A Wonkomance Interview with Tamara Morgan

Let’s give a warm Wonkomance welcome to Tamara Morgan, who graciously agreed to visit us today to talk about her penchant for the wonktastical. Tamara is a newbie author, like me — her debut novel, Love Is a Battlefield, released with Samhain in February — but she’s already carving out a niche for herself in Humorous Romance of Reenactment. Or perhaps Contemporary Men Who Wear Kilts.

Which is to say, any way you slice it, Tamara is wonky. Which is why I love her.

And now for the interview!

* * *

I think I originally came across you on Twitter because someone said you had a lentil farmer hero, and I pretty much instantly fell in love with you. Because…lentil farmer! So tell me about this guy, and whether he’s as wonked as he sounds, and when we can expect him.


True Confession: I Don't Even Know How They Grow.

I do have a lentil farming hero! (Though to be fair, he is also one of my Highland Games athletes, so he’s not entirely dedicated to the legume lifestyle.) Those who have read Love Is a Battlefield will recognize him as Michael O’Leary, a crude, overgrown beast of a man who swears constantly, eats and drinks to extreme excess, and is obsessed with his own testicles.

Isn’t your heart palpitating already?

Honestly, though, he’s been my favorite hero to write. I suspect this has less to do with him being a lentil farmer and more to do with the fact that his sense of humor is equivalent to that of a fourteen year old (in other words, exactly on par with mine).

Indeed, I have met Michael, and I was hoping he would get a book. To learn that he is the lentil farmer in question, and that we’ll get plenty of testicle humor… *faints*

Love Is a BattlefieldBut your debut release, Love Is a Battlefield, is pretty darn wonky itself. Let’s see, we have a battle between a Regency reenactment society and a bunch of burly Highland Games fellows, competitive camping with a wood-fired hot tub, a hero from Guam (or, as I prefer to put it, GUAM!), and a denouement that involves human chess pieces. Did you know Love Is a Battlefield was wonky when you wrote it? Did you fear that you’d have trouble finding a home for it?

When I originally started writing Love Is a Battlefield, I was giddy with how ridiculously wonderful I found the whole premise. I told my husband that I was pitting a group of kick-ass men in kilts up against women in flowing Regency gowns, and I wish I’d thought to take a picture of his face. His exact words were, “Um…who would want to read something like that?”

My answer, of course, was, “You have no idea who reads romance novels, do you?”

I wanted to take the decadence of a good historical romance novel, complete with rustic Highlanders and bluestocking ladies in corsets, and give it a modern twist. In order to do that, I needed dedicated re-enactors willing to feud over some land (since, as any good Highland romance reader knows, the hawt factor is all about the incongruously kilted and recently bathed Scots standing up for their kith and kin). The rest of the admittedly wonky details fell into place around them.

I knew it would be an odd book, and I did have trouble finding a home for it, but I think it all turned out exactly as it should. I was fortunate enough to find an editor willing to embrace the wonk in all its glory, and I wouldn’t trade her for the world.

(Note: My husband eventually changed his tune and came to the dark side, embracing Love Is a Battlefield the only way he knows how…by making me a virtual paper doll of my hero. You can dress Julian up in various kilts…and take them off again.)

The World Is a Stage

Your husband is awesome! But probably you already knew that. Excuse me while I spend forty-five minutes getting Julian’s kilt hose on properly…


So your next book has codpieces. Excellent! Anything else I ought to know about it? Because “codpieces” was pretty much all it took to cause my autobuying finger to start jerking spastically toward the mouse.

Oh, the codpiece. No other word in the English language has the ability to reduce me to giggles quite as effectively as that one.

In keeping with the larger-than-life playfulness of the series, the second book pits the Highland athletes up against a Shakespearean acting troupe. The World Is a Stage has a Taming of the Shrew storyline, which is one of my favorites of all time. The codpiece in question belongs to the book’s hero, Michael O’Leary. He wears it with pride (in fact, he wears it on a date). He also lives in an Airstream, spouts dirty limericks, and owns the aforementioned lentil farm.

I love him.

Egalia's Daughters

Oh Jeebus, he lives in an AIRSTREAM?! That’s even better than the lentils. I am so excited, I can’t even tell you. I am crossing my fingers for awkward Airstream trailer sex.

Okay, last question. Tell us your number one favorite wonktastical book and why you love it.

On the subject of codpieces, I would have to say the hands-down most wonktastical book I’ve ever read is Egalia’s Daughters by Gerd Brantenberg. Now, this book isn’t a romance novel, mind you, but it appeals to the romantic in me, since it’s a satire that takes place in a society where gender roles are reversed and men (menwim) are sexually objectified and oppressed by women (wim).

I know that there are countless social commentaries to take away from this book, and it provides an interesting look at how patriarchal societies are formed and run, blah, blah, blah, but I mostly remember it for the pehoes. Wim, of course, don’t wear bras in this reverse world. It’s the menwim who have to wear supportive undergarments. I’d have to pull out the book to double check, but I’m pretty sure the pehoes are basically fancy boxes that strap around the hips and cover the manbits, decorated all over with pretty ribbons and bows.

Pehoes. Go ahead. Say it out loud.

It doesn’t get much better—or wonkier—than that.

Thanks, Tamara! I’m going to be wandering around the house all day now, saying “pehoes” and laughing. And then singing “Dick in a Box.” Which is another one of my all-time favorite things.


