Yay, it’s Friday – and Black Friday at that, so if you’re out shopping I hope you manage to grab some bargains 🙂 It seems to have got even colder here – the canal outside my house has frozen over and am huddled over my teeny work fire. Still, can’t be all bad, my parents are coming up to visit this weekend – plus I have the fab Tami Veldura dropping by. She’s chatting about her new release, Learning to Want – a sci-fi LGBT romance with elements of D/S and a full POC cast (I’m slightly in awe of someone who can fit all that into one novel – could you really ask for anything more?)
So, let’s start with you telling us a bit about yourself.
I’m a gemini, I enjoy long walks on the beac–wait, wrong bio. Let’s see: I’m a full time writer with a dragon obsession and this persistent idea that if I insist hard enough, my whole life will look like the happily ever after in my favorite romance books. I’m easily distracted by small kittens and have a book buying problem. So many more people know me as Tami than my legal name that I may just change it one day.
Nothing wrong with a dragon or book buying obsession *whistles innocently* Was there a specific moment where you first knew that you wanted to be a writer?
When I was eight I was just starting school for the year and my mother took me to target for supplies. At the time, Lisa Frank was the brand to have and I came home with a pile of rainbow folders. Inside each folder, on the flap for your papers, was a two or three sentence paragraph about that Lisa Frank character: the unicorn, the puppies, the kittens.
I copied that paragraph from each of my folders onto a piece of paper and brought it to my mother. My first story. She put it on the fridge.
At the time I didn’t know writing was a thing, all I knew was the stories I was reading and the worlds I was living in were amazing and I needed more. Faster. So I’d start writing them myself.
Do you have a particular writing routine or any special rituals?
I tend to have ideas pop into my head throughout the day, especially when I’m out and about on the weekends encountering people and places.
But the average workday starts with a breakfast of grits or oatmeal, tea, and some time snuggling my pet rats while I wake up. I always keep a water bottle on my side table, but sometimes I’ll add a bottle of gatorade if I’m feeling dehydrated. I review my social sites and writing forum, just catching up on the world, but by 8AM I sit down on my corner of the couch and start writing. I try to write for at least 3 hours every day, but sometimes editing or a book release can skew the schedule. The rest of my day is filled with all the administration work that comes with hybrid publishing. Some of my books are self published and managed, while others are through small presses.
I’d like to add copywork to my morning routine before I start writing. Copywork is a technique that’s been used for generations to teach kids how to write and by authors to study their betters. Regular copywork can improve handwriting, but it’s also very meditative, can improve vocabulary and technique, and act as a mental trigger for an artist to enter that flow state where creativity and intent align into perfect productivity.
Sounds interesting, may need to have a look into! Tell us about the genre you write in, and what drew you to it.
Initially, my writing was traditional high and low fantasy coming of age stories, since that’s what I grew up reading. But in high school I transitioned into fanfiction, specifically the slash corner of the fanfic world where I discovered all kinds of story types that I hadn’t ever seen before.
Now, I write romance, science fiction, and fantasy with LGBT+ characters and themes. I’ve been publishing regularly in the genre since 2010, but in 2015 I discovered asexuality and realized that I belonged in this subgroup as well. It’s not a surprise I was drawn to the people and themes in these stories since I was living them myself. It’s been a much more personal journey since then.
Are there any particular authors or books that have really inspired you?
Oh there is a list of people who are constantly impressing me with their ability to craft a world or pivot their business. Amelia Faulkner, Cecil Wilde, and E. Davis off the top of my head. My focus lately has been developing stories that appeal to a mainstream audience to attract a more stable income stream. I’m learning immense things from these established authors and I can’t wait to see how my readership grows.
What four things could you never do without?
My phone: you might be surprised how much business I manage on a daily basis through my smartphone. Twitter, email, google hangouts–I’m constantly on my phone communicating with editors, readers, coworkers and more. I have all of my work saved in the cloud, so phone access is possible on any file or book I could ever need to reference. A day without my phone puts me far behind!
The chromebook: A few years ago my life situation was a lot different than it is now. I had a day job with a decent commute and spent much of my time on the road outside of work, too. I needed a laptop that could go everywhere with me. I’ve written books on my phone, but that is a tough process I wouldn’t recommend to anyone. The chromebook was the solution I decided on. With all my work in google’s cloud I could access it anywhere I could find wifi (hello Starbucks and Panera) but I could also sit in the car and write on a draft on a full keyboard.
The chromebook is several years old now but still as zippy as ever. It’s my primary computer and sitting down to write anywhere and everywhere is easy. And it was only 200$ 😉
Internet: While I could survive for a long time without the internet, ultimately my entire business requires it to function. I contact editors and artists through email. I connect with other authors on forums. I interact with my fans on social media. I even save my stories on the cloud.
My Fiance: Is this a cliche? I’m supposed to avoid those 😉 Seriously, Fiance is critical to the success of my work. He supports me financially while I get this career underway which is both heartwarming and a heavy expectation. He knows I will be a famous author someday. That unconditional support is invaluable. He helps in smaller ways too, from traveling with me for research to reminding me to eat lunch. That second one happens more often than it should XD
Tell us a bit about your new release.
Learning To Want is my latest novella and features a 100% POC cast. It’s a science fiction story set on an alien world where the ruling class uses sexual dominance and submission shows as political power. Atash is stuck at the bottom of the class system and hopes to teach Khoram how to submit. Khoram, meanwhile, is trying to avoid being killed by a mercenary clan boss: his former employer!
Ooh, sounds intriguing! Where did your inspiration for it come from?
The initial story was only five thousand words long and spawned from a call for submissions for an anthology about BDSM with a small press. I didn’t end up in the anthology, but when Nine Star accepted the story for publication, they asked me to expand it into a novella. Much of the world and action/adventure plot developed out of that expansion process and took me several months!
What did you find most enjoyable about writing it?
I loved imagining the details of an alien world and bringing that vision to life. Dulia has a native species called the Frea that are well-adapted to their desert planet, but half a dozen other alien species make appearances in the story as well.
That sounds like so much fun! I love the world-building side of things. What was the hardest part about writing it?
The hardest part, but also fun, was definitely the details of Frea culture. I wanted to develop an alien race that was interesting and complex, not just window dressing for a story, but only the readers can tell me if I succeeded.
Who’s your favorite character in it? (I know, I know, favouritism!)
Oh this one is easy: Madam Zoya! (That’s right I love my antagonist). Without Zoya, this book would have turned out much differently. When I first started writing she was just a convenient backstory name, but as the story evolved and grew her role expanded as well and became a critical driving force for not one, but both protagonists.
Hehe, I’m glad I’m not the only one who loves my villains! Why should we run out and buy it right now?
You should run out and buy it right now because there’s a bonus sexy scene in my newsletter for readers to enjoy and you’re going to want to know all the details!
Check out the book details 🙂
Khoram is an enforcer, a bodyguard, but his boss has just betrayed him. Now he’s stranded on a desert planet he’s never heard of, chained to the only other human around.
Atash grew up in the cracks of Dulia’s complex social structure, where dominance and submission are a man’s worth. He’s struggled for years on a lower caste but Khoram could be his ticket to a better life if they can find common ground.
Atash wants to teach Khoram the art of submitting by choice and maybe make a name for himself along the way. Khoram, however, isn’t here to play Atash’s political games. He’s going to escape, if his former employer doesn’t see him killed first.
And you can get your hands on a copy here:
Take care x