A huge thank you to Penny for having me here today!
I’m here today to promote Shadow Man, the second book in the paranormal action adventure Lash Series.
1. Give us the inside scoop on Tara Fox Hall and don’t leave out the part about target practicing and firewood cutting….
Tara Fox Hall is a capable countrywoman who was raised in the city. I am equally comfortable sewing or operating a chainsaw. I call most creatures friend, and believe in practicing random acts of kindness, including animal rescue. As for target practice...I usually practice with my .38 revolver, just like the heroine Sar from my novels. I also use a .22 semiautomatic pistol, a single barrel shotgun, and sometimes a .22 rifle.
I had a friend named Eric R. in high school that I hung out with later when I was in college, and he was in the US Army. He taught me to shoot with a .22 bolt-action rifle that was his mom’s. I enjoyed it so much, I got my own second hand rifle for my birthday. I was also reading books at that time by a favorite author of mine, William Johnstone. They promote learning how to defend yourself with a gun, no matter if you’re male or female, at all ages. I took that to heart and applied for my pistol permit.
As for firewood, I began cutting it in the summer of 2000, when I bought a horse farm. (See Saw Man at http://halloweenalliance.com/stories-legends/saw-man.htm, if you’re interested in more of the details). The previous owners has cut down huge trees and left them to rot. Unwilling to let them go to waste—and unhappy about how my electric heat was both expensive and ineffectual in May—I had a wood stove installed and asked a friend to teach me how to chainsaw. At first, I couldn’t get the damn thing started myself. It took me a while to learn the procedure, and still more time to fell a tree so it went where I wanted it to go. But with better than a decade of experience now, I’m pretty decent, as the pics will attest.
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2. Tell us a little about Shadow Man and this Lash character.
This is the blurb for Shadow Man: A renegade vampire begins amassing a flock of true believers, threatening America's vampire hierarchy. Weresnake Lash partners with old enemy Danial and new allies Burl and Spiderboy to track down and annihilate them. Betrayed and left for dead, Lash reemerges the victor, edging ever upward in the Assassin's Ranking, and catching the eye of the sultry nightclub singer Cassandra Nile. Drawn into drugs by Cassie, Lash begins to doubt himself, yearning to leave his life of violence, even as enemies close in from every side.
The central themes of the book are banding together to rise up against corruption, deception, betrayal, the evils of addiction, the strength of friendship, old grudges, and the consequences of choices, whether hastily made or well-contemplated.
But there are many other themes that run through my Lash Series: being an outsider, discrimination, the benefits and drawbacks of family loyalty, evil begetting evil, and the lengths a person will go to in order to protect someone they love. The protagonist, Trystan, initially becomes Lash because he sees no other way to save his loved ones or himself. His actions to protect his loved ones and himself drive the book series, and change the course of his life, putting him on the path to infamy. When you have everything in your life reinforcing the worst in you, it’s a hard not to succumb.
This is the second book in the Lash series. Initially I thought to end the first book with the events at the close of Shadow Man, but realized halfway through that the work was going to more than one book by the time I was done. I also realized that I was hooked on writing Lash’s life, and there was a much longer story I wanted to tell. I can’t wait to delve into research for more sequels.
3. When the movie version of Shadow Man comes out….who will play Lash?
I’d pick an unknown, so that the viewers would really see Lash, and not some well-known actor. That way—hopefully—the actor would agree to be in several sequels…and not be already taken for some other role.
4. I found you have many credits to your name, Tara, and most look like horror/paranormal stories. How did you come up with the ideas for this series?
The character of Lash is a mix of me, my husband, my various family members, with some personality traits of the guys who I work with in the metal shop. A large part of the inspiration for Lash’s personality came from old gangster movies from the 30s and 40s that depicted the Roaring 20s. I was also watching the first version of The Karate Kid the day I wrote the book outline, which inspired part of the plot (the racism Lash experiences, his not having a father around in his youth, and his later training to be an assassin with the man called “Master”). I travelled to both The Everglades and New Orleans years ago, so much of the description of scenery and The French Quarter is from my memories of those weeks. Valerian’s plantation house is loosely based on Oak Alley, a real plantation outside Baton Rouge where the movie Interview with the Vampire was shot.
Lash is a character from the latter books in my Promise Me series. He is old when he appears in the Promise Me series, and not much is known about his earlier years, other that the few details he provides. He was terrific fun to write in hat series, and he became my mother’s favorite character, though she hated him at first. As he was also a character I wanted to know the backstory on, I began telling his story, beginning with the little info I knew about his past. Unlike the Promise Me series, Lash’s story is not a romance, but filled with action, adventure, horrific events, suspense, sex, and yes, a little bit of passion.
