Exclusive Author Interview with T.M. Frazier, The Dark Light of Day
Welcome to Up All Night Book Blog! Today on the blog, we are chatting with the fabulous T.M. Frazier, whose recent debut novel, The Dark Light of Day, blew all three of us here at UAN away with its brilliance! Because we loved it so much, we couldn’t wait to visit with T.M. and dig a little deeper into her writing and The Dark Light of Day (oh, and we’ll dig a bit to into what inspires her when writing). Let’s get started…
But before we get started, we’d suggest you visit our 5 star reviews and see the book synopsis here.
UAN: Hi T.M.! Thank you for joining the three of us here at Up All Night Book Blog! We are so honored and excited to have you here today! All three of us, (Abby, Nicole, and Dawn) read The Dark Light of Day and loved it! We mean, LOVED IT, loved it!!
T.M.: It still surprises me when people say things like that! I get overwhelmed! Thank you thank you and thank you!
UAN: For someone who hasn’t read The Dark Light of Day, how would you sum it up for them?
T.M.: The Dark Light of Day is Abby & Jake’s story about love and loss. It’s a nontraditional love story that takes place when good and bad, right and wrong, are all blurred lines. It’s not about redemption, so much as acceptance.
UAN: This is your debut novel, and what a knockout book! What has been surprising to you throughout this writing journey?
T.M.: The reaction to the book is definitely the most surprising thing. I didn’t expect it to be so positive, especially for such a dark story. When I get an email or a FB message saying how much someone enjoyed it I am still always surprised, and it totally makes my day.
UAN: We all agree that it is a dark yet beautiful story. What was your inspiration for writing The Dark Light of Day?
T.M.: So many different things. Music is always inspirational for me. I listen to my own soundtrack rotation as I write. The song Hell on an Angel by Brantley Gilbert was my inspiration for Jake, and then once I had a clear picture of who he was, everything else just kind of fell into place around him. I posted the soundtrack on my website so readers can listen to the same songs I was while telling Jake & Abby’s story.
UAN: Love the playlist! Can you talk about the journey that writing this story has been for you?
T.M.: It’s been a whirlwind. Every step has been surreal. The first time I got a review from someone I didn’t know, the first time I saw it go live on Amazon, the first time I held the paperback in my hands…it’s been no less than amazing and it’s only been out for less than 2 months!
UAN: Something we loved was that you were able to keep the darkness at bay or from being too depressing or a turnoff, all while staying true both to the story and to Jake and Abby. Can you talk about the line you walked to do that? Was it difficult? Or were you even aware that you were walking one?
T.M.: It was challenging. I was aware that I needed to make people feel for Jake and Abby while at the same time not staying on a low note for too long and turn the readers off. I tried to keep things steady by using a simple rule; every time I gave Abby something, I took something else away and vice versa. I felt like that kept things true to her story without leaving her in the literary gutter throughout the entire book. I feel like she is my child almost, so writing her story hurt me at times, but I think I made it worth it for her in the end.
UAN: Now we’d love to learn more about you…
Who are your favorite authors? Madeline Sheehan, CJ Roberts, J.A. Redmerski, Cherrie Lynn, Marni Mann, I could go on, there are so many!
Favorite book (we know, this one is tough for us too!)? AHHH! Okay, this is a really tough one because I read so much and I feel like picking a favorite isn’t easy, especially since my reading tastes are very diverse and based on what I am in the mood for, it is ever changing! That being said, the books that have stuck with me the most over the years would be Fragile by M. Leighton, The Captive in the Dark Series by CJ Roberts, the Undeniable series by Madeline Sheehan, Before I Die by Jenny Downham, Wallbanger by Alice Clayton, Leave me Breathless by Cherrie Lynn, & Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales by Marni Mann. Best books I’ve read recently would be Tears of Tess by Pepper Winters and Night Owl by M. Pierce.
Those are some of our faves as well!
Biggest inspiration? Music and reading. Reading makes me want to be a better writer. Music is the soul behind the words…if that makes any sense. lol
Biggest Support? I have a small writing army behind me. Author Tess Thompson (The Rivervalley Series, Carmel & Magnolias) was the first person who gave me some sort of validation that I wasn’t just wasting my time writing and she introduced me to my now publisher, Booktrope. In my everyday life, my husband is by far my biggest support. He’s my biggest fan.
