LET'S WELCOME TAMRA BAUMANN AUTHOR OF CROSSING DOUBLE
Rad-Reader: Sara’s character starts off one way but as you get into the story you see how complex she really is. Was that your intention?
Tamra: Yes! In keeping with the old saying, you can’t judge a book by its cover, I wanted to show how Sara is portrayed wrongly by the press. The hero, Brent, learns that Sara is actually a kindhearted woman who wants to help others and nothing like the impression he got from researching her online.
Rad-Reader: Did you come up with either Sara’s character or Brent’s before the other one or were they both always part of the story?
Tamra: Sara is the younger sister of the heroine from the first book in this series, Seeing Double. (They are all stand-alone books so they can be read in any order) So Sara came first and then Brent came to me later. I always like to pair the two most unlikely people, give them a problem to solve and watch them grow together.
Rad-Reader: Brent being so uptight about different things was that your intention about making his personality?
Tamra: Yes, it was intentional because as I said above, I enjoy pairing opposites in my books. Brent has had a tough life, so he doesn’t easily trust. Sara appears to live a charmed life on the surface but has had her own struggles too. Mainly to be taken seriously for the intelligent and thoughtful person she is, not the spoiled Hollywood rich kid the press makes her out to be.
Rad-Reader: I got that Brent was on his first assignment out of the office but, he did not trust anyone. Was that intentional?
Tamra: Brent mistrusts as much as Sara gives the benefit of the doubt to all. It’s one of the things Brent comes to love most about Sara. And it’s one of the significant ways Brent changes by the end of the book.
Rad-Reader: Was Brent’s thinking that she had no skills in defending herself, just part of his character trait?
Tamra: Yes, Brent had no idea that Sara’s mother feared for her children’s safety as she does. Sara’s sister was kidnapped as a child. Therefore, Sara was highly trained to defend herself from a young age. Sort of like the training Meghan Markle got when she joined the royal family.
Rad-Reader: Brent’s character and his background I would have expected him to have some street smarts or I am looking at the character differently?
Tamra: Brent does have street smarts, but he’s an FBI agent who has to live by the letter of the law. It’s one of his struggles to maintain his cover story while he and Sara are on the run. He often let Sara figure things out first so she wouldn’t become suspicious of him.
Rad-Reader: How did you come up with Sara’s whole home life with mother, sister, sister’s father, and her own father?
Tamra: Sara’s background was set up in the first book of this series. (Seeing Double) Sara’s sister Dani was tired of living in their famous mother’s shadow and had no idea she was the daughter of an infamous former mobster, Mario, who makes an appearance in this book too. I enjoy examining family dynamics. Having a huge family of my own helps with the research!
Rad-Reader: Her grandmother’s character was funny was she based on anyone or different people?
Tamra: My characters are all aggregates of different personality traits. I enjoy watching reality television for this reason. It’s interesting to watch people’s reactions when faced with stressful situations. True personalities emerge. And I love feisty older people because they seem to have learned that life is too short to always say and do things to make others happy. It’s fun to write a character with no filter!
Rad-Reader: What made you think to use a pay phone? Not too many people in today’s age remember them. Plus, they used to be everywhere not so much now.
Tamra: I used a pay phone in my story because they’re rare these days and therefore hard to find. (Can’t make things easy for my characters!) And because I hoped a pay phone would stand out in the reader’s mind as Sara raced to find all of the items her sister told her to look for. It’s much harder to write mysteries these days because everyone has a cell phone they can use to save themselves instantly or obtain information.
Rad-Reader: When you had Sara and Brent go on the run did you write the places where they went first and then add the people or all of it together?
Tamra: I had to use google maps to figure out a few things before I began, but I live in the southwest so I’m familiar with the journey. I found real places along the way that I fictionalized for the story. For example, I didn’t realize that the airport in Show Low AZ was as large as it is. It actually has a long-term parking lot which came in handy for my story. So, once I began writing that part, I just filled in the people Sara and Brent met along the way. I write in order, so I often figure out things as I go along.
Rad-Reader: With all of the different characters when do you think or feel you need to add a new one to the story? Bring one that is already in the story back into the storyline maybe?
