When Characters Take Over with Tara Lain

April 4, 2016

when characters take over

Hi all! Welcome! You probably know that most romance authors think of themselves as either plotters or pantsers. We either plan out our books meticulously or we write “by the seat of our pants”. In truth, many of us are some combination of the two. That would be me. I’m Tara Lain and I write the Beautiful Boys of Romance. I think of myself as a plotser– one who creates a basic story arc with characters, basic conflicts, and highpoints and then let’s the story write itself in between. It’s a fun way to write because it keeps you on track while still allowing for surprises.


But every now and then, a character steps in and changes everything. They have a story to tell and they plan to tell it no matter what you had in mind! That was the case with my new book, Prince of the Playhouse, book 3 in my Love in Laguna series. The hero, Ru Maitland, played a role in Knight of Ocean Avenue, book 1 in the series. If you read Knight, you remember that Ru is a snarky, flamboyant fashion designer and a deep and true friend to Shaz, the hero of that book. While I didn’t write a lot about Ru in Knight of Ocean Avenue, I still thought I knew him and knew his story. When I submitted the idea to Dreamspinner, I described a clandestine love affair between my out-and-proud Ru and a hugely successful action movie star who stays hidden deep in the closet, Gray Anson. Considering the consequences for gay action stars who come out, that seemed like plenty of conflict for one book.

Oh no.

Ru had different ideas. I was writing along early in the book. My hero Ru, whom we’ve seen watching Gray in the movies and learning that he’s to make costumes for Gray at the Playhouse, is walking home in Laguna at night. Suddenly, a guy shows up and tries to rob him. Now that surprised me a bit, but I liked it. But then – Ru fights back! I won’t tell you any more except to say that Ru took over this story and changed or should I say escalated the fundamental conflict by a lot. He wanted this history told his way. I must confess. I loved the ride – and hope you will too.


Here’s a nibble from Prince of the Playhouse


Prince of the Playhouse by Tara Lain – Not What He Seems!

 Dreamspinner Press—




Driven by his desire to become a successful fashion designer and concerned with hiding his questionable past, Ru Maitland’s obsession with action movie star Gray Anson on the big screen has replaced his social life. Then obsession and reality collide when Ru is asked to design fashion costumes for a special performance of Hamlet at the Playhouse in Laguna starring none other than Gray Anson. Gray turns out to be a compelling mix of shy and brash and, despite a high profile engagement to a female socialite, the signals Gray sends Ru have his libido doing the salsa.

Gray Anson has everything any person can want – great wealth, huge fame, a job he loves. For that, he’s given up any semblance of privacy and the right to say no to the thousands of people who depend on him and the millions who love him. He sees everything he’s ever wanted just outside the bubble of his life, but how can he make the compromises needed to embrace it? When Ru’s shady past crashes into Gray’s paparazzi-haunted present, both men have to learn that sometimes the only acceptable compromise is the whole truth.


“Looks like you been shopping. Buy something for me?” The guy stepped closer. Thin, pale, probably drugs.

Ru stopped and faced the man. Not much older than he was. Twenty-four? Twenty-five? But lots of hard living. I know about that. “No, I didn’t. Why? Are you hungry? Need food?”

The man frowned. “No, asshole. I need your money, so why don’t you reach in those fancy fag pants and toss me your wallet?”

Frozen calm. Jesus, he remembered the feeling so well. Too well. Walk away. Get out of here. “No, I don’t think I’ll be doing that.” He tossed his hair out of his eyes. “You should know that I’m not as easy a mark as you’re expecting, so you’d do well to just leave, okay?”

“Oh yeah? And why the fuck would I do that, pretty fag boy?” He swung his hand wide, and the moonlight glistened off the blade of a knife.

Automatic pilot. A streak of adrenaline shot up Ru’s spine. He dropped the bag while his other hand slid deep in his pocket. The guy’s eyes widened at the nasty snick of the switchblade in Ru’s hand. In one move Ru stepped forward, wrapped an arm around the guy’s throat, and pressed the edge of the blade against it. “Drop it or you’re going to bleed, esé.”

“Shit.” The man’s body trembled and jerked. He smelled like sweat and garbage. Ru pressed the knife harder. The kid’s fingers loosened on his weapon, and it clattered to the pavement.

Ru took a breath. I could kill him. Easier than figuring out what the fuck to do with him. Think. You’re Ru Maitland. Think. “Sit on the curb. If you run, I’ll chase you, and you won’t like the outcome. Do you doubt I can catch you?”

The guy’s head moved a fraction side to side.

Ru eased his knife away and pushed the guy down to the street at his feet, then grabbed the other knife from the asphalt. He put one expensive shoe on either side of the kid’s thighs and reached for his phone. Shit, cops. Do I want to do this?

You’re Ru Maitland. Just do it.

Teaser #3 - Prince of the Playhouse by Tara Lain

You can find Tara HERE:

Website:              http://www.taralain.com
Blog:                    http://www.taralain.com/blog
Goodreads:        http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4541791.Tara_Lain
Twitter:               http://twitter.com/taralain
FB Page:            http://www.facebook.com/taralain

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 32. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.  She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books.  Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

2 Responses to “When Characters Take Over with Tara Lain”

  1. Sara says:

    I really enjoyed the previous two books in this series, and I just started reading about Ru this afternoon on my way home from work. So far I’ve only read about the situation you describe in this blog post and a little bit more. I have to say I do not like the way that police officer acted – or what he said to Ru – at all.

    I’m looking forward to read the rest of it.

  2. Tara Lain says:

    Sara, thank you so much for reading it! Yep, that policeman is a nasty dude. Hope you enjoy the book. : )

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