I currently live in Seattle, Washington, and this would be what I’d call my hometown. What do I love about it? The scenery. It’s gorgeous here. All the trees. It’s green year round, and the weather is very mild. Granted, it’s rain and grey skies for 9 months out of the year, but it rarely drops below 30 in the winter. There are very few if any mosquitos, very low humidity in the summer. In fact, this past summer while the whole country had heat wave temps, we were nice and comfortable at around 80.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Well, I’m a bit of a late bloomer. I did the usual stuff as a kid, veterinarian, teacher. I really wanted to be a mom. That was about it for me. Growing up, I didn’t really know what I wanted. Other than to grow up. When I entered college, I still didn’t know. I switched from majoring in early childhood education to psychology two years in, and I didn’t graduate, so I don’t have a degree. I spent most of my life finding myself. I was about thirty when I picked up writing and finally figured it out.
Tell us about your latest book.
Well, since I’m attaching the blurb, I won’t reiterate it here. I hope that’s okay, but The Playboy’s Baby is a very simple story. It has a very sweet quality to it. It’s a small town, opposites attract kind of book. It was my version of the secret baby plot.
Do you have anything new in the works and can you tell us a bit about it?
At the moment, I’m writing the sequel to The Playboy’s Baby. Dillon’s brother Logan’s book. I’m only about two chapters into it. But the hero is a chef who’s just found he’s a father when an ex abandons their two year old daughter to him. The heroine is an author of erotic romance, who lost her husband to the war two years ago. It’s an older woman, younger man story that begins with a blind date. Both have lost somebody and they’ve been set up by mutual friends.
I’m a pantser, so I’m afraid that’s about all I know about it at the moment. But so far, these two are burning up my pages. It’s proving to be a very sensual story.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?
Being a pantser, I usually get lost in the beginning. It takes me a while to see the story. I learn about my character as I write the story, and they aren’t always upfront with me Sometimes I have to coax them. So, I’m usually pulling my hair out for about the first five chapters. I usually have to go back and revise the beginning a bit.
What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Write from the heart. For me, as a reader, if you can touch me, my soul, and make me cry, I’m a fan. It’s rare. These days we’re in a market of werewolves and vampires. I want something to touch my soul. So, I say, dare to be different, but write from the heart. Put emotion into your pages.
Also, and I’ve said this before, but I’m just beginning to understand how important it is, self-promotion. You have to get yourself out there. The publishers aren’t going to do it for you. So start now. Facebook. Twitter. All the social media outlets, start them now.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Yeah. A lot lately. I’m a worry-wart, so I stress about everything. Usually just relaxing and allowing myself to stop worrying about it pushes me through it. Worrying stresses me out and stress makes it worse. I often find that getting up and doing something else helps a lot. So, I go read someone else’s book for a while. Or, believe it or not, cleaning. Usually chores I’ve been neglecting, like laundry. lol
Who is your favorite author and why?
These days I’m very fond of Vonnie Davis and Paula Martin. Because they tug me around by the heartstrings and they made me cry.
What books have most influenced your life?
You know, usually I would say that there isn’t a single book or author whose most influenced me, because every book I’ve ever read influenced me. But I’d have to say that those Beverly Cleary books I started reading in sixth grade. The Ramona Quimby books. I don’t even remember how I first picked one up, but they started a love of reading for me.
How did you deal with rejection letters?
Honestly? I mope for a while. They’re depressing, of course, and they always jab at my self-esteem. Mine has always been on the low side, and there’s always a part of me that goes, “Maybe I’m just not that good.” I found that if I allow myself to mope and get it over with, then the self-doubts don’t nag me forever. I usually take look at what they tell me. Was it a personal rejection? What didn’t they like? Can I fix it? If I can, then I do.
And then I put them behind me and keep on moving forward. Because if I let it get to me, it’ll sink me, and I refuse to let it do that. J
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
A good thesaurus and at least one critique partner to run things through with. I think critique partners are invaluable. Otherwise, I think everything else is optional and up to the individual. For me, though, coffee’s a must have as well. lol
Where do you as an author draw the line on gory descriptions and/or erotic content?
