I have a treat for all of you Big Cat lovers out there. Taryn Blackthorne, author of the shapeshifter romantic suspense novella EVEN FOR ME has dropped by A Piece of My Mind to answer questions about her story and life in general.
1 - Your novella is a werecat shapeshifter romantic suspense story. Which large cats are your favorites? What attracts you to them?
I’m really interested in North American wildcats, especially the puma/mountain lion/cougar.
I was vacationing with my family in the White Mountains in New Hampshire one year. I was in the back seat, being a bored teenager until my mother gasped and my father slammed on the breaks. I got between the seats in time to see a cougar waltz across the highway. She stopped right on the yellow line, turned to us and gave us the stink eye, then kept going. I’ve been hooked since.
2 - Cougar stink eye - wow. That would be a life-defining moment, for sure. Do you have a cat in real life?
Yep, her super secret ‘pen name’ is She-Who-Oversees-All, or SWOA for short.
She picked me when I went to the Denver Dumb Friends’ League ‘just to look’. It’s a cute story and I love to tell it at parties. Maybe I’ll put it up on my website sometime. SWOA’s pictures are there, but here’s one, just the same. She doesn’t like cameras, just being in control.
3 - Would you consider being spell cast into a shapeshifter a blessing or a curse if it happened to you?
I’d consider it a blessing, think of the calorie burn from the shift alone! The reflexes, the ability to do things no one else can do? Being strong enough to handle anything that comes my way, even a sexy alpha male?
Oh yeah, definitely a blessing.
4 - How does your main character Aislyn feel about it?
Aislyn’s a little different than I am, when it comes to standing out in a crowd.
She’s got mixed heritage (bioDad was Native American), was given up for adoption at a young age and bounced around the foster care system. She finally found a foster family that tried to adopt her, but the legal system didn’t help her out. She grew up wanting to be ‘normal’.
Everything that made her different and unique she saw as a problem. So turning furry? Definitely a curse to her.
5 - Your hero Jackson Havens is a ghost hunter. Is he the sort of male character to which you’re most attracted? Or is there some of Taryn Blackthorne in him?
Neither, really. I had a hard time writing Jackson, because he’s such an arrogant, close-minded SOB.
He’s been taught his whole life to hunt Shifters, to not pay any attention to what they say, who they are as people, how they can actually help, are actually necessary to the local environment. And he never questions his family’s orders.
Stubborn doesn’t even begin to describe this guy, so the more I could rub his face in the fact he has to think for himself, the better.
I’m actually attracted to male characters like Rodriguez. He’s super sexy, to me.
6 - Can you tell us about your forest fire misadventure?
Okay, you know that saying if it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all? Well, my luck’s a little different…it’s not bad per say and it’s not dumb luck, it’s just weird. I seem to be in the wrong place at the right time.
The first forest fire misadventure happened at a friend’s wedding reception. They had gone out on the balcony of this resort to get some pictures taken and in the background was this lovely misty kinda thing that made the pictures turn out beautifully.
It was smoke from one of the worst forest fires in decades. We left the reception just ahead of the fire.
Then there was the time I was on a bus back to the Northern Manitoba town I was living in. Again, forest fire season and again, wrong time at the right place kinda deal. The fire was crossing the highway, literally jumping the bus. That time was a little scary.
7 - How about your freak snowstorm excitement?
I was living in Denver at the time. The city was hit with the worst snowstorm in a hundred years.
I mean, I grew up in Nova Scotia. We have snowstorms all the time. You’d have thought that a big city like Denver could handle some snow.
But no, we were buried inside the house for days until the entire block got shack wacky. We had a shoveling party instead of a block party and set up runs to the grocery stores on the plowed roads for emergency supplies. I remember hearing on the radio that they cancelled city hall.
City hall? Really?
8 - What would you say is worse – fire or ice as weapons of nature?
Being Canadian, I’m torn. I’ve experienced both to the nth degree. Then again, I’ve grown up around the water (occasionally falling in) and driven fifteen minutes ahead of a tornado too. I guess I’ll go with the one that ends up killing me?
9 - If you could choose three fictional fantasy worlds created by other authors to visit for a week, which ones would they be?
Pern because who wouldn’t want a fire lizard or ride a dragon? I cried when we lost Anne McCaffery this past year.
Damar would be second because of the big cats and the horses, not to mention the mental abilities of certain kings and queens. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley has always been a favourite of mine.
And the third…hmm. Pottermore? Nah. Patricia Briggs’ Tri Cities? Lilith Saintcrow’s Santa Cruz? I don’t know about the third, I’m torn.
10 - More bundles-of-three questions: did you watch much fantasy genre TV when you were a kid? What were your three favorite shows when you were growing up?
