Today I have something different on The Moongazing Hare – my first guest! Tracy Tappan has popped over all the way from America (she must be exhausted!) to tell us about her rather unique venture, The Character Couch, a very unusual website which promises to entertain readers and help authors. Be sure to read to the end where you’ll find details of how you could win a free ebook!
Welcome, Tracy. Can you tell us about The Character Couch, what it is and what it involves?
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in the action-packed movie “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” are a husband and wife who don’t know each other are assassins. The movie opens with these two sitting in front of a therapist, squirming with discomfort; we guess this is as much from the possibility of having to bare their souls—something an assassin can’t do—as from the idea of talking about a marriage that has obviously been filled with lies. Either way, it’s going to be entertaining. And, oh, yes, the therapist kicks off the session with a bang.
“How often do you have sex?” he asks.
“I don’t understand the question,” Angelina Jolie returns, dead-pan.
“Is this on a scale of 1 to 10?” Brad puts in.
“So is 1 very little,” Angelina continues, “or is 1 nothing? Because, technically speaking…zero would be nothing.”
So it seems that Brad and Angelina haven’t been having sex for a while.
We can hardly believe it.
The episode is funny, touching, and intriguing, which is exactly the tone of my new reader-focused website, The Character Couch (www.charactercouch.com), where fans can suggest their favorite romance couple to be brought into a therapy session. Yes, this is therapy, but these sessions are anything but angst-ridden. They are written in the same spirit as “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” drawing us in to be a fly on the wall and peek at something we normally wouldn’t be able to see.
Will there be amusing bantering in these sessions, a sense of firm, quiet resolve, poignancy? Sure. All of it. Every session is different, but always attention-grabbing.
Don’t you find that the best books always stick with you long after you’ve turned the last page, leaving you hungry for more? I know I go crazy waiting for the next book in a series to come out, and I figured other readers felt the same. So I came up with an idea that would combine my two loves—of doing therapy and writing romance—in a way that would provide innovative, free entertainment for fans.
So what could we expect to see if you had “Mr and Mrs Smith” on the couch?
LOL, well, I think first you’d see the therapist secretly getting cow-eyed over Brad Pitt! And could we blame her?
I created therapist, Regan Malloy, to be inputted into a multitude of romance sub-genres; she might be a middle-aged woman in one session, a young urbanite in another, a “medicine woman” in an historical, or a “seer” in something more futuristic. But she’s always single—so she can get a little moonstruck over our favorite romantic heroes, just like we do—and she’s never perfect.
In fact, in February’s session with characters Jack Carmichael and Pippa Taylor from best-selling UK author Hannah Hooton’s book, KEEPING THE PEACE, Regan makes a bit of a gaff when asking about their love life. Oh, I can’t say what she does… You’ll have to read it!
You’ve also got me intrigued about seeing this Regan Malloy in different settings. How does a reader go about suggesting another favourite book for a session?
Oh, that’s easy. There’s a Submit A Book button in the side banner of the website. Just click on that and make a suggestion.
For me, the Suggest A Book button on the website is the coolest part of the concept. Readers call the shots, you know; they control who shows up in session.
I’ve already had one Award-winning author use this concept in a clever way. She ran a contest on her blog, encouraging her followers to select books in one of her series to go up on The Couch. One lucky participant won a prize from the author, and the book that received the most votes is now slated for a session. I was very excited about this idea. Stuff like that keeps the site dynamic, and sure enough, it turned out to be a lot of fun.
So the site could be of great benefit to authors, too?
Absolutely. Especially for authors who write books in a series, having characters on The Couch for one novel will keep the buzz going for the next. Like with Hannah Hooton’s highlighted book, Jack and Pippa are the main characters of the first novel in her Aspen Valley Series, but these two are peppered throughout her next books, GIVING CHASE and SHARE AND SHARE ALIKE. By having folks fall in love with Jack and Pippa on The Couch, Hannah will draw people into wanting to see them in their next adventures, even if they’re side characters.
