Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Blooming Author: Tibby Armstrong!

“Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be.” ~ George Sheehan

Tibby Armstrong's contemporary erotic romance Sheet Music will be available from Ellora's Cave today!

Tell us about Sheet Music. What is it about and where will it be available?

Sheet Music is a contemporary erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave coming out on August 4th! It’s about musical superstar with secrets to hide, and the journalist determined to find them out at any cost. Here’s the blurb:

Music journalist Kyra Martin faces the toughest assignment of her career—to write a cover story about enigmatic heartthrob David Tallis. Deadline looming, Kyra plans to go undercover. When she ends up under the covers with the sexy superstar instead, can both her career and their budding relationship survive?

With a closet full of skeletons to hide, and a paparazzi-fueled divorce behind him, David Tallis despises the press. When Kyra Martin bribes her way into his life, her sexy assets have him composing a duplicitous seduction. Ensnared in a media maelstrom of his own making, can David face the music? Or will he lose Kyra, along with another piece of himself?

**OVER 18 WARNING**You can read a sexy excerpt at**OVER 18 WARNING**

What were your inspirations for Sheet Music? What sorts of thing inspire you as a writer in general?

Sheet Music was inspired from an experience I had wrangling an all-area-access backstage pass to a Peter Gabriel concert in the mid-1990’s. Although the hero in the story isn’t based on Gabriel, I had the seed of the idea when I realized just what lengths I was willing to go to in order to get inside the music scene for a publishing class assignment. I talked to people I should never have had access to, including one of Gabriel’s long-time band mates, Tony Levin (of King Crimson fame), all because I was too naïve to realize I shouldn’t be able to have access to them. I guess you could say my heroine, Kyra, gets her chutzpah from me, for better or worse!

Let's talk about your process. How do you approach a story, do you start with outlines or something else? Where did you work when writing Sheet Music? Do you think it was the optimal writing environment for you?

First drafts, I usually invest a lot in critique partners’ comments and edits. Second draft is for layering in character back story—because the back story is often revealed to me more richly as I’m writing. As I get to know my characters better, they confide more in me. It’s impossible to have the richness at the beginning of a draft that I have at the end, so that has to be layered into the first half of the novel later.

Sheet Music was the first story I wrote from an outline. Well, I wrote the first three chapters, and then wrote an outline. I was amazed when I actually stuck to it! I think the story is all the better for it. Tighter and more focused than anything I’d written previously.

I can’t write longhand on paper. It interrupts my flow. Usually I’m at the Barnes & Noble two minutes from my house, headphones on, music blaring, enjoying a decaf, skim, mocha. I have to watch out for kindly-meant questions from local grandmothers on what I’m writing though. So the headphones help. *grins*

Tell us about your "story of getting published." How long did you submit before you were accepted? How did it feel to get accepted?

Well, this is kind of funny and kind of embarrassing. Lol. Last year I saw that Ellora’s Cave issued a call for music themed submissions. Knowing I had Sheet Music’s  plot in my back pocket, I took it out of the drawer, so to speak. The word count for the submissions was 30k. While I was writing it, I posted comments on my blog about not knowing how the story could possibly fit into 30k words. Yet, I shoehorned it into the allotted space and sent it off in April. Well, turns out I should have listened to my inner editor. The very encouraging letter I received back—very quickly—asked if I would be willing to add more to the story—it seemed like there was more story than I’d written. (Talk about a perceptive lady, my editor!)

I think it took me two weeks to add another 14k words to the novel. Those 14k were some of the easiest words I’ve ever written, I think because they needed to be in the story. By that time I also knew Kyra and David inside and out. I think it took about two weeks upon resubmission for Sheet Music to be accepted, with the comment that there had definitely been too much story for the 30k limit! So, if I’d listened to myself in the first place, I wouldn’t have had to suffer an almost rejection! Let that be a lesson to me! You can read all the sordid details on my blog at

When I got the acceptance? Oh-my! I was silent for about ten seconds and then let out a whoop the likes of which had my family running to see if someone had broken into the house! I bounced around (literally) for about twenty minutes and then proceeded to call and email everyone I knew. I was high on happiness for days. Weeks even! I still get little thrills now when I think about it! It never gets old.

What are the publicity plans you have coming up?

On August 4th I’ll be giving away a copy of Sheet Music to a randomly drawn person who posts on my Facebook wall! Other plans:
Thank you for having me. It was a pleasure to chat with you!

Tibby Armstrong

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