Thursday, October 18, 2012

Virtual Book Tour: Away From the Spotlight by Tamara Carlisle

Today I'm interviewing Tamara Carlisle author of Away From the Spotlight, a contemporary romance. 

Don't forget to post a comment or question. Tamara will be awarding two $25 Amazon GCs to randomly drawn commenters during the tour.Follow her blog tour to increase your chances of winning. The tour stops are listed here:

Hi Tamara. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area with my Scottish husband and 13-year-old daughter.  I consider myself both a both a Northern Californian and a Southern Californian (although my heart really belongs to L.A.).  I was born and lived in Southern California as a child, moved to Northern California for Junior High and High School, returned to Southern California to go to the University of Southern California for my undergraduate degree and law school, and remained in Southern California for a number of years before returning to Northern California to be near my family.  I practiced law until after I had my daughter and decided that the 60-80 hour work weeks were too much.  I currently serve as a consultant for a large, national company with a more modest schedule, comparatively speaking, allowing more time for my family and writing.  Writing fiction has been a hobby of mine since I was a child.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

I’m self-published.  I did not even try to go the traditional route.  I have a family, a full-time job and a long commute while trying to write on the side.  The thought of the time-consuming and protracted process of finding a literary agent and a publisher did not appeal to me in light of my time-constraints.  As a result, I sat on Away from the Spotlight for a few years until I was inspired by a few successful indie authors to self-publish. 
As with anything, I merely substituted one set of issues with another.  I did not have to deal with the query letter process or the ceding of some control over the finished product and its marketing.  However, although Kindle Direct Publishing and Barnes & Noble’s PubIt make publishing easy, I still had three things I had to deal with that a publisher would handle:  editing, formatting and promotion. 
I wasn’t worried about the editing piece in light of my own editing skills and having had someone else with excellent editing skills also review the novel.  Moreover, the formatting piece wasn’t too difficult.  I carefully read the instructions for formatting for Kindle and Nook, created the table of contents, and hired a graphic artist to create a cover in keeping with some ideas I had in that regard.  [Notwithstanding, in some formats (though not all), the first line of my copyright page is left-justified rather than centered with the page’s remaining text.  It drives me crazy and I cannot seem to fix it.]  What I didn’t realize was how much effort goes into promotion.  I feel like there’s an unwritten rulebook that everyone understands except me.  Through research and following the lead of some of my peers, I am learning, albeit slowly.  I created a basic website (though I will eventually go a more professional route with it); created author pages on Goodreads, Shelfari and LibraryThing; commenced a blog on Goodreads; created a Facebook page; opened a Twitter account; obtained a professional review from Kirkus Reviews (and breathed a sigh of relief when it was positive); and connected with Goddess Fish Promotions for this Virtual Book Tour.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

The overarching plot of Away from the Spotlight is pure imagination.  I never dated an actor.  However, the underlying details of the novel are based upon my experience as a law student at the University of Southern California, studying for and taking the California Bar Exam, traveling to the U.K. and Europe after the Bar Exam, and commencing my career as a litigator.  Most of the places are based upon real places.  For example, The Royalist is based upon the Ye Olde King’s Head Pub in Santa Monica; Callaghan’s is based upon O’Brien’s in Santa Monica; and the manor house hotel in England where Will and Shannon were engaged is based upon Cliveden, where one of my best friends was married.  I had Will live in a house in Pacific Palisades that he shared with two other British ex-pats because, when I was a third-year law student, I dated a Frenchman who lived with a few other French ex-pats in the Palisades (although his house had neither a view nor a pool).  With respect to the characters, Rachael is the only character who is completely real – she is based upon a friend of mine who was a paralegal in my first law firm and died of complications of uterine cancer at the time I wrote the novel.  Every other character is either purely fictional or significantly different than the person or persons upon whom he or she is based.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

My favorite scene is the one in which heroine, Shannon, gets together with co-worker, John Maher, after celebrating her Bar Exam results.  It brings up a lot of emotions for me.  Although I never did anything like Shannon did, I can recall being in pain over a breakup and desperately trying to escape that pain.  I can also remember an ex or two toying with my emotions after a breakup so I can relate to Shannon’s reaction to receiving flowers from Will months after their breakup and her thinking, “Why are you continuing to torture me?”

How did you come up with the title?

I called it Spotlight from the start.  The one-word title refers to the fact that the hero is a famous actor, living in the glare of the spotlight.  When I decided to publish, I decided to change the title so that it would not be confused with other novels with similar titles.  I changed the title to Away from the Spotlight since this title was unique as far as I could determine.  This title was more fitting anyway since the story deals with Will and Shannon’s attempt to live a normal, private life away from the spotlight caused by Will’s career.