Three favs? Hmm, I might be dating myself here, but:
Beauty and the Beast (Ron Perlman version)
ST:NG because I always watched that with my Dad
Gargoyles though they hit during my university years…
11 - EVEN FOR ME is also a romantic suspense. What are your three favorite romantic suspense films?
Sleeping with the Enemy
Romancing the Stone
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
They all count, right?
12 - Definitely!
The natural world is a big interest for you. What are your top five eco-warrior habits?
3. Power smart consumption (hanging clothes out, plug in kettles, energy efficient light bulbs)
4. Grow your own.
5. Buy local when you can’t (cuts on transportation impacts AND supports local economy)
13 - How does being an e-book author work with your environmental concerns?
It’s the best of both worlds, I get to tell my stories and save trees! As long as I’m power-smart, of course ;)
Thanks for dropping by, Taryn!
A fellow member of Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada, you can find Taryn at her website
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Here's an exclusive excerpt from EVEN FOR ME:
I needed a release and nothing on the television was going to do it for me. I needed to go for a run, but I didn’t trust myself just yet. I had lain in bed for hours, waiting for sleep to take me, counting sheep and the whole works before finally giving up and flipping on the tube.
After tomorrow night, I told myself, if I could wait that long. It had only been four days since the killer struck. Tomorrow night would be five since my last Change, and then on the sixth I could go for a run out here. I’d call Tammy in the morning and tell her I needed some time off. She’d either fire me or understand. I just hoped she wouldn’t toss all my stuff before I got back to claim it. Some of those books had been expensive, not that they’d told me anything useful. I know a few of the titles would have raised a few eyebrows in the local Bible Belt, maybe even gotten me on someone’s black list. Maybe I should donate them or something instead of packing them up. I threw the remote on the bed.
“Damn it.” I hated giving in to it. Meant I had no self-control.
I got up and tugged on some sweats, to wander around outside. I needed something to take the edge off until I could Change. Anxiety always made it worse and I was worried about the killings. The air was crisp and clean up here. And thin. Sound carried better. I heard a couple in the next room over working out the kinks on the bed. I heard another guy watching what had to be a porno-on-demand. What did I expect from a hotel with this price range? I kept walking, away from the grunting and groaning.
It growled inside me. It wanted to be let loose in some form or another. The one it was hearing was as good as any. I felt hot and the restlessness had nothing to do with being bored. I found myself walking towards the hotel bar without thinking and started to steer myself away. I worked in one all day and here I was heading for another? God, I had to be crazy. But the voice growled again. I went back to my bike, thinking I’d take a ride, when I caught a whiff of Bulgari. Hmm, my favorite scent on a man. It seemed too familiar somehow, had an undercurrent of something… Ah ha! The guy Tammy had been laughing at, it was his. He’d followed me out here. I followed the trail while It rumbled around inside my head with anticipation. I bent over, getting lower, closer to the scent, tracking. “Prey,” I whispered to myself.
I stamped down hard and stood up abruptly, feeling totally schizophrenic. I counted to ten, breathing slowly. I started forward again, this time not doing my impression of a Navy SEAL. Walking past a dusty red pickup, I slammed my open palm into the hotel door the Bulgari trail ended at by way of knocking. I heard some hasty scrambling and rustling before the door opened as far as the chain would let it.
“What the—?” He was rubbing his jade eyes with the back of his hand, in a wife-beater and polka dot boxers. His hair was messed up and his lips were slightly parted. Nice full lips and broad, muscled shoulders. I shivered. My head filled with all sorts of things to do to lips like that, ways to make that muscle flex and bend the way I wanted. I shook it.
“Listen, lady, I think you got the…”
“You’re following me. Why?” I always ended up blunt when I couldn’t seem to think things through. I just wish I could blame it on the divergence in my career choices.
He looked at me like I was three kinds of crazy, shut the door and I thought that would be the end of things, but he took off the chain and came out to face me.
“Who the hell do you think you are?” Some of the other hotel patrons shouted their thoughts about that question, but I ignored them. I could only focus on the better part of what was in front of me. I was staring directly at his chest and the voice was insistent on getting some of something tonight. If not the woods then it would settle for sweat-soaked sheets and leaving teeth marks on those perfectly shaped shoulders that were so very close.
I turned and tried to walk away, but he grabbed my wrist and spun me around to face him. The look in his eyes said he was pissed. I loved it. She loved it. He drew breath to speak again but he never got to. My mouth was on his before he could utter another sound. This close, the smell of soap, sweat and his heat filled my nostrils. I let it fill me. I growled softly. I watched his eyes and let him have my hand, but ran the other up his chest, over his shoulder and pulled his head down so I wasn’t up on tip toe. He relaxed into the kiss. My tongue started to trace his lips and he released my arm to cup my face, his other hand sliding around to my back. Yes, hissed the voice in the back of my head.
© Taryn Blackthorne