By Stacy Mantle
Sexy shifters, savage villains, and exotic locales merge flawlessly in the action-packed suspense writing of New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Paige Tyler. Her most recent release, HER WILD HERO, is the third book in the X-OPS Series, and it’s hit the stands with critical praise.
Her unique hybrid of genres combines the thrill of the chase with military-style action while incorporating enough sex to satisfy all readers. This week, we had the opportunity to talk with Tyler about her recent release and how she’s leveraged her storytelling ability to achieve international success across many audiences.
Tell us a bit about HER WILD HERO.
In HER WILD HERO, DCO training officer/behavioral scientist Kendra Carlsen has been begging her boss to let her go into the field for years. When he finally agrees to send her along as an observer with a team on a training exercise in Costa Rica, she’s thrilled. But the team’s resident bear shifter Declan MacBride is anything but pleased. He’s been crushing on Kendra since he started working there seven years ago, only she doesn’t see him as anything other than a friend. He’s finally moved on—or thinks he has—and spending two weeks in the same jungle with her is going to put a serious strain on his resolve. But when they get to Costa Rica, things go bad quickly. Their team is ambushed by a large group of hybrids—twisted, man-made shifters the DCO has been dealing with on and off since Book 1 of the X-OPS Series (Her Perfect Mate). Kendra and Declan get separated from the rest of their team and must depend on each other to survive. But Declan soon discovers that fighting packs of bloodthirsty hybrids isn’t nearly as hard as fighting his attraction to the beautiful woman he’ll do anything to protect.
What made you focus your writing on Weres and Shifters?
My New York Series with Sourcebook (SWAT and X-OPS) are focused on Weres and Shifters (respectively), but I’ve written about vampires, zombies, ghosts, and everything in between. I always come back to the animal-based shifter concept, though. There’s something so intriguing about the idea of mixing animal abilities with human emotions. Having characters who get to see the world completely differently than you and I because of their animal senses makes for great situations that people love to read. It also doesn’t hurt that the animal aspect of these characters allows for some awesome kick-butt action!
How do you make your Shifters and Weres authentic to their “alter-animals”?
Before I even started my X-OPS and SWAT series, I spent a long time developing the mythology of how the Shifters and Weres came to be, how the human and animal parts interact, their strength and weaknesses, etc. I really wanted to make sure the characters were believable to the reader, but I also wanted to make sure a person reading the stories could immediately recognize the animal inside the character.
You have a great website and have even created a street team. Has that been beneficial to your career? Is it difficult to manage?
A website is a must for an author! In our social networking world, readers expect to be able to click on the web and find info about an author. They want to know personal things about you, what you’re doing, what you’re working on now, when the next book is coming out, which conferences you’re going to, etc. The best way to feed that curiosity is a website.
My street team is amazing! Even with the Internet and a publisher behind you, gaining a readership is still about word of mouth. Tyler’s Troopers are out there telling their friends, family, even random strangers on the street about my books. I would not be where I am today without them!
You belong to several writing associations, including the RWA, ITW, EPIC and Romance Divas. How have these associations impacted your writing career?
There’s no college course that’s going to make you a success in this business. You learn by doing, succeeding at some things, and failing at others. If you’re lucky, you can talk to other writers and use their “Best Practices” and “Lessons Learned” to keep you from making too many mistakes. That’s where all the associations and groups come in. You talk to people and read articles. You figure out what promo works and why, which publishers are looking for your type of work, which conferences to go to, where to find a good cover artist, how much to charge for a novella on Amazon, who’s looking for boxed set partners. The list of what you can learn through these groups is endless!
Your degree is in Education which tells me you love to learn. What type of research do you engage in prior to beginning a novel?
I typically start with the place I’m planning to base my story. I need to know what the area looks like, the people, the roads, the plants and animal, location of airports, etc. I did a huge amount of research for HER WILD HERO, most of which takes place in the beautiful and remote La Amistad International Park in Costa Rica. I had to get a feel for the lay of the land, the mountains, the animals, and what kind of plans were there. It probably took me a month just to get the research done for the story.
Tell us what a typical day is like for you—when do you find time to write?
I get up at five, have breakfast with hubby before he goes to work. After that I spend a little me-time glamming and exercising, then I hit the computer. I try to do promo and admin stuff in the morning and save the afternoon for writing. I stop by and have lunch with hubby, then after he gets off work, we both exercise, take our fur baby for a walk, and hit the computers together for more writing (he writes with me). Sometimes (when I’m not on a crisis deadline) we catch a little TV, but otherwise, we write until bedtime. Then we get up and do it all over again the next day.
Are you a dog person or cat person? Or perhaps a “non-speciest”?
I’ve had cats and I love them. But I have to admit, in my heart, I’m a dog person. My fur baby sits beside me on the couch while I write. She’s my in-processor editor and subject matter expert on all things romance.
Last, you are a USA Today and NY Times bestselling author. What advice can you offer other writers who aspire to reach these levels?
Some people write a book and immediately hit it big. That’s great for them, and I’m always happy when it works out that way for them. But for most of us, being a writer means hard work and lots of effort. In my case, I’ve been writing for more than ten years, starting at a small digital publisher (whom I’m still with), working up through larger digital publishers and those that did both print and digital, and now with a New York print publisher, Sourcebooks. You can hope for the lottery career (it definitely happens) or you can invest the time and energy to learn how to get from Point A to the Point “You Want to Be.”
One last thought on the subject, then I’ll hop off the soapbox. Write because you love to write and can’t imagine a life without it. When the rejection, the writer’s block, or the nasty review comes, that love of writing (and belief in yourself) will see you through it.
Paige Tyler is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of sexy, romantic suspense and paranormal romance. She and her very own military hero (also known as her husband) live on the beautiful Florida coast with their adorable fur baby (also known as their dog). Paige graduated with a degree in education, but decided to pursue her passion and write books about hunky alpha males and the kickbutt heroines who fall in love with them. She is represented by Bob Mecoy.
To learn more about Paige, please visit her website.