Friday, June 5, 2009
AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: EPPIE WINNER, JL WILSON
Jenny: Hi, JL. Why don't you introduce yourself and tell us a little about you.
Thanks for letting me drop by and chat about my books. I love talking about writing!
I'm a Midwesterner and write "mystery with a touch of romance; romance with a touch of gray". This means my heroes/heroines are all in their fifties and my books aren't hotties -- they're more a tiny bit steamy ::grin:: All of my mystery and suspense books are set in the Midwest and feature 'regular' people, everyday people who get tossed into unusual circumstances.
I write mystery for The Wild Rose Press, romantic suspense for Cerridwen and Resplendence, time travel for Cerridwen, and futuristic paranormals for The Wild Rose Press. Yes, that's right: 4 editors, 3 publishers, and 11 books out! I've got contracts for 6 more books to release in the next year or so, and have 6 more books waiting to submit.
My mysteries for Wild Rose are first-person narrative, which is a real challenge to write. My romantic suspense books are third-person narrative and are all based on some incident in my past. My time travel books feature time travel, combined with reincarnation. Lovers are sent back in time to reunite and reconcile issues that have prevented their successful reincarnation.
Obviously, I like to stay busy ::smile::
Jenny: What's your favorite food?
I'm lost 30 pounds of a 40-pound (hopefully) weight loss, so the little 100-calorie pack snack foods are my lifesaver right now. I love the cookies and the Cheetos (I'm a sucker for Cheetos and diet Pepsi). I also love fresh fruit and am eating a lot of strawberries and raspberries now that they're in season.
My goal is to lose 40 pounds by the end of July, and I think I'm on track. I walk a lot (10,000 steps a day) and watch what I eat, and so far, so good!
Jenny: What's currently on your iPod/mp3 player/cd player?
I have an I-touch, so I've got movies, podcasts, and music. There's about 3000 songs on there as well as 10 or 12 movies, so it's a looonnnngggg list. I've been taking a lot of trips lately so the movies have really come in handy on long flights.
I just recently discovered Death Cab for Cutie and Finger Eleven, so have been watching their videos and listening to their songs. I'm going to an Eric Clapton/Steve Winwood concert in a couple of weeks, and recently saw John Prine in concert. My musical taste and my movie taste are both eclectic. I love action movies, and really don't like romances. But check with me next week, I'm sure my selections will change!
Jenny: Describe a typical (or non-typical) writing day?
I get up at 4:15 a.m. and am at my full-time job by 5:00, drinking my first cup of coffee. I take a long walk at noon then come back and work until 2:30 or 3:00 then head for home. I take care of home things (feed the cats, water the garden, feed the outdoor critters) then have a small meal. I'm at my computer by 5:30 for writing (my husband works erratic hours and we've given up trying to have dinner together).
I write/do promo/ do research until about 8:30 or so then I close up shop for the night and spend some time with hubby before heading for bed at 10 or 10:30. Two or three nights a week I go out with friends, and on weekends I'm often very busy but can usually squeeze in 3 or 4 hours of writing. I work on my Work In Progress every day: EVERY day.
Jenny: What's the biggest lie you've ever told?
Well, the biggest whopper was probably about my weight on my driver's license. I mean, I vastly under-weighted myself. That wasn't the lie that had the biggest consequences, though. That's one I'll keep to myself!
Jenny: What's your favorite setting from one of your novels?
I think the 1876 time period in "Forgiveness" is my favorite. I set it in Minnesota at that time, so it was still a frontier and still somewhat uncivilized. I loved writing that book and envisioning the setting.
Jenny: What do you think makes the ideal heroine/hero?
I think both of them have to be honest, with themselves and with each other. In addition, they should be willing to take care of themselves as well as each other. I don't expect the hero to rescue the heroine, but he should be willing to do so, and vice versa.
A good sense of humor helps a lot, too.
Jenny: What are you working on at the moment?
I'm currently working on two books at once, which is a challenge but is also very energizing. I'm making great progress on them and hope to be done with them by the end of summer. It normally takes me 3-4 months to write a book and get it ready for submission. I seldom take much time off between books, but I may change my habits since I'll be starting a Sci Fi series this fall that will require a lot of research.
You can always find out my progress by checking my Twitter posts, Facebook page, or MySpace page. Go to http://tinyurl.com/ak8hl8 for information about how to find me!
