I’m a stay at home mom and former librarian. My husband and I have been married for twelve years and have three children. This year was the first year he’s ever forgotten our anniversary. Since the whole family was being ravaged by the stomach flu, I suppose that was excusable. We lived in the Seattle area for a little while before moving back to West Michigan. He works really close to home and can come home most days and join us for lunch. We are pretty blessed.
What entices you to pick up a book and start reading? The cover image? The blurb on the back?
The cover is definitely a big draw. A pretty picture or historical dress will entice me to pick up the book. I’m also drawn to the texture of the paper. Smooth, soft paper will be just as enticing as pretty picture.
What would put you off?
Definitely, any hint of time travel. Its paradoxical qualities drive me nuts. My friends kept recommending The Time Traveller’s Wife and I kept putting off reading it because of the time travel thing. I ended up really liking it as long as I didn’t try to understand the time travel aspect of it. I’m not a big fan of vampires or other paranormal things either. If the book comes highly recommended though, I will try it and I have enjoyed a few paranormal romances.
What or who inspired you to write in the first place?
I think I’ve always wanted to write and have been blessed enough to have encouragement at the right times. My parents allowed me to take a children’s writing course in high school. I haven’t written any children’s books, but it taught me about the story arch and what conflict was.
When I started writing again more recently, I met W.S. Gager and we later formed our critique group. She kept encouraging me to try and get published. I originally started writing a novel just to see if I could and she said if I was going to go through all the effort, I should try to get it published.
You often talk about your crit group and what you do for each other, can you tell us what is so special about them?
My crit group is awesome. We all write in different genres, so I think we bring different perspectives to our critiques. One is a cozy mystery writers whose main character is a hard-boiled no-nonsense reporter. She loves reading romance and makes sure I’m getting all the things I need in the romance. I tend to leave out the emotional reaction in my early drafts and she makes sure I have it. Another is a thriller, young adult writer and she helps me understand the characters and their motivations. The last is a literary fiction writer. She helps develop the tone of the story and point out when I’m going overboard on something. She also helps with the pacing, and movement of the story. Currently, I’m the whip-cracker of the group. I’m prodding everyone to meet their goals and send out query letters. We all have each others’ best interests at heart and are trying to help each other create the best story we can.
With three young children where do you find time to write and how do you organise your writing time?
At times, I can be terribly organized. Everything has to be done in a certain way and put in a certain spot. Then my head explodes. I force them all to take rest-times or naps in the afternoons. I used to try to write during this time, but it didn’t work and there was the aforementioned head explosion. I am finding this time is better used for promotional stuff, blogging, catching up on email, etc. At night after they go to bed, (luckily they go to bed quite early, with the side-effect that they also get up quite early) then I work on my book.
Do your children ever star in your stories? If not, is there any occasion you can imagine when you would write them into one of your books?
I’m using them as research for my current work in progress. There is a two year old girl, so I am trying to incorporate how they say things or do things into her character. But I think that is as close as I would come. I don’t think I would even use their names for characters. It’d be like having two children with the same name.
You talk a lot about your Library Ladies and how they ‘manage’ the lives of other people, will you ever write a romance where one of them star as your heroine?
Actually, my current work in progress is about Minnie from CEOs Don’t Cry. It is fun to have the tables turned on her. It’s becoming a very complex story though. She is in her seventies and that is a lot of backstory to work with.
Has anyone, friend, family member, acquaintance ever asked you to include them in your books, and would you? :-)
The cousin of one of my friends has. If I do, it will only be a cameo appearance. His physical description would be perfect for a very minor character. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t.
Do you let your DH read your books, does he want to, and how does he feel about ‘his wife the author’?
I can truthfully say my husband is a romance reader. In the twelve years we have been married, he has only read a handful of books. One of them being CEOs. So a quarter of what he reads is romance. He hasn’t read Courting Sparks yet, but he will. Soon. He doesn’t say much, but he does like the stories and is always encouraging when I want to do writing things.
What is your favourite colour, and why?
I think it is pink. Different days I gravitate to different colors. I’m wearing a pink shirt today, so that might be it. It’s light and refreshing and girly.
Why running? What got you into running and do you find it hard to keep up now you have a young family?
I come from a family of runners and have always been a runner, sometimes more sporadically than others. It is hard, especially in the winter. I have to wait until the kids go to bed. Even though that is early, it’s still dark outside. I’m not a big fan of running outside in the dark alone, so that means I have to go on the treadmill which is terribly boring. My husband mounted a platform in front of the treadmill, so I can watch Netflix movies and that helps. I’m currently on the 4th season of Bones. Being able to watch an episode is a little extra incentive to get going.
I don’t know many authors who like the promotional side of being an author, what do you do to promote your books, and how do you go about it?
For CEOs Don’t Cry, I didn’t do much at all. I found out I was pregnant a couple weeks before it came out and that zapped my energy. I’m doing a lot more for Courting Sparks and hope it pays off. I’m visiting as many blogs as I can and plan to send out a mailing to libraries soon.
