Slightly shameless and mostly fameless, Tiffany Reisz dropped out of a conservative southern seminary in order to pursue a career as an erotica writer. This move, while possibly putting her eternal salvation in peril, has worked out better than she anticipated. She has five piercings, one tattoo, and has only been arrested twice. When not under arrest, Tiffany writes erotica and erotic romance and is diligent in doing all her own research. Her novel The Siren will be published by Harlequin SPICE in November 2011 and the sequel The Angel in 2012. Her debut novel Seven Day Loan is currently available from eHarlequin.com
Visit Tiffany’s website at TiffanyReisz.com
Read a review of The Siren by Scarlett Parrish.
1) Googling you was enlightening! What is your tattoo? Does it have personal significance?
My tattoo is of the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. We went with the original White Rabbit illustration by Sir John Tenniel. Alice sees the White Rabbit and follows him not knowing she’ll end up in Wonderland. To me he represents being willing to follow adventure without asking too many questions first.
2) If I ask about your piercings, can you answer without requiring me to flag the interview “For mature audiences only”?
I have my ears pierced, my ear cartilage pierced, an eyebrow ring, and a downstairs piercing. The eyebrow ring was my reward to myself for getting my agent, the great and powerful Sara Megibow of The Nelson Literary Agency. Got off the phone with Sara, did the happy dance, grabbed my friend Sparky and half an hour later, I had a ring in my eyebrow.
3) …and the arrests?
Both arrests were paperwork errors due to paying off minor fines and the rather incompetent beauracracy that misplaced the paperwork. When I told people I’d gotten arrested, they assumed it was either DUI or Indecent Exposure. One of these days I’m going to get arrested for a really interesting reason. The first arrest was pretty funny, however. The sweet cop, learning it was a paperwork error apologized for having to put me in handcuffs. Being me, I answered, “No worries. Not my first time in handcuffs.” Poor thing blushed ear to ear.
4) Did you ever consider using a pseudonym? How do your parents feel about you writing erotica?
My parents are proud of me for following my dreams. They’d prefer I followed my dreams into a different genre but to quote the miraculous Kathy Griffin, if anybody has a problem with me, they can “suck it.”
5) What prompted the transition from Seminary to Erotica? Did you bring your Christianity with you or leave it behind?
Loving God and loving sex are not mutually exclusive. I felt rather out of place at the conservative seminary I attended and started writing as a coping mechanism. When my goofy stories started gaining a wide audience and even being translated, I decided, “Um, maybe THIS is what God had in mind for me.” I quit seminary, got a job at a bookstore, and started writing. I followed the White Rabbit and ended up in Wonderland.
6) What was your path to publication?
I wrote a book a long time ago and played with it for years never really taking it seriously but still daydreaming about getting it published. Then, on a whim, I wrote and submitted an erotic short story to Harlequin Spice Briefs. A year later they called out of the blue and offered to buy and publish it. I couldn’t believe how much they were going to pay me for those forty-five pages I wrote in three days. That when I went, “Damn! People will pay me for this?” So I dusted off the novel, fixed a few things, and started agent hunting. Sara was the first agent who wrote me back and asked for the full manuscript. She turned it down initially because of plot issues (a weak middle). So I rewrote the book from cover to cover, resubmitted it to her, and then…agent! And eyebrow piercing! Was worth all the work. We made some more changes to the book and sold it eventually to the amazing Susan Swinwood at Harlequin SPICE. THE SIREN, the book which was sitting in a drawer for years, comes out September 26, 2011.
7) Has an agent, editor, or publisher ever asked you to change something you were reluctant to change?
I had a hot girl on girl scene in THE SIREN which we had to cut because I was over the word count. That hurt. But that’s okay. Something to save for the sequel.
8) Many writers go through a stage when they hate the words they are writing. Is this true for you?
Oh yeah. Sometimes I love what I write. Sometimes I’m like, “I want this paragraph to become a person so I can have the pleasure of stabbing it to death.”
9) What is your favorite electronic or digital tool to use for writing?
