20 Jul 2015

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Author Interview / Tonya Plank

Rory’s once promising ballet career was destroyed by family tragedy and illness. She turned her life around and became a lawyer. Now at the start of her legal career, she lacks passion in her work and self-confidence in her abilities. But when she meets gorgeous, mysterious Russian ballroom dancer, Sasha, at a firm holiday party, her passions for life and dance are immediately re-kindled.

Since being torn from his Siberian family as a child, Sasha’s life ambition has been to be world ballroom champion, a path he was destined for until his former partner pulled the plug on their partnership. She went on to win the world title, leaving him, without a partner equal in ability, forever in second place. The instant he lays eyes on Rory, he recognizes the depth of her passion and talent, and falls hard for her in more ways than one.

But she also reminds him of great pain from his past. He must not only overcome his own demons but convince her to leave her demanding law career, and all that she has worked for in her adult life, to train with him full-time in order for their partnership – both on and off the dance floor – to work.

This is part one in a continuing three-book series.

1) If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?   Oh my gosh, this is one of the hardest questions I've been asked! I have so many favorite authors, it's so hard to choose. But I guess my absolute dream right now would be to collaborate with Alice Clayton. I just love her totally off-the-wall sense of humor. Even though her sex scenes are full of such zaniness, they still contain such passion and fire. I think my love scenes are full of passion and desire as well - I have a lot of repressed desire in mine, actually. But I would love to let loose a bit more, and not have everything seem so serious. I'm good with humor - bawdy humor included - in the scenes where Rory, my main character, learns to partner dance. There are lots of crazy, goofy missteps. But my love scenes are so dramatic and angsty. I would love to be able to let loose and bring out the humor there a bit more. Just like Alice!
2) What would be a typical working day for you?  When and where do you write?   A typical writing day depends on whether I'm working at a day job at the time. I do contract-based attorney jobs. So when I'm working on a project, I'll try to put in at least two hours of writing every weeknight after I get home and have dinner and walk the dog. Then, on the weekends, I work all day, eight hours at least. My apartment gets rather messy during those times! But when I'm fortunate enough to have a few weeks off from work, then I'll write like every day is a weekend day - eight hours each day. I work really hard during those times; that's actually when most of the writing gets done.
3) What is the hardest part of the writing for you?   The hardest part of writing for me is writing too much and then having to go back and take things out. I tend to describe things in way too much detail. So when I'm re-working the draft, I'll have to figure out which parts are the ones that aren't necessary. I hate cutting!
4) When and why did you first start writing?  I feel like I've always written, at least since I was a small child. I remember when I was very young my mom got me hooked on the "Little House on the Prairie" books. My grandmother always told me such fascinating stories about growing up in her little log cabin in the woods, and they reminded me of the Laura Ingalls books. I thought I was going to write the same kind of series, from my grandma's perspective! But that never happened of course. I took creative writing classes all throughout high school and college though. Even during law school, I took some fiction workshops. They really kept me sane. My first novel came out of one of those workshops.
5) How did you come up with the idea for the book?   I came up with the idea for my "Fever" series from my experiences as an amateur ballroom dancer, and my love of romance novels. I met so many fascinating people in the ballroom world - both professional dancers, and people from other walks of life who were just taking lessons at night. So many different kinds of people come together in a dance studio. And there were sweet little romances that would develop. Plus, there were so many really talented, gorgeous male dancers, I just felt like that type of man would make a perfect hero for a romance novel! The dance world is replete with passion and drama and competition and just ... hot, thrilling dancers - all things that make for a great romance!
6)  Are you a big reader?  If so, what are you reading now?  Yes, I love to read! I'm probably a reader before I'm a writer. I recently returned from Romantic Times BookLovers Convention in Dallas and brought back so many books. Right now I'm simultaneously reading "The Master" by Kresley Cole, "Loving Dallas" by Caisey Quinn, and "The Marriage Pact" by M.J. Pullen, all of which I got there.
7) Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?   My advice to other aspiring writers is to read as much as you can. You learn so much about good writing from just reading great books. And read a lot of books in your genre. Read the blogs and the reviews, and know what readers are loving about the type of books you want to write. And try to write everyday, even if you only have a small amount of time. It really helps to have a schedule.