What is your favorite writing music or any songs that inspired you while writing Abby & Jake’s story? Country music always works for me because it tells a story, and I am all about a good story. There were about 55 songs in the rotation and I kept adding as I went on.
Writing food? If it wasn’t for my husband I would starve because when I am writing and ‘in the zone’ I completely forget to eat!
Writing Beverage? Red wine, usually a cab sav. Just enough to keep the words flowing without passing out, face first, onto my keyboard. Been there. Done that.
Boxers or briefs? Boxer-briefs. I like them on my husband and I’ve been known to steal them and wear them to sleep in.
Favorite Book Boyfriend other than Jake? Caleb from Captive in the Dark. It takes a lot to get a character to stick with me and he definitely stuck! I like ‘em a little twisted!
And to wrap-up:
We want to say we were bummed that Jake and Abby couldn’t join us today! 🙁 Did they have anything they wanted to share with us or our readers? They wanted to be here too but they are back in Coral Pines. Abby is busy with her photography and Jake just added on a custom motorcycle bay to the shop. They are working on expanding their family (and having fun doing it). They wanted me to thank you for helping share their love story with the world.
T.M., we just wanted to say again how much we loved your story and think that you are brilliant. Can you share what you might be working on next?
T.M.: I don’t want to spoil anything, but let’s just say the male main character just got out of prison and the female main character is suffering from memory loss. I’m fiddling around with titles, but I don’t have one as of yet. I hope to have it out in early 2014. The song STAY by Florida Georgia Line was my inspiration for the idea. Add to your Goodreads here.
UAN: We’ll be adding that to our to-read lists!! Thanks so much for visiting with us! We loved having you here!
T.M.: I loved being here! Thank you so much!
Get The Dark Light of Day here:
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Our town may have looked like the Mayberry of tourist destinations, but if you were to come inside and stay a while, it wouldn’t take you long to learn that filth, decay and darkness were the glue holding it all together.
It was time for me to get the fuck out. Every reason I’d ever had to stay put in that town had left.
I shoved the few things I owned into my backpack. I needed to get out of there, and I needed to do it as soon as possible. Even though I had nowhere to go, I was still in a rush to leave. It’s not like Jake would be barging through the door at any moment—I knew that much. I’d heard his thunderous bike fading into the distance over the bridge minutes before.
I knew it would be the last time that comforting sound ever touched my ears.
I left my keys on the rack and swung the door open to leave. I wanted to turn around, to take one last look at the rooms where we’d shared so much happiness in so short a time, but I couldn’t let myself bring that to the surface. The air in the apartment was sticking to me, suffocating me.
I had to get out.
I grabbed my hoodie and stuffed it into my bag before gunning for the door.
I was in such a hurry to leave I ran right into the doughy chest of Sheriff Fletcher. He was standing on the porch, his fist raised in the air, about to knock. He didn’t react to me slamming into him or ask me what was wrong when he saw my tear-stained face. In his suspicious, coal-colored eyes, I saw a flash of knowledge, of recognition, and I knew that he knew everything.
Owen. Jake. Everything. He knew what his monster of a nephew had done.
The sheriff handed me a thick yellow envelope and walked away without uttering a word.
I closed the door and sat back down on the couch, losing my will to flee. I dropped my backpack onto the floor beside my feet and examined the envelope in my hands. It was too thick and heavy to be a letter. My name was written in feminine handwriting, in large black marker across the top flap. I opened the seal and poured the contents out onto the coffee table.
What little there was left of my heart nearly stopped.
It was money—stacks that had bands around them, labeling how much was in each. I had never seen so much money in my entire life. I prodded around inside the envelope. There was no note—just a business card. It read Bethany Annabelle Fletcher, ESQ, Attorney at Law. Owen’s mother. And on the other side, in the same handwriting as my name on the envelope it read:
To ease your troubles…
The Fletchers were trying to clean up Owen’s little mess. This made them as sick and twisted as Owen. At least I knew then where he got it from. The money— ten-thousand dollars from what I estimated—was hush money, meant to keep me quiet. The Fletchers obviously didn’t want people to know that their golden boy was really a sadistic rapist. The thought made me gag.
I wondered how many times he’d done this before, how many times this worked for them in the past.
It sure as shit wasn’t going to work with me.
