Let's start with you telling us a little bit about yourself, Talya.
Hmm, I'm a Leo; my favorite color is blue, but also green, bronze, teal, and silver; I spend too much time on Tumblr on any given day; and I love to cook and watch foodie shows. In fact, I'm watching Iron Chef America as I answer this interview and I was re-watching MasterChef Junior USA while making dinner. I have been living in invented worlds since I was about ten, and that developed into a lifelong writing hobby.
What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
My day job. It's top secret, so it's not something I can disclose. ;)
When did you start writing, is it something you've always been interested in, or did it develop later in life?
I definitely acquired a taste for the written word from a young age. As the only child of divorced/remarried parents, books were my constant companion when I was growing up. It was a natural leap from reading to writing efforts of my own. I got a lot of encouragement from several teachers along the way, and I've been writing in some way or another ever since.
Has it been everything you thought it would be or not?
When I was pretty young, I kept telling my parents I wanted to be an author when I grew up. My dad advised me to get a good, secure job that would allow me to write on the side. At the time, I felt like he was trying to squelch my dreams, but as I got older, I realized it was pretty sound advice—it's very difficult to make a living off writing alone. Not everyone can be the next J.K. Rowling or Suzanne Collins. Even now I'm not sure I'll ever get beyond the point where it's a fun hobby that occasionally nets me some extra pocket money, but I'm in it for the long run, so I have no complaints. I just want to keep writing, and growing and improving and doing new things!
How did it feel when you realized that your very first book was going to be published?
I felt like screaming, jumping up and down, and doing a victory dance! I could hardly believe it. Some days I still feel that way, like it's a dream, a little surreal.
What's your favorite part of writing a book?
My absolute favorite part is falling in love with the characters as they fall in love with each other. Happens to me every time. When I write the parts of the story where they're falling for each other, it's complete and total love for me, no matter how different the scenario or the characters involved.
Do you get time to read for pleasure? If so, which books do you enjoy?
Somewhat, and I have a huge stack of physical books as well as ebooks on my Kindle that I still need to get through, I'm so ashamed. With me, it's all or nothing: either I'm not reading (and I'm being productive doing other things), or I'm buried in the book so deeply I won't voluntarily submerge until I'm done with it. So it's dangerous for me to crack open a new book while I have other commitments.
I enjoy a wide variety of books, from contemporary that has some kind of unique appeal, to my first love which is science fiction and fantasy. If the characters and the premise hook me, or if I'm a fan of the author especially, I am there no matter the genre.
Are there any other genres you'd be interested in writing?
I really love stretching my wings and trying new things, and as an author I haven't settled on any one genre as my mainstay. I never considered myself big into contemporary, but somehow I've put out three contemporary novels so far versus only one sci-fi (with its sequel newly contracted) and another contemporary novel currently in revisions. I'm wrapping up my first fantasy in years and loving it, and after the revisions I mentioned I'm going to try my hand at a paranormal novel. I'm also planning forays into steampunk and trans* short stories, so we'll see how those go. Pushing my comfort zone keeps things fresh and interesting.
What can we look forward to in the future from you?
All sorts of different things! I've got some short stories coming out next year: one is Body Option, for Less Than Three's upcoming Mecha collection A Loose Screw, where new tension between Grant Badu and his partner Argent Trefoil complicate a vital mission to recover stolen military technology. I've just signed my contract for Like Stolen Pearls with Less Than Three's Damsels in Distress collection, in which a hapless lady knight needs to bring a cursed witch to justice. And I'm putting the finishing touches on My Sexual Superhero, where retail drone Jessan Pierce finds himself shaken out of his sexual doldrums by sexy Felipe, but is unsure if their surface attraction can become something more.
For novels, I'm in rewrites now for The More Plausible Evil, and don't want to say much there for fear of spoilers. I may yet end up re-working the summary, but it involves vampires. Klaxon at the Core, sequel to Signal to Noise is in first edits right now, and Bastian and Theo go from rescue to the Central planet of the Federated Planetary Organization only to discover safety continues to elude them and their problems are much larger than even psionics could predict.
After that it's finishing up Dragonspire, my Nanowrimo fantasy novel; working on my as-yet-untitled paranormal story that is throwing ideas and twists at me the longer it sits on the back burner; and I'll be writing a follow up novel or novella for Appetite because there are several plot elements that have been brewing in my mind for Alex and Nik.
Anything you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for reading! I really, really appreciate you, each and every single one. You lift this whole experience up from awesome clear into the stratosphere. Thank you, and you rock, and I hope you keep enjoying my stories for years to come.
Talya's most recent releases:
The Fall Guide
Eric is a popular beauty blogger, and hopes to use the momentum of that to start his own business selling makeup for men—but his first attempt to launch makes it painfully clear he has a lot to learn and a long way to go.
Unexpected help comes in the form of Devon: Gorgeous, successful, and far too smooth. He is everything Eric would like to be, all the things Eric is starting to fear he'll never achieve, and the success that Eric is striving for in both his professional and personal life is jeopardized by Devon's inability to understand that business and pleasure shouldn't mix, because they can have disastrous results for both.
Chris and Ling travel the world in search of rare, exquisite curiosities, but treasure hunting is rife with danger and comes with a price. In order to retrieve a lost treasure deep within a perilous mountain, Chris hires on a vampire. But traveling with a predator comes with its own risks, and their venture may collapse into absolute loss unless they can each find the opportunity in one another.