Tamara MorganAbout Tamara Morgan

Tamara Morgan is a romance writer and unabashed lover of historical reenactments—the more elaborate and geeky the costume requirements, the better. In her quest for modern-day history and intrigue, she has taken fencing classes, forced her child into Highland dancing, and, of course, journeyed annually to the local Renaissance Fair. These feats are matched by a universal love of men in tights, of both the superhero and codpiece variety.

You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD is available now.

THE WORLD IS A STAGE is set to release June 5.

Posted in Interviews, Writing Wonkomance | 5 Comments

Wonkomance Pride!

Today on Wonkomance, we’d like to give a big ol’ shout-out to all the RITA and GH finalists. So much awesome, so many choices…and at least one big heaping helping of wonk on the list!

The Wonko favorite I spotted among the Best Historical nominees was one of my own favorites: Unveiled, by Courtney Milan. All of the Turner books are pretty wonky (Unraveled, Smite’s book, is probably the wonkiest of them all), and I think that stems from Ms. Milan’s tendency to create complex characters then get right inside their often problematic psyches to deliver a rich, layered, personality. In Unveiled, the hero has his own special set of problems, and I adored the way Milan layered on the information about that until the final reveal. Great, great stuff, and a nice balance of the angsty and the smoking hot.

And now, a confession – despite the fact that I read all the time, I confess I have only read about two of the other finaling books this year! How about you, have you noted any other wonky gems on the Rita list? What are you adding to your TBR?


Posted in Historical Wonktastical, Talking Wonkomance, Writing Wonkomance | 8 Comments

Writing VS Content

I don’t know if this is a post about wonkiness, though it’s probably going to turn out to be. It’s just something I’ve been thinking of, lately, in regard to several different phenomenon – namely 50 Shades of Grey, the inexplicable popularity of my latest book, and other things that float into my thinking parts.

Does it matter what the writing is like, if the content is what people want to read about?

I mean, you only have to look at summat like the Da Vinci Code, to realise that yeah, it’s probably not the writing. The writing in that book is like a set of stereo instructions:

“Pouffy Haired Tom Hanks walked into the room. He saw Paul Bettany. He ran away from Paul Bettany. Put the CD into that circular part.”

And yet people still read it in droves. Sometimes an idea, a theme, a trope, is worth far, far more than elegant prose. In fact, I think that’s the case all the time. After all, no one could really argue that 50 Shades of Grey is the most incredibly written book. It’s at times clumsy, with far too many of the “rules” broken. Bella Ana exclaims a lot, and there are a number of mangled sentences, amongst other problems.

But here, it’s the story that’s important. It’s the compelling story – of the kind people really, really wanted to read – that’s caught the public’s attention. In erotic romance/erotica, people really, really want to read about a submissive virgin being intiated into the world of BDSM by a sexy svengali.

They just do. And I know this, because I’ve recently benefited from this rule. This different writing rule, that can probably be expressed in an algebraic formula like: V + SA – (fuck that writing’s weird) = HOORAY, in which V is a virgin and SA is a svengali alpha, and I actually manage some small bit of success.

Because my writing is kind of weird. In an amongst all the attention Sheltered has been getting, there are many, many comments about my extreme use of internal monologue, and my stream of conscious-y writing, and how annoying some people find that…

And yet they loved the story anyway.

Which is the key, isn’t it? Write about stuff people want to read about, and the fact that you’re weird at your core may well be overlooked. Which is probably the opposite message of this site, when I really think about it, but what else can you really take away from these lessons?

My most popular book has a repressed virgin heroine and an in control punk alpha hero. There’s only one thing I can garner from this.

Or is there? Because the thing is: the hero, Van, isn’t an asshole. In fact, he’s so far from being an asshole he’s almost all the way back around into being an asshole again. He’s the anti-asshole. He’s kind. He’s thoughtful. He doesn’t want to force – he wants to wait.

He looks like a badass, but he really isn’t. He’s a softie.

And people like that.

So what does this tell me? That people don’t want different? That they don’t want wonky? I’m not sure it really does say that, at all. Because clearly, Sheltered is reaching a section of readers who are tired of the Alphole. They don’t want a jerk hero, who masterminds everything and forces everything and is basically a bully.

They want a good guy – just like in real life. Of course, people say that women want a bad boy. That they’re after a jerk, secretly, and don’t want “nice” guys. But then as many sites have pointed out, a “nice” guy isn’t usually a nice guy at all. It’s just the same jerk masquerading as nice, so that he can whine about his failures with women.

“Oh why won’t women sleep with me? I’m so nice!”

And I don’t think readers or women want that guy, either. They want true heroes, real men. Men who can be tough, but are also thoughtful and kind. Who might be a bit possessive, and possibly hugely horny for the heroine…but don’t have to always do something about it.

I’m glad I wrote Van. He’s my paean to truly good men everywhere, and I’m so thankful and thrilled that readers like him. It means I get to write more like him, and not worry that no one will read my books. And that’s what I want to do:

I want to write about good men, who deserved to be liked. And I hope more people out there do, too.


My absolutely and totally wonky book, Power Play, was released last Thursday. And this one isn’t just a slight skew away from the traditional, either. It’s full on wonktastic: femdom, submissive hero who’s all big and goofy and sly and joyful, dominant heroine who doesn’t know what she wants, emotionally, workplace setting, kinky shenanigans…

If you still want to try it, you can find out things about it, an excerpt, and a buy link at my blog, here:




Posted in Writing Wonkomance | 8 Comments