Wednesday, December 3, 2014

TAKEN BY STORM Blog Tour! Interview with Tamara Mataya

Hi, Everyone!

Today, I’m stoked to take part in the lovely Tamara Mataya’s TAKEN BY STORM Blog Tour! TAKEN BY STORM is available from Swoon Romance now! And don't forget to check out the Giveaway!

TAKEN BY STORM is the latest electrifying love story from bestselling author Tamara Mataya.

Leilani’s plan was simple: Return for her father’s wedding, house sit for the happy couple while they went on their honeymoon, then get the hell outta dodge. She’d thought the worst thing would be returning to the town she grew up in (and despised). She was wrong.

A flash flood hits the small town, stranding firefighter, Ryan, and a few strangers at the local bar. Worst of all, Leilani, his old high school rival – and last night’s scorching one-night-stand – is one of the people stuck in the bar. With waters rising, they need to stick together and wait for rescue.

The power grid’s knocked out, and cell phones aren’t working. When the others panic and leave, Leilani and Ryan are left alone in the dark. Fortunately, words aren’t necessary to keep the former rivals warm. But when they’re forced to leave the refuge of each other's arms, they must navigate the flood-ravaged town in order to find safe shelter.

The rising waters brought them together, but rising tempers might tear them apart.

TAKEN BY STORM is inspired by true events.

I asked Tamara a few questions, and here's what she had to say!

What was your favorite part about writing TAKEN BY STORM?

Taking an intense situation and adding romance moments of playfulness to it. It's got its erotic parts, but there's a lot of action in this book. I wanted to also celebrate the first responders, firefighters in particular, as they were the ones who rescued my co-workers and I from the library during MY flashflood experience.

What was the hardest part of writing TAKEN BY STORM?

Trying to do it justice. This was a very real thing my town went through in June 2013. Our population went from 13k to about 8500. Parts of the town were demolished because the houses were beyond repair. The water that came in didn't just go back out. Some neighbourhoods sat under 13 FEET of water for three-six weeks until the crews could pump the water out. People lost EVERYTHING. The downtown core flooded as well as many residential areas, so some people lost not only their homes and schools, but their jobs as well. Some people whose homes didn't flood ended up getting many feet of sewage backup in their basements. This wasn't a small event. The army was called in. 150 people were rescued from rooftops by helicopters that day and night. We were stranded in the library, and when someone's dad called 9-1-1, they gave us a number. I wanted to tell my town, and my, story in an engaging way while not downplaying the devastation of it. We're still recovering 17 months later.

How much of the story was based on actual events?

Every story in the book happened to people I know, or people I know of. I've tweaked things for privacy's sake, but they were all real. I don't know if anyone was stranded in a bar, but I do know of others who had similar experiences. My co-workers and I were faced with a similar choice: Stay in the library that was taking on water and completely surrounded by water, some 5 feet deep in parts, or get out? We had to break a window to get out of the library because the water was so far up the door we couldn't force it open. A patron cut his leg going out the window, and I had to bandage him up. After we were rescued, and allowed back into the town 3 weeks later, that guy showed up at the library and told my boss I'd saved his life. That was intense to hear.

Criticism will be tough, but I want everyone to know that these are peoples' lives, and this was my way of showing people that no story is forgotten.

What is Leilani’s favorite thing about Ryan? Ryan’s favorite thing about Leilani?

It's the same for both of them. They're both stubborn and drive each other crazy, but it's because they care and challenge each other. The competitive spirit they have drives them to be better people. Together, they're the best versions of themselves.

How much do you love TAKEN BY STORM’s cover?

I LOVE it. BUT. Leilani is half Polynesian, a fact I didn't think would be an issue until we started looking for cover images. We were unable to find one that completely represented the characters and the situation, so we ended up going with one that captured the feeling of what was happening. Most Polynesian women had grass skirts and were on a sunny beach. SO not the feeling I was going for.  I LOVE the end result, but gnashed my teeth over the lack of stereotypical diversity in the images.

Thanks, Tamara for your time! Love these answers and this book! 

So, who likes free stuff? Here's your chance to win some! 

Tamara Mataya is currently a librarian; she lurked there for so long recommending books to patrons and shushing people that she suspects they only hired her so it would be less creepy. Now she’s armed with a name tag, and a thin veneer of credibility. She’s also a musician with synaesthesia – which isn't an issue until someone plays a wrong note, which makes her want to squirm inside out. It makes for a good live show.

You can learn more about Tamara and her books here: