Today am I delighted to welcome author Tempeste Blake – and the two writers who make her come to life – to my blog! Nancy Smith and Cat Trizzino have combined their talents to create one pen name and a series of romantic mysteries set in the fictitious Riley’s Peak. I am the least romantic person in the world, yet I still enjoyed reading both Chasing Symmetry and Chasing Gravity!
Today’s post is a bit different as Tempeste, Cat and Nancy all share a bit about their lives and writing process.
Tempeste Blake: Please tell me a little bit about yourself, your books and writing career.
I’ve been writing romantic suspense since Nancy Smith and Cat Trizzino met in an online writers’ workshop and decided to give co-authoring a try. Since then I’ve published the first two stand-alones in the Riley’s Peak series, Chasing Symmetry and Chasing Gravity, and am currently at my writing desk (or couch, lake chair, coffee shop) tapping away on more Riley’s Peak stories.
Tempeste Blake: Why do you write the kinds of books you do?
I’m drawn to romantic suspense because while all good love stories have an element of mystery—will they, won’t they reach Happily Ever After?—additional external tension, a gun-wielding crazy bent on revenge or an ex who sees nothing wrong with poisoning (literally) a new relationship, raises the stakes, and makes for a real page turner.
Tempeste Blake: Why do you write stand alones?
Though I enjoy writing and reading novels with threads that ‘could’ lead to more stories with the same people and places, I prefer an ending that provides a measure of closure.
Tempeste Blake: If you were packing for a long trip, which book would you take and why?
The Best American Mystery Stories of the Century edited by Tony Hillerman and Otto Penzler. A well-written short story can really pack a punch. So much in a small space. Make it a mystery and all the better.
Tempeste Blake: could you describe your writing process?
Our process has evolved and is still evolving. Over 600 miles separates us—in fact we haven’t actually met in person—but that doesn’t hinder productivity. On any given day, we pretty much burn up the cyber highway. Emails and shared documents fly. Phone calls. Text messages. Skype or Facetime. Even snail mail. We use it all. Every word we write and character we create, is a collaboration. One of us may draft a scene but by the time we flip, tweak, and massage the words, we often don’t even remember who initiated it. Fortunately, our writing styles are similar enough to mesh, yet different enough to add that extra oomph that is Tempeste Blake.
Cat Trizzino: Do you prefer to write in silence or with background music? Why?
Both. At times music can set the tone for a scene I’m working on, or I need music to drown out my surroundings. Other times, silence allows me to get completely lost in the world of my characters.
Cat Trizzino: What is your usual writing routine?
Routine? What’s that? In some ways I wish I had a routine, but my creative process doesn’t work that way. The only time I have some semblance of a plan around my writing day is when I’m in editing mode and deadlines are looming. Other than that, I try to sit with my laptop or pen and paper or napkin and crayon and write and ponder throughout the day. And of course, sometimes my best ideas come when I’m away from my writing cave. Maybe running errands and I’ll pass someone who reminds me of one of my characters. All too often they’ll catch me staring and eye me with suspicion as I memorize a trait I’d like to work into my story. A little stalkerish? Maybe, but the practice brings characters to life for me . . . and hopefully for the reader.
Nancy Smith: Tell me something about yourself that has nothing to do with writing?
I love to be outside doing just about anything, gardening, kayaking or washing the car. Fresh air and nature sounds are the best backdrop, and nothing beats the warmth of the sun for brightening my mood.
Nancy Smith: Do you read books by other authors when working on a first draft, or do you prefer not to?
I’m always reading. If I’m not reading, I don’t feel much like a writer if that makes sense. Sometimes it helps to read something in the genre I’m writing but getting lost in something totally different works too.
Tempeste Blake is also participating in Mystery Thriller Week 2018!
For one week in February, more than 200 award-winning and bestselling mystery and thriller authors come together to celebrate these genres. That means prizes, giveaways, live chats and more fun surprises.
Be sure and sign up now to be kept up to date. 🙂