This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jennifer Collin will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on a tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?
I studied English Literature at university. Because of this, most of my twenties was spent reading dark, disturbing or emotionally draining stories. I loved nothing more to finish a book weeping hysterically. The more distressing the ending, the better.
Then, one day a friend rather apologetically brought Jennifer Crusie’s Welcome to Temptation to our book club. I approached it with snobby skepticism, but from the first page and I was hooked. I ploughed through it and went in search of more.
As I was working my way through Crusie’s back catalogue, my first child was born and the fate of those dark and disturbing reads was sealed. Once I became a parent, I no longer wanted to know about the darker side of life. I wanted the world I’d brought my child into to be full of sunshine and lollipops.
However, after devouring all of Crusie’s books, I struggled to find other authors who met the standard that she set. And as Toni Morrision said, “if there’s a book that you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it”. So I wrote my own.
Ironically, once I had a book out there and I started to meet other authors, a whole new world of reading opened up to me. I’ve since discovered dozens of great romantic comedy writers, many of whom I’m now lucky to count as my friends.
What research is required?
I recently attended a writing masterclass presented by a reasonably successful rom-com author. When she spoke about research, she talked about how she would relocate to the city or town where the book would be set for a month or two, and how she’d sit in cafes to observe the locals and take notes. She told a story of how she once interviewed the HR manager of a local business to find out where, at the workplace, staff would most likely go if they were to sneak off for sex.
Sounds like she’s living the dream, right?
I don’t do any of that. Relocating somewhere for a month or two would mean leaving my husband and children behind. I also work full-time, so I don’t have the luxury of sitting in cafés to people-watch. The time I get to dedicate to research and writing is usually somewhere between 10pm and 2am, or 4am to 6am. So I trawl the internet, where there’s action 24/7. I use YouTube, TED talks, blog posts, Pinterest boards, Reddit discussions to virtually immerse myself in my characters’ lives.
In writing Set Me Free, I watched hours and hours of swing dancing instructional clips. For Bring Me Back, I watched videos of fishing trawlers in operation. I know it’s not the same as being there, that I would have gotten so much more out of attending a swing class myself, or spending 3 months working on a trawler, but I have limitations I need to work within and the internet is a marvelous substitute for real life experience.
Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.
Out of all the heroine’s in the Evans Trilogy, I think I learned the most from Annie, from Bring Me Back. Annie can be somewhat stubborn and judgmental. Once she’s decided not to like someone, their fate is sealed. But she finds with Andy, the hero of Bring Me Back, that you can’t always judge a book by its cover. And you can’t always assume you know what’s going on in someone else’s head. Annie has to learn how to forgive Andy and in doing so, she learns so much, not just about him, but about herself as well. As I was writing Bring Me Back, Annie reminded me how much our relationships; past, present and future, shape who we are. As do the choices we make about who to keep close and who to leave behind.
Do you have any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?
I can’t write at a clean desk. If I’m not surrounded by a jumble of papers, notebooks, pens, electronic devices and empty coffee cups, nothing comes out. My mess is like a cozy blanket that wraps around me and lets the inspiration flow.
Are you a plotter or pantser?
A combination of both because I’m impatient. I start out planning, because I know it makes the whole process go more smoothly, but I always reach a point where I just need to start writing. So off I go and inevitably my characters end up surprising me with a plot diversion I didn’t see coming. This means I do a LOT of editing, a lot of going back and forth in my manuscript until all the pieces fall in together. Like my desk, the process is very messy!
Look to your right – what’s sitting there?
My iPad. It’s always within arm’s reach. Well ‘always’ being when my 9 year old daughter isn’t playing Minecraft on it. Oh, and there’s also an empty coffee cup.
Anything new coming up from you? What?
I have many, many ideas whirling around in my head at the moment, but no time to get them out. The thing I’m most keen on is some children’s fiction. My daughter has some learning difficulties and I have some ideas of how I might be able to support her and kids with similar struggles. This is my priority at the moment, because she needs the support NOW. It’s not something I can put off.
