Welcome to Under the Covers Tamsen! This is the first time we have you here so we’ll get a little nosy. Tell us five things about yourself that others wouldn’t normally know.
1. I have an undergrad degree in sociology and a master’s in urban planning.
2. You’d never know it from my wardrobe or my house, but yellow is actually my favorite color.
3. I have never been able to keep a plant alive. Not even a cactus. There are currently some succulents in my office you should pray for.
4. I’m a total planner addict. If I don’t write something down, it basically doesn’t exist so I love my stickers, washi tape, and gel pens—for color-coding purposes of course!
5. Books, movies, and TV very rarely make me cry, but if there’s a dead dad in the story, that always gets the waterworks going.
So let’s get cracking and go straight into talking about SCHOOL TIES. The theme of this book is your take on a student/teacher relationship. This is a taboo subject for many readers. What was it about it that compelled you to tell this story?
Some writers are really fond of writing outside the box; something new, fresh, that’s never been done before. They like to see exactly how wild their imaginations can run. I am completely the opposite. The challenges I enjoy the most are writing inside boxes. When you impose limitations on yourself and your story, you’re forced to get pretty creative while still being respectful of boundaries. I wanted to tell a story about a teacher and student falling in love, and make their relationship work in the long-term despite all the obstacles they faced.
Let’s discuss Zach Shepard. What is it about his character that draws Erin in?
The first thing Erin notices is that Shep is a good-looking guy. But if it had just been that, there’s no way she would have fallen for him. He stands out from the other students for being serious, responsible, hard-working, almost staid. He’s intelligent, and like Erin really loves Hawthorn (the boarding school where he’s a student and she’s a teacher). He also does his best to care for her in small ways that won’t get either of them into hot water with the school.
What’s your favorite thing about Erin’s character?
A lot of my heroines are what people would probably call strong or feisty, and I love a good bitchy heroine (if you’ve read the first few books in the Compass series, India is Exhibit A). Erin’s brand of badassery is more subtle than that of a lot of the other women in my books. She’s not in your face about it, and she tends to let a lot of things slide that maybe other people wouldn’t, but I love that at the end of the day, she always stands up for herself and the people she loves.
Was there a scene or part of this book that was hard to write? Care to share with us without being spoilery?
Oh, the black moment in this book was super hard. I really just wanted to let Shep and Erin be happy after everything they’d gone through, and I practically had to type with my eyes closed to make them suffer one last time before they get their HEA. Conflict between my main characters tends to be my kryptonite—I love my heroes and heroines, I don’t want to make them sad. Happiness, kink, and sexy times for all!
If you had to summarize SCHOOL TIES in 140 characters or less, what would you say?
A boarding school teacher-student romance (sort of) with a ton of sexual tension, swoony angst, a virgin dom, and a hard-won HEA.
As readers can expect from the title, it takes place in a school called Hawthorn Hill. Would you like to share some of your high school memories? What was your favourite moment in high school? What was your least favourite moment?
Oh, high school…it seems so long ago! I, like Shep, attended a single-sex boarding school, which meant it was an incredibly tight knit community. I don’t know that I could name a single favorite moment, but just being in a place that encouraged girls to be the center of attention, their own heroes, and in charge of their own destinies was pretty great. Same with least favorite moment—I do remember being pretty appalled when I started at my co-ed college. I would call my dad during the first few weeks of classes and tell him how dirty, smelly, and stupid the boys were. That lasted until I started dating someone ; )
What’s the last book you read that kept you up all night reading under the covers?
That would be A Gentleman Undone by Cecilia Grant. It’s a gorgeously written historical with a war veteran hero and card sharp heroine who have some super sexy times. I loved their HEA because while they do end up together, and I believe will be very happy for the rest of their lives, it did require sacrifices, which they were willing to make for a chance at a life together—swoon!
What are you currently working on?
I’m always working on multiple things, so at the moment I’m getting DUE SOUTH (Book 5 in the Compass series, out 12/12/16) ready to send to the formatter, and finishing up drafting HIS CUSTODY, which is my next book with InterMix and will be out in March 2017.
Thanks so much for sharing with us today!
Available September 20, 2016!
Released: September 20, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published by Berkley
From the USA Today bestselling author of the Compass Series, the teacher becomes the student in a tale of forbidden romance in the hallowed halls of an elite, all-boys boarding school...
Erin Brewster is nervous enough on her first day of teaching at Hawthorn Hill. But the way Zach Shepherd looks at her with his dark and dreamy blue eyes really throws her off her game. He simply has to walk past her to send her heart racing. Although he’s eighteen and a senior, he’s still just a student—and very off limits. To let her eyes linger over his body, to fulfill her fantasies would be more than inappropriate. It would be career suicide.
Three years after his graduation from Hawthorn, Shep has returned as a member of the faculty—and he hasn’t forgotten his favorite teacher, the prettiest woman he’s ever seen. When they finally have a chance to get to know each other, they realize they share a common interest: kink. In fact, Shep has learned a lot about the subject during his time away and is ready to teach Erin a thing or two. He’ll soon have her begging to be held after class.
As their relationship comes under scrutiny, the ties that bind Shep and Erin may begin to fray. But some bonds grow stronger under pressure...
Praise for the novels of USA Today Bestselling Author Tamsen Parker
“A fictional world that is both dark and joyful, in which an intense, complicated, submissive heroine meets a tender, lighthearted, dominant hero. The psychological dynamics are phenomenal.”—Megan Mulry, USA Today bestselling author of Encore
“A smart, strong, brazen debut. Parker doesn’t strip the rose of its thorns.”—Cara McKenna, bestselling author of Crosstown Crush and the Desert Dogs novels
“A story that works on all levels, drawing you in with snappy pacing and dialogue, building a slow burn until you can’t put it down. Parker has a confident, clear voice.”—Anne Calhoun, bestselling author of Liberating Lacey and Jaded