I’m very excited that my first interview for Coffee Time Romance was with an author who has a great story to share. Tonya Ramagos latest book, Sexual Games, part of The Heroes of Silver Springs series is a sexy read. Tonya not only whetted my appetite for more of her stories, she also gave some great advice for aspiring writers. Enjoy!
Tell me about your writing journey.
My journey began in high school when I wrote my first young adult romance. Though it never saw publication, it set me on the path for a career I love. I owe my step-mother a great deal of credit. She listened to me, understood my dream, and took steps to helping me achieve my goals. She enrolled me in a correspondence course with The Institute for Children’s Literature, where I learned how to properly format manuscripts, the keys to plotting, and how to submit to publishers. As I grew older, I continued to write, but it wasn’t always my main focus. I worked full-time jobs and wrote when I could find the time. I didn’t get truly serious about making it a career until 1999 when my first YA novel, The Feud, was published. I made the shift to erotic romances in 2005, signed on with Siren Publishing shortly after, and by 2008 writing had become my sole career.
That is fantastic! Sounds like you have a wonderful step-mother. Tell me about The Heroes of Silver Springs Series.
The men and women of The Heroes of Silver Springs are heroes, though they don’t see themselves as such. They are firefighters, DEA agents, FBI agents, military, and law enforcement officials who put their lives on the line to protect the citizens of their city and America. With each novel, my goal is to draw the reader into the character’s lives, the risks they face, and the struggles they endure while falling in love with the man or woman who completes them.
I think most people have a huge appreciation for our everyday heroes, even if they don’t see it in themselves. You also like to read legal and military non-fiction. Do you use those books as research for this series?
I read them for pleasure and research. I enjoy the break from fiction now and then, but I’ll admit that the knowledge I pick up from these books do help me in creating the plots for my own novels.
Does someone have to read all of the series to appreciate Sexual Games or does it stand alone?
Though there are subplots in each that often span through two or three books, each one can be read alone without being confused or having the feeling that you’ve missed something. Jackson Graham and Mallory Stone, the hero and heroine in Sexual Games, were first introduced into the series in book 2, Twin Games. They have played small roles in the plots of the 5 books in between, but their full story doesn’t actually occur until Sexual Games.
I love when side characters that draw you in get their own story. To me, its like a family reunion when you read a series. So tell me, where did you get your inspiration for Sexual Games?
The inspiration came largely from Twin Games where Jackson Graham first appeared in Silver Springs with his twin brother Jason Graham. Jackson decides to play his own sex games with Mallory in Sexual Games but, as FBI agents investigating a sex trafficking ring, the find themselves in the middle of a different type of sex game where lives are at stake and they know they must win.
Oooh, good tie in. You got me very interested in Twin Games after the mentions of Jackson and his brother’s previous games. You always hear “write what you know”, are Jackson or Mallory based on anyone you know in real life?
Jackson and Mallory are purely original. They introduced themselves to me when I started writing Twin Games and have been tossing me morsels about themselves over the years until they fully developed in Sexual Games.
The attraction between Jackson and Mallory was hot. I was also immediately drawn into the attraction between Cameron and Thaddeus even though they are secondary characters. What components do you think are necessary to create sexual tension in erotic romance that makes a reader care about the characters and not just the sex?
I think it’s extremely important to show the characters for who they are. What drives them? What do they care about and why? What do they like and dislike? These are the kind of things that draw people to one another and serve as the foundation for the feelings that develop. Physical attraction often comes first, but getting to know the person inside the super-sexy frame is what creates the sexual tension and draws the readers into the character’s lives.
Very good point. I’m not into reading sex for sex sake. You immediately drew us into the characters so then we want to see them in bed! Do you have any new projects on the horizon?
Going Under [The Heroes of Silver Springs 9] has just been set for a December 24 release date. Going Under will be the first M/M/M novel in The Heroes of Silver Springs series featuring Cameron, Thaddeus, and Adrien.
I’m also working on book 5 of The Service Club series, titled Chelsea’s Rescue. The Service Club is a BDSM ménage series based on highly dominate men who work in public service professions and the women that steal their hearts.
That sounds hot! We’ll have to be on the lookout for that. Now on to some other non-book questions. You’re a mom of two boys, so am I. How do you make time for writing with the demands of a family?
A to-do list and a lot of patience. LOL Actually, my family expanded when my honey moved in. He has three children of his own. Add them to my two and I’m now the mother of five children, four boys and one girl. With their ages ranging from two-years-old to eighteen, everyday is a challenge in skillful planning. It definitely keeps me on my toes, but everyone is pretty good at knowing when mommy is writing, leave her alone.
Wow! That is a lot to juggle. But you’re making it work and getting books written, which is commendable. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Write, write, write! Read, read, read! Then write some more. Writing takes an insurmountable level of self-discipline. You have to make yourself sit down at that computer and put that story on the screen despite all the other things that are vying for your attention. You also have to stay current on what is being put on the market. I’m not saying to write the latest craze, because those come and go and what’s really hot at that moment may not be where your talent lies. Still, it’s beneficial to know what is being published and what readers are sinking their teeth into.
Great advice! Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
I love hearing from readers and do my best to answer messages promptly. I can be reached any time at firstname.lastname@example.org or on my Facebook page
Last fun question, if money were no object what hobby would you pick up?
Skydiving. It would probably take me a while to build up the courage to do it the first time, but I know I would be hooked after that.
You are braver than me, girlfriend! Good luck with Sexual Games and with your future writing endeavors.
You all can learn more about Tonya—and her sexy heroes—through her many online locations listed below.
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