DUCK CHAT: Tammy Kane and Her Dragons are Smokin’ Hot!Tuesday, September 22, 2009 10:00
Once again, welcome to Duck Chat!
If you’re a dragon lover, you’re in the right place today. Tammy Kane is with us!
Tammy is a native of our neighbor from the north, and, like most authors, has been writing since a very young age. Her debut book, Breath of Fire, is one you shouldn’t miss (see my review here). You not only get some wonderful dragons in the book, but some terrific writing as well. Tammy talks about all of that and then some today. Be sure to check out the Breath of Fire excerpt that will post later today!
She’s been married for ten years, and she and her husband have two sons. She’s a Dallas Cowboys fan, loves lilies of all colors, and sci-fi movies. Tammy is from a family of writers, of which includes her grandfather, mother, and sister.
You’re in luck today, the odds are in your favor, Tammy is giving away five autographed copies of Breath of Fire. So be sure to leave that meaningful comment or question for her! Now let’s chat!
DUCK CHAT: Tammy, let’s start right off the bat talking about Breath of Fire, your debut book. What a wonderful read this is! First please tell us where the idea for the story came from and how it evolved during the writing process.
TK: Thanks for having me on Duck Chat! I’ve always adored dragons, so I guess it seemed only natural to choose them as the base for my first fantasy-romance novel. For years, I’d had this image in my head of an exotic young woman standing against a massive slavering dragon. I didn’t know how she came to be in that predicament, or even how she intended to survive, but both the woman and the dragon demanded that I write their story and find the answers. I admit, I was hesitant. With all the books and worlds of dragons, could I do something original with the legend?
So I thought about the legends surrounding dragons, and I started playing with them until finally I had created an entire race of people who revolved around the rite of sacrificing virgins to appease the wrath of a dragon. A race of men who used this rite to save the sacrificial virgins and then claim them in their beds as payment for services rendered. Of course, the rite is a ruse, and my dragonslayers are definitely not what they appear to be. But once I had my world figured out, I decided I was ready to start writing. The only problem? That exotic young woman in my head was no sacrificial virgin waiting to be saved.
So my hero became my sacrificial virgin, and my heroine saved him from the dragon… then claimed him in her bed as is her right. The role reversal opened up all sorts of unusual concepts, and I intended to have all manner of fun (evil grin) with my unsuspecting virgin hero. One of my favorite scenes happened after Karl gives Elera the silent treatment (totally justified in his head, and certainly very manly) until she laughs at him for using a woman’s tactic to make his displeasure shown. Of course, that sparks a more typical alpha male reaction, but I giggled the entire time I wrote this scene.
The dragons in Breath of Fire are temperamental, immortal, and protective of the men and women who hold them sacred. Sandy does a great job describing the bull and his harem of females in her review :) But I had a lot of fun creating the evolution of a civilization that had once worshiped the dragons that they now protect, play and bond with.
TK: Intelligent and controlled, Karl is just two days away from taking his vows and fulfilling his lifelong dream of joining the Mattaen guild of warrior/scholars when he comes across a village preparing to sacrifice a girl to a dragon. Certain that dragons are nothing more than a myth, but unable to convince the villagers of their own ignorance, he makes a single error in judgment and offers himself as the sacrifice. This misguided confidence brings Karl face-to-face with the mythical and slavering creature itself, gets him saved by a woman, and then sent to her bed as payment for her services. But the Mattaen are a celibate brotherhood of monks, and while Karl has studied sensual texts… this was so he could avoid being seduced. Nothing in his teaching has prepared him for the exotic and sensual woman who claims him.
Headstrong and passionate, Elera can fight and play as hard as any man in her race. Her lineage has made her an outcast among her people, but since it is the mate she chooses who will ascend to rule her world, Elera has become a pawn of power, politics and one unforgiving warlord. Desperately searching for a way to save her race from this warlord and an ancient enemy, Elera finds Karl roaming the barrens and claims him in a night of esoteric rites. Fallen from his path and waking alone, a furious Karl follows Elera to a world of danger and beauty and intrigue.
Elera needs every ounce of her determination to overcome the resistance of the man who fights their bond at every step. Karl needs the strength of both his mind and his body to unveil the secrets of the dragons that have evolved alongside her race, face-off with the warlord who wants Elera for himself, and prevent the war that would turn him against the very brotherhood he meant to join.
DC: I’m sure the fan mail has started to come in for you. Have you gotten any really weird/strange ones you can tell us about? Or one that touched your heart?
