Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, Tory, can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I’m happily married to a firefighter and living in southern California near the beach. I have a full-time job, aside from writing, and no children. Lots of four-legged friends share my house, though! It keeps me from being too lonely while my husband is at work.
What was your first book and how long did it take to get it published?
My first book was Heat and I was lucky enough to sell it to Torquere Press as soon as I was finished with it. I wrote it in a month and haven’t been able to finish another book that quickly.
When did you start writing m/m romance? What about this genre interested you the most?
I was involved with m/m fanfiction for years, but it never satisfied me. I finally realized I could create my own characters and feel much more complete! The switch to original fiction happened in 2005 and I haven’t looked back. The genre was so appealing to me because I knew I could show a romance between two men as caring and tender while still maintaining their masculinity.
How long did it take you to get published? How many books have you written thus far?
I was very fortunate to sell my first book to Torquere Press within a few weeks of finishing it. As of the time of this interview, I have 21 short stories, novellas, and novels available for sale. My back catalogue is here.
Do you write full time?
Unfortunately, my day job prevents me from doing that. I don’t even have time during my work day to sit down at a computer.
Looking back was there something in particular that helped you to decide to become a writer? Did you choose it or did the profession choose you?
I recall always wanting to change the endings of books I was reading as a child. Or I’d want to put a different character in to change the entire plot around. Once I realized I could actually DO that by writing my own stories, it was like a lightbulb went on. Then I won a writing contest in elementary school and that spurred me on to start contributing to magazines. I’ll say that the profession definitely chose me.
On a typical writing day, how would you spend your time?
Coffee features prominently. I get up, get myself a cup of the nectar of life, feed the dogs, check my email, chat with my BFF online, and then ponder about what I’m actually going to write. At the moment, I’m co-authoring a novel and I have a half-finished work in progress on my hard drive. So on a typical day, I pick one of these to work on, but first I need to shower and clean the space around me. I like an organized area. Then I just dive right in and keep going until my fingers stop; usually about four or five hours.
Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?
Definitely revise as I go. I have a hard time skimming over important details and I often have to stop to research.
When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?
I have a vague idea of where I want things to end up. But the beginning and middle are totally free reign for my characters.
What kind of research do you do before and during a new book?
That really depends on what the topic is! It’s much, much simpler to just write what I know. However, sometimes a character or two will show up and they’ll have a job I know nothing about. That’s happened to me with race car drivers and professional steer ropers. I had to do a lot of Googling and asking my husband questions. He’s a NASCAR fan and helped me out tremendously with the race car scene.
How long does it take for you to complete a book you would allow someone to read? Do you write straight through, or do you revise as you go along?
I’m not a fast writer. A novel takes me several months or more. I can do a short story in a few weeks, though. The problem is the pesky day job.
Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?
I do suffer from it, to a degree. Mostly it’s not what you’d call “traditional” writer’s block, but instead just exhaustion from my other job. Sometimes I just can’t face sitting down with my unfinished novel and making plot points happen. I want to watch TV instead. Getting past that just takes time and sleep.
When someone reads one of your books for the first time, what do you hope they gain, feel or experience?
I’d really like them to feel the strong emotion between the characters, plus gain a sense of the entire thing being realistic enough to actually happen.
Can you share three things you’ve learned about the business of writing since your first publication?
1. Don’t read reviews.
2. Don’t read reviews.
3. See 1 and 2.
Does the title of a book you’re writing come to you as you’re writing it, or does it come before you even begin the first sentence?
I usually have a working title while I go along, but I’ve been known to change it at the last minute. Sometimes I wrack my brain for a title and then pick something from the book.
How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?
My sense of humor is pretty dry. I need something clever to make me laugh. That being said, I’ve been known to laugh at Will Ferrell movies.
What is the most frequently asked Tory question?
If I’m going to be writing more Chris and Morgan from Tinder. The answer is yes, eventually.
What are you working on now?
I’m in the middle of a sequel to By the Numbers, co-written with Chris Owen. We hope to have that out by the end of the year.
What kind of books do you like to read?
I’m actually a huge fan of children’s literature. For pleasure, I read a lot of work by my fellow authors. And when I have time, I’ve been known to pick up a few chick lit books here and there for the pure trash factor.
If you weren’t a writer what would you be?
You mean aside from my regular day job? I’d do some kind of work with animals. I envy the trainers and keepers at places like Sea World and San Diego Zoo.
