Thursday, April 19, 2007

Writers Wednesday with Hope Tarr

This week at The Pink Heart Society we are pleased to introduce you to a brand new Harlequin Blaze author who is adding a fabulous twist to the super sexy line! Please give a warm welcome to Hope Tarr!

About Hope:

Hope Tarr discovered romance novels when a well-thumbed copy of Kathleen Winsor's Forever Amber—with the really good parts underlined—turned up at the back of her middle school library sans check-out card. A disastrous experience with Freshman College English convinced her to change her major to Psychology. She went on to earn a Master's Degree in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Education—which really interfered with her romance reading. In 1993 she finally made peace with the fact that she didn't want to analyze people or teach them--she wanted to write about them! She’s never looked back.

Set in historic Fredericksburg, VA, The Haunting is Hope’s sixth novel and her second book for Harlequin’s steamy “Extreme Blaze” line. Look for Strokes of Midnight, her first contribution to Harlequin’s Wrong Bed series, in stores starting December 2007.

The Call:

Looking back, I’m pretty sure I was born knowing I was meant to be a writer. Of course knowing and doing are frequently very different things. As much as I yearned to translate the stories unfurling movie-reel style in my head onto the printed page, writing seemed so very impractical to my very young, very practical self. Like so many novelists I know, I took the round about path to publication. In my case, that roundabout included two graduate degrees, a four-year stint as a program evaluator for federal government agencies and then a second “career” as a freelance writer and editor.

Throughout all the twists and turns, the prospect of fulfilling my childhood dream of writing a romance novel stayed with me—haunted me, you might say. ;)

I’ll never forget the day I received what we writers refer to as The Call. Like the day Kennedy was shot or 9/11, absolutely every detail of the circumstances surrounding The Call, no matter how insignificant or minute, sticks with you for the rest of your days albeit in a positive way.

But first, a little background…

I’d met my editor, Brenda Chin, years before through conferences we’d attended, namely the Washington, DC Romance Writers retreat, In the Company of Writers, held annually in Harpers Ferry, WV. I’d gotten to know Brenda over communal meals of butter-slick grits and mystery meat and soggy country-style vegetables long before the Blaze line was a twinkle in Harlequin’s proverbial eye. I’d always liked Brenda a lot—we’re both passionate animal lovers, for one thing—but I was writing single-title historical romances at the time and none of my ideas for a contemporary romance really seemed like a good fit for Harlequin’s current lines.

Flash forward to January 2006 and The Call. I’d sent Brenda a proposal for a single-title paranormal contemporary which she graciously agreed to pass on to HQN for consideration. I was at my mom’s for the holidays and when my cell rang, flashing the Canadian exchange, my heart dropped Tower of Terror style, a straight shot to my toes. It was Brenda, and she told me she had good news and bad. “Which do you want to hear first?” she gamely asked. My heart moving northward to my throat, I said, “Your pick.”

The “bad” news was my proposal wouldn’t work for HQN. The “good” news (and it turned out to be *very* good news indeed) was that, with a tad of tweaking, it would work beautifully as a Blaze—make that Extreme Blaze.

That book turned out to be “It’s a Wonderfully Sexy Life. Part Bridget Jones’s Diary and part My Big Fat Greek Wedding it’s set in Baltimore, MD where I was born and raised. The heroine, Mandy Delinski, makes a wish on the New Year’s Eve New Moon and, once it’s granted, goes back a week in time to save the life of her dream man—and her love life in the process—sort of like Brenda’s call making my childhood dream of being a published romance writer come true.

Sometimes, many times, our dreams do come true, maybe not exactly as we envisioned when we were younger but, you know what—reality can be even better. When it comes to your dreams, be it your goal to be a published writer, a corporate attorney, or the baker of that Martha Stewart perfect key lime pie, never give up and never surrender.

Hope’s second Blaze book, The Haunting, is available in brick-and-mortar bookstores through April 30th. Her Blaze debut, It’s a Wonderfully Sexy Life, is available at and other online book buying venues. Look for Strokes of Midnight in December 2007.

To read excerpts, or to enter Hope’s monthly contest, visit her online at


  1. I love the sound of 'It's a Wonderfully Sexy Life'... has it already been and gone in Australia?

  2. Hi Rachel,

    I have a SOS in to my editor to answer that question. In the interim, I do know the book remains available through online venues like amazon.

    Happy Wednesday, everyone. I'll be checking in throughout the day so if anyone has any questions, or comments, on the books, sally forth.

    :-) Hope

  3. Rachael, Sorry for the mis-spell. Without spell check, I am lost these days. ;) Hope