Tamra: Having a large cast of characters can be a challenge. It’s hard for the reader to keep them all straight if there are too many people in the scene. I try very hard to keep the number of people to a minimum, but when writing a wedding or any type of celebration when the whole cast should be present it can be a real challenge. While writing this book, I was trying to decide what I needed the characters to do next to outrun the corrupt law enforcement agents, when I realized I had an ex-mobster from the first book who I could use to help me out. Because surely, he knew how to outwit the law. All of my books are parts of series, but I focus mainly on the hero and heroine of the book I’m writing and bring in past characters sparingly. I like each book to have its own story arc and therefore have enough room to develop each couple fully. But people love to know what’s become of characters in past books, so my characters usually all make an appearance at the end of the series/story.
Rad-Reader: Do you use an outline or do you just write and then add as you go?
Tamra: I outline sparingly. I know what my big turning points will be and how the story will end, then I fill the rest in as I go. I use a three-act structure that is very similar to what we’re used to seeing in movies and television shows as well. It helps guide me along as I write.
Rad-Reader: Was there any changes that you had to make as you went along with the story either adding characters or maybe had scenes that were deleted?
Tamra: Always. Because I don’t plot much, some days are three steps forward, and then two back. I have written my characters into a corner more than once, and then needed the help from a new character to save them. (Hence the mobster character I spoke about above) And then some days everything goes just right and I’m happy with all the words I wrote. I wish all my days were like this….
Rad-Reader: Interviewing other authors some are under contracts and must write certain stories. Are you able to pick what you want to write?
Tamra: I can pick what I want to write for now. Publishers do ask for certain types of stories depending on what’s hot at the moment, so being aware of that is important. Right now, I’m working on a cozy mystery that my agent and I will determine how we want to distribute it when I’m done. We’ll either shop it around to publishers or I might self-publish it. I’m a hybrid author and publish both ways currently.
Rad-Reader: Was the Zach character always part of your original story or was he added?
Tamra: Yes, Brent needed someone who he could trust when he figures out people from his own office might be involved with money laundering too. Zach was Brent’s mentor at the academy and is a wise character who gives good advice. We all need a Zach in our lives.
Rad-Reader: Do you by any chance remember your first royalty check and what, if anything you did, nice for yourself with it?
Tamra: I think most authors remember our first checks. It was so exciting to finally feel like a “real” author. But I didn’t make the journey alone, so I took my husband out for dinner and a movie of HIS choice to celebrate.
Rad-Reader: If your book was made into a movie who would you want to play…
Sara: Camilla Belle
Brad: Scott Eastwood
Mother: Valeria Galino
Grandmother: Goldie Hawn
Tamra: I LOVE the characters you chose! I’ll stick with you here! Great job!!
Rad-Reader: What song or songs best describes your couple or your book as a whole?
“Waiting for Superman – Daughtry”
“Come Back Song – Darius Rucker”
Tamra: Again, amazing choices I can’t top!
Rad-Reader: If you tell a young writer anything what would it be?
Tamra: I often wish I had figured out I could write books when I was younger! Alas, life doesn’t always work out the way we think it will. My best advice is to be proud of your accomplishments and keep trying no matter how many doors slam in your face. It took me many years to be published. It was after I won a Golden Heart award that I got my terrific agent, Jill Marsal, and then the fun began. Surround yourself with positive people who lift you up and celebrate even the small achievements with you, because they all count! Never lose sight of your dreams. And good luck!
Rad-Reader: If you could meet any author who would it be? Alive or dead and why?
Tamra: I have been super fortunate to meet many of my idols at the Romance Writers of America conferences I attend most years. So, I’d probably pick Jane Austen. I’d like to thank her for paving the way for women writers, especially those writing romance. And I suspect she must’ve been a witty and fun person to hang out with!
Rad-Reader: What is your favorite type of music?
Tamra: I’m a classic rock and pop listener. But never while I write. I tend to sing along and don’t get any writing done!
Rad-Reader: What is your next project and when is it coming out?
Tamra: I’m currently working on a cozy mystery series and really enjoying it. I’m hoping to have the first book out next spring.
Rad-Reader: Where can our readers buy your books? Links
Rad-Reader: Where can our reader find you on the Web? Links
Thank you for your time in answering these questions and for a wonderful story. I totally enjoyed it. My wife enjoyed my retelling of it also.
Pat & Char
Make sure you come by and let us know when your next book drops so Char can put it on our Shout-Out: An Author's page.
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