is a great story about a hero fighting his own divided nature (and my readers who have picked up my Revelations know how much I enjoy a story about a paranormal entity hidden in a character's subconscious).

In this fast-paced read, Ethan Lockwood hates what he’s become—a slave to a parasitic monster whose victim’s names pepper the obituaries. He’s possessed by The Beast, a dragon who feeds off human spiritual energy. After a year of fighting The Beast’s demands, Ethan is losing the battle. The creature is taking over his mind, body, and soul. When he spies Tess, he can relate to her weary look and the sadness in her eyes, but her aura shines like a beacon, attracting The Beast. Ethan is forced to drain her energy, but for a split second, she subdues the creature inside him, compelling the spirit to slumber. How? Can she somehow free him from The Beast? Ethan chases after her. He can’t afford to let Tess die.

Since her fianc√©’s death, Tess Edwards struggles to find new meaning in life. She doesn’t expect that new meaning to involve a sexy photographer who says he’s possessed by an energy-stealing beast. He claims she’s in danger and that he’s the only one who can save her. Great. He’s a nut job—cute, but delusional. She doesn’t believe in dragon spirits and magic, not until she finds her grandmother’s Book of Shadows. She’s descended from witches, and the book warns her of her fate. Although the beast inside Ethan needs her alive, he isn’t the only one of his kind. There’s another, and he wants Tess dead.

Today, Tamara shares the fun she's had doing research for Bewitching the Beast, along with her answers to the Hidden Diamonds author questionnaire, including her writing process and her opinion on cavemen vs. astronauts.

It's All The Little Details

Hi! I’m Tamara Hughes, and I write both historical romances and paranormal romances. My stories are fast-paced and action-packed with lots of humor and love.

Today, I’d like to talk to you about the fun part of research.

Our job as authors is to provide our readers with an experience. Our books need to be written in such a way that the reader can sink into the story and become the characters. And there’s nothing worse than getting really into what’s happening in a novel only to hit a spot that strikes us as so unbelievable it jolts us back to reality. That’s where research is essential.

Historical novels require a lot of research to get an accurate depiction of the relevant time period, but when you think about it, even contemporary stories can bring up questions an author can’t answer.

Take for instance my paranormal romance Bewitching The Beast. In a world of magic and supernatural elements, you’d think I could just make everything up. And largely that’s true, except when it comes to things readers might have experienced or could experience if they wanted to.

I can come up with characters that are possessed by dragon spirits and witches that can perform actual magic, but believability will go out the window if I get a potential real world experience wrong. That’s why, while I was writing Bewitching The Beast, I conducted a little experiment. You see, I had a scene in which the hero and heroine have sex in a bathtub. And no, I didn’t have sex in a bathtub. Hang with me here. During the book, my hero gets into the water-filled tub with his jeans on. He and the heroine start to get hot and heavy, and then he tries to take off his wet jeans. The question – how difficult is it to pull off sopping-wet denim?

Enter my poor, unsuspecting husband. (I guess I could have done this experiment myself, but what fun would that be?) I asked my hubby if he would be willing to go into a tub filled with water with jeans on, and then try to get them off. Surprisingly, he humored me and tried it out. The answer – it was difficult but possible to pull down the denim the several inches it would take to be able to continue the scene.

This book, as with all my books, had many minor situations that I played around with. As I write, I frequently make the same facial expressions as my characters, try out different moves they might make, smell the scents they might encounter, etc.

Which brings me to the next great experiment I tried...

Have you ever wondered how difficult it is to tear off a man’s button-down shirt? This was a question that came up for one of my other paranormal novels (one not available for sale yet). This particular issue caught the interest of my kids, so we investigated this problem together. My kids went to a secondhand store and bought two button-down shirts, then gave the shirt-ripping experiment a go. The first attempt was to rip open a shirt while wearing it yourself, and the second try was someone else attempting to tear the shirt for you.

As you can see, the movies lie. It’s actually a lot harder to pop buttons than you’d think.

The point here is that research is important. And can be really fun. I can’t wait to come across the next experiment I can dive into.

- Tamara Hughes

An Author Interview with Tamara Hughes

What is the craziest thing you've done to research a book?

Probably when I had my husband go into the tub with his jeans on to see if he could pull them off wet.

What is your writing process? 

I try to plot, but I’m a pantser at heart, so it’s not easy for me, and I make lots of changes as I write the book. I usually write at home with very few distractions if possible. Sometimes I listen to music to get the mood of the scene or just to get more focused internally vs. what’s going on around me.

What is your favourite thing to do to relax?

I’m a huge Netflix bingewatcher. Over the last several months, I’ve really gotten into Chinese dramas. I love anything with romance.

Who is your favourite fictional crush?

For me, it changes with every show I watch or book I read (if it’s a stellar show/book).

And in the spirit of the great Joss Whedon debate, who would win: astronauts or cavemen?

I would have to think astronauts would win if for no other reason than their greater intelligence. They can plan attacks and maneuvers that would outsmart the cavemen. Plus, they can do all that weightless!

Thank you, Tamara, for being one of my Hidden Diamonds! (And for the great video!)  For those who want their own copy of Tamara's books or to follow her on social media, you can find her here:

Thanks for joining us!  Come back next month on April 25th for a new Hidden Diamond.

Or take a look at last month's Hidden Diamond: Sally Brandle

Or you can check out last week's blogpost: Making Mistakes

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