Today I have contemporary romance author, Jill James with me today. I've known Jill for a while now, and am very excited to have the chance to introduce her to all of you. Her writing is vivid and evocative, full of emotion, and the love scenes will make you squirm in anticipation!
So let's start out with you, Jill. Briefly take us on the journey with you – when did you start writing, did you start in the genre you’re published in now, what hurdles did you have to overcome, etc.
JJ: My first writing was poetry. I was the stereotypical angsty teenager. I wrote stories for my kids and for myself. I finally got serious in 2004 and joined RWA (Romance Writers of America) I originally wrote Tempting Adam for Silhouette Desire. When I got back the ‘thanks, but not for us’ form letter I put it aside and worked on other stories. I wrote a paranormal romance and several other stories but Tempting Adam was still calling to me. During a workshop the wonderfully talented Candace Havens said something that just made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. “You have to put yourself out there. Publishers aren’t going to walk down your street and knock on your door.” It seems so obvious now, but at that moment it was like a light bulb went off in my head, as cliché as that may sound. I had put off sending Tempting Adam to The Wild Rose Press for 2 years. What was I waiting for? I send off the required query and in what now seems like lightning fast moves I was offered a contract.
Hee hee. My first experience with TWRP was much the same -- it all happened before I could blink!
Obviously you write in the contemporary genre. Is that your favorite genre to read? Do you write in any other genres, or under any other pen names you’d like to share?
JJ: My favorite genre has always been romance. I’ll date myself here but I loved the Fabio covers. I love everything about reading a romance novel. I would love to write a science fiction or horror novel some day. I love reading those too. Right now I’m only Jill James, but never say never. Might need a new pseudonym sometime.
Shh! Don't tell anyone, I'm pretty crazy about the Fabio covers too.
Of the books you have published, do you have a favorite? If so, which one and why?
JJ: Tempting Adam, my first published novel. There is just something about the first time someone says ‘I like this. I want to buy it.’
What are your published titles and please tell us about anything coming down the pipe next.
JJ: Tempting Adam, TWRP
Divorce, Interrupted, self
Someone To Trust, self, coming soon
Speaking of Divorce, Interrputed -- everyone check out this amazing cover. When I first saw it my jaw dropped. It's stunning, Jill!
Newly-divorced Todd and Lisa Miller are stranded at their mountain cabin. There to divide a lifetime of memories, they soon are in danger from more than the anger between them. A vicious storm forces them to rely on each other to survive.
Can they trust the one person they lost belief in? Or are their hearts in danger from more than floods and frigid weather?
Let's talk about this book. I've been hearing so many awesome things about it. You took some risks with the story. WOuld you tell us about your plot development? How did the idea spur, did you have to do much research, any interesting tidbits that we should know?
JJ: In Divorce, Interrupted I wanted to explore the possibility of getting past infidelity. What if the love was strong enough to get back together and get another happily-ever-after? I know myself, I could never forgive and forget so I wondered if I could write a strong enough story to prove it could happen. My readers are saying, “yes”!
Personally, I'm glad you were brave enough to take that particular risk and broach the subject. I recall one of my earliest works involved infidelity. Everyone told me "YOU CAN"T DO THAT". It's so nice to see someone answer, "YES I CAN" -- and know that the readers are loving it.
Talking about heroes – What’s one thing about Todd that we wouldn’t necessarily learn in the book? A secret dream, an embarrassing habit, an episode from childhood.
JJ: In Divorce, Interrupted we learn the hero, Todd Miller, had a very overweight mother. Although I put in the story how he felt when she died, I didn’t really go into details about he felt to have an overweight mother. I felt the whole, ashamed and not having friends over, was overdone in stories. I wanted the readers to make their own assumptions based on their own lives.
All heroes are unforgettable in one way or another. What’s one thing about Todd that makes your heart go pitter-pat?
