Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Q&A with Jana Richards

Give a big welcome to author Jana Richards as she discusses her latest release, FLAWLESS!

1. Tell us about your newest release.



I’m absolutely thrilled to tell you that “Flawless” was released on January 5 from The Wild Rose Press (http://www.thewildrosepress.com/) as part of their Jewels of the Night series. “Flawless” is a romantic suspense set in France during the Second World War. Here’s a blurb:

France, 1942. The world is at war. The Nazis have stolen the infamous blue diamond, Le Coeur Bleu, intending to barter it for weapons that will destroy the Allies. Jewel thief Hunter Smith is given a choice; help the French Resistance steal back the diamond and avenge the death of his best friend, or stay locked up in an English prison. He chooses revenge.

Resistance fighter Madeleine Bertrand’s husband died when he was betrayed by Hunter Smith. How can she now pretend to be married to the arrogant American? How can she betray Jean Philippe’s memory by her passionate response to Hunter’s kisses? Neither is prepared for the maelstrom of attraction that erupts between them. To survive they must uncover the mysteries of the past and conquer the dangers of the present. But first Madeleine must decide if her loyalties lie with her dead husband and the Resistance or with the greatest love of her life.



I had a great time doing the research and writing for this story. It’s my first historical, and the first story I’ve set outside of North America. I hope to write more stories set in this fascinating time period.



2. Can you tell us a little about your favorite scene in the story?



One of my favorite scenes occurs shortly after Hunter Smith arrives at the Chateau de Maisoneuve, pretending to be a gardener, but really there to steal the rare, and valuable blue diamond, Le Coeur Bleu. Madeleine is being accosted by Nazi General Klaus Dietrich. She is certain he is about to rape her, when suddenly Hunter appears, claiming to be her husband! Everything changes after that. For the sake of the mission, they are forced to live together as man and wife, even though Madeleine suspects Hunter of a betrayal that led to the death of her husband.



3. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?



That goes back quite a long way. I’ve always had an interest in writing and especially in reading. For as long as I can remember I’ve been making up little stories in my head. But I didn’t try putting them down on paper until about 15 years ago. That’s when I read my first romance novel and became totally addicted. In my naivety and supreme ignorance I thought “I could do that!” Turns out publishing is way more complicated then slapping a few words on the page, sending them to a publisher, and then sitting back and waiting for the royalties to roll in. Who knew?



4. Where do you get your information or ideas for your stories?



Ideas are all around us. Sometimes the lyrics to a song speak to me and give me inspiration. Stories in the newspaper often spark ideas. I clip interesting and unusual stories all the time. For instance, I clipped one story about a man who suddenly woke up after being in a coma for many years. What if his world was totally different when he awoke? What if the woman he thought he was in love with was trying to kill him? You get the idea. You can take a simple news story, ask a lot of what if questions, and you may have the beginnings of a novel.



Or sometimes the ideas are inspired by a direct request from a publisher. For instance, “Flawless” was born when The Wild Rose Press put out a call for stories in the Jewels of the Night series. The only requirement given was that the story be a romantic suspense and have something to do with a blue diamond. The rest came out of many ‘what if?’ questions.



For information or research I mostly turn to the Internet. It’s possible to find out almost anything. For “Flawless” I researched everything from the history of the period, and the French Resistance, to the history of the flashlight (did they exist in the 1940s?) and how to pick the lock of a safe. However great the Internet is for research, I still enjoy reading books on my chosen subject.



5. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?



You mean aside from writing in organized chaos? You’d know what I mean if you saw my desk! But seriously, I guess my writing quirk is that I’m not a writer who can spend only a few minutes a day writing. I seem to work best when I can devote several days totally concentrating on the writing. To that end, I’m looking forward to my writing group’s Book in a Week in January.



6. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?



The promotion! I thought the hard part was writing the books. But I quickly discovered that writing the book is only the beginning.



7. What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?



My writing groups have been a source of inspiration and help and cheerleading for many years, first Saskatchewan Romance Writers (http://www.saskromancewriters.4t.com/) and then Lover’s Knot. There have been times when I’ve thought I had enough of this crazy business, and advice or wisdom from one of my writing friends has pulled me through.



8. What does your family think about your career as a published author?



I think they think I’m a little strange! It might have to do with talking to myself on occasion. But they’ve been supportive and helpful, especially my husband, who is my computer guru and tech support. He even cooks for me!



9. Besides writing, what other interests do you have?



I enjoy gardening, reading, going to live plays, yoga, walks with my dog (I’m crazy about my dog!), travel, and golf.



