Guest Interview with Taryn Elliot, Author of Ashes and Wine + Giveaway

Today on What the Cat Read, we have the wonderful Taryn Elliot joining us as part of the Ashes and Wine tour event hosted by Jaime of Entangled Publishing. Purrs and tail waves to you Taryn! =^.^=

Thanks for having me, Cameron. I’m really excited to be here. =)

Would you please share with us three fun facts about yourself. =^.^=

T.E. – I’m a devout believer in Mercury in Retrograde. Silly I know, but it stomps my butt every time it comes around. It cannot be a coincidence that 3 of my laptops have fried during this time of the year! THREE! Oh and just as an aside, Carbonite–an online backup and recovery subscription—has saved my not so tiny behind each and every time, thank you very much!

For those that don’t know what I’m speaking of…
This is a good indicator. And anything that I could be remotely late to, screw up or blow up…it’ll happen. *facepalm*

Sure you want more answers to this question?

Okay…a slightly more normal fun fact. I’m utterly addicted to Lost Girl. This is an awesome time in both books and television (my other nasty little habit) With all the diversification in publishing you can find amazing stories out there. And now, thanks to cable television, there’s awesome shows like Lost Girl that shows female empowerment in both sexuality and kickassery. Five years ago we wouldn’t have allowed a Succubus to be a main character on television! Let alone a succubus that likes both boys and girls and it’s heavily portrayed on the show. And that’s for the win, any way you want to slice it! Oh and Dyson will make you swoon. YEESH.

And how about a short one for the last…I hate coffee unless it’s the consistency of coffee ice cream or a Starbucks Frapp.

What attracted you to writing in general?

T.E. – Well, I’m a control freak. So, having complete control over a story is pretty much perfection in my book. Hi, I’m Taryn and I’m an Aries. *bats eyelashes* I have an opinion on lots of things and my poor brain never shuts down. So channeling it into something creative, like writing, is the only way to rein in the crazy part of me.

Would you care to describe your writing style for us?

T.E. – Me and a notebook have a dinner date. Then we move on to a little more intimacy. That would be me, and my bed with my favorite mechanical pencil and said notebook. We figure out char names, the look, the story that got us moving–sometimes it’s just a first date of a guy going out of town the next day. Ahh, the fleeting idea followed by the excitement of someone new…aka a character that squiggles into my brain…but sometimes the chemistry only lasts through some furious scribbling. And doesn’t really solidify into a true idea. Those get dumped in my ‘junkdrawer’ file to be picked over at a later date.

But then there’s the story that one that goes from notebook to my writing program, Scrivener. Then there’s a plot board on the computer and also one of those tri-fold boards that the kids use for science projects? Yep–one of those gets plastered with sticky notes so I don’t forget little kernels of ideas. Then I dive into writing. I like to think I’m a plotter, but once I get moving on a story the character tends to dictate if I actually get to stay on the path I set. Then I write a first draft. It can take anywhere from 4 days to 34 days for the first draft to get done. Then I put it on my kindle app and read it through like it’s a book to see what’s missing, what went wrong, what’s not working. Fix and fiddle and then let Cari read it—that’s my crit partner, Cari Quinn. She tells me it’s brilliant, I don’t believe her and we start picking it apart. Another round of edits and then I send it off to an editor.

What can we expect next from you writing wise?

T.E. – I’m working on a super sexy story, single title length book right now–80,000 words for those that aren’t in the know. That would be double the length of ASHES AND WINE if you’ve read it. And if the stars align I’ll be working on Mercy and Alaric’s story–a few of the supporting characters from ASHES AND WINE. I’m also working on book two of my San Francisco Cross Brothers series. (UNCROSS YOUR HEART, bk 1, came out in March of this year.)

What are your must have snacks/drinks while writing?

T.E. – Peanut M&M’s make me happiest, with a side of Coke Zero or Pepsi Max depending on what’s for sale at the market. LOL

When you develop your characters, do you model them off of people in your life or do they sort of create themselves?

