I'm Tee O'Fallon, a police investigator and romantic suspense author of Lock 'N' Load, Federal K-9 Series #1, and the NYPD Blue & Gold Series. Ask me anything about my writing, my books, or how I pull great ideas and characters for my stories from my day job.

Tee O'Fallon
Jul 11, 2018

I've been doing a combination of federal and police criminal investigations for over 25 years, and while I don't write books about actual cases I've worked on, I do utilize the investigative and tactical skills I've acquired to give my books a sense of realism. I also think my experience of working a variety of complex investigations and working with agents and detectives from a host of different agencies helps me come up with interesting characters and plots. My latest endeavor is a federal romantic suspense K-9 series that involved significant research into the canine aspect of law enforcement. So hit me up with your questions about books, dogs, writing, research...anything!

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If you had to write yourself as a heroine, what kind of heroine would you be? What would you be named?
Jul 13, 2:21PM EDT0

I'd be a chef or a gardener because those are my two favorite hobbies. I always liked the name Kayla.

Jul 14, 3:43PM EDT0
What are some ways in which you promote your work? Do you find that these add to or detract from your writing time?
Jul 13, 11:54AM EDT0

There are many ways to promote, some of which I do, some I don't. They ALL detract from writing time. I send out a newsletter about once a month. I write blog posts for various blog sites. I go to conferences, meet readers and sign books. I do contests with giveaways. I haven't done many paid ads, as I don't know for sure what the return is. 

Jul 14, 3:42PM EDT0
What process did you go through to get your books published?
Jul 13, 11:20AM EDT0

First I pitched directly to agents and editors, with no success. Then I started pitching to agents that weren't quite so well known and those that stated they were actively building their clientele. Eventually, a newer agent picked me up as a client and was able to negotiatate a contract for me with a publisher. I still have a contract with that publisher, but I no longer have an agent since I don't need one for this particular publisher.

Jul 14, 3:40PM EDT0
Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
Jul 13, 4:45AM EDT0

I do. As long as a writer can put themselves into a character's head and accurately reflect in their writing what that particular character would realistically say, do, think, and feel in the story, then I think it's possible.

Jul 13, 8:08AM EDT0
Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say about your books?
Jul 13, 3:08AM EDT0

I do actually, and I love hearing from people. It's the best compliment an author can have when someone reaches out and says how much they love my books. On the flip side, I suppose I'll never hear directly from the ones who didn't care for them. So far, it's all been positive. Hope it stays that way.

Jul 13, 8:07AM EDT0
When you’re writing an emotionally draining scene, how do you prepare yourself for it?
Jul 13, 12:46AM EDT0

I don't really do anything to prep for it. Sorry, nothing exciting to say here on that. I work off an outline, and when I get to the next scene I just write it. No special prep involved. Sometimes, I suppose, if it is an emotional scene, I might take a break in the middle and "walk it off" for a few minutes before coming back to finish it. A little distance from a scene for a few minutes helps me to make sure what I've written is really working for the story.

Jul 13, 8:05AM EDT0
On a typical day, how much time do you spend writing?
Jul 12, 5:23PM EDT0

Typical weekday - 2 hours. Typical weekend day - 4 hours.

Jul 12, 6:22PM EDT0

How long does your world building process take before you start writing and what does your process entail?

Jul 12, 1:57PM EDT0

My world building process doesn't usually take that long, primarily since I don't write paranormal suspense (at least not right now!), so I don't have to describe supernatural beings and the otherworlds they live in. The world I write about is the world I work in every day, which makes it somewhat easier. The overall process does, however, entail creating a scene by scene outline, plus character breakdowns, including what everyone's goal, motivation, and conflict is. Then there's the bad guy and whatever his GMC is. Because my suspense is "romantic" suspense, I have to integrate two characters who, at the beginning of the book, are destined never to find their HEA, but ultimately do, despite the odds stacked against them. It might take me a week or two just to build a solid outline.

Jul 12, 6:16PM EDT0

Do you consider yourself a confident or an anxious writer? Why do you say so?

Jul 12, 3:35AM EDT0

I'm not quite sure what you're getting at but I'll try to answer your questions. I'm confident when I write, in that I think I have the ability to come up with good stories. I'm not so confident, in that I always feel I can do better if I had more time. I'm not one of those writers who can churn out a perfect book in a first draft. It takes me a lot of drafts to perfect my prose. Am I anxious? I don't think so, although every writer wonders how their book will be received, and that will make anyone anxious.

Jul 12, 6:56AM EDT0
Why did you choose to write romantic suspense?
Jul 11, 7:29AM EDT0

It was the perfect combination for me. I love suspense stories, and read spy novels, detective novels, anything with action and suspense. But I also like writing about relationships. Writing a good relationship into a book isn't all that easy. Writing one against the backdrop of a suspense story is even harder because you have significantly less word count that can be devoted to the relationship. It can be a challenge, particularly when the plot starts getting a little more complex.

