Model-turned-author Tara Moss confronts danger for her novels

Wed Sep 9, 2009 8:14am EDT
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By Belinda Goldsmith

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - For model-turned-author Tara Moss, being set on fire and choked into unconsciousness is all part of a day's work.

Moss, 35, who spent 10 years on the international modeling circuit after being discovered in her home town of Victoria, Canada, says she needs to experience first-hand the events that she incorporates into her crime novels.

For her latest and fifth book "Siren," out this month, Moss set out to get herself choked unconscious at the hands of Ultimate Fighter "Big" John McCarthy.

"This was probably the most moving and physiologically intense experience I have ever had for research ... as every instinct in my body told me that I was dying," Moss told Reuters.

"But I woke up with an eerily euphoric sensation and adrenaline pumping through my body. I now have a better understanding what people are seeking when they engage in auto-erotic asphyxiation. I could not have written this scene in my book without this experience."

Being set on fire while wearing flame-resistant clothing was a doddle compared to being choked nearly to death, she said. "It was fascinating because for the first eight seconds you don't feel the heat," Moss explained.

On top of those experiences add shooting fire arms, flying over the Sydney Opera House with the crack air force team the RAAF Roulettes, earning a private investigator license, handling snakes, and spending days on end in morgues and courtrooms.

Moss said her determination to thoroughly research issues for her books, despite potential danger, did surprise some people because of her looks and stereotypes attached to models.   Continued...

<p>Model Tara Moss poses at the world premiere of the movie "Star Trek" at the Sydney Opera House April 7, 2009. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne</p>