Author on the Couch:
An Intimate Look Inside the Minds of Our Favorite Authors
Today I’d like to welcome
to my Couch.
At the end of our session, I’ll post details about how win a copy of her new novella
MUST LOVE GHOSTS
Jennifer: Moving to San Francisco after college. This was the late nineties and before that I hadn’t experienced much outside the Florida town I grew up in, and Gainesville where I went to college. Suddenly I was all the way across the country from my family, in a breathtakingly beautiful place, immersed in different sights and sounds and people and foods and the insane chaos of the dot-com world. At that age, I was way of my comfort zone—which was exactly what I needed to feed my writer’s mind.
Me: What personality trait of yours helps you most an author?
Jennifer: I’d like to say optimism but that’s putting a rosy spin on the real truth: I’m too stubborn to give up.
Me: You have to be stubborn to succeed in this industry. What a good trait to have! What personality trait of yours hinders you most an author?
Jennifer: Perfectionism. I could polish my prose until the world ends and still not be happy with it. I’ve learned to let go of my stories (aka “my babies”), but I still think of all the things I maybe should have changed or done differently. On the other hand, perfectionism can motivate you to work harder and strive for that next level. And that’s my optimistic (stubborn) spin on it.
Me: I love your spin on perfectionism. It gets a bad rap too often. Of course part of the reason I’m saying that is because I’m right there with you on the perfectionism issue.
What was your high point as a writer—a time when you were happiest, on cloud nine, flying high? What happened?
Jennifer: Definitely the day Samhain contracted MUST LOVE GHOSTS. I’d been writing seriously for four years by that point – and off and on for three decades – with not much to show for it. Getting that e-mail saying they loved my novella and wanted to publish it was like a double shot of validation. Maybe I wasn’t wasting my time after all!
Me: Congratulations on your first book getting ready to come out on April 28th–just a few days away! Now that we’ve talked about your high point–let’s talk about your low point as a writer—a time when questioned your path, a time when you felt really crappy about your writing. What happened? How did you get over it?
Jennifer: Funny how this question and the previous question are tied together. By the time I started submitting MUST LOVE GHOSTS, I was in a deep blue writer’s funk. All those years, all those trashed manuscripts… The first half of the year had gone into rewriting an urban fantasy novel I’d rewritten three times already and still the story wasn’t gelling. I spent about a week telling myself I should give up this writing thing. How many hours had I sunk into a futile endeavor? How many more hours of my life was I going to waste? But I woke up every morning with my mind spinning on story ideas and my fingers itching to write. So I decided that even if the only people who ever read my writing were my critique group, I was still doing this thing. And going back to that stubbornness trait…I’ve started rewriting that urban fantasy again.
Me: To end our session, lets switch gears and talk characters, books, and other authors. Who is your book boyfriend? Why?
Jennifer: Oh, I’m way too much of a book hussy to have only one. Mr. Darcy from Pride & Prejudice, Mark Darcy from Bridget Jones’s Diary, Heath from Susan Elizabeth Philips’s Match Me If You Can, Eric from the Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series, Adam from Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series, Zsadist from J.R. Ward’s Lover Awakened. And the one that I’m obsessed with right now: the valiant, protective, loving Jamie from Outlander. Swoon.
Me: Jamie is my new obsession too! That brings me to the question–if you could be any character in any book for a day who would you be? Why?
Jennifer: Rachel Morgan from Kim Harrison’s Hollows series. She’s a bounty-hunting witch with a non-practicing vampire and a potty-mouthed fairy for best friends and a varied cast of supernatural creatures for allies and enemies. Plus she really knows how to kick ass.
Me: If you could have dinner with any famous author who would it be?
Jennifer: George R.R. Martin. I’m convinced his brain works differently from those of us regular mortals. Plus maybe I could find out what happens next.
Jennifer: Tia McGarry believes love is nothing more than a biochemical cocktail, and she’ll have the research to prove it—as soon as she and her calm, stable, almost-fiancé land a research grant.
Her biggest mistake, bad boy ex-boyfriend Dec Mancini, is firmly in her past. But when the ghost of her long-dead great-uncle moves into her living room, Dec is the only paranormal investigator with the skills to get rid of him.
Dec is used to scorn and ridicule, but he never quite got over Tia’s refusal to believe. With irrefutable proof that ghosts exist manifesting in her house, he can finally earn respect for his profession—and maybe find common ground for himself and Tia to rebuild on.
Tia can’t deny their crazy, chaotic chemistry is strong as ever, but as the ghost’s pranks threaten to put her grant out of reach, she must decide which is the greater risk: letting a ghost jeopardize her career, or falling in love with the man who could destroy her safe, stable life.
Warning: Contains lovesick ghosts wreaking havoc, an absent-minded professor with a repressed wild side, and a hunky paranormal investigator who’s decided the best place to start rebuilding is in the friend zone.
Me: Share with me one of your favorite passages from MUST LOVE GHOSTS. Why do you love this paragraph? What makes it special to you?
Jennifer: This exchange takes place between the heroine Tia, the hero Dec, and Billy, who’s a ghost and Tia’s great-uncle. I love this because Billy’s such a romantic and tells Tia what she desperately needs to hear, even if she’s not ready to believe it yet. She’s clinging to her theory that love is nothing but a biochemical cocktail meant to ensure the perpetuation of the species—a safe, clinical belief she hopes will protect her heart. And Dec loves her anyway. The first line is Tia’s.
“You think Dec is playing me.”
Dec’s face turned to stone.
“Like a trumpet.” Billy leaned back against the fireplace bricks, crossed his arms. “And you’re letting him because you’re in love with him, no matter how much psychobabble you use to deny it. That’s what love is. It reaches into your chest and rips your heart out and you don’t care because your heart doesn’t belong to you anymore. You’ve given it, and everything else you’ve got, to someone else.”
“We call that codependency,” Tia said, and Dec gave a bark of laughter.
Me: Wow! I’m already in love with this book. Can’t wait until it hits my kindle!
Do you want to win a copy of MUST LOVE GHOSTS?
To be eligible, just leave a comment–it’s that easy. On April 28th–release day–Jennifer will draw a random name from all those who comment to win a free copy!
Care to answer any of the questions I asked Jennifer?
Who’s your book boyfriend?
What author would you like to have dinner with?
What personality traits help and/or hinder your writing life?