JJ: In the story Lisa notices her husband has changed from a middle-aged, starting to lose it, to a hottie. My heart beat a little faster as Lisa realized her husband was a hunk again.
Aww. That's so sweet :)
If Todd doesn’t have a pet in your novel, what kind of pet would best suit his personality?
JJ: Todd would have a Golden Retriever, a dog with loyalty unquestioned.
Hm. Is that a hint? Grin. In any case, you can't beat a Golden. And you're right -- loyalty unquestioned.
Moving on to heroines – Everybody has flaws. Sometimes they are endearing, other times they are annoying. What is your heroine’s greatest fault?
JJ: Lisa leaps without looking. She only saw her side of the story and cheated without thinking about the consequences until it was too late.
Without giving away details that might spoil the story for those who have not read it, could you tell us the one strength Lisa provides to Todd?
JJ: She is able to pull her own weight. She can carry her own backpack and row the boat if you need her to. She may look fragile, but she is the hero’s helpmate.
If Lisa was your daughter – what advice would you give her upon meeting Todd?
JJ: Trust him with your life. Trust him with your heart. This is the kind of man who will always be there for you.
Okay, after this rendezvous in the cabin, if we peek in on Lisa and Todd's lives ten years from now, can you give us a glimpse of what we’d see?
JJ: Their love would be stronger than ever and they might be at the lake with the grandkids but at night Todd would only have eyes for Lisa.
Again, the story sounds fascinating. And your writing is so power-packed with emotion, I can't envision this being anything but a heartwarming story. Let's take a peek at Divorce, Interrupted:
The wind crashed against the bay window in the front of the cabin. Lisa Miller jumped up and knocked over her chair. Her shaking hand flew to her chest. Her heartbeat pounded. “That one sounded like it went through the window.”
She peered around the doorway to the living room. She sighed in relief. The glass was still in one piece, although a large pine bough sat on the front porch. The wet needles stood out in bas-relief against the graying sky.
This had been a bad idea, she berated herself. She could’ve waited for the storm of the century to pass before she came up to the lake. Even with her husband, Todd, coming next week, she could’ve waited. A sob caught in her throat like a burr. Todd, her newly, the ink hardly dry on the divorce decree, ex-husband.
She righted the chair and fell into it. How had it come to this? She’d been in love with Todd for as long as she could remember. He’d been her first boyfriend, her first lover, and she’d been sure, her last.
Throwing her head back, Lisa stared at the ceiling. Finding no comfort in the familiar cedar logs, she brought her head down and gazed into space. Her sight unfocused, the kitchen viewed through a haze of tears she refused to shed.
Twenty years. Gone in an instant. Her abrupt decision to take her boss up on his umpteenth attempt at flirting. A nano-second to throw it all away. For what turned out to be mediocre sex at best. Todd had ruined her for any other man. He loved her with his heart and soul, and she’d trampled it for half the allotted time in a tawdry motel with hourly rates and smelly, overused sheets.
You have just read an excerpt from Divorce, Interrupted by Jill James
Mm. Yup. Emotion-packed.
Going back to you though, do you have goals you have yet to meet?
JJ: I would still love to see a book with my name on the cover on a bookstore shelf.
What do you find most difficult about your job as an author?
JJ: Discipline. That butt in chair, hands on keyboard thing. I find so many things I could do even though I am happiest putting words on the page.
What are you reading right now? Are there any authors (living or dead) that you would name as influences?
JJ: Allison Brennan, Tess Gerritsen, and Karen Rose. I love how they blend romance and suspense together and make it look so easy.
Okie dokie, Jill -- before we wrap this interview up, would you tell everyone where we can find you?
JJ: Website: http://www.jilljameswrites.com
How can we sign up for your newsletter?
JJ: On my website www.jilljameswrites.com
Go, folks! Go grab that book. You'll fall in love too!
Thank you, Jill, for spending time with us. I hope you'll come back again and update us when Someone to Trust comes out!