Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds and her beloved wife, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.
Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has heard the call of the high desert and lives in the Sandias. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head.
What inspired you to start writing?
I ‘ve never ever wanted to be anything else. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve done other things — from line cook to a 20-year career as an illustrator — but I’ve always written, always published, and I’ve never been so proud than to be able to make my dream of being a full-time author come true. 😀
How long have you been writing?
I published my first short story in 1976, so this is my 40th year. *grins* No, I don’t feel old.
What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?
Read. Write. Then write some more before you read. Write every day. Read more than that. When you can’t write anymore words, read them. Then go write more.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
I have to admit that I don’t. I’m incredibly fortunate to be married to a writer, to be surrounded by friends that are writers and they inspire me ever single day.
Who is your favorite author and why?
Stephen King is my absolute all-time favorite. Seriously. (Did I mention that I get to hear him speak in June? OMG. IN PERSON, Y’ALL. *sparkles*) I’ve read every book of his since the beginning and I love how he’s a storyteller, how he’s sunk into a certain time and a certain place. Most of all, I love how he loves his job. I never feel like he’s just phoning it in.
What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
I think the most important element of any art form is to understand what the rules are so that you know when and why you’re breaking them.
How do you develop your plot and characters?
Those are two very different questions. Characters tend to come to me in a rush. I’ll hear something and think, “What if there was this…” and boom. Character. Then the love interest shows up with a vengeance. Then the cast of thousands begin to file in, ready to have their place on the page. The plot is much more, well, plotted. I use a system of index cards where I plot out my scenes — now, they don’t usually stay in the spot I intend them to and lots of times, by the end, act three is not at all what I had expected, but I start out with a three-act plot in mind. I know, I’m an optimist.
What comes first, the plot or characters?
Characters. Every time. The plot can be anything, but it’s defined by the characters and what they need.
Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.
Bombs and Guacamole started life out as a sweet coming out story titled “I Don’t Dance”, but the longer I looked at it, the more the boys insisted that I’d lost my goddamn mind and 1. they weren’t sweet, 2. they weren’t dorks (they totally lied), and 3. explosions are fun to write!
Are you working on anything at the present you would like to tell us about?
Currently, I’m finishing up the third in the Release series. Sage informed me that he had this friend, Dakota, that I needed to meet and, once he started talking to me, I was lost. Dakota Landry is a freshly out of prison ex-con that needs a friend and direction and former prosecutor, Jayden, is a bored man looking for a cause to champion. The problem is that it’s hard for a golden boy and a broken man to find a place where they can meet — in life and in their hearts.
What are you reading now?
Weirdly enough I’m researching for a new project, so I’m reading about the post-Civil War Spiritualist movement, the beginnings of the Texas Rangers, and asylums in the late nineteenth century. On the fiction side, I’m currently reading Courtney Sheets’ Hawaiian Guardian and Bad Karma by Douglas Clegg.
What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
I can totally see both Stephen King and Flannery O’Connor in the rhythm of my voice and Irvine Welsh in my commitment to writing a voice as I hear it. Most of my influence, honestly, comes from my wife, Julia Talbot. She’s my muse and my reason.
How do you come up with the titles to your books?
*grins* They are usually titles of songs or just random things that amuse me. Bombs and Guacamole was a lark title, but it worked and the more I said it, the more I loved it. Trial by Fire? The working title of that book was Aussie vs Texan. 😉
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Lord, I don’t know. I don’t know if I do, yet. I write. That’s what I do. It’s just so basic to me if y’all know what I mean.
Describe your writing space.
I have three. I have a lovely sunroom that faces the Sandias that I work in every morning. It’s simple and bright and warm and just a quiet place to wake up. After lunch, I move into the office, which is a cacophony of toys and colors and yarn and china and energy. It’s the perfect, weird spot for a dozy afternoon. My third place is this weird little coffee shop in a strip mall where the baristas know our order, the benches are quiet, the wifi is fast, and I can bust out a few thousand words somewhere different.
What is the hardest part about writing for you?
Currently, the toughest part is editing. I’m losing my sight and I’m learning the low-vision software’s and the tricks that make life easier all seem to make edits a stone-cold bitch. Once I figure that out, though? Marketing will go back to the hardest part. 😉
What is your work schedule like when you are writing?
I write 25K a week in one-hour sprints. All the rest of ‘work’ time is spent on marketing, social media, edits (OMG the edits), plotting and planning, etc.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I have to listen to the right playlist for the book. It’s desperately important to my process — the wrong music will steer me the wrong direction, every time, and I spend hours choosing the right songs for my playlists (I even have series playlists vs story playlists…).
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I travel, I dig in the dirt and grow agave and roses, I knit and quilt and read and crochet and take photos and torture my friends with weird texts. Also, I drink a metric ton of coffee and love on my wife and my basset hounds.
What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book(s)?
As a writer? That I love when stuff happens. I LOVE plot. I love danger and kidnappings and shoot outs and fist fights and a buddy movie feel. Every individual book has its own particular moment of surprise, of course. Every character has a secret that you don’t find out until after you’ve written it down and you go, wait. What? WTF?
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’m nearing 180 books and my favorite is the one I’m writing right now, because that’s the book that has my ear. I’m a fickle woman. Now, I can tell you that I have 2 favorite characters — Sonny from the Road Trip series and Coke from the Roughstock series. They are always right there, ready to whisper to me.
Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?
I’m incredibly honored at all the emails and the messages, the tweets and facebook nudges and the photos on Instagram. We talk about the books, we talk about what’s coming up, we talk about bull riding. Lots of times we talk about their lives, because honestly, my readers are either my friends or folks that I’m fixin’ to be friends with. I believe we’re a huge community of readers, all of us, brought together by our love of stories and kept together by each others’ life stories.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I looked in my baby book the other day. I told my parents I wanted to write books when I was 2 years old…
How do you do research for your books?
My favorite way is to travel. I love to go and see and do. I’m also a compulsive reader and I devour books about random time periods and historical situations like they were candy.
What happens when the good girl gone bad and the bad boy gone straight hook up for one more ride?
LitEsc Media presents Bombs and Guacamole, Book 1 in the Border Crossing series, by BA Tortuga, releasing on May 6, 2016 from Dreamspinner Press. Below you will find all the details of Bombs & Guacamole by BA Tortuga, including word/page count and synopsis/buy links.
ER doctor Dusty Lowry grew up in a conservative rural Texas family that has never quite forgiven him for staying in New Mexico after his stint in the Army. Paramedic Nate Miller, Dusty’s best friend since their early Army days, has a hippie momma, a tiny apartment, and is in lust with his buddy. When their other Army friend, Kyle, gets married, they start thinking about settling down. In fact, they both know what they want: each other. Too bad they’ve never shared that goofy little fact.
A trip to visit Dusty’s family in Texas changes everything, and Dusty and Nate aren’t sure where to go from there. Good thing they’re smart guys,
and between a series of bombings that target first responders, their friend Kyle’s wife getting pregnant, and more than one bowl of guacamole, they begin to figure out how to have a relationship. But as the bombings get closer to home, Nate and Dusty must navigate love and commitment before they lose their chance.
WORD count: 63,000 words Digital ISBN: 978-1-63216-805-4 Print ISBN: 978-1-62798-986-2
Put Bombs and Guacamole on your Goodreads to-read shelf!