So, you see, author participation on The Character Couch opens the door for gaining new readership by providing a richer taste of a story and characters to prospective readers than a blurb might do. At the same time, The Character Couch gives readers an interesting way to find new authors and stories. It’s a win-win situation for authors and readers alike. I could keep going. The potential benefits are countless.
Have authors seemed excited about this?
More than I could’ve hoped! They recognize what an interesting, beneficial opportunity this is. There is a FAQ For Authors section of the website where I lay out how I work. There, I make certain authors know that nothing ever goes up on the site without their 100% approval.
When I gave Hannah her Character Couch session for preview, she came back to me and said, “I laughed through the entire session! Oh!” I broke into a huge smile. Because that’s exactly what I wanted to hear. When dealing with another author’s characters, I’m very careful to treat the couple like the beloved hero and heroine of the story they are. The man and woman will certainly have their trials and tribulations, but that needs to play out on the page in a way that assures readers that their happily ever after is secure. And if I can make people laugh along the way, too, more than better.
How does a session typically end?
There isn’t a “typical” with these sessions; that’s another fun part. Every month, it’s a new journey, and you never know where the surprise will pop out at you. In fact, this month, I suggest people watch the video on Hannah Hooton’s Current Session page on The Character Couch website prior to reading her session. You just might see something you weren’t expecting.
Like the ending to “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.”
During the course of the movie, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have discovered that each other are assassins. With the truth out, there’s hope for their marriage now. They end up in front of the therapist again, recapping, still spouting off to each other, but in a way that makes us chuckle; we know they’re going to be okay. The therapist seems to agree, talking about how marriage takes work, but—
Brad interrupts to say, “Ask us the ‘how many times did you have sex this week?’ question again.”
“John,” Angelina Jolie scolds quietly, while Brad Pitt proudly flashes ten fingers outside of Angelina’s sight lines.
Oh, yes, expect fun surprises!
Thanks so much for dropping by, Tracy. The Character Couch sounds like a lot of fun!
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Go to www.CharacterCouch.Com
and comment on the session (downloadable to all eReaders), and one lucky participant will earn a chance at a free eBook from Tracy Tappan’s paranormal romance, THE BLOODLINE WAR, and another will earn a chance at a free eBook of KEEPING THE PEACE, the racehorse romance highlighted in this month’s session.
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The second book in Hannah Hooton’s thrilling Aspen Valley Series, GIVING CHASE, is FREE in eBook form through February 4th.
See link below and don’t miss out!
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After earning a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, Tracy Tappan enjoyed several years of doing clinical work before devoting herself full time to writing. She is founder and creator of The Character Couch, and is a multi-genre author of gritty romance, spanning paranormal, historical, and military suspense. During nearly a quarter of a century spent as a military wife, she lived all over the United States and in Europe, enjoying seven years in the diplomatic community overseas, first in Rome then in Madrid. She’s now settled back in sunny San Diego, California, with her husband, a menagerie of pets, and two children who seem to think they can come and go as they please.
Her latest release in her dark paranormal series, THE BLOODLINE WAR, about an endangered breed of human who are kidnapping genetically enhanced women to save their race, is available now. http://amzn.to/18XDygs Visit her website www.tracytappan.com to learn more.
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Hannah Hooton is the bestselling author of the Aspen Valley Series, novels where romance flourishes within the exciting world of racehorses. A UK native, Hannah worked in racehorse stables for years throughout Australia. Her hands-on experience deeply enriches her stories, making her racing sequences as thrilling as her love scenes.
The second book in her series GIVING CHASE is available now at Amazon for FREE: http://amzn.to/1dLbn1N . http://www.amazon.co.uk/Giving-Racing-Romance-Valley-Series-ebook/dp/B00C4GN8O8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391414992&sr=8-1&keywords=hannah+hooton
The third, SHARE AND SHARE ALIKE, will be released in June of this year. Visit Hannah’s website to find out more about the author and her books: www.hannahhootonbooks.blogspot.com/