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Welcome To SORMAG's Blog

Monday, January 11, 2010

FEATURED AUTHOR: Tamara Ali


Tamara Ali is a Commonwealth hybrid, born in England, raised in Trinidad and now living in the Northern Caribbean. A former high school teacher, she worked as a buyer until a chance encounter with a library in the mountains of Mexico set the stage for a major shift in her career and her life. Tamara returned to teaching in 2009, which gives her time to raise her son and also be able to write. Her romantic suspense stories are set in the Caribbean, Europe and the Americas, and her heroes and heroines are every shade of brown imaginable. She loves to write about brilliant, sensuous, conflicted Caribbean women, and the (gorgeous!) men who seek them out, and who are able to complete them in every way. To date she has published two romance novels with Hearts on Fire Books, Eventide and The Chieftain’s Chair, and is hard at work on several others! Tamara lives in the Bahamas with her husband, son, a dog and two very “biggetty” cats. Her books are available on Amazon, Fictionwise, Stanza, Coffetime Press and Hearts on Fire, both as e-books and in print. Contact her at tali@tdotali.com or tamara@tamaraali.com

The Chieftain’s Chair

Anthropologist Surya Raj and her brother’s research partner, Daniel, are on a quest to find the truth about her brother and the secrets hidden in cave systems throughout the Caribbean. But a powerful conglomerate determined to keep these secrets hidden forces them on the run. Together they embark on a chase to uncover the mystery of her missing brother and her stolen work. Thrown together on this quest, Surya and Daniel’s intimacy builds to a fever pitch of desire. But will unseen enemies destroy them before they have a chance to live out their newfound love? As enemies draw near, secrets are revealed. Time is running out...


What would you like readers to take away from your book?

The Chieftain’s Chair is a story about the bond that true soul mates share. It triumphs over all obstacles. It is something I believe in very strongly. Everyone she loved - her brother, her husband and her family - has betrayed Surya Raj. Yet she does not hesitate to return home to Trinidad to help find her brother when he disappears. Dogged by industrial spies bent on her destruction, she must trust one man. And despite her efforts to deny it, he is her true soul mate. Now he just has to prove himself to her…

Why did you choose to write this book?

Many years ago I toured the Tamana Caves in the Central Range in Trinidad. They were sufficiently creepy that I wondered what secrets were hidden in the unmapped sections of the cave systems. I wanted an authentic setting for a wildly romantic and suspenseful story, and I found it there.

What did you learn while writing this book?

That fiction is best rooted in geographical reality. It makes the story richer and more accessible to the reader. All the locations in this story are real. Readers can visit the islands and cave systems mentioned in the story.

What was your favorite scene/chapter from the book?

I love the part where Surya and Daniel argue about their relationship. They have known each other for exactly two days in this excerpt:

“You are not my man.” Surya heard the desperation in her voice. She tried to regain possession of her hand. He refused to let go.

“Of course I am.”

“I don’t even know you.” It was a wail of despair.

“Nor I you. But we will learn about each other. And you, Surya Raj, you are my woman now. Make no mistake about that.”

Surya felt her body react to his bold words, and a part of her simply melted. No one had ever spoken to her that way, certainly not her husband.

Daniel’s quiet conviction spun around in her mind, clouding reason. The rational side of her knew it just could not be for real. The rest of her reached for him, yearning for his words to be true. Her head tilted up to him of its own accord, reaching blindly for his lips. She felt the tiny grunt of satisfaction he gave before he claimed her mouth again. He pulled her hard into his arms, deepening the kiss. Taking her over again.

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?

I have learned that writers live in their own heads. When they need to write, they write! My family has been patient so far. We are still adjusting as a household to the times where I disappear into my study for hours.

What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?

My sister-in-law is a writer and she taught me discipline. In order to write you must carve out the time and sit down and do it.

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?

It would be how to use your creative time – do you market today or write? I would love to have someone else do the publishing research and the advertising work. It is confusing doing both jobs. Writing generally wins that battle. My husband designed my website and created the cover art for my first two novels, with permission from Hearts On Fire Books. He has been my greatest ally and a true creative force in this whole process. Without his expertise, his love and encouragement I don’t know where I would be now!

What was the best advice you’d ever gotten about the publishing industry?

Protect your work!

The worst?

I can’t think of any bad advice – still too new to the industry, so I haven’t received it yet!

Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?

Do write every day.

Don’t forget to write every day.

I borrowed this question from Author Carleene Brice, What is your author fantasy?

My author fantasy is: I walk in on my former boss as he is reaching avidly for one of my novels at a bookstore!

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

I don’t think this is truly surprising, but I crank up the music really loudly while I am writing an action scene. Last night I pounded my play list of London’s dance club scene from the eighties while drafting out a new story about love lost and found. It brought back the memories of that time and gave my hero background music for his (anguished) scene. I like to play music to get my heroes and heroines in the mood too… J

Five questions about books:

One book that you have read more than once.