Jenny: Are you a panster? A planner? A planster? Which method works best for you? Why?
I have a general idea of what will happen in a book -- a few key scenes or outcomes -- but other than that I tend to go where the characters take me. I do a rough outline as I write, so I can easily go back and find facts, and that helps me decide if I have the right amount of action, etc.
I also write chapter-by-chapter, not from the start to finish. So I'm able to craft each chapter, making sure it has an arc, making sure it has a hook at the end, and blocking it out to be approximately the same amount of pages per chapter. That way, when I get to a certain point in the book, I know certain events should have occurred. For example, by Chapter 13 I should have had the Big Black Moment, or by Chapter 3 I should have a victim and a suspect. It really helps me structure the entire book when I structure each chapter individually.
Jenny: Any new releases coming up?
I have a release today (June 5) of Mayhem, Marriage, and Murderous Mystery Manuscripts, a mystery set at a summer resort. The heroine is a writer and she gets embroiled in a murder investigation that is complicated by accusations of plagarism.
In September I have 2 releases: Human Touch, the first book in my futuristic series for The Wild Rose Press. It's set on a different planet and follows a cloned man who has to act as a paid companion to a rather eccentric woman.
Also in September I have Temperance, the third book in my History Patrol series about time travel, reincarnation, and lovers who rediscover each other throughout time. It releases with Cerridwen Press and features a talking cat named Theo and a hero named Will, who killed Theo in a previous life.
Then next year I have at least 3 books releasing for sure, with 3 more possibly releasing.
Busy times ahead!
Visit J.L. at www.jayellwilson.com
Read on for a tantalizing excerpt from J.L.'s novel, Mayhem Marriage....
A knocking sound issued from the phone. I continued driving, starting to mentally map a path from Julie’s house to Barb and Sadie’s. “Should I stop, Julie?”
“Just a minute, I’ve got somebody at the door. It looks like … maybe a trick-or-treater. Although it’s late for that. I usually get them early in the evening. Hold on.” There was a pause and I heard noises: a rustling sound, a laugh, someone saying, “Trick or treat” in a far-away voice. Then I heard Julie say, ‘That’s such a pretty outfit. It reminds me of Cinderella.’ Then she came back on the line. “I don’t think I’ll need to have you stop because …” Julie laughed. “What? Would you like some candy? I’ve still got quite a bit left.”
I heard a woman’s voice, sounding distant. Julie probably held the phone at her side because the sounds alternately were louder then quiet, as though she was moving. Someone said, ‘… not worth it. You shouldn’t …’ Then the voice faded.
I suddenly heard Julie. She didn’t speak directly into the phone but her voice was louder and clearer. “We need to discuss this. Why are you so upset? He said you didn’t mind. Rita—”
A sharp noise buzzed through the phone, making me jerk it away from my ear. Then it was repeated, a popping sound echoed in my head. I thought I recognized that distinctive sound.
“Oh, shit.” I glanced at the map and made a left turn, but realized quickly that was wrong when I saw busy Interstate 35 in the distance. That highway didn’t appear on Julie’s map. “Julie! Julie, are you there?”
The only sound I heard from the phone was footsteps and moaning.
“Julie? Julie, what’s going on?” I turned around in someone’s driveway and headed back the way I came, losing precious moments as I hesitated at street corners, looking for Roselawn Street. I made another wrong turn and it took me three or more minutes to discover I was in a looping cul-de-sac with no outlet. I retraced my path, made a wrong turn but quickly corrected myself before finally finding Roselawn. I made a left onto 86th Avenue, a broad street overhung with tall trees giving it a tunnel-like feeling and trolled slowly down the dark street, peering at house numbers.
I pulled up to 4640, my phone still pressed to my ear. The open front door spilled light out onto the stoop, illuminating the woman sprawled on the porch. I raced up the front sidewalk but I suspected I was too late when I saw the blood pooling around her head.
Then I saw the wound on her chest, high above her neckline and under what was her chin. The chin was gone, and so was most of her throat.
It appeared the conference curse was alive and well, but I was pretty sure Julie Garza was dead.
J L Wilson is a Midwestern author who writes ‘mysteries with a touch of romance … and romance with a touch of gray.’ She can be found on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and a few blogs here and there. This link tells you where: http://tinyurl.com/ak8hl8.