Author of the Month
Tami Hoag was born to be a writer. As a child, Hoag grew up in a small town and had
very few children to play with. She developed a great imagination, creating stories to
keep her mind busy and entertained. At nine years old Hoag self-published “Black
Pony” which became a huge success in the third grade and helped develop an even
deeper love of storytelling. Now at fifty years old, Tami Hoag has grown from a young
imaginative child to a fascinating woman with over twenty-two million books in print.
Known for constructing worlds of romance and suspense, Hoag’s novels have
captivated readers for over twenty years.
Tami’s new novel “Deeper than the Dead” was released in December 2009 and has
once again thrilled fans. Between the story of a serial killer and the introduction of
character Vince Leone, a pioneering FBI investigator, this novel has readers enthralled
with each and every page. Suspense Magazine recently had the chance to talk with
Ms. Hoag about her newest novel.
Suspense Magazine (S.MAG.): How did you spend your time during your hiatus?
Tami Hoag (T.H.): I spent several months in Germany training with my horses. I compete in the
Olympic discipline of dressage. Germany is the Mecca for the sport. But for the most part I wasn't
really on hiatus. I spent the better part of a year battling some health issues that left me with little
energy for anything else. Fortunately, it turned out not to be anything life threatening, but
I lost months of writing—and riding—time.
S.MAG.: On your website, you mention that sometimes a real-life crime spurs the
ideas for your books. Was there a specific crime that led to the idea of “Deeper Than
T.H.: In my years of studying serial killers, I've become particularly fascinated by those who can so
compartmentalize their lives that they manage to have a career, a family, standing in their
community, and the sick compulsion to kill. They can go on for years without anyone around them
suspecting, not even their own spouse. This seems incredible, but I can cite several well-known cases,
such as that of Dennis Rader, the BTK (Bind Torture Kill) killer who operated in the Witchita,
Kansas area from 1974-1991. During that time, Rader was married and had two children. He
worked for a home security alarm company, was a Cub Scout leader, and was active in his church.
One co-worker described him as the kind of man she would ask to walk her to her car at night if she
felt unsafe. No one in Rader's life ever suspected he might be the man who murdered ten people in
their own community. I wanted to explore this kind of character in “Deeper Than the Dead”, and
think about the impact his actions would have on his family.
S.MAG.: We can’t imagine the challenges you must have come across in disregarding
twenty-five years of forensic technology. Did you have to pause or back track at any
point and remind yourself that your characters didn’t have the benefit of certain
T.H.: Every time I wanted someone to reach for their cell phone or look something up on the
Internet! Honestly, how did we live?
S.MAG.: Will Vince be a prominent character in “Secrets to the Grave”?
T.H.: Absolutely. Vince is a very prominent character in general. I hadn't intended for him to be
the hero of “Deeper than the Dead”. He had other ideas. At the risk of sounding completely
crazy, “Secrets to the Grave” was his idea in that he simply wouldn't leave my mind when I finished
the first book. I think he's angling for a series.