The Big Thrill caught up with Tiffany Snow, romantic suspense author of The Kathleen Turner Series, Blank Slate and most recently, The Tangled Ivy Trilogy. IN HIS SHADOW is Book One in the new series and features Ivy Mason, a beautiful yet tortured soul, afraid to let anyone get close to her. Enter Devon Clay, a charming and mysterious man determined to insinuate himself into Ivy’s life. Sparks fly as Ivy becomes increasingly unable to resist Devon’s charms and finally succumbs to his advances. She soon discovers that he harbors a dangerous secret and that she risks losing more than just her heart.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Not at all. I actually worked in the I.T. field as a network engineer, technical trainer, and consultant. I never considered writing as a career, and perhaps wouldn’t have had the patience for it at an earlier time in my life.
What drew you to romance writing?
I’ve always loved to read and became hooked on romance at a very young age reading Kathleen Woodiwiss, Gone With the Wind, and devouring my mother’s copies of Danielle Steele, Judith Krantz, and Jackie Collins novels. There is nothing greater than love. I would argue love is what motivates the greatest portion of our life and choices. Perhaps “romance” isn’t the right word, because really it’s love—falling in love, out of love, searching for love, what you’d do for love—that is what drew me to writing.
When did your writing career begin?
I began writing in 2010. A particular romance trope I’ve always been fond of is the love triangle (it’s that Gone With the Wind influence at such a tender age). I wanted to write my own love triangle, and since I’m also a Nancy Drew fan (I did read some other genres growing up), my first series, The Kathleen Turner Series, was an homage to her, combining current events into mysteries wrapped around a love story.
Tell us about your journey to publication?
As I said, I had a career in Information Technology, so wasn’t looking to change careers. I was writing for me, and if a dozen people read it, that was my only goal. About that time was when Amazon’s self-publishing platform became available and I self-published my first book, No Turning Back, in June of 2011. I wrote the second book in the series and self-published it in April of 2012. To my surprise, the books took off and I signed in September with Montlake Romance for the five-book series.
What is your favorite/least favorite aspect of your writing life?
Dorothy Parker said it best, “I hate writing. I love having written.”
Do you have any writing rituals?
I seem to have to change location in my house for each new manuscript I begin. It’s as though changing the scenery helps move me from the story I just finished and into the new one I’ve begun.
What inspired the new series featuring Ivy and Devon?
Most romances follow a specific formula: boy and girl meet, boy and girl fall in love, intimate relations occur, an event happens that temporarily breaks them up, then they get back together and live happily ever after.
I wanted to see what would happen if a relationship occurred in reverse, between two people who are at the same time utterly wrong and yet completely right for each other. Throw in a damaged heroine still fighting the demons from her past with a hero who’s dedicated to Queen and Country rather than looking for love, and what would happen?
What research did you need to do for IN HIS SHADOW?
It’s a terrible irony that the Ebola outbreak has occurred because watching the news sometimes feels as though I’m watching the novel I wrote so many months ago. My actual college degree is in history and I love to incorporate that into my writing. I knew that the Nazis had done terrible experiments on human test subjects in the name of science during WWII. I wondered what would happen if they had found something, a virus like Ebola that could be weaponized, but the research had gotten lost in the war. Enter today’s technology, a biomed company that can sell their findings to terrorists, and a British agent determined to stop them.
If you had to cast it as a movie, who would play Ivy and Devon?
I think Kate Hudson would make an excellent Ivy. I picture Tom Hardy as Devon.
Tell us three interesting facts about your book that are not covered in the synopsis.
I briefly mention the Enigma machine that coded German communications in World War II as part of the evidence found by Ivy which is encrypted in that fashion. Now there’s an upcoming movie about the man and team who broke that code, The Imitation Game, which I’m really looking forward to seeing. St. Louis is Ivy’s city of residence for this book, which is also my hometown. Ivy’s name is an homage to the first author I ever met, which was fortuitous because she’s been an incredibly kind and wise mentor to me over the past few years, Alexandra Ivy.
Devon is emotionally unavailable, are there things in his past that only you know, or have you revealed them all to the reader?
Devon is a mystery at first and that’s the way he prefers it. But as his feelings for Ivy evolve from something purely sexual into affection and love, we learn more about him and his past as well as his character traits, such as his intense loyalty for his job and boss and how that becomes a problem for him as it relates to Ivy.
Sexual abuse is a theme in your book. Can you talk a little about how that influences your writing?
I never realized until recently how commonplace sexual abuse is amongst women. Whether it is something that happened only once or was ongoing, more women have had it happen to them than one would think. While this isn’t a book just dealing with that specific issue, I did want to portray Ivy in a real way as someone who doesn’t think her past affects her present, but of course we see just how much it does and how she’s able to work through it and overcome it. It’s not a subject to be taken on lightly and I try to make my characters as real as possible. I hope women will be able to relate to Ivy.
Tell us about your next book.
The next book in The Tangled Ivy Trilogy is SHADOW OF A DOUBT, coming in May 2015. We’ll see a continuation of Devon and Ivy as the events from IN HIS SHADOW have more far-reaching consequences than they realized.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Lately that seems it’s all I’ve been doing, but when I have time, I love to golf and go out with my friends. Contrary to the author stereotype, I’m quite social so definitely have to take time once in a while for a girls’ night out.
If you could give just one piece of writing advice, what would it be?
Sit down and write and finish what you start.
What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
When I finished my first series and was beginning IN HIS SHADOW, I spoke with another author about my trepidation with starting a new series. Would readers follow me? What if I’d already done the best I could do? Was it all downhill? She patiently listened to my worries then said, “You can’t think that way. You haven’t yet written your best book.” I have that quote, “You haven’t yet written your best book” on the wall of my office where I can see it all day, every day.
Tiffany Snow was born in St. Charles, Missouri, where she developed a fondness for trivia games, the music of Elvis Presley, and romance novels. After earning two bachelor’s degrees—one in social studies education and the other in history—she went on to work in the information technology field. Now, the author of the popular Kathleen Turner Series writes full-time, when she’s not quoting When Harry Met Sally or dancing along to her favorite ’80s hair band. She resides in the Midwest with her husband of eighteen years and their two daughters.
To learn more about Tiffany, please visit her website.