TK: Of course I was ecstatic when I opened my very first fan mail! But while I haven’t gotten anything weird yet, there is one that I have to mention. A woman wrote to thank me for writing, telling me that Breath of Fire had ‘taken her away’ from all the unpleasantness going on in her life. I found it humbling that something I wrote could have helped her in this way. So yeah, that one touched my heart.
DC: I’ve heard writers often say their stories take them in surprising directions, or dialogue flows from some unknown place. Is it the same with you? Do your characters surprise you sometimes?
TK: I have to know my characters really well before I can even write the opening scene, so their actions rarely surprise me. Sometimes the things they say seem to come out of nowhere, but those are the best days for dialogue to flow naturally. My plot is a different story (no pun intended). Every twist and turn in the story line is a complete surprise to me. I usually thought of a twist at the same time you’re reading it in the story. If I try and figure out the plot first, then the entire story loses its magic and I can’t write anything.
DC: Do you ever argue with your characters while you’re writing? Who usually wins?
TK: I’ve tried, and I’ve lost. My characters do what they want to do. If I try to force them somewhere they don’t want to go, they punish me with a stumped plot-line and cardboard dialogue.
DC: You’re working on another book, Fires of Faith, that features a character from Breath of Fire. Is there a series of books planned? If so, is there a name for the series?
I originally meant to write a trilogy to resolve the growing conflict between dragonriders and dragonslayers. Since I connect more closely with my heroes, I planned this trilogy around the men: Karl’s story(Breath of Fire), Tem’s story(Fires of Faith), Simon’s story(Faith in Ruins). I never came up with a series name because I had tied the titles together instead. But the more I write, the more characters who come to life and demand that I give them their stories also. At the very least, Tem’s nephew Tornak is going to need a book of his own! I do like ‘Dragonfold’ for a series name. The warriors of Verteva refer to themselves as a Fold.
DC: May we get a sneak peek of Fires of Faith and Tem, the hero, and his heroine?
TK: Well, I’m not finished writing it yet, and I find that Tem and Danika stop talking to me if I start talking about them. But here goes…
Tem is my playful hero: fun-loving, good-natured, and fiercely protective of kin and dragon. He is painfully aware that the men of his race are capable of committing terrible acts: brutality, murder, rape. But not since the times of the ancients has anyone seen the brutal massacre of entire villages – the punishment that the ancient riders had once used when a village refused to hand over their sacrificial virgin as payment. Unless he can find the rogue warrior responsible, the tension between his race and the Mattaen threatens to explode into an open war that will spill the blood of the dragons he holds sacred. He certainly doesn’t have time to be distracted from his cause by a pampered lady demanding his protection. But this woman knows things about his people that no one outside his race should. What dark secret is she hiding? And why does she try so desperately to hide the passion he can see in her eyes?
Danika has grown up in the protected city; taught to fear the savagery in the barrens. She is cool, aloof… and haunted by a childhood trauma that sends her fleeing across the barrens in search of the land of dragons and their riders. Her journey brings her to Tem… a man whose raw sexuality and gentle nature challenges her composure, and threatens to shatter every dark preconception she’s been told about his race. But can she trust him with her darkest secret?
That’s the best I can do for an on the spot blurb, but I’ll post chapter one on my site in a month or two.
DC: What is sure to distract you from sitting down and working/writing?
TK: Nothing can distract me once I’m actually writing… though I have no idea the horrific things I may have given my kids permission to do while I’m in the ‘zone’. But time constraints tend to hinder me. I prefer to write in six ten-hour stretches. If I know something’s going to interrupt that, then I can’t immerse myself into the world, and I usually end up tossing whatever I tried to write.
DC: Are there other genres you’d like to try in the future?
TK: Outside of romance? Definitely not. I’ve tried, and the romance always finds its way into my story. But the best thing about romance is that it covers every imaginable genre. So I’ll probably write across the board in the romance genre… fantasy, sci-fi romance (I actually am writing a series in this genre), suspense and even contemporaries.
TK: I love all of the earlier Elizabeth Lowell books (I haven’t read any of her new stuff). Outlaw, Lover in the Rough, and Winter Fire are three of my favorites. Hidden Star by Nora Roberts is also at the top of my list. The hero actually calls the heroine a damsel-in-distress in this one. It’s not that I don’t enjoy strong heroines, but I’m always disappointed if the hero doesn’t jump in and save her from some serious villain or danger.