What project are you working on now?

I have five novels in various stages of development:  a paranormal romance that takes place on a college campus, two contemporary romances involving musicians, a historical romance set in 16th century Scotland, and a contemporary romance involving the relationship between two people in disintegrating marriages with alcoholic spouses who meet when one of them is on vacation in Scotland (it’s not as depressing as it sounds).  I hope to have one of them published by the end of the year and another in early 2013.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

I would love to hear from you.  Please comment here and/or join me on Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter.  I hope you liked today’s post and enjoy reading Away from the Spotlight as much as I did writing it.

Away From the Spotlight
by Tamara Carlisle



In the closing weeks of law school, Shannon Sutherland meets handsome and charming Englishman Will MacKenzie. Initially swept off her feet, Shannon finds that Will has a secret that, once discovered and the consequences realized, could destroy their fledgling relationship. Will and Shannon take great pains to have a normal relationship but, ultimately, find it impossible to do so. Will the pressures of their careers and the temptations of others drive Will and Shannon apart? Can Will and Shannon live a happy life away from the spotlight?


“I met someone.  His name is Will.  He’s English, I think.”

“That would be different for you.”

She wasn’t wrong.  I had very casually dated a number of men I had met in the various pubs in Santa Monica.  They were from all over Europe, but not one of them had been English for some reason.  There were Scottish, Irish and Welsh men among them, but never English.  I had commented on occasion on the fact that I never seemed to meet English men at the English pubs I frequented.

“I’m going to see him again tomorrow night.”

“What’s he like?”

“Drop-dead gorgeous, smart, funny and with excellent taste in music.  Just my type.  Well, better than my type, actually.  It’s hard to believe someone that perfect has any interest in me.”

Please” Rachael said.  “You get hit on every time we go out.”

“That’s overstating things quite a bit.”

“You seem oblivious to it half the time.”

I guess I did ignore some of it.  When you spend time as part of a female minority in bars full of drunk men, it was hard not to think that some of them would have hit on me for no other reason than that I was female, regardless of how I acted, what I said, or what I looked like.  I therefore learned that getting hit on wasn’t necessarily a compliment and, the later it happened in the evening, the less of a compliment it was.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Tamara Carlisle is a former attorney and business consultant.  Away from the Spotlight is her first published work of fiction.  She currently is working on two additional novels:  one is about love in the music industry and the other is a work of paranormal fiction.  Tamara currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her British husband and daughter.  For further information, go to 


Tamara’s Goodreads Author Page also includes a blog detailing trivia relating to Away from the Spotlight.



Tamara Carlisle said...

Good morning and thank you for hosting me, Gale! I look forward to checking in and chatting throughout the day,

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting today.

Shannon Ro said...

I think it is really special that you based one of the characters in memory of your friend, what a sweet tribute. Thanks for the interview

fencingromein at hotmail dot com

Tamara Carlisle said...

Thank you for joining us this morning, Shannon! A little piece of my friend, Heather, lives on as Rachael in Away from the Spotlight.

Anonymous said...

The book looks more intriguing with every stop on the tour!


Ingeborg said...

I have been reading a lot about authors self-publishing. I find it very interesting.

MomJane said...

I am really enjoying your tour. I was born in central California, went to school in southern California, and then, until very recently, lived in Northern California. I still miss California.

Your story sounds really fascinating. It seems that you might have put a lot of yourself into it.

Tamara Carlisle said...

Thanks, Vitajex, Ingeborg & MomJane, for joining us this morning! I'm glad you liked the post. Ingeborg, I wish I could say I'm an expert in self-publishing, but I really am learning as I go. MomJane, my experiences are part of the underlying details of the book, which I hope gives the fairytale its realism.

dtsinsr said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Away from the Spotlight. I enjoy your style and look forward to your future novels so hurry up.

Tamara Carlisle said...

Thanks, dtinsr! I'm hurrying! I promise. I'm glad you liked the book and I appreciate that you joined us here today.

Gale Stanley said...

Tamara, thanks so much for visiting today. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tamara Carlisle said...

Gale, thank you so much for hosting me today. I had a great time! I look forward to continuing to follow your blog. You have a great weekend as well!

Mary Preston said...

A very interesting process to self-publishing. Promotion must take up as much time as the actual writing I think.


Tamara Carlisle said...

Thank you for joining us here, Mary. It is an interesting process and I am learning slowly.

Tamara Carlisle said...

Congratulations to Mary P. and Shannon R. for winning the Amazon $25 gift cards! I appreciate everyone who joined me on my tour. Please stay in touch on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads!