Welcome to my tour stop of The Opposite of Love by T.A.Pace.
The full tour schedule can be seen here.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
When 37-year-old Melanie is challenged to find a mate by her overbearing mother, she finds herself in a relationship that pushes her sexual boundaries, and in a place like Sin City, that can be a precarious ride.
An homage to Erica Jong’s Any Woman’s Blues, The Opposite of Love is a psychological / sexual ride through Las Vegas and its local sex scene as experienced by two lovers who will test each other’s ability to accept them as they are, as well as their own ability to accept themselves.
James arrived at Melanie’s door promptly at seven-thirty wearing a suit and carrying a bouquet of flowers. Melanie opened the door in a burgundy chiffon gown that draped modestly in front and dramatically in back, with a slit up to her mid-thigh on one side. She spun in a circle, modeling for him, and he let out a low growl in sincere approval. Without a single strap holding it in place, it seemed like the dress could just slide right off of her shoulders. The thought made his dick pulse.
“That is some dress, babe.”
“Glad you like it,” she said. Then, nodding at the flowers, “For me?”
“Who else?” He handed them over with a kiss on the cheek.
He’d had his truck washed and waxed and when he opened the door she climbed in gracefully, her leg sliding out of the open slit in her dress, then sliding back in before he closed the door. That visual image reminded him of what he’d be doing to her later.
James didn’t always bring a date to the policemen’s ball. The last time he had was three years before and his date had worn a short, silver sequined dress with porn-star cleavage and platform heels that looked like they’d just fallen off a pole dancer. She’d had too much to drink and giggled at everything anyone said. Did she make his dick hard? Sure. But she looked like she was paid for, and that didn’t help his image with the higher-ups. Melanie was the kind of woman who could be sexy without being trashy and manage interesting conversation and drinking without being silly or embarrassing him. She was the kind of date who could help him get promoted.
It was August and monsoon season was at its worst. Almost daily, black storm clouds materialized over the valley, looming like dark ghosts, dropping an inch of rain and hundreds of lightning strikes in the matter of an hour, downing trees and power lines and causing flash floods before moving on and leaving the residents feeling vaguely assaulted. But worse, the air had become the one thing locals couldn’t tolerate: sticky. Even humidity of thirty percent was likely to have a Las Vegan mopping his forehead and complaining of swampy weather.
They valet parked, and once inside the casino, they were safe. No matter the weather outside, the air-conditioned wombs of the casinos were always mild and dry. As they crossed the casino floor heading toward the banquet hall, men playing blackjack and craps twisted their heads around and leaned back from their tables to get a look at Melanie. With her high heels she was still about two inches shorter than James, but the way she held herself made her appear statuesque. She didn’t have bombshell curves, but her femininity was palpable and what curves she had were classy. She held her head high and kept her arm threaded through his as they walked. James tried to remember ever feeling so proud to have a woman on his arm, and couldn’t. The thought made him a little nervous, but more than anything, he felt like the man. His colleagues would be insane with jealousy and insatiable with questions.
A MOMENT TO SHARE WITH T. A. PACE …
- Tell me a little about yourself and your background? What were you like at school? Were you good at English? What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I was a good student and excelled at English because of my mother—both her genes and her constant correction of my grammar. My ambitions for my writing career are just to be able to make a living at it and to write stories that resonate with people in a way that’s unexpected and memorable.
- Which writers inspire you?
I’m very inspired by Erica Jong, especially for this particular story. She’s imperfect and brave, witty and serious, sexy, sophisticated, and so very smart. (Girl crush, big time.)
- What was your life like before becoming an author?
I’ve worked in publishing since 1996 as a magazine editor, book editor and writer, so it’s not a completely foreign land. But the process of putting your own work out there is a new one for me, and I learned a lot of lessons—some the hard way.
- Which comes first – the character’s story or the idea for the novel?
In the case of The Opposite of Love, I think they are one and the same. Melanie’s story is the main idea for the novel, and I wanted to watch her discover herself, her desires, and see if she could consolidate risk-taking with her desire for control. The story comes from her past experiences as they conflict with her present circumstances, specifically James and his need to push her out of her comfort zone.
- When did you decide to become a writer?
I don’t think anyone decides to become a writer. I think we just get a story in our heads and want to see how it turns out. From what I hear, most folks have a story they want to write (usually their own), but few do it. While Melanie’s story is not my own, it does feature issues that I have faced indirectly, and perhaps there is a bit of therapy in processing these things through a fictional character.
- Why do you write?
To understand, I listen for the same reason. The human condition is complicated, but not unique. I want to know why people behave the way they do, so I use fiction as a tool to study that. An author can drop characters into a fictional world where they can do whatever they want, but their thoughts and actions must coincide with their personality and experiences. Understanding what makes us human makes us better writers.
- Give me an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Melanie is a 37-year-old woman who is unmarried and has no children. She has avoided risk for most of her life because of an accident that claimed her father’s life when she was nine, and she is starting to realize that this might be affecting her detrimentally. Her attempt to be welcoming to love, to be vulnerable and open to the unknown, is a journey that she takes with careful steps and trepidation, but with a sense of bravery as well.
- What sparked the idea for your book?
Erica Jong, one hundred percent. Her 1990 book Any Woman’s Blues was the first book I ever marked up. I don’t know where I got it, but I still have the original copy with all its underlines and yellow highlights, and the parts that resonated with me 25 years ago still do today. Jong was the one who introduced me to the concept of control vs. love, which is the main theme of my novel.
- What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Listen to people, especially when they’re talking about themselves. Take a writing class. Write. Edit. Repeat.
- How can readers discover more about you and your work?