God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert. All of the Dune books are magnificent, but when the hero becomes a sandworm, all bets are off. It was an amazing twist to the story.

One book you would want on a desert island.

I would want V.S. Naipaul’s short story collection In A Free State. I could read each story five times over and learn something new each time.

One book that made you laugh.

Looking Out For Number One by Robert R. Ringer is a self-help book. I read it when I was very young and laughed my head off at the analogies he made between corporate types and animals. Twenty years later I stumbled on a battered copy and read it again – and laughed even harder because he had hit the mark so well back in 1971. I have met each one of his corporate animal types in the private sector, and they are just as dysfunctional as he portrayed them.

One book that made you cry.

Nalini Singh’s latest novel of the psy-changeling world, Blaze of Memory, made the tears trickle down into my pillow. It was heartbreakingly beautiful.

One book you wish you'd written.

Christine Feehan’s novel about leopard people, Fever, was so well written I wish I had thought of it myself. She is an amazing writer, and this story will always be my favourite one of hers.

Our theme this month is Family Literacy. Can you recommend three books for children?

I have an eight-year old son, and he loves Jon Scieszka/Lane Smith’s book, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. The retold stories are fresh and fun and the illustrations are fabulous. My second choice comes from a series called Living Lights that takes a lesson from the Bible and presents it in a very non-preachy way. We are reading The Berenstain Bears Love Their Neighbours by Jan and Mike Berenstain right now. My third choice would be The Adventures of Mr. Frog E. Frogg. It is a collection of ecological stories for kids by Carolyn Ali from Trinidad – cute character, serious messages.

Oprah has--as one of her magazine columns--a section where she talks about what she knows for sure. What do you know for sure?

I know for sure that life gives you only what you can handle when you can handle it. I am ready to write now in a way I was not eighteen years ago when I produced my first novel. I had neither the courage to call myself a writer nor the discipline to write back then. I did not know how to tap into the magical well where the stories simmered. Those stories are now parked in the airplane hangar of my mind, waiting to become paper and ink. I am awed that I can write at this stage in my life, and I am so glad I stumbled into that biblioteca in the mountains of Central Mexico last year. The re-awakening of my love of books in that library, coupled with my mother’s encouragement, provided the dramatic backdrop for my “aha” moment in the summer of 2008.

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

The working title is San Miguel. It is my first paranormal romance and is set in Mexico. I do not have a release date for it yet. Here is the blurb:

Alejandro Tomas has spent his life testing the curative strength of the crystals found in the caves of Mexico. He needs a crystal singer, but the last one of his tribe died fifty years ago, taking with her all the secrets of the crystal caves.

Victim of a savage attack, reporter Leana Rosales arrives in Mexico alone and traumatized. The moment she meets Alejandro, the life, as she knows it ends. And what they discover together goes beyond anything either of them knew about life and love.

Hiding from her enemies, they enter the dream world of the cave of giant crystals to learn the stories that will help them heal others. Having finally found her, Alejandro has no intention of letting go of the woman for whom he has waited his entire life.

But the crystal gods have other plans…

And here is an excerpt:

“What do you need?”

His voice sounded husky and poured over her like warm honey. What do I need? She thought. I need to feel safe again. I think I need you to stay with me a little longer.

No, scratch that. I don’t need you.

I don’t need anybody.

Leana closed her eyes and gave in. “My bath robe.”

Alejandro bent to the task, opening the largest suitcase Leana indicated. “This?” He held it up to her. For a moment she thought he looked surprised.

Alejandro straightened up, running his long fingers over the smooth fabric. He looked at her and for a moment he hesitated as if he wanted to say more. He handed it to her and his hand fell away.

An image rose up in Leana’s mind. She stood before him wearing the robe. Her hair, unbound, waved around her face in the slight breeze coming down from the mountaintop. She stood on her own two feet, unmarked, unblemished, and tilted her head up to him in silent invitation. He reached out his hand and slowly pulled on the silken bow. The knot fell away and the robe parted.

How can readers get in contact with you? (Mail, email, website) 


I can be reached at tamara@tamaraali.com or tali@tdotali.com, and my website is http://tamaraali.com/
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Leave a question for Tamara for a chance to win a copy of The Chieftain’s Chair

1 comment:

Rae Lori said...

Hi Tamara!

I just found out about your new book, The Chieftain's Chair which sounds great!

I really like the cover that your husband created for it.

I notice you said the idea for the setting and story came to you when you toured the Tamana Caves (which is pretty awesome) but I was wondering how did Saj and Daniel's particular story come to you thereafter?

Thanks for sharing your work!

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