Rocking Hard: Vol 1
Courage Wolf Never Sings the Gorram Blues
Bailey Kravitz, lead singer of Courage Wolf, is a high-strung, perfectionist diva of a front man. Gunner Lansing, bassist of Courage Wolf, is a laid-back, hang loose ladies' man who is only serious about guitars and sex. They say opposites attract, but Bailey's terminal crush on oblivious Gunner is tearing the band apart. Meanwhile, his longtime friend, quiet but intense guitarist Tor Macleod, helps him pick up the pieces yet again. Between annihilating everything they’ve built and reeling from total rejection, there may be a third option Bailey has been overlooking all this time. Problem is, Bailey’s always been more than a little difficult when he’s out to get his way, and that may ruin his prospects after all.
Excerpt from The Fall Guide:
Eric Caville lifted the last of his roller cases from the trunk and lined it up next to its mates on the curb as he straightened, breathing his last muggy lungful of Los Angeles air to tide him over for the next few days. He looked around for a luggage dolly to haul his things and ended up with his hands on his hips, an exasperated huff leaving him. The airport was busy as ever, and there were no available dollies in sight.
“Even on a three-day trip, you can’t manage to pack light!” the mellow tenor of Martine, Eric’s boyfriend, heckled him from the open front window of his Porsche Cabriolet.
Eric’s mouth twisted in an unattractive scowl that he smoothed from his face in the next instant, admonishing himself against wrinkles or the outward show of bad attitude that could leave them there. He leaned over to peer through the window. “You know I’m going to an expo,” he reminded Martine. “To work. I need to get my brand out there—”
“Whatever; the expo is in Vegas, right?” Martine blew a flippant kiss in Eric’s direction before returning both hands to the wheel without waiting for a response. “I’m sure you’ll have your share of fun. Make sure to keep what happens in Vegas, in Vegas—or at least use protection.” He winked over a cocky grin.
Eric made an exasperated noise and waved him off. “I’m going to Vegas to work,” he repeated. “I’ll see you in a few days.”
“Bye, have fun; stay safe!” was Martine’s rejoinder. The Cabriolet left the curb before Eric had fully straightened himself to his six foot-plus height in heels.
“Same to you, I guess,” he muttered while he surveyed his luggage and tried to decide how to wrangle it all inside.
It was a severe letdown to have been counting on Martine’s help, only to arrive at the airport and be summarily deposited at the curb along with his luggage and the breeziest of farewell kisses brushed against the corner of his mouth. Eric supposed that was what he got for assuming anything, but it had never entered his mind that his boyfriend of eight months hadn’t even considered parking and walking him in.
“It’s a Cabriolet, baby,” Eric mimicked Martine’s scandalized tone, the response that had greeted Eric’s questioning on why they had passed up the turn-off for the garage.
Someone who wouldn’t see him off in a proper farewell at the airport, Eric mused, was not a good candidate to provide a key to his apartment, let alone his heart.
Through the grace of the long arms that genetics had given him, Eric managed to snare all of his roller cases and crab-walk his awkward way toward the door. At least he would be checking most of the cases, and things could have been worse—he could have brought the ones without wheels.
As he made his painfully slow progress to the door, he considered Martine’s hurried departure and what it meant for their relationship. He had found himself thinking with increasing frequency about breaking things off with Martine. They hadn’t reached the year-mark yet, and in Eric’s mind, that was time to either move in, or move on.
The wink and the remark about Vegas put an adamant stamp on Eric’s aggravation. He’d told Martine when they began their relationship with a whirlwind round of dinner dates and drinks exchanged at classy upscale L.A. bars that he wasn’t a swinger, an open-relationship guy, or someone capable of focusing on more than one partner at a time. Martine had seemed relieved, and professed to feel the same way. Eric was starting to wonder if he’d been told what he wanted to hear.
“Can I help you with that?” asked a tall, tanned man in a suit. “That’s quite an armful for one person.”
“That would be great, thank you.” Eric turned a dazzling smile on his benefactor.
The man’s eyes widened, but he didn’t retract the offer.
Eric was used to all kinds of reactions to his appearance. What others might term flamboyant, he preferred to call fabulous. He’d been labeled fag and freak, but Eric considered himself fashion-conscious. The older he’d gotten, the more acceptable it had become for men to be immaculately groomed, and now he could fit right in with the so-called metrosexuals so long as he wasn’t wearing too much pressed powder. There was still the odd occasion where he was mistaken for a woman or a trans-sexual, but Eric was most definitely a gay man, and he embraced his good looks with the grooming to set it off to best advantage. “I just need to get these to the check-in and I’ll be all set,” Eric added. He turned another brilliant smile on the man as they hustled toward the nearest airline counter.
The man appeared briefly stunned before returning it with a tentative smile of his own. “You’re flying out with this airline?” he commented.
The corner of Eric’s mouth tipped up into a smirk. He wondered if he was this man’s first accidental boycrush. Surely not, if he lived in L.A.; but then, he might have been there to visit and was on his way home now. It was an awfully well-tailored suit, but that kind of style wasn’t exclusive to L.A. “Yes, and you?” Eric asked.
“No, sorry,” he replied, flashing another quick, almost shy grin.
Eric gave him a smile with full eye-crinkle in response. “Why, did you want to buy me a drink?”
“No! I … what? Uh … well …” He trailed off, sounding speculative.
Eric’s smile widened. He couldn’t help but flirt, even when he had no intention of following through.
“It’s okay, I have a boyfriend,” Eric assured him, chuckling as the man produced a noise resembling a squeak. “I’m not actually coming onto you. Unless you enjoyed it, in which case we could have had a nice afternoon flirt, but I’m destined for another.”
“I’m destined for New York,” the man replied.
Eric let go of his case and set a hand over his heart. “And I for Vegas. Thanks for your help,” he said.
“You’re very welcome,” the man replied, inclining his head and giving Eric one last sheepish grin before turning and moving off.