Jul 11, 5:24PM EDT0

Some writers describe themselves as planners, while others plunge right into the writing. Would you consider yourself a planner or a plunger?

Jul 11, 5:32AM EDT0

Definitely a planner. On the rare occasions when I've tried to "plunge" ahead I've stumbled and had to revise, which turns into a big waste of time. So I try never to do that anymore. I write much better when I have a complete outline with scenes describing exactly what I need to accomplish in each chapter. I also do the same for my characters, outlining not only their physical descriptions, but their inner conflicts and what made them who they are today. These outlines take a bit of time to prepare, but in the end they help me to write better and faster. That said, sometimes I'll be writing off my outline and come up with something on the fly that I feel would work well, so I add it in. Helps to be flexible and open to new ideas that pop in out of nowhere.

Jul 11, 6:59AM EDT0
How did you go about making your first sale?
Jul 11, 4:26AM EDT0

Being new to the writing/publishing world, first I shopped my books directly to both editors and literary agents. Finally an agent picked me up and pitched my books to various publishers, and eventually my first sale was made with Burnout and with it came a 3-book deal for the NYPD Blue & Gold series. My agent and I parted company, but my publisher then offered me a second contract for my Federal K-9 series.

Jul 11, 6:54AM EDT0

What's the best part of being a published author? 

Jul 11, 2:28AM EDT0

Easy question to answer. The best part of being a published author comes when people tell me how much they love my books. I mean think about it...imagine you've created something that brought such joy to another person's life. They smile when they tell you they started reading and couldn't put your book down and they can't wait for the next story. It's an incredible feeling to make someone--even a total stranger--so happy! And that makes me happy.

Jul 11, 6:50AM EDT0
If you were forced to live the rest of your life as one of your characters who would it be?
Jul 11, 1:49AM EDT0

Probably Cassie from my first novel, Burnout. Partly because she has her own restaurant (something I don't have the guts to do) and partly because she has Mike, the hero of Burnout. If you've ever read Burnout, you'll totally understand what I'm getting at where Mike is concerned. :-)

Jul 11, 6:47AM EDT0

What do you attribute your productivity level to be in both your law enforcement and literary career?

Jul 11, 12:37AM EDT0

First off, I'd be a whole lot more productive with my writing if I didn't have to work during the day. Not that I don't like my job, I do. I think my productivity comes from within. It's a drive to succeed and put out a product or work an investigation to achieve the best outcome possible. For me it's not about "just doing my job". It's about doing my job better than most.

Jul 11, 6:45AM EDT0
Why do you feel romance and suspense work so well together?
Jul 10, 11:36PM EDT0

Suspenseful moments when people are in danger tend to heighten emotions, raising them to a whole other level. It also provides the perfect backdrop for the "protector scenario" which most RS stories utilize in one form or another.

Jul 11, 6:43AM EDT0

What is the most meaningful or helpful mantra you learned from being a writer?

Jul 10, 3:50PM EDT0

Stay organized! If you're not, and you have a contract, you'll keep missing deadline after deadline after deadline.

Jul 10, 6:01PM EDT0

As a self-published author, I worry that I'll never have enough readers for my books. I feel that they'll remain lost in the vastness of the web. Have you ever self-published any books? And if so, how did you self-promote them to ensure readers?

Jul 10, 3:40PM EDT0

No, I've never self-published and I admire those who do. I considered it briefly, but never followed through with it due to the very concerns you voice in your question. As a new author, how do you get your name and your book out there? Not having taken that route I can't answer your question with any experience to back it up. I do know some folks who have done it, to varying degrees of success. What I do hear is that they have to work at promo and marketing extremely hard. You'd be better off querying the web than asking me. Sorry, wish I could be more help..

Jul 10, 6:00PM EDT1
What made you decide to get into romance writing? Why not a thriller or some other form of suspense?
Jul 10, 2:55PM EDT0

I read my first romance novel in my late teens, and found it to be surprisingly good. I'd also read thrillers, spy novels, and police stories by then as well, but I think I was drawn to the relationships as much as the action, the chase, and the overall thrill of those other genres. I kept reading all these genres over the years, and found I still loved suspense stories, but unless it was a romance I always found the relationship lacking, and vice-versa for the romance, not enough action or suspense. For me romantic suspense was the perfect blend, and at some point I decided to give writing one a whirl myself. So there ya go!

Jul 10, 3:27PM EDT0

Do you prefer to write in isolation, in public venues or with music and what are the reasons for your preference?

Jul 10, 11:28AM EDT0

Mostly I write in isolation at home, mainly for logistical reasons. But it's good to get out there sometimes and go to a Starbucks or a B&N, get a coffee and a snack and write for a few hours. Oddly, I get my absolute best ideas while running!

Jul 10, 1:28PM EDT0
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