Please introduce yourself and your book(s)
Writing under the name Tanya Chris, I’ve published more than thirty romances, mostly M/M, in a variety of sub-genres such as contemporary, fantasy, historical, suspense, and action/adventure. My most popular books are my BDSM series that combine BDSM relationships with intriguing, action-oriented plots.
My books are available through Amazon and all other major retailers. I live in Connecticut with my partner and our cat, Sammy, who’s terribly spoiled.
Tell us about the characters and relationships in your stories
I prefer to write about good people, so you won’t find many morally grey main characters in my books. Though some of my heroes might be snarky or hard to take in some ways, they’re honest and faithful where it counts.
Because I’m writing romance, the relationships are primarily romantic. And because I like a nice steamy sex scene, they’re usually sexual as well. But I also write about the relationships my main characters have with their family, friends, and co-workers. I try to give each of my heroes two sounding boards to help them navigate the scary new waters they’re treading. And though I write M/M, I make sure to include an equal number of women you can cheer for.
It’s important that the reader believes my two heroes belong together, that the bond they’ve formed will last. Opposites-attract is a fun trope, but we need to see what common ground the love interests can find and how they’ll complement each other rather than compete with each other. A relationship that’s composed primarily of arguing and fault-finding is a relationship that might be better off ending.
I try to model relationships that are aspirational, and not just because of the sex. I want to show two people working together, trusting each other, caring for each other, and being kind to each other. In my books, the relationship typically grows stronger and deeper as the narrative continues rather than being torn apart at the seventy-five percent mark over a misunderstanding. The crises in my books are usually external, and the couple work together to solve them.
What lessons could readers learn about real-world relationships from your novel(s)?
Own up to it when you’re wrong. My characters are quick to apologize. You’ll find the phrase “I’m sorry” throughout my books, for minor infractions and major ones.
Accept the apologies you get. One person apologizing is only half the battle. Try to see your partner’s point, understand that they were scared or confused or mistaken, and let it go. I’m not a fan of groveling—in books or in real life. If what happened was unforgivable, don’t stay with someone who would do something unforgivable, but if it’s forgivable, forgive.
If you don’t trust your partner, you’re with the wrong person. If seeing your partner hug a stranger makes you jump to the conclusion that they’re cheating on you, then something is fundamentally wrong—either with you or with the relationship. Figure out which it is and take action. If you’re with someone you trust, then trust them.
Make-up sex might be hot, but nasty arguments tear holes in the fabric of your relationship. The breakup/make up pattern is unhealthy for everyone involved. Calm communication, kindness, and a cool-down period, if needed, can help you avoid doing damage that will never be fully mended. Besides, our friends get really tired of the drama!
Having people and priorities other than your partner is important too. One person can’t be everything to you. It’s not fair to ask them to try. Even in the early stages of a new relationship—especially in the early stages of a new relationship—honor your commitments, continue seeing your friends. Don’t let healthy habits and hobbies slide. Those things are you. If this new partner is the right one for you, they’ll want you to continue being you.
You need friends who’ll call you out on your BS. A good friend is one who tells you when you’re wrong or being ridiculous. A good friend will support your relationship rather than try to sabotage it by escalating petty grievances into major battle points.
What real-life relationship experiences, observations or insights have influenced your writing?
I feel like my whole life has been a rehearsal for how to have a good relationship because I’ve had a lot of bad ones. Turns out the common factor was me. After working through my own issues, I’m now in a loving, committed relationship with a wonderful man who’s good to me and who I try to be good to in return.
For so many years, I chased the high of New Relationship Energy, only to come crashing down each time. I’m happy now to be a little less high but a lot more stable.
Are there any relationship themes or topics you want to cover in future releases?
I’ve written a lot of sex, and I’m sort of ready to write not-sex. I’ve stopped publishing romances so I can move on to other genres. That doesn’t mean I won’t be writing about relationship, of course. When you get down to it, life is nothing but a series of relationships, and the way we manage them determines our destiny.