To spice up this pretty bland, boring Tuesday, I have interviewed the wonderful TJ Dallas! TJ is a brilliant author, of Sapphic erotica and romance (the latter under the pseudonym Taryn J Dallas). She is well-known for the award-winning Cardinal series, and most recently the opposites-attract romance novella The Planck Paradox. She also has another Sapphic romance novella coming this summer, called The Trick To Finding Love – and from the teaser she recently put on her Instagram, it looks amazing!
Let’s hear more in this interview!
Introduce yourself! Tell us a little bit about you - who are you, and what do you do?
Hi! I'm TJ, I'm a Scottish sapphic author. I'm almost 35, and I live with my wife Dani and our dog Toby. I've mainly written supernatural erotica via the Cardinal series, but I've recently been getting into standalone contemporary romance novellas as well, under the pen name Taryn J Dallas. I like geocaching, computer games, and sunny holidays, as well as reading and writing.
What made you want to sit down and write your first book?
I'd wanted to write a book, or at least a story, since I was a teenager, but I'd never actually sat down and tried to do it properly. I'd written a lot of excerpts, or erotic snippets, but just after my 31st birthday in 2019, I decided to give it a proper shot. I'm now editing my 10th book, and I still find myself shaking my head in disbelief at how far I've come in such a short space of time.
How do you develop your plots and characters?
I'll get the bare bones via imagination first... Their name, or a personality trait or something, and then when I start writing, I learn more and more about them. I'm a pantser, so I don't plot or decide on one thing or another; my characters tell me new things about them all the time! I didn't even know Harry was scared of dogs until book #3 in the Cardinal series (Pride's Humility.)
Which of your characters do you relate to the most, and why?
I relate most to Riley, who is the literal embodiment of Sloth. I'm lazy, love to nap, and practically live in comfy hoodies and pyjamas. She's also introverted, genuine, and scared of bugs and creepy crawlies, so that pretty much sums me up!
Has your own writing ever made you cry?
Oh sure! There's been a few moments I've shed a tear or two, or I've felt a bit melancholic for a few days after writing a particularly heart-wrenching scene. The end of #2 (Pride and the Stranger) knocked me out for several weeks, and I still don't think I've fully recovered.
Does anyone you know in real life read your books?
Um, there's several people that know about them, but I'm not sure exactly how many people have read them. People ask about them, and I've given a couple paperbacks out, or gifted an eBook etc., but no one has ever specifically come back to tell me what they thought of them. I'm unsure whether they're shy to mention it (considering it's mostly erotica) or whether they didn't enjoy it, but I'm too scared to ask to find out, haha. #IgnoranceIsBliss
Imagine your book, or one of your books, was made into a film. Who would play the lead roles?
Ooh, so I've got a few good ideas for this. Harry would definitely be played by Erika Linder. I'd love Emma Watson to play Riley, Katheryn Winnick to play Zillah, and Eva Green to play Madison. I'm not sure I've 100% settled on the others; maybe Kristen Stewart to play Althea, Gwendoline Christie to play Astar, and Emma D'Arcy to play Sidero maybe? I think Harry, Riley, and Madison are set in stone, but open to suggestions for the rest!
When you’re not writing, what do you do to relax?
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given with regards to being an author?
Metaphorically, it would be "you can't please everyone. Ever!" and technically would be "remove unnecessary filler words." I find myself still having to work on this to this day; I tend to overwrite, but when I sit down to edit, I find I can cut a sentence in half and it still means exactly the same thing!
How about in general life?
Live life for you. No one else can live it for you, so do what makes you happy.
What is a motto you live by?
Let go of who you think you're supposed to be and embrace who you are.
How can people connect with you?
Finally a light-hearted one. If you were a sandwich, what sandwich would you be?
Cheese and pickle. No, cheese and ham. No, cheese Ploughman's! A grilled cheese! Cheese and onion... No, cheese and tomato... Um, just anything with cheese.
If you enjoyed this interview, then make sure you’re following my social media accounts (@kblakemanwriter on Twitter and @katherineblakemanwriter on Instagram) to get all the latest updates! And if you want to support my own Sapphic Fiction journey while you’re here, my new novel The Summer We’ve Had is available now!