Bethany Fletcher was trying to give me money to ease my troubles. Like money would undo the damage Owen had done to me, over and over again. There truly was only one thing that could ease my troubles completely. Since Jake was gone now, it was no longer an option.
But if Jake were here…
He wasn’t, though, and he would never be again. I would never experience his reassuring touch. I would never again see his stone face turn soft when he looked at me. This kind of pain, coming from a heart that I thought I had successfully closed off to the outside world years ago, was worse than any physical pain anyone could cause me. It was worse than what I’d experienced the morning after Owen attacked me.
I would go through what Owen put me through a thousand times over to have Jake be the person I thought he was.
Jake would put Owen to ground if he knew, and I would want him to. Frankly, I didn’t care if that thought made me a bad person. Bad, good. Right, wrong. The lines were so blurry lately. I was in love with a killer, and I wanted Owen dead.
When I thought of it as simply as that, maybe it wasn’t so blurry after all.
The money on the coffee table mocked me, and I could feel all the pent up anger that had been distorted by the sadness from losing Jake rise to the surface. No matter what they tried to pay me, I wasn’t going to say anything to anyone except Jake, anyway. Did they think I’d be seeking justice from a failed system? That I’d tell people what their precious son did to me? Little did they know Jake leaving had just bought Owen a reprieve from his almost guaranteed death sentence. Something clicked inside me. I wasn’t sad over losing Jake, or upset that Bethany Fletcher thought I was poor, stupid white trash who could be bought.
I was fucking enraged.
I couldn’t remember a time in my life when I’d been so angry. The heat from below the surface of my skin felt as if it had been dropped in oil. I wanted to jump out of my skin and harm someone, throw something. To destroy for the sake of destroying.
The hair on the back of my neck stood up. My heart rate went from normal to borderline cardiac arrest in a matter of seconds.
Fuck. This. Shit.
This bitch thought she could buy my silence? Well, she was dead fucking wrong. All the Fletchers were. And, I was about to show them how dead fucking wrong they really were.
The argument Jake and I had in the kitchen over me paying him back for the camera he’d bought me played in my head. “I’ll just burn the money,” he’d said, when I insisted on paying him back.
I stuffed the bills back in the envelope before grabbing Jakes truck keys from the rack. My move to nowhere would have to wait a little while. I grabbed a half empty bottle of lighter fluid from the shelf over the barbecue and a pack of matches from the drawer below it.
I got into his truck and drove. I tried to ignore the part of me that was thinking about how much the truck smelled like him, how his old black baseball cap was still sitting on the dashboard, and how much all I wanted to do was curl up in the back seat and sleep surrounded in his smell.
The misery wasn’t going anywhere, either.
I became more and more heated as I drove. I saw red again. The anger poisoned my blood, and I was drunk on it. High on my hatred. My heart pounded in my ears the closer I got to my destination. I didn’t follow a single traffic law. The gas pedal was squeezed between my foot and the floor board the entire way.
What was it about me that made people think I was for sale?
My mother thought I could be used as payment for her fucking habits. Owen and his family seemed to think that ten-thousand dollars could buy him a night of rape and attempted murder at my expense. Owen may have seen the shy Abby in the past—the one whose skin was always covered, who kept to herself out of self-protection. He had no fucking clue who he was dealing with now. I wasn’t going to curl into a corner. I was done feeling sorry for myself. This shit wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t something I’d asked for.
I was no fucking victim, and I refused to be bought.
Fuck. This. Shit!
I peeled down the shell road that led to the Fletchers’ compound. The Sheriff’s squad car was already parked in the driveway by the main house. Owen’s blue Chevy was on the side of the house by his private entrance.
A chill ran down my spine at the thought of them witnessing me making it clear that I wouldn’t be purchased, by them or anyone else. Ten-thousand dollars may have bought the Fletchers a lot of things, but it couldn’t buy me. I knew one thing for sure at that point: Owen was determined to treat me like the whore he thought I was by taking what he thought he was entitled to and then making sure he paid for it.
I didn’t take my foot off the gas when I tore into the Fletchers front yard. I started with a few 360s, making sure I used every bit of the thick heavy truck tires to destroy Bethany Fletcher’s award-winning roses, plant beds, retaining walls, and manicured lawn. I hit a few sprinkler heads and mini-geysers of water shot out of the ground and into the sky, raining a thick muddy fountain down onto the windshield. I turned on the windshield wipers, spreading the mud over the windows before clearing enough of it to see through the blurred coating of brown sludge.
