Contact Me

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tierney James talks about her career and writing.

Tierney James is a talented author and speaker. I had the opportunity to interview her. If you have not had the chance to read Unlikely Hero, take the time to do so today.

You write some fast moving spy thrillers, what led you in that direction?

I was the kid who liked dinosaur movies, westerns, Tarzan and Mighty Mouse. Maybe my shyness made me want to act brave and fearless, I never talked to a shrink.  Later it was action movies like Indiana Jones, The Wind and the Lion and so on. I liked dangerous and exciting. Then one day I read The Judas Strain by James Rollins. I fell in love with thrillers. He taught me so much about writing and soon I had read all his books. Writing thrillers makes me tingle with excitement. Conspiracy, cliff hangers, mysterious strangers, all get my heart pumping and my adrenaline flowing. Most people when they first meet me think I'm a sweet, tea drinking Baptist with not one spark of courage. When I write-well, watch out!

Is Tessa based on a real person? Of course we don't expect you to reveal secrets but hints are always nice.

Tessa came to be because of some unusual incidents that happened to me when I lived in Northern California. People were always mistaking me for someone named "Melanie". I would be stopped on the street, pulled aside at the DMV for questioning and once someone called me at home. I started to wonder who this Melanie could be; was she in trouble, honest, dangerous, a criminal or someone in the witness protection program. After all the DMV didn't believe I'd just moved there from Missouri. Someone with my information lived in Santa Barbara. My family didn't believe me at first until months later a strange man approached me, whirled me around and started talking. He also called me "Melanie".  Needless to say, I started getting a little more respect after that encounter.  In my first novel, An Unlikely Hero, the house and town where the action takes place is real. I lived there. 

How did you research your novels?

My research, for the most part, takes place on the internet. It is so much easier than going to library these days. I get a story idea from a picture, a song or place I visit then the research starts. A year a I read an article about the Wahkan Valley in Northern Afghanistan. I've been collecting information about the area to weave into my third novel, Rooftop Angels.

Do you have a set writing schedule?
No. I do try and write or edit each day. I do writing things like research, read or study writing books. But I believe you must do this each day. It's like practicing the piano. Skip a couple of days, weeks or months and the music suffers. Write. Write. Write.

How important is social media in your marketing and writing process?

It is becoming more of what I do because it is demanded from publishers. I don't like promoting myself because it isn't something that comes easy for me. I'm learning by compiling a notebook of ideas, formats and websites that give me more confidence in this area. I also have taken a few webinars to educate myself. Social media is a real inspiration killer. It just takes a great deal of time in which I'd rather be writing. I'm trying to discover ways to circumvent that so I can get on with the business of writing. I would much rather be a guest speaker than recruit on social media. But I do it anyway. You just have to jump in and make yourself known.

I have found that most writers are avid readers, who are your favorite authors?

James Rollins, Steve Berry, Brad Thor, David Baldacci, Daniel Silva, Clive Cussler, Nora Roberts, Elizabeth Lowell, Sandra Brown and Terry Brooks.

Take a little time here and tell us about yourself. Getting to know the author is fasinating.

Besides being an educator of World Geography, I've been a Solar System Ambassador for NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, worked and lived on an Indian Reservation and traveled in Africa, Asia and Europe. All these places and activities are fodder for storytelling. My family is the most important thing to me on this earth. Some of the hobbies I enjoy are gardening, writing, traveling, reading and I love music. I'm a life long learner so I'm always on the lookout for new information.

Novels: An Unlikely Hero (#1) Winds of Deception (#2 editing) Rooftop Angels (#3 editing) The Rescued Heart (under     contract with Black Opal Books)  

Children's Books: There's a Superhero in the Library & Zombie Meatloaf.

Thanks for inviting me to your blog. I hope your readers will check out my work. 



  1. Hello, Tierney. I don't know if you remembered me or not, but we met at the write-in last January. It's nice to be able to put the person with the blog. I can remember the days before the internet, where most of my research had to come via interlibrary loan. I had files of notes and photocopied pages. I'm glad those days are over.

  2. Wow! I didn't know you were a solar system ambassador! That sounds so cool!

    Congrats on your books!