I love OmmWriter. It’s this little Zen writing program that uses very soothing music and a full screen with a winterscape background. Helps me block out all the distractions and just focus on the page.
10) What is your favorite non-electronic writing aide?
Pen and paper—not exciting but true. I’m constantly writing notes to myself about my books.
11) What is the most persistent distraction from writing?
Twitter. I have WAY too much fun on Twitter. People need to stop being so funny and sexy on Twitter. So rude. 😉
12) What is your ideal writing environment? Have you been able to create it?
All I need to write is a Mac and a cat. I have both. It’s all good.
13) I admit I cringed during certain scenes in Seven Day Loan; it’s much kinkier than my usual fare! Were your friends surprised to discover you wrote erotica?
I’m a vegetarian. When people ask me how I get enough protein, I tell them I just give head all the time. Trust me, if I wrote anything BUT erotica, that would surprise them.
14) I’ve read both prequels to The Siren now. Do you plan to continue Eleanor’s story even further?
THE SIREN is the middle book of an eight book series—The Cantos of the 8th Circle. There are three sequels and four prequels. If THE SIREN and the sequel THE ANGEL (coming out November 2012) so well enough, hopefully I’ll get to write them all.
15) On your website, you have some images of actors who resemble your characters. Do you ever begin with an actor or other real person and then create a character from that inspiration? Or do you create a character and then afterwards find images that seem to fit?
Zach Easton, the main character of THE SIREN, was inspired by Jason Isaacs. Zach and Jason have a lot in common—they’re both sexy Jewish Liverpudlians. So my crush on him inspired THE SIREN. Every other character is pure imagination and then later I find someone who I would “cast” in the part.
16) Is there a reason why you always tweet “Writing Goat” instead of “Writing Goal”? And why did you name your cat “Honeytoast”?
Goals are intimidating. They scare the hell out of me. Goats are cute and fuzzy. So I have daily writing goats instead of writing goals. And when I achieve my word count, I can tweet that I “got my goat!”
Oh…Honeytoast…the saddest cat on earth. My sister named Honeytoast after a character in the tv show Even Stevens. She and I very mature people obviously.
17) So, were you able to integrate the phrase “Has anyone seen Simone’s clam?” into any of your recent works? What about bees? Lingering tingles?
Not yet…but the night is still young…
18) You scare me sometimes! Is it just me? Or do you get that a lot?
I’m five foot zero, I wear my hair in pigtails, I sleep in sock monkey pajamas, and I have a cat named Honeytoast. I’m the least scary person alive. Oh, and I’m a pacifist. I don’t scare anybody. And you aren’t actually scared of me. You’re just scared of my books. Big difference. 😉
19) What’s this I hear about wanting to get a book banned? Is that a goal or a goat?
Some of the greatest books ever written have been banned at one point or anything. Getting a book banned is a compliment, a sign that you’ve gotten famous enough to get positive and negative attention. A million rappers say the same things Eminen does, but as he’s more famous than them, he’s the one censors go after. A million writers created worlds of magic just like JK Rowling, but as she was the most successful of them, it was her books that got banned while less fantasy writers flew quietly under the radar. I don’t want to fly under the radar.
20) When the day comes that you are presented with a prestigious award, who are you most likely to forget to thank?
I’ll forget to thank my mother, and I will never, ever hear the end of it.
Shortlink for this post http://wp.me/p1qnT4-1U
I’ve adopted the practice of having a “writing goat” rather than “writing goal” and it has helped productivity. “Goal” sounds so firm, so…final. A “goat” is something to try for, but if you don’t make it, so what?
P.S. Can’t imagine you doing anything “Zen” 🙂
Did you adopt the goat before or after reading about Tiffany? And does your abode abide the presence of farm animals?
I follow Tiffany on Twitter and she introduced me to the goat concept a month or so ago. No farm animals necessary 🙂
Great interview, AmyBeth! And Tiffany, you are freaking hilarious.
I am so glad Tiffany was one of my first interviews! She’s a lot of fun, even though I only know her through social media (so far!)
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