Happy June! I can't believe we're halfway through the year already!
Today I'm bringing you an interview with Darlene Tallman!
Welcome Darlene, I'm so excited to have you with us! Are you ready to give an in depth look at your writing?
Tell us a bit about you! I'm a bit of a free-spirited gypsy, with a creative heart and soul. Not quite a year ago, I relocated cross country to live in Texas near friends after being in Georgia for four decades. Single again (and loving it for the most part), I share my house with a bunch of spoiled rotten cats (including the infamous Harry the bampire hunter) and one puppy that I got for Christmas this past year. I've got four adult children and eight grandkids, as well as a bunch of great-nieces and nephews, so traveling 'home' a few times a year is now on the schedule.
Who or what inspired you to write? As a little girl, I remember watching shows I enjoyed and then 'continuing' them when I would play, either with my dolls or with my friends, so I've always had a bit of a running commentary in my head. In 2015, I woke up with the prologue of my first book dancing in my mind and I opened my laptop and started typing away, but it took nearly a year and a lot of encouragement from online friends who read what I was writing for me to hit that publish button.
If you could have dinner with any 3 authors (dead or alive) who would you choose and what would you like to talk to them about? I would love to eat dinner with Jackie Collins, Judith McKnaught, and Julie Garwood and I'd love to talk to them about how they forged so many paths for us future romance writers. All took chances so to speak with what they wrote and I think that allows us to push the proverbial envelope.
If you could recommend one book of yours to a new reader, which would you choose? Why? This question is always so darned hard! My beta team is no help because they each like a different book. I guess it would be Her Kinsman-Redeemer because that particular book is a reinvention of the Book of Ruth and the story of Boaz, only with steam and heat!
Which of your characters do you relate to most? Or which is most similar to your personality? Another tough one because I think there's a piece of me in every female character, depending on where I was at when I wrote the story. I guess in some ways, I relate best to Angelina; she truly tries to see the good in every person even at her own risk. Personality-wise, it would be Dorrie.
What’s your favourite book you’ve written to date? Holy smokes, let's bring out all the hard ones at once! Christmas With Dixie because even though there's a love story, I really wanted to show how important a good, strong friendship was and built the side character, Annie, from all of my besties I've had through the years (most are still with me which is a bonus)!
Do you talk certain scenes out with anyone to be sure they’re accurate or can be done? Absolutely! Most of my beta team have become trusted friends and it's nothing for me to pick up the phone and talk it through. I also rely on Liberty a great deal seeing as she's like, five minutes from me.
What do you do to celebrate writing the end on a book? Hahahah....sometimes with a nap. No lie but when it's crunch time, things like sleep tend to go to the wayside, so when those words are typed and it's off to the girls? I will grab a shower and sometimes something to eat, then nap.
What are your publishing goals for the next 6 months? Ambitious! I am releasing a new MC series this year and found out that one of the models that'll be on the book itself is coming to an event in April. He's book three so...yeah, like I said, ambitious!
Can readers find you at any events in the future? Absolutely! My first one this year is the Reader's Envy Lexington Legendary Book Bash in March, but I have signings every month except July and December, so it won't be hard to find me 'somewhere'!
If you weren’t an author, what would you be? A crazy cat lady? Wait, I'm already that according to friends, so I have no clue. I'd probably volunteer somewhere.
Do you have a favourite book? "The Will" by Kristen Ashley because it led me to the indie industry!
What are you working on now? A secret project, plus Homeward Bound, and also Poseidon's Lady (book one of the Poseidon's Warriors MC) to expand it.
If you had one piece of advice for a new author, what would you tell them? Keep writing. Find a group of people who will encourage and challenge you to be better than the book before. Don't take reviews personally.
Do you have an excerpt from your current WIP you’d like to share? This is from Poseidon's Lady, book one in the Poseidon's Warriors MC series.
Poseidon / Jesse
Twenty years ago, Age fifteen
I wake up when I feel a cold hand touch my cheek. “Winnie?” I mumble, almost incoherently. “That you?” My best friend and neighbor, Winnie, has been crawling into my window and sleeping curled up next to me for years now, ever since her step-father started beating on her mom. When shit hit the fan, she would lock her bedroom door and climb out her window then into mine. The first time she did it, she was eight and I was ten, so by now, my mom was used to coming in and finding her asleep next to me.
“C-c-c-old, Jesse,” she says. I realize her hand is colder than normal and reach out to turn on the light next to my bed before I roll over.
I freeze. She’s covered in blood. Head, face, chest, arms. Everywhere I look, I see blood.
“Winnie? What the fuck happened?”
“B-b-b-art,” she stammers out, her teeth chattering. I’ve got to get my mom. She can help. I know she can.
Climbing out of the bottom of the bed, I grab the blanket and gently cover Winnie up. “I’m getting Mom, Winnie. Hang on,” I whisper. I won’t think about the fact that her normally golden-tone skin is grayish looking. Or that her lips that are generally red enough she doesn’t need to think about lipstick are blue.
Hurrying down the hall, I run into my mom’s bedroom and shake her shoulder. “Mom, Mom. Wake up! Winnie’s hurt, Mom. You’ve gotta help her!” Once I see she’s awake, I rush back down to my room and turn on the overhead light. Winnie hasn’t moved and her eyes are closed and my heart clenches in my chest.
“Winnie? Mom’s coming, hold on,” I chant, crouching on the floor next to her. I don’t know where to touch because she’s hurt everywhere, and I won’t bring my best friend more pain. My mom runs into the room and I see the horror on her face for a few seconds before she wipes it away and starts issuing orders.
“Jesse, hon, I need you to call an ambulance and the police while I see what I can do, okay?” she asks, moving toward Winnie, her bag in hand. She’s a traveling nurse practitioner and has gotten used to patching us up.
I nod and leave my room again, grabbing the phone and making the call my mom asked me to make. I turn the outside lights on and unlock the front door and go back to my room, only to hear my mom quietly crying as she works on my best friend.
“I can help, Mom,” I say. “Please, let me help.”
She nods and hands me some gloves that I slip on before I grab a gauze pad and try to stop the bleeding. Winnie’s eyes are closed and her breathing is shallow, so shallow I have to look closely to make sure she’s still alive.
“Is she...is she going to be okay, Mom?” I ask. I can hear the tremble in my voice, but this is Winnie. My Winnie.
“I don’t know, Jesse. She’s in pretty bad shape.”
I don’t feel my tears as they slide down my face while I help my mom try to stop the bleeding and clean her up. When I feel cold fingers touch me again, I glance down and see Winnie looking at me. Well, as best as she can, seeing as one eye is swollen shut. “Jesse,” she says.
“Shhhh, Winnie, rest. The ambulance is on the way,” I reply.
“I love you.”
“Love you too, my Winnie,” I tell her. And I do. Maybe it’s that innocent, kid kind of love, but we’ve been thicker than thieves for years and I don’t know where I end and she begins. As far as I’m concerned, she’s my girl. Always will be.
“Why are you apologizing?” I ask. If she’s talking she’s gonna be okay, right?
“My...my fault. All of it,” she replies.
“No it’s not. Nothing you could have done deserves this at all!” I angrily state. “Now, rest, the ambulance should be here in a few minutes. You’ll be just fine.”
She closes her eyes and smiles slightly and I see her take a breath. Then nothing.
Thank you so much for joining us Darlene! Don't forget to follow Darlene!
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