by Miguelina Perez

Hope Tarr is best known for historical and contemporary romances, but what many do not know is that she is a huge animal welfare supporter and in 2002 was the campaign strategist behind the U.S. Postal Services Spay/Neuter stamp, which sold 250 million commemorative postal stamps. She is also a co-founder and current principal of Lady Jane’s Salon™. Hope resides in Manhattan, NY with her little furry friends and has been busy with her latest release, Operation Cinderella.

Miguelina: Tell us about your love for animals?

Hope: I have loved animals all my life. In 1997, I launched The Pet Overpopulation STAMP OUT, a national grassroots campaign for a Neuter/Spay Your Pet U.S. commemorative postage stamp to educate the public about pet overpopulation and the importance of preventing unwanted litters. I formed a loose coalition of animal welfare organizations, breeders, veterinary medical groups, politicians from both the major parties; animal-friendly celebrities, and philatelists for a national letter writing campaign to the Postal Service’s Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee.

Miguelina: Amazing! I see that you at implement pets with the heroines or heroes of your stories. Why?

Hope: Honestly, having animals as an integral aspect of my life, including my writing life, is so core to me, to who I am, that there’s no agenda. It just…unfurls that way. In most of my books, I base the hero or heroine’s pet on one of my real-life cat companions, all former rescues.

Miguelina:  That’s awesome. Tell us about Lady Jane’s Salon™ and how did it first come about?

Hope: Founded in February 2009, Lady Jane’s Salon™ is New York City’s first—and to date, only—monthly romance fiction reading series. To be the first of anything anywhere is always exciting but to the first of something in New York City is, well, big shakes.

Modeled on the literary salons of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Lady Jane’s provides guest author, patrons, industry professionals and members of the media the opportunity to meet, mingle, read aloud, and discuss great romance reads in a free-flowing forum. For more information and scheduling, please visit us online at http://www.LadyJaneSalonNYC.com.

Miguelina: You write both contemporary and historical romances, is it difficult for you to switch gears?

Hope: I thought it would be difficult but the opposite has proven true for me. Writing both historical and contemporary books has energized me creatively in myriad ways. I have two distinct “Hope Tarr” voices. My contemporary voice is bolder and brassier; my historical one more formal and subtly sensual. My author brand has been to deliver “sexy, sophisticated reads,” and I like to think I keep that covenant with every book I write.

Miguelina: How much research goes into writing one of your books?

Hope: For my historical novels, I do a lot of research to ensure not only accuracy but also to capture the spirit of the era. For my contemporaries, I tend to set the stories in cities—places where I have either lived or visited at length. OPERATION CINDERELLA, the launch for my “Suddenly Cinderella” contemporary fairytale themed series, is set in Manhattan where I currently live and in Washington, DC where I lived, worked and attended graduate school.

Miguelina: Is there more research for a historical vs. a contemporary romance?

Hope: Generally I think so. I think readers are less forgiving of errors, or perceived errors, in a contemporary than they are in an historical. With the Internet and Google specifically, there’s almost no excuse for getting facts wrong in a contemporary work. Still, we’re all human and fallible, so of course mistakes are sometimes made.

Miguelina: You have been asked to participate in “50 Writers on 50 Shades of Grey.” I consider this a compilation of literary criticism for E.L. James works of the “50 Shades of Grey” series. How do you feel about writing literary criticism?

Hope:  Well, I wouldn’t dub it literary criticism per se, more a composite reflection on various aspects of the literary and cultural phenomena that the E.L. James trilogy has become—and continues to evolve. Suddenly not only erotica but romance is at the acknowledged forefront of the mainstream. In New York, I see women of all ages reading FIFTY SHADES on the Subway, coffee shops—and suddenly no one is caring about concealing the cover. My essay for the anthology, “Because Love Hurts,” looks at the BDSM aspect of FIFTY SHADES through a primary psychological lens based on my social science studies and background. The other forty-nine contributors take a different tack.

Miguelina: Thank you for stepping out your busy schedule to talk to WRW and its members.

Hope: Thanks so much for having me! Chapter members and readers can find me online at  www.HopeTarr.com or www.WriterNYC.com.