5. Have you or do you want to write in other genres?
My writing credits already include nonfiction, horror, suspense, action-adventure, erotica, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. I hope to try YA in another year or so. I have a book in its final stages, but as it has the makings of yet another series, it’s going to have to wait a while.
I am pleased that two children’s stories I wrote, A Tree’s Dream and The Perfect Dog, are free online at www.childrens-stories.net under New Writer Stories. I am thrilled that a friend, Tina Wildey, agreed to illustrate them. A new story, The Present People, will release in time for Christmas.
6. Now since your stories run on the scary side, is there something in the inky darkness that sends chills up your spine?
Almost all my short horror stories are based on nightmares. Take a look at www.flashesinthedark.com at any of the 12 stories online there. ALL of them are from real nightmares I’ve had. The worst of the worst are always saved and compiled for tales of Latham’s Landing, my fictional partly submerged island mansion. “Origin of Fear” in Spellbound 2011 and “All That Remains” of Bedtime Shadows contain my worst nightmares to date.
7. Can you give us all some insight into one of your works in progress?
If all goes well, the next Lash Book, War, will be out in 2013. Another 3 Promise Me series sequels will also publish in 2013: Taken in the Night, Taken for His Own, and Immortal Confessions. I am also working on collaboration with T. Fox Dunham for a shorter work about a werefox couple during WWII. Here is the promotional blurb written my esteemed colleague:
Human civilization rips itself apart in a second world war. Sions, the race of were-foxes, are forbidden to interfere, but a young werefox reaching maturity, following the dark prescient vision given to each of her kind, breaks this vow for her secret mate. T. Fox Dunham and Tara Fox Hall combine their art to create this tale for a combined anthology with Jay Wilburn for Hazardous Press.
8. When you are done with your work, do you have a go-to person that you let read your story?
My mother reads my work before it is submitted anywhere, from poem to article to short story to novel. If she doesn’t like it, it doesn’t get submitted. Believe me, she has no trouble being critically honest, even being my mom. Recently, the good Jenny Twist also has proofed my shorter works, like blog posts. She is a huge help to me, and I’m very grateful. Another good friend, Tori L. Ridgewood has also helped proofing some of my novels, like the aforementioned Lash, Broken Promise, and Shadow Man.
9. And of course the most important – where can we find you and your stories?
Online, of course! Here are my links:
Tara's Facebook Page:
Amazon Webpage: http://www.amazon.com/Tara-Fox-Hall/e/B005YPAA4W
For info on my recently published series books Lash: Shadow Man click here: http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Man-Lash-ebook/dp/B009UHDZHY
Excerpt from Shadow Man:
I went into Abraham’s office. He was sitting there behind his desk, working.
“I’ve made arrangements with Jacob for him to turn Winnie a week before our oathing.”
“And this couldn’t wait to tell to me until after my weekly bullshit run?”
Abraham scowled at me. “I’m telling you because I want you there, watching him and me, Lash. I’m worried she may not make the change, that she might die! I love her. I thought as a friend, you’d understand.”
Now I felt like a heel. “Sorry,” I hissed. “These trips are wearing on me.”
“They are wearing on us all,” Abraham said flatly. “Tell Jeanna to move this week, Lash. We can’t wait any longer. Her reports from this year now are that Eli has close to a thousand vampires total in his church. That means he’s outnumbered Jacob and the other local rulers in men by a hundred to one.” Abraham’s voice was deeply afraid.
Those numbers scared me, too. “What did Devlin say? I know you’ve kept him in the loop.”
“Devlin Dalcon ‘doesn’t believe the numbers are right.’ He says that there are only a few Rulers capable of making vampires, and all have sworn they are not helping Eli. And he says that the borders are being watched, so none are sneaking in. So he thinks somehow Eli’s got magical help and is bringing them either from Europe somehow, or more likely that they are not true vampires, but some kind of faerie crossbreed of demon and some other species—”
“I know,” Abraham said. “But word is that Dalcon is losing his sanity. He’s stayed out of the limelight since his visit here years ago, and he’s not seen at all outside his fortress in the North. They say his legendary reign may be ending.”
I wasn’t sure whether to be happy or sad. There was a lot that was bad about Devlin, sure, but Eli was not a problem I wanted to deal with without someone like Devlin waiting in the wings as backup.
“Get going,” Abraham said grumpily, shuffling papers on his desk. “I have to make some calls. Thank God for the telephone. At least it saves me traveling to meetings every night. If only they’d devise a way for me to be able to view the person I’m talking to!”
I nodded and left as he began dialing.
You have been a delightful guest, Tara! Your books sound thrilling and your life sounds – well certainly not boring!
Thank you so much for stopping by Penny’s Tales as part of your book tour.