Friday, February 22, 2008

Interview with Tina LaVon


I’d like to welcome our guest today, Tina LaVon. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.





I understand you have a new release out called Liquid Hypnosis. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

I would be happy to. Liquid Hypnosis is the first book I sold. I have three full practice manuscripts hidden away and I refuse to tell where, even if you threaten to take my chocolate away. I believe I put together what I learned about writing romance and suspense with Liquid and the work paid off. Liquid made the final round of the EPPIE and was nominated as one of the Top Ebook Romances of 2007 by Long and Short Reviews. It also finaled in several RWA chapter contests before selling to The Wild Rose Press.

I got the idea for the story when a friend of mine in the DEA told me his team had investigated the nightclubs in Scottsdale. I asked myself, “What if…” about two dozens times and came up with a romantic suspense with a paranormal twist. Donald Maas says you need to put your characters through hell and I’ve been told I did that with Liquid.

Liquid Hypnosis is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

In the story, a female DEA agent must find a missing scientist who accidentally created a chemical that, when mixed with alcohol, controls your mind. I knew I wanted Hypnosis in the title. My critique partner, Deborah McTiernan, came up with the Liquid part during a brainstorming session.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?

My critique partner helped make the medical part believable and my friend in the DEA helped with my questions about procedure. Since this is a fiction novel, I had to bend reality more than a bit to make the romance and paranormal elements work. When your hero is bending the law, even for noble reasons, you can’t have your heroine following the rules for the whole story or the romance will have to take place during prison visiting hours. Making a by-the-book DEA agent reconcile her love and her commitment to her job was a challenge.

Of course, the paranormal elements were tougher to research. I’ve never heard of a human lie detector, who can open the door to the spirit world. I also never heard of anyone whose wounds unheal as the evil spirit haunting her grows stronger. I had to use my imagination for that part of the story.

What character did you like writing about the most, and why?

I grew attached to all of my characters. My hero is the kind of man I would want my daughter to marry. He’s strong, noble, and dedicated to his family. But of course, I think every writer loves the main couple. The character I had the most fun writing was Orchid. She’s a psychic flower child who is always there for our heroine. Everyone needs a best friend like that.

If your book was made into a movie, what actor would you like to fill your hero’s shoes?

Cameron Matheson, the actor who plays Ryan on All My Children. You might remember him from Dancing with the Stars. He always comes across as a lovable hero.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Every writer who ever spoke at a Desert Rose or Valley of the Sun chapter meetings, and every writer whose RWA conference tape I listened to over and over. RWA taught me how to write. I also take something from every book I read. It could be the way a writer makes me care about the characters or shocks me with a suspenseful twist. I admire writers who can continuously produce like Jennifer Ashley or writers who can maintain the sexual tension throughout a book like Stephanie Myer. Kathryne Kennedy’s world building and Dan Brown’s code breaking inspire me to be true to my own gifts. Debbie Macomber’s speeches motivate me to be persistent and to improve my craft.

In terms of marketing, Karen Fox’s Show Me the Money and Cynthia Sterling’s Market News taught me that being a resource for other writers helps build name recognition. I started a list of MySpace links on my personal blog at http://www.suspensebytina.blogspot.com/ to help romance readers and writers connect on MySpace. The lists now contain 850 live links. Anyone interested in being MySpace friends with readers, writers, reviewers, publishers, librarians and booksellers can click on a link that will take them to that person’s profile and then click add. If anyone wants me to place their link on my blog, all they need to do is leave a message for me on MySpace or leave a comment here.

What do we have to look forward next?

I’m currently working on Desperate Homeowners. It’s a dark humorous look at the people who run homeowners associations and the neighbors who want to kill them.

Desperate Homeowners is about Andi, a substitute teacher who finds herself in a war with the president of the homeowners association while fighting her feelings an old flame the property manager who can’t stop the mayhem. When the board members become a target of a serial killer, Andi ends up playing amateur detective.

The agent who judged it in the final round of the Hot Prospects Contest called it “…very Stephanie Plum-ish.” This is the novel where I finally found my true voice and I love writing it. If you read episodes of The Neurotic Writer in this blog, you’ll get an idea of what my humor is like.

Speaking of agents, I’ll have this story done this summer and then I’ll begin my hunt for an agent to sell it.

Thanks, Tina!

To celebrate her book release, Tina is offering a free ebook of Liquid Hypnosis to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be most of the day today, in between her day job. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Check out author’s website at www.suspensebytina.com
Print copies of Liquid Hypnosis are available thru Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Electronic copies are available at http:/www.thewildrosepress.com

9 comments:

Kathleen Grieve said...

Tina,

I have LIQUID HYPNOSIS on order! I hope it comes before Tuesday! Love your insight and how you stay true to your craft.

Write on!
Kathleen

Cherie J said...

Enjoyed the interview! Sounds like a book I would enjoy reading. I love books that have paranormal elements and I am intrigued by your unique plot.

Kim Watters said...

Hi Tina,
I can't wait to finish my RITA and Golden Quill entries so I can dig into yours! Have a great weekend.

Carol Webb said...

Tina, congrats on the EPPIE finalist nomination for Liquid Hypnosis. It was well deserved!

Shelley Mosley said...

Hi Tina!

I, for one, am most appreciative of your Friends Lists. You have facilitated a wonderful network of writers, librarians, publishers, etc. Congratulations on your EPPIE finalist nomination for Liquid Hypnosis!

To your continued success,
Shelley

Anonymous said...

Thank you, ladies.
I am thrilled with the EPPIE Final and I love assisting other writers by creating the Friends Lists.

You are all so wonderful. Thank you for the support.

Tina Lavon

Miss Mae said...

A very interesting interview and concept for a story too!..:)

Miss Mae

Kathryne Kennedy said...

Hi Tina!
Wonderful interview...your sense of humor shines through! I enjoyed Liquid Hypnosis, and am looking forward to reading Desperate Homeowners.

lrwirum said...

I really enjoyed the interview. Very interesting. The book sounds really good. Great cover.