10. Can you tell us about what’s coming up next for you writing wise?



I’m waiting to hear if The Wild Rose Press is interested in my novella “The Girl Most Likely” for their Class of ’85 series, which is a series of stories about graduates headed to their 25 year high school reunion. I’m also working on my WIP “Welcome to Paradise” about a woman who returns to her hometown after her marriage and her career both implode. And in January for my Book in a Week project, I plan to work on a piece I call “Always a Bridesmaid”. This story is meant to be part of a three book series that began with my published novel “Her Best Man” available from http://www.uncialpress.com/ Every book in the series begins with someone being left at the altar.



11. How can readers connect with you online?

Readers can find me at my website http://www.janarichards.net/ I’d also love them to drop by blog at http://janarichards.blogspot.com/ or friend me at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jana-Richards/157005711005866


Thank you for having me. It was fun!

14 comments:

Melissa Murphy said...

Awesome interview, and the book sounds very interesting!
Good luck, Jana!

Melissa Murphy

Kat Ducan said...

Hey Jana, I like your comment about your writing quirk. I've tried writing just a few minutes at a time. My friend EW can do that, but like you, I need large blocks of quiet time to work. Can't wait to read Flawless...it looks great!

Dominique Eastwick said...

Jana,

YOur book looks fantastic and I completely agree the promotion of the book is harder some times then writing it. Good luck and many happy sales. :)

Linda Swift said...

Jana, sorry to be so late. Just got on the computer tonight but I wanted to stop by. Yes, wasn't it a surprise to learn we have to write them and then promote them! And I, too, need blocks of uninterrupted time to really be creative. I love the interview and agreed with and related to so much of what you said. I wish you success with all your books. You seem to have good plans and goals and the committment to make it all succeed. Best, Linda

Sue Roebuck said...

Hi Jana,
Congratulations on the release of Flawless - it looks a great read. A blue diamond? Yummy.
Like you my desk is in chaos, but mine's disorganized too.
Good luck with sales - now the hard work starts.
Sue

P.L. Parker said...

Blurb is really interesting. Will have to put this one on my to read list. Congratulations and many sales.

Regan said...

? You’d know what I mean if you saw my desk! But seriously, I guess my writing quirk is that I’m not a writer who can spend only a few minutes a day writing. I seem to work best when I can devote several days totally concentrating on the writing. To that end, I’m looking forward to my writing group’s Book in a Week in January<<<

Hi Jana! I just got this link from the Awe-struck site! (www.awe-struck.net). I just wanted to say I love that sentiment and am totally in agreement with you. I wrote my first draft of America's Hero in two weeks, doing almost 10,000 words in one day. When that inspiration kicks in you lose track of time and everything else, don't you? How many times have you been on a roll writing and suddenly you look up (or the cats all sit there staring at you with THAT look) and you realize you've been at it for 10 hours and it's pitch dark outside.

Here is to many happy readers of Flawless. It sounds wonderful.

Jana Richards said...

Melissa, thanks for dropping by and thanks for the good wishes.

All the best,
Jana

Jana Richards said...

Kat, I've tried to write in short bursts but it just doesn't work for me. I try to set aside blocks of time where I can concentrate solely on writing. It doesn't always work out that neatly (that laundry's not going to wash itself)but it gives me the opportunity to really get into the zone with my writing.

Thanks for stopping by.
Jana

Jana Richards said...

Dominique, you're so right. Promotion is tough. It's a big Internet ocean out there and I'm just a little fish. It's difficult to get noticed but I'm trying.

Thanks for the comment.
Jana

Jana Richards said...

Linda, I'm so glad you were able to stop by comment. I think most writers are introverts so promotion is tough for us. I just want to stay in my cave and write! But without promotion no one gets to read our books, so I guess it's a necessity.

I make goals and I do my best to reach them. Okay, I don't always get what I want but I keep on working toward it!

Jana

Jana Richards said...

Sue, my desk is beyond disorganized! Every so often I clean it up, but the clutter eventually accumulates again. I don't think I was born with the "neat" gene!

Jana

Jana Richards said...

Thanks for the good wishes, Patsy. All the best to you, too.

Jana

Jana Richards said...

Hi Regan,
I wrote most of "Flawless" during our Book in a Week in 2010. I love going 'on retreat' either at home or elsewhere (especially elsewhere)and having time where I don't need to do anything other than write. It's heaven!

I'm glad you were able to stop by!
Jana