I kept going even after there was no grass left. Each turn of my wheel kicked up more mud, caking it onto the sheriff’s car and the pristine white siding of the house. By the time I pulled back onto the road, the front yard looked like a good ol’-fashioned redneck muddin’ hole.
I threw the truck in park and grabbed the envelope, the matches and the bottle of lighter fluid from the passenger seat. The envelope felt hot, as if its evil intentions were burning a hole in my hand. I laughed.
It was about to get a whole lot fucking hotter.
My heart beat with a speed I’ve never known, like I’d taken a shot of pure adrenaline. I didn’t care if they came outside and saw me. In fact, I hoped to fucking God they did. I wanted them to know it was me who was telling them to go to hell.
I grabbed a freshly-rolled joint from my back pocket and held it in my mouth.
I picked up a rock from what had been the garden and dropped it into the envelope with the bills. I doused it inside and out with the lighter fluid, tossing the bottle to the floor when it was empty. I folded over the flap of the matches and lit the entire pack in one strike. Then I lit my joint, and I set the envelope on fire.
I let it burn, and when I couldn’t hold onto it any longer, I cocked my arm and launched their blood money through the front window of the Fletcher family home.
Fuck you, motherfuckers.
The window shattered. Bits of glass dangled from the broken aluminum window frame. I stood back and watched as the living room curtains caught fire, framing the window in flames and black smoke. This picture perfect house, the home of all the power in the town, was now going up in flames. Flames that I caused. Flames those bastards would eventually see again if they believed in any sort of hell.
I blew out my long-held drag, and then I heard the first high-pitched scream. It brought me a satisfaction that ten-thousand dollars certainly couldn’t. I didn’t run this time, and I didn’t look back. That would have suggested that I cared what happened next, and really, I didn’t care if their propane tank exploded and they were all blown to Kingdom Fucking Come.
These were the thoughts of someone with nothing left to lose.
Sheriff Fletcher was already standing next to the driver’s side door of Jake’s truck waiting for me. He stepped forward as I approached. I didn’t see his right hook coming straight for my cheek. The fat fuck made contact with the side of my face, then managed to grab me by my shirt and shove me up against the hood so he could cuff my hands roughly behind my back. He snuffed out my joint. I didn’t see where it went, but it was a pretty safe bet he’d pocketed it.
He used his portly body weight, pressing himself up against my back to subdue me. He grunted. “You got some balls, Abby. I’ll give you that. What you don’t understand is that money was your final offer. From here on out, there will be no more money. No more chances. No more nothin’.” Then he started mumbling to himself. “If I had the chance again—between taking you home or digging a hole—let’s just say I would have done things a little differently.”
I knew Owen had help moving me. Even as small as I was, my dead weight must have been difficult to lift and maneuver. It didn’t surprise me that it had been the sheriff. It surprised me more that he hadn’t just let me die. It would have been less work on his part.
There was nothing the sheriff could say to me—not even the confession of his decision to keep me alive rather than let me die—that could have killed my adrenaline rush, my high. The Fletchers had brought my madness upon themselves. They shouldn’t have covered for Owen. They shouldn’t have protected him when it was me who needed the protecting. They certainly shouldn’t have thought that ten-thousand dollars would have bought my silence or in any way, would have made me whole again.
They didn’t know they were dealing with someone who’d never been whole to begin with.
The sheriff was right. He should have dug the hole and fucking buried me deep. No good could come of who I was becoming. Jake had once told me that the most dangerous people are the ones with nothing to lose.
I’d already lost it all.
T.M. (Tracey Marie) Frazier resides in sunny Southwest Florida with her husband and three feisty fur kids.
She attended Florida Gulf Coast University where she specialized in public speaking.
After years working in real estate and new home construction, she decided it was finally time to stop pushing her dreams to the back burner and pursue writing seriously.
In the third grade she wrote her very first story about a lost hamster. It earned rave reviews from both her teacher and her parents.
It only took her twenty years to start the next one.
The Dark Light of Day is her debut novel.
Determined not to wait another twenty years, T.M. is hard at work on her second book.
It will not be about hamsters.
I love chatting with my readers and talking books! : )
Social Media Links
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5769238.T_M_Frazier