Please will you tell us a little bit about your books, CEO’s Don’t Cry, and Courting Sparks?
CEOs Don’t Cry is about a young woman who thinks her dreams lead in one direction and that path keeps getting blocked off. She figures out a work-around and hits another road block. The story came out of a feeling I had in high school that I was being pushed toward one path and that was the only way I could be successful. Since then I’ve seen others succeed in different ways and wished more options had been explained. Leslie and Mark also have to deal with the shenanigans of his aunt and her friends who think they are matchmakers.
Courting Sparks is about falling in love with your best friend and whether pursuing a romantic relationship is worth risking the friendship for.
Please will you share the blurb and an excerpt of your latest book?
Dusting off the ashes of a failed relationship, Daphne Morrow decides she is ready to date again. But when her scorched prom photos are discovered to be the ignition point for a small forest blaze, marking her as the prime suspect for the arson, she finds they’re not the only part of her past sparking interest. After a friend’s wedding provides a romantic interlude with her longtime friend Noah Banks, Daphne tries to explain away her attraction to him: the atmosphere of the wedding, his resemblance to her ex, his heroic efforts as a volunteer firefighter. Still, their desire just won’t sputter out.
When the arsonist strikes much closer to home, Daphne fears she must risk Noah’s friendship to find the culprit and clear her name. She’ll know their love is real if his interest isn’t put out by her need to uncover the truth.
Sandalwood and a touch of wood smoke.
The scents drifted from behind her and Daphne knew the man was sexy. She closed her eyes as she stood on the corner of the dance floor and breathed deeply. Maybe passing out candy bars for the Dollar Dance wasn’t such a bad thing. Her Magic Eight Ball could be right. For once.
She tried to adjust the neckline of her fuchsia bridesmaid dress to enhance her cleavage, but the double-sided tape holding the mermaid-style dress in place wouldn’t budge.
Sure, when you want the dress to come off, it sticks firmly in place. She sighed. She spun on her bare feet to greet the dream date behind her and stopped so abruptly her basket of candy bars tipped over, spilling chocolate at his feet.
“Noah?” she gasped.
A light blue madras shirt covered his broad shoulders. His dark hair still damp from his shower. She looked at him like she’d never seen him before.
And she saw him almost every day. He was the athletic director and she was an English teacher and the cross-country coach. She was in and out of his office with student eligibility reports and questions about the team schedule. Besides all that, they’d been friends since second grade. She’d never had this reaction to him before. What was different?
Noah bent to pick up the candy. His shirt pulled across his muscular shoulders as he reached for the scattered bars. Daphne continued to stare at him. Water droplets clung to the hair on the back of his neck and she itched to brush them away. She extended the basket for him to dump the bars.
"Fire call?” she said, trying to cover her stunned silence and hoping he didn’t notice her blushed skin.
“Yeah. Out at The Willows. Could have been really bad, but we were able to contain it. Do I still smell smoky?”
Daphne leaned closer and breathed deeply. His sandalwood cologne flooded her nose again. A touch of smoke lingered behind it. She forgot to breathe out.
This was Noah, she told herself. Not George Clooney. Get a grip.
“Your cologne covers it. How much burned?” she asked, stepping away to put some fresh air between them.
Noah shrugged. “The flames kept smoldering in this heat. Hot spots were flaring up all afternoon. Most of the trees are singed. I’m not sure they’ll come back.” He tugged at the front of his shirt as if he still felt the high temperatures.
“I can’t believe The Willows is gone. No more hidden trysts out there. Where will the teens go to make out now?”
“They’ll find some place. They always do. There’s that place by the river, but the landowner is pretty adamant about kicking them out once a month.”
She hugged the candy basket to her chest. Bittersweet memories of The Willows haunted her, now that Aaron was no longer in her life. They’d gone there to do all the things teens do in the shaded alcoves of the draping willow trees. The fire was a relief in a way, another reminder of him gone.
“Was Miranda angry I wasn’t here?” Noah asked.
She glanced at the bride twirling on the dance floor and pushed away the gloomy thoughts. Good ol’ Noah. He could always divert her depressing thoughts. “I think she’ll forgive you.” Daphne bumped him with her basket of chocolate. “Not to dash your ego, but she didn’t notice. She was so nervous before the ceremony, she peed every fifteen minutes. I’m glad I didn’t pull bathroom duty this time.”
Noah laughed, the tone soft and deep. “I don’t want to know. Anything else happen?”
“If you’re asking if Max fainted, you owe me ten bucks. He turned green during the solo, but his knees never buckled.”
Please will you provide ‘to buy’ links for your books?
Please will you tell us where we can find you?
Thank you for joining us today, Joselyn and best wishes with your new book.
Please come back on the 24th when Joselyn interviews her heroine, Daphne.