Nancy's Notes From Florida

Author Nancy J. Cohen discusses the writing process and life as a Florida resident.

Tami Hoag

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on August 12, 2012

NY Times bestselling author Tami Hoag was the guest speaker at the Florida Romance Writers August 11th meeting. Tami began by describing how different things were in the publishing world when she started out at this career. She wrote in longhand and typed up her pages. Then she sold the second book she’d written and the computer age dawned. In those days, computers were expensive, unusual to own, and not justified in her mind until her career blossomed.

Tami RoseSml   Tami Nan

Tami Hoag and FRW President Rose Lawson        Tami, Rose, and Nancy J. Cohen (center)

“I always wanted to be a writer”, Tami said, but she admitted that in those days, she didn’t read romance. She was a self-confessed “book snob” with preconceived notions about the romance genre. But then a friend at an event gave her a historical romance by Kathleen Woodiwiss, and on the way home, Tami’s car broke down. She had nothing else to read and started the book. That hooked her, and she went on to become an avid romance fan.

Still, she wanted to write but wasn’t sure where to start. She’d been learning about the business through Romantic Times Magazine and didn’t know any other writers in the area. After researching the markets on her own, she realized she could write comedy and chose Bantam Loveswept as her target. She liked them because they didn’t pigeonhole their authors. They allowed their writers to push the boundaries within category romance. Tami acquired an agent and got published writing romantic comedies. She joined RWA and eventually crossed over into suspense.

Tami1  Tami2

My camera battery is about to die; hence the discoloration.

Why does she like to write dark stories now? Her interest in psychology compels her to write edge-of-your-seat thrillers. “Character is the heart of everything.” Psychology and the dynamics between characters are the driving force behind these tales. “Crime is the structure for human interaction.” Also, readers must care about the characters. She begins her stories with a crime and then focuses on the investigators. The cops are the linchpins who can see all sides of a case and who can delve into the psyches of the other characters. Tami admits she’s a pantser rather than a plotter, and she never outlines. Does she ever face a hurdle? Sometimes she’ll write a character into a corner, but she views this as an opportunity, not a blockade.

Tami has another occupation, and that’s what keeps her sane. She’s into horse dressage or “horse dancing”, as some people call it. Both this field and writing require strict discipline. She enters show competitions during the winter. Whenever deadlines are getting to her, she tells herself to “go to the barn.” Being with her horses frees up her subconscious. She compares being on a horse and centered on what she’s doing to meditation. “It’s essential to my creative process.”FRW Aug12   FRW BoardSml

Chatting before the meeting                                   FRW Board/Past and Present

Does writing get any easier? Her answer is negative, not even after so many books. As for the current state of publishing, “It’s a fear-driven business.” The market is terrible, and there’s competition from other media. You won’t find the same optimism that we found in the eighties. Back then, publishers said, “there are so many readers, we want content!” Now they say, “there are so many readers and we want content, but we have no money to pay you.” The prevailing climate is one of fear and desperation. On the good side, more opportunities exist for new writers to break in.

Regarding research, Tami started out with a hands-on approach, where she consulted cops and FBI personnel, but by now she pretty much has a handle on the procedures. Movies? A two-part miniseries was done on her book in 1997 but nothing since. She’s had a lot of film options but they haven’t led anywhere.

What’s next for her? The Ninth Girl brings back homicide cops from Minneapolis who appeared in a previous story. Pressured by her publisher to write an ebook, she penned a novella that acts as a prequel. Normally, Tami says, “I’m not known for brevity. I don’t write short stories.” As for her novels, she has ideas “stacked up on the runway.” While friends of hers are writing to double their capacity, Tami believes you have to fight for time to enjoy life. And although she likes to challenge herself and grow as a writer, Tami still manages to be surprised when she achieves something new.

After the morning meeting adjourned, a bunch of members took Tami to lunch at The Field Irish Pub in Davie.

My husband and I had just eaten there the night before, so I didn’t go. It’s a neat place with entertainment on weekends.

The Field1    The Field2

Hummus Aug12   P1010822 (511x800)

Hummus Appetizer                                        Here’s a toast to you!


Tami Hoag asked her Facebook friends the following question. They voted for number one. What would you say?

Would you rather (1) wait for a really good book by your favorite author, or (2) have your favorite author produce more books at a faster rate but knowing that might lessen the quality?

35 Responses to “Tami Hoag”

  1. Maddy said

    Definitely number one – although since I am incredibly impatient that would be the reason that I’d search out alternatives to ‘feed the need in between whiles and quite often I’ll find something new and exciting – then I’ll be again waiting for their next book to come out…….and so on.

