Tami Hoag began her writing career at the age of nine with the self-published, self-illustrated third-grade hit Black Pony. The school project—a tale of two children sharing a pony named Smoky—sparked Hoag’s love for storytelling, and set her on a collision course with destiny, which would be reached in 1988 with Bantam Books’ publication of Hoag’s first novel, The Trouble With J.J.
A favorite of readers and critics alike, Hoag began her career writing for Bantam’s Loveswept line of romance novels, penning sixteen titles in five years. Never wanting to be pigeonholed, the novels ranged from romantic comedy to romantic suspense, with richly drawn characters and sharply written dialogue the hallmarks of Hoag’s style. These traits carry through to her thrillers, along with fast-paced plots and dead-on police procedure.
Born in Iowa, raised in Minnesota, Tami Hoag left the frigid north for warmer climes in 1998. An avid competitive equestrian in the Olympic discipline of dressage, Tami currently lives in Palm Beach County, Florida, where she competes her horses on the prestigious winter show circuit.
Here is a publisher provided interview:
Kovac and Liska, the homicide detectives in THE 9th GIRL have previously appeared in ASHES TO ASHES, DUST TO DUST, and PRIOR BAD ACTS. What made you decide to return to these characters?
I missed Sam and Nikki. I first met them in ASHES TO ASHES, where they were only intended to be secondary characters. But they were so strong and vivid and funny that they came right back with a book of their own in DUST TO DUST. They’re like old friends now. I’ve had many reader requests to bring them back, and I wanted to go see what they were up to. It’s safe to say this won’t be the last we see of them, either.
Your primary victim in this case is a very conflicted and complex 16-year-old girl. Her friends and enemies have key roles. This is the first time teenage characters have played such a large role in one of your novels. What was that like? How did you get in their heads?
It was an interesting experience that was a little intimidating in the beginning. It’s been a long time since I was a teenager. But I became very attached to my kids, particularly Brittany, who feels like she’s in a tug of war. She wants to be accepted by the popular clique, but also feels loyalty to friends who are considered outcasts. And I’m absolutely in love with Liska’s son, Kyle. He’s sweet and loyal, and working hard at growing up to be a good man. He really stole my heart. I talk about him like he’s a real kid and I’m his proud auntie!
Kyle is a 15 year old who is experiencing bullying at school. Why did you feel it was important to discuss this issue in the story?
Bullying is such a prevalent and pernicious blight on our society, particularly with all the social media outlets kids have access to today. So many kids suffer because of bullies, and so many adults carry the scars of bullying they experienced growing up. It’s a terrible injustice that serves no one. Bullies ultimately don’t benefit from being bullies. The world doesn’t benefit from having bullies. We all have to wise-up to the fact that we can influence the world in a positive way through positive actions and by accepting one another. Being kind and generous of spirit is so much more rewarding.
Kyle’s favorite sport—and yours—is mixed martial arts. How did you come to that sport, and what about it speaks to you?
I started working out with a trainer who has fought professionally and competes in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I knew nothing about either. After I’d been working with him for a few weeks, he said to me, “You should watch a fight. I think you might like it.” What an understatement that turned out to be! I fell in love with it immediately, and am a hardcore fan.
Kyle’s mom, Nikki Liska, is struggling to balance her roles as single mother and homicide detective. How does she represent the American woman today? If you were to meet her in real life, is she someone you would have as a friend?
Nikki and I would get on famously! She’s sassy and smart-mouthed with a quick wit. We would be hell on heels together. She’s tough as nails on the job, but also vulnerable, and fiercely devoted to her boys. I think a lot of women can identify with her struggle between career and her role as a mother. She’s basically working two full-time jobs that aren’t very compatible. She has to earn a living to support her sons, but her job takes her away from them far more than she would like. She loves her career, but she loves her boys, too. It’s the conundrum of the modern woman.
A tattoo plays an important role in The 9th Girl. Tattoos have become almost mainstream in our society, particularly among younger people. What did you learn about the tattoo culture while you were researching the subject? Do you have any tattoos yourself?
Before writing The 9th Girl I had no interest in having a tattoo, but as I researched the subject, my opinion changed 180 degrees. I came into contact with many people who had multiple tattoos, and learned the reasons behind their choices. From twenty-something young men to sixty-something grandmas, all shared the same basic belief that their tattoos told a story about their life. They had something to say and felt committed enough to have it inked ’t care what anybody else thinks about it. That kind of passion speaks to me.
I now have two tattoos. One that says “Stronger,” which means something to me and says something about me, and the tattoo from THE 9TH GIRL: Chinese characters that express tolerance and acceptance of people as they are. “Be who you are” is a sentiment I believe in strongly—unless you’re a jerk. Don’t be a jerk!
In THE 9TH GIRL, the police are trying to figure out if the victim knew her killer or if she was the target of a stranger. Which do think is scarier: the devil you know or the devil you don’t?
I think we all fear the unknown, the random act of violence, but in my personal experience there is nothing more frightening than finding out someone close to you has a side you never imagined possible. In that terrible moment of revelation we realize that we can never truly know anyone. Both kinds of evil are present in THE 9TH GIRL. We’ll see which scares readers the most!
Now for some fun questions! Writers always joke about wearing pajamas to work. What do you wear to the office?
Either baggy old jeans or sweatpants and a fight t-shirt. Function over fashion. Comfort keeps the words flowing.
Who are the top five artists on your iPod?
Maroon 5, Train, Matchbox 20, Tristan Prettyman, and Jason Mraz.
American Idol or The Voice?
The Voice. I love the mentorship aspect of the show.
Football or baseball?
Neither. I don’t follow team sports. I can’t stand to have that many people disappoint me all at the same time.
What would we find in your magazine rack?
Fighters Only, Inked, Psychology Today, Dressage Today, and Architectural Digest.
What’s the screen saver on your phone?
Shirtless Channing Tatum. That boy is mighty fine to look at!
If you could live abroad for a year, where would go?
Italy. I’ve always been obsessed with ancient Rome. I would go there and soak up as much as I could.
Your secret crush is . . . ?
Jim Cantore from The Weather Channel
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Book Giveaway ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
We are running a special giveaway of Tami Hoag's most recent book, "The 9th Girl" to one lucky winner as well.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Tami Hoag brings back her fan-favorite Minneapolis investigators Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska in the haunting new thriller The 9th Girl.
On a frigid New Year's Eve in Minneapolis a young woman’s brutalized body falls from the trunk of a car into the path of oncoming traffic. Questions as to whether she was alive or dead when she hit the icy pavement result in her macabre nickname, Zombie Doe. Unidentified and unidentifiable, she is the ninth nameless female victim of the year, and homicide detectives Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska are charged with the task of not only finding out who Zombie Doe is, but who in her life hated her enough to destroy her. Was it personal, or could it just have been a crime of opportunity? Their greatest fear is that not only is she their ninth Jane Doe of the year, but that she may be the ninth victim of a vicious transient serial killer they have come to call Doc Holiday.
Single book giveaway
Entry for giveaway lasts until Wed. June 5 8:00 p.m. (MST).
The publisher will ship the book to the winner.
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