T.E. – They start off with a spark from a certain actor/actress or model, but they pretty much take a life of their own. It’s just an easy way to start the mold in my head.

What research did you do prior to writing Ashes and Wine?

T.E. – Me and the internet got VERY chummy. I used Google, researched the regional wineries and read up on the different styles of  grapes that could grow in downstate NY. Add in a one of a kind bookstore and a whole lot of imagination…with a few dips into Pinterest–evil doers created that site, btw. Talk about a time-suck of amazing! I plan on taking a wine tour this fall to see if what I came up with comes close to the reality of it.

Unfortunately I didn’t have to do much research on the cancer angle that’s played into the story. I’ve lost both of my parents to the hideous disease.

Out of all of the characters, who is your favorite? Who has surprised you the most?

T.E. – In this book Royal and Tessa sort of flew off my fingertips. They really seemed to have something to say. I didn’t have to really think about them. They just sort of took over. I think my favorite was Mercy. I wasn’t expecting her to become such and intrinsic role in the book. I was expecting Tessa’s brother, Blake, to be the one that would take on a larger role. But nope–Mercy Benedict just decided she was going to play the supporting best friend. The surprise was Alaric Van Horne. This stuffy British dude decided that he wanted Mercy and evidently I’m going to be along for the ride on that one. The best part is he’s a stuffy suit that actually does Ironman competitions to keep him from going stir crazy because of all the hotels he runs.

What is your favorite scene in Ashes and Wine? Which was the most difficult scene to write?

T.E. – My favorite scene was with the girls after Tessa’s first night with Royal. A bottle of Patron and a little drunk dialing with Alaric, and the hilarious girl talk was a freaking blast to write. I was so afraid it would be taken out of the final manuscript, but my editor loved it just as much as I did. I think that was probably the least edited scene in the whole book! LOL

The most difficult to write was the scenes with Royal’s father, Roy. Making a proud man lose all control of his body, and yet his mind was still sharp made for difficult scenes between the father and sons. And of course the entire letting go process is different for everyone. There’s quite the range of emotions from the brothers and making that all work in a short story was very challenging.

What lead you to use the various quotes which you have scattered through your story?

T.E. – Bookstore nerd. LOL I used to work for Barnes and Noble. Beyond the books, my favorite things in the store were the little book-nerd trinkets. I love the idea of a cuff with words to a book on it. And of course The Princess Bride, wink and nudge was too perfect. C’mon, her shop’s name is As You Wish! You knew there would HAVE to be a Wesley comment or three. 😉

Can we expect to see more of Tessa and Royal or has their story come to a close?

T.E. – Well, that all depends on another contract. In Mercy and Alaric’s story you’ll see more of them. Mercy is going to help Royal do something special for a marriage proposal. And if Simon and Rafe get their stories you’ll see the brothers interact.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers before you go?

T.E. – No…I don’t think so. I got awfully rambly. I just love to talk about my peeps and I hope you guys enjoyed getting to know the Andreas Winery peeps a little bit better. Thanks so much for having such awesome questions.

Thank you Taryn for taking the time to visit our page and for answering a few of our questions. It’s been a pleasure having you with us today!


And there you have it dear readers, a brief glimpse into the writing world of Taryn Elliot! Be sure to come back later today for Buggy’s review of Ashes and Wine.

Also, as a special treat, we are offering an Ebook copy of Taryn’s novel, Ashes and Wine, to one lucky winner! To enter, simply leave a comment below answering the following question: What would be your ultimate dream date?  Please be sure to include your email so that we have a way of notifying you if you are chosen as the winner! Winner will be chosen on August 14, 2012 using

Posted on August 7, 2012, in Authors. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Great interview you guys!! I really enjoyed learning more about your process, Taryn. Congrats again!

  2. Kassandra Fuentes

    My ultimate dream date would be going to a cafe, D’Louvre, and then walking the streets of Paris in the night with my loved one.

  3. I hope you get to go on your wine tour soon, Taryn. I did one a few years ago in the Finger Lakes region and had a great time!

  4. Wonderful interview Taryn….great to learn more about you!

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