I’m a California beach girl happily married to my personal hero (firefighter and cancer survivor). We’ve got two grown kids, who are the best thing I’ve ever done, and two little grandsons who totally obsess us. I love travel, country music, Hallmark movies, and McDonald’s iced coffee. I don’t like to cook, am terrified of down escalators, am a proud Defender of Wildlife, and I volunteer at our local horse rescue.
I just sold my first young adult novel, an inspirational-with-a-modern-day-message for anybody. The Circle Girls: Once Upon a Witch will help launch Pelican Book Group’s new Watershed line in 2013. It’s a time-travely tale tying in a group of high school girls with the accusers in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692, and I’ll be writing under my new pen name, Anya Novikov. I’m just over the moon about this!
HH: Tanya, thank you for talking with us at TRS. Your featured book is Soul Food and is the emotional tale of a man trying to find his way before the woman he loves gets away. Where did you get the idea for this heart-warming story?
TH: The heroine Kelley is based on my beloved niece Kelley, who is a vegetarian. But she’s definitely an Anthropologie girl, NOT a cowgirl! Interestingly, Soul Food released just days after she married her own Jason. Yes, I named my hero Jason on purpose LOL. I got to read a beautiful poem at the ceremony, and at the reception, they gave my hubby and me a gorgeous bouquet as being the couple who most inspires them!
In the eight-book Hearts Crossing Ranch series, I thought it would be a fun hook, having a vegetarian who is the daughter of a cattle rancher. All the eight Martin siblings have a second occupation in addition to their guest ranch responsibilities, and each has his/her own story. Kelley Martin, the heroine of the fifth book, is the chuck cook for their city-clicker wagon trains the family runs during the summers. She appears already in Book One, has a backstory restaurant job in Denver and longs to start her own restaurant. She’s having troubles with it, though, when her story starts in Book Five.
HH: What do you like best about Kelley and why will readers relate to her?
TH: I think everybody experiences professional disappointments at some point. And with her having to add a bad break up into the mix....then the ex showing up and needing her...
HH: What do you like best about Jason why will readers love him?
TH: Aw, the butterfly kiss. But he’s also a cowboy and who doesn’t love a cowboy!
HH: This is the fifth book in your Hearts Crossing Ranch series. What can you tell us about the series and how does Soul Food continue it?
TH: Kelley appears in most of the stories as kind of a matchmaker. It was fun to give her a love story all her own. Since these stories are considered novellas, I’d got to get the love story and HEA done pretty fast!
HH: What can you tell us about the books to come in this series?
TH: The stories are written in chronological order, not the birth order of the eight siblings. Something in the previous story has led into the next one. Of course I love all the stories, and each one has something from my own life that inspired it.
For instance, the city slicker wagon train motif results from an actual wagon train trip my husband and I took around the Tetons. Book Three is based on my husband’s cancer survival. Book Six, ANGEL CHILD, is inspired by my godson who was born with a debilitating genetic syndrome. In this next story, Scott Martin is falling in love with his former high school art teacher, but the age difference is not the thing that threatens their burgeoning love story. Look for it before year’s end.
(Books Seven and Eight are done but we haven’t started edits yet, so I don’t have titles or anything “formal” to share right now...)
HH: What makes this Soul Food unique compared to the rest of the books in the series?
TH: I think the vegetarian aspect. One of Kelley’s signature dishes that I’ve tried to mention in each book is her Sloppy Josephines”...which are similar to their masculine namesake but made with portabella mushrooms and eggplant.
HH: What else do you have in store for lucky readers?
TH: Closing out the HCR series, of course; a Christmas release (Christmas for Ransom) with the most delicious, good-hearted outlaw hero you won’t be able to stop falling in love with.
And most exciting: a young-adult novel under my new pen name, Anya Novikov . Look for “The Circle Girls: Once Upon a Witch” in late 2013 from Pelican Book Group’s new YA line, Watershed.
HH: Where can readers find all of your works?
TH: Amazon, Pelican Book Group, and The Wild Rose Press.
HH: What would we find in your to-be-read pile?
TH: Oh, I’ve got The Hunger Games downloaded in my Kindle, and several non fictions on Gettysburg. We went there a few months ago, and I’m still getting chills just thinking about Little Round Top. And tons of romance heavy into westerns and inspirationals. And my guilty pleasure is Maya Banks’ Colter series. (blush.)
HH: When you're not reading, writing, or promoting you like to __________?
TH: Be with my little grandsons. I consider them the two halves of my heart.
HH: Thank you!