Do you have a question for our readers?
So many, but I’ll only ask
I read an article recently by someone who completely panned Amazon’s reviews. He argued they’re essentially nonsense because on the site, something like 50 Shades of Grey could be rated the same as a literary masterpiece. It made me wonder if other readers felt the same, or if he was a one off.
So, I’d love to know. How much do you rely on Amazon or other reviews when you’re choosing your next read? Do you go by what others have said, or do you prefer to use your own judgment?
But when dastardly property developer Craig Carmichael comes along, threatening to demolish her gallery and take everything away, Charlotte has an unexpected fight on her hands. Not only is she battling to stop Craig’s development, she’s also struggling against the mysterious magnetic pull that has her on a collision course with Craig himself.
Craig Carmichael is fighting the Battle for Boundary Street on more than one front. The tenants of the building he wants to knock down are mounting a strong case against him and in a hot-headed moment he put his career on the line for a project that is threatening to fail. If the project doesn’t succeed he will lose everything, but for some reason he’s having trouble maintaining his focus.
As their worlds begin to unravel around them, anyone could win. It’s what they might lose that has Charlotte and Craig wondering what it is they really want.
Meanwhile, Ben Cameron is getting on with his life. After all, it's the only thing to do once your heart has been stomped on by the woman of your dreams. Expanding his business and getting cosy with the girl next door are proving welcome distractions. He's even happy to babysit his nephew, as long as he can to hand him back when he's done! And thankfully, Emily Evans, the woman with the heavy boots, is avoiding him like the plague. But Emily can't avoid him forever, and when she drops a bombshell that turns Ben's world upside-down, suddenly, getting on with his life takes on a whole new meaning.
Annie Martin is on the cusp of great success. Her career as a Steampunk academic is about to take off, as long as she can convince one disagreeable, New Zealand-based Professor to sign up to the anthology she’s putting together. Thankfully, Annie is a master at maintaining her poise and few people, no matter how nasty, can rattle her. Not any more. In fact, it’d been a good six years since anyone had gotten under her skin, after her best friend’s brother had vanished into thin air.
When Annie finds her future career on a collision course with her secret past, Andy Evans is the last person she expects to find tangled up in the mess. With a vengeful drug-dealer or two hot on his heels, and a vindictive academic determined to ruin her credibility, can Annie bring Andy back to his family before it’s too late? Annie and Andy are used to being alone, but if they don’t work together, there’ll be much more at stake than her livelihood and his sobriety.
Enjoy an excerpt from Set Me Free
A little golden bell above the door tinkled daintily as he walked in. He noticed two things immediately: the intriguing painting on the wall to his right and the beguiling woman smiling lazily at him from behind a sleek-looking asymmetrical 1960s Danish-styled desk. Unsettled by the pair of slightly smoky grey eyes that came with the lazy smile, he moved directly toward the painting to take it in.
The canvas was large; it took up almost a quarter of the wall. The image was a view down a narrow alley corralled by stark grey skyscrapers that, thanks to the wash of the paint strokes, appeared to be crumbling. At the end of the alley, a small dog with a broken tail lay beside an old-fashioned dustbin, chewing a small, bright red ball.
‘Hi,’ welcomed the woman behind the counter. Her voice was as tired as her eyes and smile, but there was still something smouldering under the surface, like a combusting rain cloud. ‘Can I help you with anything in particular or would you just like to browse?’
‘Can you tell me anything about this piece?’ he asked, unwisely. She stood up to join him, swinging her hips as she walked, subtly but hypnotically. This might turn out to be the hardest conversation of them all; particularly given he was struggling to keep his eyes on her face and off those swinging hips. He looked up. Nope, no respite there.
She lives in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband, two noisy children and a cantankerous cat.
She used to party, but now her idea of a good time is an uninterrupted sleep. These days, her characters do her partying for her, and she doesn't necessarily let them sleep.
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