DC: What advice would you give to your younger self?
TK: Take a few risks. Have fun and enjoy the moment. I was always so worried about making a mistake that I never took any chances or just lived ‘in the moment’.
DC: If you were a book, what would your blurb be?
TK: As a mother of two, Tammy can successfully complete grade six homework (not as easy as it sounds), guitar lessons, and build lego Bionicles. But besides her cool blue-haired son, nothing out of the ordinary really shakes up her quiet existence.
Until the doors close and the lights go out.
Then this quiet woman disappears into hidden worlds of danger and death, of barren lands and fantastic creatures. Does her husband suspect the things she’s doing to the lean and sexy men she finds? Do her friends and family realize that behind her sweet facade lies a woman eager to shed blood and create war?
LOL.. that sounds more like a blurb for a soap opera. But the men in my family are still getting over their shock at some of the things their ‘sweet and innocent’ niece (and daughter) has written
DC: What would be your “voice’s” tagline?
TK: I think it changes with whatever sub-genre I’m writing in, but let’s try… sensual, with subtle humor and plenty of unexpected twists to keep you guessing.
DC: If you had never become an author, what do you think you would be doing right now?
TK: I gave myself until I turned forty to get my first book published, so I consider myself lucky to be a few years ahead of schedule. But I was a bartender before I got published. I think I’d still be doing that. I loved the variety of people I got to meet, and the amazing or strange stories they had to tell me.
DC: I had to chuckle at a tidbit on your site – you discovered how not to burn dinner after ten years of marriage by utilizing the crockpot! I do love mine. Do you have a favorite recipe you can share with us for our crockpots?
TK: Hmm… funny you should bring this up. I recently managed to burn dinner in my crockpot. (Sigh) I tossed sausages and vegatables into the pot, turned it on low, and went out for a couple of hours. Which you’re supposed to be able to do with a crockpot, right? My husband came home before me, found the house full of smoke and the sausages burnt to a crisp. Even the broccoli was black! But other than this one tiny mishap, I’ve been doing pretty good. Swiss Steak is my favorite, and I’m happy to share it. I altered the recipe from the book, because quick and easy is always best:
3-4 pounds of whatever steak you want
flour to coat the steak
salt/pepper (to taste)
can of diced tomatoes(herbed)
1/2 cup of sliced onion
1/4 cup of chopped celery
1 tablespoon of steak sauce
Cut steak into cubes, coat with flour, salt and pepper and toss into the pot. Add everything else. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Add a bit of flour/water to thicken the sauce according to taste in the last half hour.
I usually slice and cook potatoes with steak spice in the oven, and then mix it all together to serve.
DC: What’s on the horizon for Tammy Kane?
TK: I’ll be continuing the Dragonfold series (okay, so the name is really starting to grow on me). But I just hate it when an author starts writing a new series instead of finishing what I’ve been eagerly waiting to read. If I do write more than three or four books in this series, then I’ll probably start mixing things up with a few sci-fi romances as well.
- dark or milk chocolate? - Milk
- smooth or chunky peanut butter? - Smooth
- heels or flats? – Flats. I only pretend that I can walk in heels. I really just balance on my toes all night, never quite touching the heels to the floor.
- coffee or tea? – Tea
- summer or winter? – Winter
- mountains or beach? – Mountains
- mustard or mayonnaise? – Both
- flowers or candy? – Candy. Unless the flowers are lilies.
- pockets or purse? – Pockets. I’m too scatterbrained to remember a purse.
- Pepsi or Coke? – Coke
- ebook or print? – Print
And just because:
1. What is your favorite word? – Adore
2. What is your least favorite word? – G**damn… I can’t say it, write it, and my eyes gloss over it when its in a book.
3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? – Music. Loud and powerful-rock works best.
4. What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally? – Feeling guilty about something.
5. What sound or noise do you love? – The rain outside my window when I’m in bed.
6. What sound or noise do you hate? – Squabbling children. My own. If they belong to someone else, then I can smile in knowledge that I don’t have to break it up.
7. What is your favorite curse word? – I don’t curse…except when I’m driving;) Shit is my fall-back curse word, I guess.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? – Helicopter Pilot
9. What profession would you not like to do? – Nursing. I can’t even look at a needle without feeling woozy.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? – “Don’t worry. No one gets left behind.”
Thanks for having me!
DC: Thank you, Tammy, for being with us!