It's not easy for Tara Moss
to interrogate a stripper. Even in a strip club, the former cover girl turns heads. "I'm six-foot-one—without shoes," she says. "I tend to tower a bit in shoes." Tara writes crime novels, bestsellers back home in Australia, and to research her fourth and most recent (Hit
) she went to a tittie bar to probe a dancer. "The only way I could do it was during a lap dance," she explains. "There was no anonymity for me whatsoever. The dancers came up to me and said, 'Oh, Tara, I love your books.' This was not what I had in mind." She pauses to let a large laugh—yes, even her laugh is statuesque—run its course. We will not be denied: Did she get the lap dance? "Yeah, she was about half my size," says Tara. "Tiny, tiny woman. She was fantastic."
Fantastic is one of Tara's favorite words; she seems to relish its slightly orgasmic middle syllable. As a jet-setting novelist and model, her life is pretty fantastic: To research her first book, Fetish, she donned tight latex and mingled with people who are into that kind of thing, and for her next, she prowled the burlesque clubs of Paris. A stupid question looms, so we ask it: Must all crime novels have sex in them?"My novels have profiling and forensics," she says, "but if there's not a wonderful sex scene, I don't see the reason to write the book, actually. Every book of mine has a fantastic sex scene in it."