    • Probably a lot of authors are feeling pressured to write short ebook freebies or stories or novellas in addition to their regular releases. While this can feed hungry fans, it takes away from the time to work on our regular books. I am not a short story reader. I’d rather wait for my favorite’s author’s next full release.

  2. Niecey Roy said

    Great post! It’s refreshing to know there are still some well-known authors who prefer to write a good book over writing “fast” books. I used to read Tami Hoag — I’ll have to pick up some of her romantic comedies. I didn’t know she wrote in the romance genre at one time! How exciting you got to meet her 🙂

  3. Patrice said

    It was a great day, and you’ve done a terrific job Nancy recapturing it. Thank you.

  4. It was a wonderful day and this chapter is the best ever. The highlight of my month is always this meeting!
    Great post Nancy! It was wonderful to see you!

  5. LaVerne said

    How wonderful to chat with an established author like that – and one of my favourites too!:) I’m a firm believer of #1 too. I’ve noticed I’ve been feeling let down lately from some of my other favourite authors when I read their latest. They seem to be putting out 2-3 books a year which is obviously affecting the quality. By the way – now I need a hummus fix! Yum! 🙂

  6. Jan Washburn said

    Excellent summary of Tami’s talk, Nancy. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing Tami and rereading her ideas.

  7. Jacqueline Seewald said

    Thanks for sharing this with us! I very much enjoy Tami’s novels, both the romance and the suspense.

  8. Nancy, your blog has some of the most interesting posts, including this one. Keeps me stopping by!

  9. ellisv said

    Tami Hoag is one of my favorites, but I confess to wishing she wrote faster–without giving up the quality, of course. 🙂 I hope The Ninth Girl is Kovacs and Liska. They’re my favorites of her new characters, but I love some of her earlier romantic suspense novels too.

  10. monarisk said

    Nancy, thank you for summarizing a great presentation by Tami Hoag.

  11. dianeokey said

    It’s abolutelyl the first for me, Nancy. IMHO, we’re seeing way to much of the second–very disappointing.

    • Authors are being pressured to write more and to write faster, and not only novels. With all the marketing we also have to do, it’s getting harder to keep up with everything.

  12. I would wait two years for a great book by one of my favorite authors. Recently I’ve read one disappointing book after another by some of my favorites. The publishers are doing a disservice to the authors and the readers as far as I’m concerned. I wish I could have been at that meeting. This 3,000 mile gap between coasts is such a pain. You’re all invited to visit Sacramento Sisters in Crime. The drinks are on us. The airfare is on you!

  13. What a fantastic event this must’ve been! Thank you for the writeup 🙂

  14. I definitely get disappointed when one of my favorite authors shows (1) that they weren’t edited enough on their book and (2) less than their usual quality (which I tend to blame on the lack of editorial input and sway, but now may have to lay on the steps of trying to push books out the door too quickly, which may be another way that the editing gets short-changed.) Usually you see this drop in quality when a writer’s been publishing for 20 years or more and has a lot of pull. I will stop reading an author when I feel they are no longer producing a good tale. Newer writers will do that because they have to, so I’m always on the search for new authors. I didn’t realize Tami Hoag wrote comedies either; I’m definitely interested in tracking those down. Wish I’d known her back in the 80s as a fellow SinC member, lol….my life went in a different direction. And I do agree, Nancy, that you have the most interesting blog posts. I’m ready to go on that cruise with FRW and become a FRW myself. Have to move back to Florida first I think (and I guess South Florida?).

    • You can still go on the FRW cruise conference! And actually, you can join FRW even if you don’t live here. It would be nice if you could make the meetings but you’d still be on the loop. As for a drop in quality in our favorite author’s work, sometimes that happens and sometimes it doesn’t. If the author takes enough time to write their next book, it’s usually still great. But if they’re rushed or just tired of their series, it shows.

  15. Polly Iyer said

    This pressure that publishers are asserting on authors has a few authors writing WITH someone to keep up the production. I can think of one author in particular that should have shelved her series a long time ago, but the publisher won’t let her. The books have suffered as a result. Writing a book that’s of a lesser quality than a writer’s fans expect really hurts the writer’s brand. Too bad. I’m for #1.

  16. […] Tami Hoag ( […]

  17. Number one for sure. Thanks for sharing Tami with us.

  18. […] Tami Hoag « Nancy's Notes From Florida […]

  19. Casey Atoe said

    Hi you have a greate site It was very easy to post I am impressed

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