Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, Jo Tannah – I am a wife, mother and blogger by day, a writer by night. It can be difficult to say the least, but it is a challenge that keeps me on my toes.
Thanks so much, Jo, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: Were you a voracious reader as a child?
Jo Tannah: Yes! OMG I had tons of books. Still do to this day, both physical and ebook formats.
JSC: When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover that you were good at it?
JT: Oh, dear. For as long as I could remember, I just never thought I could until I finally did. My first works were not even stories, they were “how to” stuff for several sites. I found out I was good at it when after six months, I got more assignments, then the following year became head writer. I quit when I got sick and that’s when the stories rang in my mind.
JSC: What action would your name be if it were a verb?
JT: multitaskingmomma 😀
JSC: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
JT: I love telling stories of tales I grew up with. Most of the stories I write are based on tales told me as a young child though I changed things up a bit by making them gay romances. I focus on romance and the four sub-genres that I love: scifi, fantasy, paranormal, and horror (supernatural and thrillers). I do write contemporary, but it’s limited to the last sub-genre I mentioned and the current Taboo series which is pure romance.
JSC: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
JT: A Doctor.
JSC: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
JT: Oddly enough, it was not one of the four main genres that I write now. It’s a contemporary set in an unidentified place and time. It was taken up by a publishing company which, unfortunately, went out of business a few months later. I self-published What A Difference A Day Makes on Amazon. It is based on the lyrics of the song of the same title. The story unfolded while I was driving on the highway and Gloria Estefan was singing in the background. I don’t know how it happened, but bam! the men came to life right then and there.
JSC: What’s your greatest weakness as a writer?
JT: The inability to translate my thoughts to words. Sometimes, I cannot write because I don’t have the words to describe my story. The words just leave me, not the plot, just the words. I don’t know if it’s called writer’s block? I just know the story screams to come out, but nothing happens. I get this when under stress, and had a hard time dealing with it until I realized the only way to get around it was to lose the stress. I completely cut my blogging activities for a few months and voila! It worked.
JSC: What’s your writing process?
JT: As I mentioned, my first story came because of song lyrics, it’s still true to this day. In fact, my scifi novella, Compelled, came about because of a trans music sung by an indie group. Even my novel Objectified, that was because of a Taylor Swift song LOL
JSC: Would you visit the future or the past, and why?
JT: No, never. I like not knowing, as it is meant to be. That way, I don’t get to regret for it takes up a lot of my energy.
JSC: What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?
JT: I’m answering this question in December of 2016, and I am currently working on two stories, both supernatural, paranormal. Both are based on two local stories, urban legends if you may. One deals with the enchanted others (enkanto and kapre) and the other is a ghost haunting. I don’t know when these will be published, but definitely by the second quarter of 2017.
And now for Jo’s new book: The Way You Look Tonight:
As a member of a wealthy and influential family, Jaime “Jamie” Abello had his life mapped out. Being shipped off to LA with an insurance scam linked to his name was not part of his plan.
It had seemed so simple: pass the Philippines Medical Board Exam; practice in the family-owned and -controlled hospital; join the Board by age forty; and find a partner with whom he could settle down and be himself.
Instead, his father supplies him with a surfeit of money and dangerous secrets and sends him to a strange country.
The Pediatric Residency Program Jamie applies for brings him face to face with untouchable Program Director, Miles Kwon, whom Jamie soon finds to be a man of integrity and vision.
When tragedy strikes, Jamie finds himself falling deeper into depression. Unexpectedly, it’s Miles who helps him work through his pain.
Will Jamie ever experience a life with a loving partner, or will his father’s secrets cause him to lose everything he’s gained?
The Standards Book 2
Note: This book was previously published under a different publisher. It has since been extensively revised, expanded and re-edited.
I’m lying belly down on the grass, my coffee mug forgotten beside me. I rest my head on my bent right arm and trail my left hand over the water’s surface. Now and then I feel a gentle, tickly suction from the curious koi.