Where did you get the idea for the stories you write?
I’m a fan of contemporary romance, so I enjoy putting characters in situations that the every day reader might experience. Ideas come from everywhere, even a trip to the grocery store.
When it comes to the covers of your books, what do you like or dislike about them?
Augh, covers. It’s pretty easy to make me happy as long as my covers follow one rule, and one rule only: no faces. I have exactly one cover with faces on it and I loathe it.
Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
Walking the dogs, trying new restaurants, catching up on recorded TV shows, playing with my new iPad, and spending time with family.
Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?
Not immediately, but at some point in 2012 for sure.
Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?
Could you please share your favorite excerpt(s) from one of more of your stories with us?
Oh, I have so many! But this one stands out to me. This is fireman Chris Matthews’ first introduction to Morgan Daniels, and neither one of them expect what happens down the road.
Chris slouched down even lower, feeling his neck come into contact with the back of his chair and trying to sneak a look at his watch. This sucked. It was bad enough he had to work on the first sunny day that spring had given him, but to be stuck in a classroom was even worse. He’d much rather be out on the new motorcycle he’d bought himself two months ago.
Shuffling of books and papers alerted him to the fact that the lecture had come to an end, and he quickly began to gather his supplies together to make a hasty exit. Maybe he’d go out to the small basketball court for a while and shoot some balls in the sun.
“Matthews,” came the stony voice, “stay for a moment, please.”
Great. Maybe not.
Chris sighed and looked up to see Daniels perching on the edge of his desk, arms folded across his chest and an impenetrable expression. The rest of his crew gave him sympathetic looks as they filed out of the small station classroom.
He stayed where he was and waited. Daniels didn’t move from the edge of the desk as he said, “This class isn’t a joke, you know.”
Chris blinked. “I know that, sir.”
“You don’t act like it. How long’ve you been with the department?”
Chris resisted the impulse to ask him the same question, knowing damn well the man wasn’t even with the fire department at all. “Two years. Sir,” he added, despite the bitter taste it left in his mouth.
“You have a full career ahead of you, Matthews. You want to screw that all up because some girl decides to call harassment on you? I suggest you listen well while you’re here.” He seemed to be finished after that, looking down to clear some paperwork off the desk.
“Why are you such an asshole?” Chris blurted out before he could stop himself, and then cursed internally. All he needed was for Daniels to report him to Rich, Chris’ captain, and he’d get written up.
But Daniels just arched a brow and said calmly, “I hate firemen. Any other questions?”
Chris blinked. “No.”
Excerpt from Ink:
It was a beautiful picture. It would be tricky and challenging and Cade wasn’t sure if he had the ability to do true justice to it, especially his first time, but the artist in him simply could not turn down the opportunity. Cade knew that this needed to be his first real tattoo. “Where do you want it?” he asked. Maybe it was somewhere innocuous, like on Kip’s forearm.
“On my chest. The opposite side of the one I got last time.”
His chest. That meant Kip would have to take his shirt off and sit there, and Cade would have to touch him. The thought was terrifying and exhilarating.
“All right,” Cade finally said, looking up at Kip. “Have a seat on the couch behind you and give me twenty minutes to draw it up.”
“Thanks.” Kip nodded. “I’m sure you’ll do it justice.” He sat on the leather couch and smiled confidently at Cade.
Cade felt something stirring, but he was unsure if it was something complicated like gratitude for Kip’s trust, or something simple like pure lust. He decided it was both, and neither feeling had any place in the job he was about to do. He needed to concentrate.
Nearly a half hour later, Cade had a decent replica of Kip’s picture. He’d shown it to Graham for approval.
“Looks good, Cade. Look at it like a grid, not as a picture. You’ll be fine.” Graham smiled and went back to texting Jessica. Cade felt a tiny frisson of fear that Graham didn’t seem interested in sitting over Cade’s shoulder to watch him work, but that fear was soon outweighed by relief. One thing Cade didn’t need was the extra pressure.
Cade called Kip over and pointed to the chair that all of Graham’s clients sat in. “Go ahead and take your shirt off,” Cade said, and was pleased to hear that his voice sounded normal. Kip was even more attractive at close range, and Cade sent up a silent prayer that his body wouldn’t betray him. His dick was already twitching.
Kip did as he was asked and Cade’s mind registered that the man must have been in the sun at some point. Kip’s chest was a smooth brown color with a dusting of golden hair.
Uh oh. That meant Cade would have to shave him.