Author Tif Marcelo
- You were in the military (thank you for your service!), then got your nursing degree, THEN got married and had FOUR kids and started writing books (I’m so exhausted just reading this that I need to lie down a minute) – What is the one piece of advice you can give to aspiring writers about not losing your mind with a busy life and a deadline stacked on top of it?
Ahhhh—thank you!! Written out like that it feels like A LOT, but I think if all of us wrote out our bios (helloooo Julia, I’m looking at you too!) I think we’re all pretty impressive! In all honesty, I think what I do to stay on top of it is understanding that things change at a moment’s notice. So what I do, and I’m not sure if it’s wise or otherwise, is work the best I can when I have the energy or when circumstances allow. I kind of live in a way that I know that something is going to interrupt the moment, especially being a military family and often times solo, so when I get the chance to work, I take it. I don’t take quiet time for granted. What keeps me from truly keeping the balls from falling everywhere is to write things down. It feels super rudimentary and basic, but when I do so, I can focus on that next step.
- What is the one thing all the women you know probably have in their kitchen/closet/purse that you don’t have?
Oh my gosh this is easy, a pen. I’m a writer and yet…but I always have a snack in my purse if you want one! (side note: she is not the only writer in the world who never has a pen. Ahem) On the daily: bed made? Or unmade?
Made. Not pretty, but when I get up at 5am, my husband (when home) is still usually in it. I call it “pull my covers straight.” That’s the best I can do.
- What was the most surprising book you read in the last year?
When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole. I was so eager to get my hands on it because she’s such an amazing romance writer, and wanted to see how her work translated across genres and it was just so sooo good. I love reading thriller/suspense on top of romance/WF, and I recommend her book to anyone I can!
- You have written some amazing books, including Once Upon a Sunset and The Key to Happily Ever After, in addition to many more. If you had the opportunity, is there a book you’ve written that you’d go back and tweak? (Or are you one of those ridiculous writers who gets each book right the first time and it’s so perfectly executed your editor loves it and has no revisions…not that I’m bitter if you are that writer. Never mind).
I never look back! Is that bad? I just feel like the book is no longer mine. Not to say I don’t worry about the book at publishing, but after a while, as I move on to next books to write, I almost feel like they no longer belong to me! BUT if I had a choice to tweak, I would go back to The Key to Happily Ever After. I would make it a little longer, and add a smidge more romance (since it is a contemporary women’s fiction). I do love the de la Rosa sisters and I wish that I can write more of their family!
In a Book Club Far Away
FAST FIVE with VICTORIA SCHADE
- What’s the best piece of writing advice you ever received?
The best writing advice I’ve ever received was keep going! I quit writing my first book at about 10,000 words, probably due to a massive case of Imposter Syndrome. Years later I was lucky enough to have a dog training client who also happened to be a NYT bestselling author. She agreed to take a peek at what I’d written and she said those two words to me … keep going … and it was enough to get me to finish the book. I credit her with my writing career. If she hadn’t given me that boost, I wouldn’t be here!
- The pandemic has sucked, but not everything has been misery. Tell us the best thing about the pandemic and/or quarantine for you.
As someone who works from home, the pandemic didn’t change my daily life much at all. However, my husband’s changed considerably: he went from either being in the office or on various job sites to working exclusively from home. And I loved it! We’re lucky enough that we have some separation between our offices so we were able to stay focused when we needed to, but we were also able to visit, goof around and get mid-day hugs when we needed a break. I discovered I liked having him as a “colleague”!
- Your book is about a dog who ought to be in pictures and a dog custody battle. As a real-life dog trainer, what’s the weirdest thing you ever encountered with your people clients?
I have oh-so many stories about strange things I’ve encountered with clients. I was an in-home trainer so I got to be up close and personal with my clients in their natural habitats around Washington DC … I’ve gotten locked out of the house with clients and had to climb in the window because I was the only one tall enough to reach it, I’ve worked with hoarders, a presidential great grandson (you’d definitely recognize his name!) and a high ranking presidential advisor who took me to lunch in the private White House dining room!
- You also got to be an official dog trainer for the Animal Planet Puppy Bowl! Get OUT—how fun was THAT? What is the numero uno training tip for dog owners, novice or (ahem) experienced owners with a dog who does what he wants and is afraid of clouds? Or maybe just your number one tip?