I don’t know how long I lie there, thinking about how happy I am, or how very much in love. Growing up, I’d only known the love of one man—my father.
He’d been my rock all my life. My survival on this world may have began four years ago, but I finally got to live my life when I met Miles.
Thinking about Miles now, I still can’t believe my luck. I’d never thought a scandal would thrust me into living in a strange country. I’d never thought I would find love here, either.
Four years ago
I lie in my hospital bed, gaping at the nurse. She’d just broken the good news and all I can think about was that I’d made it—the words ringing in my head on an endless loop.
Just the day before, I had anxiously monitored the Medical Board Exam results with some of my school friends. You see, the way they did it here, the major newspapers knew before any of the examinees. They received the official list of board passers directly from the country’s Professional Regulation Commission or PRC. Major newspapers like The Manila Bulletin, The Inquirer, and their equals, all had full-page layouts ready for the first-hour printings. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to read the lengthy list, so I have no idea who among my classmates made it.
A simple case of food poisoning resulting in an embarrassing episode of vomiting and diarrhea landed me with an IV in my hand. I must’ve eaten some bad balut, an exotic native delicacy. I’d been out with a group of school friends the night of the results came out. We’d stopped at a sidewalk vendor, bought some of the boiled fertilized duck eggs straight from the bucket full of hot sand, and enjoyed the unique flavors that blended well with a bottle of ice-cold beer. An hour later, I was rushed to the ER.
My special nurse gave me the good news as she stood by with a pail, ready to catch whatever I needed to throw up. Her presence was just one of the benefits of my living in a cosmopolitan area like Metro Manila and having a family name that’s the same as the hospital’s. A great-grandfather started it all way back before the war. Thanks to the backing of his own father, whose agricultural lands produced sugar cane, he was able to set up his first pharmacy. One soon expanded to two, then three, before going regional and finally national. The other businesses grew from the first.
My father, Jose Manuel, is the current CEO of the Abello Group of Companies, Inc. Our business deals mostly with insurance policies and the import and distribution of medical pharmaceutical supplies. For almost a hundred years, it had been one of the largest family-
controlled companies in the country. His younger brother, Fred, also sits on the hospital board. My two older brothers, Francisco and Arturo, works alongside my father as vice presidents, but they’d been openly challenging him on his decisions for some time. Knowing my father’s dominant personality, I findd it curious he never once corrected them for their insubordination. Neither did he take them up on their obvious challenge to his authority.
Then there is my father’s wife, Margarita. Her family invested in the company when she’d started dating my father. On their marriage, her father gave her a substantial amount of money to buy shares. By the time I was eighteen, she had her own seat on the board.
Yes, my family has that much money going around. Nice, isn’t it? You might think I must be spoiled rotten, and that I go through life and money like there’s no tomorrow. Well, in a way I do, but not really. Truth is, all that money and influence doesn’t make my family well-liked. Respected, yes. Feared, yes. But not liked. It doesn’t help that power struggles and infighting amongst the family members are quite famous. At times, they even made headline news. In addition, like any family, we had skeletons deep in our closets. I am one of those skeletons.
I am a wife, mother and blogger by day, a writer by night. It can be difficult to say the least, but it is a challenge that keeps me on my toes.
I grew up listening to folk tales my father and nannies told either to entertain us children or to send home a message. These narratives I kept with me and finally I wrote them down in a journal way back when I kept one. Going through junk led to a long-forgotten box and in it was the journal. Reading over the stories of romance, science fiction and horror I had taken time to put to paper, brought to light that these were tales I never met in my readings.
The tales I write are fictional but all of them are based on what I grew up with and still dream about. That they have an M/M twist is simply for my pleasure. And, I hope, yours as well.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00RCKB5J6
eXtasy Books Author Page: http://www.extasybooks.com/?route=product%2Fauthor&author_id=1079
Wayward Ink Publishing Author Page: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product-category/authors/jo-tannah/