I draw the line at being too graphic. I want my readers to know what’s going on, to feel it all along with my characters, but I don’t want to push my books into another genre. I don’t like being graphic, especially in sex. Because for me, it isn’t about the act, but the effect on the characters. So, because I don’t write erotic romance, I choose my words carefully.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?
This one’s a tough one, as I don’t do a whole lot of major research. For the last book I wrote, which is currently in the hands of my agent, a fellow author put me in touch with a police officer here in the US. I thought that was kind of cool. He was very nice. I know I’ve tried things out in person, but I can’t honestly think of an example. I’ve never traveled or anything really strange, though.
Don’t forget to give us links to your website etc.
J.M. writes what she likes to call sweet and spicy contemporary romance. She’s a stay-at-home mom who lives in Seattle Washington, with her husband, two boys and their two very spoiled puppies. She’s been devouring romances for as long as she can remember. Writing them has become her passion.
The Playboy’s Baby, blurb:
They can’t forget the past, but is it enough to create a future?
When an accident leaves her guardian to her six-month-old niece, Emma Stanton must return to her small hometown of Hastings, Montana to find the one man she’s spent the last eight years trying to forget. She and Dillon had grown up together–he was her sister’s best friend. But that hadn’t stopped him from sharing a kiss with Emma that had followed her through the years. Now, not only must she break the news of her sister’s tragic death to Dillon, but she must risk the only family she has left and tell him he’s the baby’s father.
Wealthy nightclub owner Dillon James has been used for his name and money one too many times, so when he comes face-to-face with Emma Stanton and her gorgeous lips, he’s determined to keep things light. All he wants is to be the father his daughter needs, to make up for not being there for her and her mother. But spending time with Emma, as she shows him the ropes of caring for his daughter, is wearing down his defenses. Perhaps it’s time he took a chance on love.
If only he can convince Emma to take a chance on him…
Shaking, acid rose up the back of her throat. She caught Dillon’s wrists and wrenched her mouth from his, fighting a near-overwhelming urge to shove away from him altogether and run like hell. This was Dillon. He’d never hurt her. Knowing that, didn’t stop the panic from seizing her chest in a vice grip that refused to let go.
“Not so fast.” She sucked in a deep breath. Her breathless voice trembled. “Please.”
Dillon’s hands paused and he pulled back, confusion and concern puckering his brow. “You okay?”
She shook her head, her voice already starting to wobble. “I had a bad experience once.” She felt like a fool, a child, but prayed he’d understand. Fear stuck in her chest, refused to let her breathe, and she couldn’t stop shaking.
He studied her, his dark eyes moving over her face, and then his jaw tightened. “Somebody hurt you once.”
When she nodded, embarrassment heated her face.
Regret and torment filled his eyes and he stroked her cheek with the back of his fingers. “God, I hate that thought. Do you want to stop?”
“No. No. I want this. I want you.” She wanted fear to stop dictating her life, to experience passion. She wanted it with him. “I trust you. I feel safe with you. I just…I need to go slow.”
Understanding dawned in his eyes. His expression softened. “I’m going too fast and it scares you.”
She hated admitting it. Hated it still had that effect on her, but nodded nonetheless. “I’m nervous.”
“Come on.” He took her hand, pulling her behind him into the living room. Once there, he took a seat on the sofa and patted his lap. “Sit with me.”
She climbed onto his lap, sitting sideways on his knees, and he wrapped his arms loosely around her waist. His arousal pressed into her bottom, hard against his zipper, but he didn’t otherwise move, didn’t demand anything more. Rather, he stared into her eyes, for so deep and so long she lost herself in the infinite depths.
Finally, he lifted a hand and cupped her cheek. “You’re in control of this. When you’re comfortable with me again and you want more, you let me know. If you don’t…” He shrugged a shoulder. “We’ll just sit here and I’ll get to hold you for awhile. Okay?”