Puppy Bowl is everything – I’ve been a part of the show for fifteen years now! I have so many training tips that it’s hard to choose one, but I guess my top suggestion is to learn more about canine body language. Our dogs work so hard to understand us but we don’t do them the same honor, and that leads to misunderstandings and worse. Knowing what your dog is truly saying (and not just making assumptions, like a wagging tail means he’s happy) makes you a better advocate for him and strengthens the bond between you. Want to become a student of “doglish”? The illustrator Lili Chin has an adorable body language book that’s a great overview. And then there’s the OG of body language books, Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas – it changed the way I look at dogs. (Oh, and one more tip? Use better treats when you’re training your dog, like cheese, hot dogs or freeze dried chicken!)
- What book did you read in the last year that really let you escape from the Year of our Lord, Hellscape?
Present company excluded? (Hiii, You Lucky Dog!) During the pandemic I got wrapped up in Pretty Things by Janelle Brown and got my dog-fix from Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy by Zazie Todd. Good stuff!
(side note: take it from me, you will love her book).
Fun Fast Five with Suzanne Enoch
- We all know you’re really good at writing. What other skill do you wish you were really good at?
Well, thank you for saying so. I’ve always wished I could learn to fence, not that that has much practical application today. Archery would be cool, too.
- You are a notorious Star Wars fan. A nebula is headed right for your space ship and only one can save you: Luke Skywalker? Han Solo? Or None of the Above?
Good Lord! Not a nebula! If Han Solo didn’t come to save me, I guess I would just have to settle for being vaporized. I’ve been in love with that man since 1977.
- What is the first romance you read that made you want to write romance?
One of my friends loaned me “Devil’s Cub” by Georgette Heyer when I was in 9th grade. I’ve been a big reader for as long as I can remember, but that one just stands out. It was so dashing and romantic, and made me want to escape into that world. (note to the audience: Devil’s Cub is one of the best regency romances there is).
- You have beautiful handwriting, because you write by hand (note to the audience: no one writes by hand). How long does it take you to write a complete manuscript WITH YOUR HAND? (Question submitted by Mrs. Thompson’s 7th grade typing class).
LOL – thank you again. It takes me 3-4 months to write a book by hand. I spend the mornings handwriting, and then the afternoons typing up what I’ve written. That way I kind of get an immediate first edit, which actually helps me figure things out before I write myself into a hole. Most of the time, anyway.
- What was the last best book you read and what did you love about it?
The last book I read just for fun was Karen Hawkins’ The Book Charmer. It was so full of small town southern life and had some magic and some romance… Being a suburban girl from Southern California, I found it really charming and fun.
Fun Fast FIve with Sasha Summers
- What’s the last best book you read?
That’s hard. I just went back and reread one of my all-time favorite Julia Quinn novels – What Happens in London. I’ll admit, watching Bridgerton might have inspired me to do so. But, before that, I’d read-and adored-Dating Makes Perfect by Pontus Dunn.
- Dogs, cats, or cows?
Well I love all three but cows aren’t exactly ideal indoor pets and they take up the whole couch. Cats are delightful creatures but I just know they’re planning world domination. So, as a smitten new puppy mom, I have to say Dogs.
- What is the worst purchase you ever made?
Hmm… I’m thinking the pretty lacy nightie-negligee thing I bought online. I trusted the size chart (I know, I know), only to discover they’d most definitely lied about their sizes as the garment I received would only fit a Barbie. Or be used as a banana net to prevent bruising… I will neither deny nor confirm that this is something I’ve learned first-hand or if it’s hypothetical… That answer got a little carried away.
- What celebrity would you rate as a perfect 10?
This is easy. Chris Hemsworth. AKA-THOR! I’m a bit of a fangirl (we are not going to talk about my Thor collection but I feel certain The Husband would say my collection was my worst purchase ever.)
- What is the hardest thing about being a writer?
Imposter syndrome. Every book I’m second-guessing what I’ve put on the page. I’d like to think I’ll get to the point where I don’t feel like I should stop writing and go back to my cubicle but… time will tell.
I’m happy to tell you, Sasha’s books are wonderful and trust me, she won’t ever be returning to her previous cubicle life J And speaking of wonderful books, I hope you’ll check out her latest release, SONG FOR THE COWBOY.