Welcome to Romance Lives Forever, JE! Tell us about your latest book, including its genre. Does it cross over to other genres? If so, what are they?
Crystal Illusions' primary genre is mystery/suspense, however it does have a bit of romance intertwined.
My main character is an assistant district attorney in New York City who handles the sensitive subject of crimes against minors and she's never lost a case. Her knack for winning comes from more than just being a shrewd lawyer - Carolyn Hastings has a sixth sense to see into the victims and their attackers and can spot a criminal a mile away. However, her signals get crossed when a plague of nightmares depicting the city's latest serial killer shorts her circuits and now she doesn't know who is innocent and who is guilty.
What did you learn from writing your first book?
It was only after I found a wonderful writing community that I learned my first book was not up to par. My writing only engaged the visual senses and some auditory cues but beyond that – it lacked depth and breadth of senses along with any emotional connection. So I found some great editing partners and some kick ass writing classes and got myself on track. Now my writing is much stronger for it. So I also learned putting the time into the craft pays off.
Would you consider self-publishing?
Um, yes. Technically, I am self-published - through my own label. My first five books were published through a small e-press and when they changed from a formal publishing model to a co-op, I opted to jump ship along with another writer who I had done some editing for. Jason Halstead and I began talking and Novel Concept Publishing was born. We have a small but growing shelf and some insanely talented writers who took a chance on a new e-book house. We aren't a specialty shop but we seem to migrate more toward genre fiction - sci-fi, fantasy, horror, paranormal and supernatural, suspense and thrillers, which stands to reason since those are our forte.
How many hours a day to you spend writing?
Weekdays it ranges from three to five hours a night, of which about half the time is devoted to marketing and promotion and the other half is raw writing but it really depends on whether my children have extracurricular activities or not. I'd love to do more, but there are only so many hours in a day and ten of them are already taken with my day job. On weekends I'm more prolific – or at least I used to be – and most weekends I have a good twelve hour chunk each day devoted to author/publisher/marketing duties – but in the interest of life balance, I try to cut this down, especially during the summer.
How do you balance a life outside of writing with deadlines and writing muses?
As I hinted above, I'm not that great at balancing things. With me I'm all in whatever I'm doing so that has meant family life has been put on hold while I've chased my dreams. After five years, it's time to find a balance for everyone's sake. My kids deserve their mother back and my husband deserves his wife. Unfortunately, the complication of having a day job makes finding the balance a bit more difficult.
So what does all this mean? It just means that my titles will be more spaced out than they have been in the past. My muse hasn't disappeared, it's still as demanding as ever with story lines are still growing in my head, but now I'll just have to tame it into routine and carve out the right balance between all the things I'm juggling.
What are some jobs you've done that would end up in a book?
I interned and worked in television in my younger days and dabbled in film editing, assignment editor, news room camera operator, production, direction, sound master operator, and generally any other non-business role that you can think of in a local television station.
Since then, I've been in insurance and broker/dealer worlds doing system enhancements that the back office business wants in place. – I know, I just lost a ton of you with that – but it is what it is and encompasses that ten hours a day that I'm locked into for the time being.
I did leverage some of these in Survival Games – Jessica was a business analyst prior to being kidnapped and Ty works cameras and does video editing - among other things.
If I was a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why?
I would start with Vengeance because it's quite a powerful and fast paced book that gives the reader a good grasp of my favorite character Special Agent Steve Williams. Then I'd suggest following the series from there.
List two authors we would find you reading when taking a break from your own writing.
Cat Connor and Jonathan Maberry.
If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
On the beach – whether a lake house or the ocean doesn't matter, just as long as there is water and a place to take long walks.
As a child, what was your favorite thing about school?
Summer vacation. J
Tell us an embarrassing story that has to do with a pet. If you have no pets, a story about a significant other will do.
My husband was on a business trip and I woke to my German Sheppard growling in the hallway at the top of the stairs. With fear raking my form, I crawled out of bed and snuck into the hall. When I flipped on the stairwell light and peeked around the corner and started laughing. I had thrown the laundry down the stairs so I could get it in the morning. I mean tossed it, so the stairwell was lined with a few items of clothing and when my dog went to go downstairs, the clothing freaked her out.
Mind you, I never did that when my husband was home, but I was feeling a bit lazy and knew I had the morning to get it down one more level to the basement laundry.
Made me feel safe that my dog would react to something not normal in the house, but she was mortified with the mistake. At least she looked mortified…
If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
Danger – JET's muse may lead to situations where a night light becomes necessary.
As far as on a personal level – Warning, may cause laughter which can lead to loss of bladder control.
Hunting Season: http://www.amazon.com/Hunting-Season-Steve-Williams-ebook/dp/B004SBN80G/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1331004295&sr=1-9
Georgia Reign: http://www.amazon.com/Georgia-Reign-Steve-Williams-ebook/dp/B005KMLPH0/ref=sr_1_11?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1331004295&sr=1-11
Crystal Illusions: http://www.amazon.com/Crystal-Illusions-Steve-Williams-ebook/dp/B007JBWCIQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1331505187&sr=8-1
Please Fill in the Blanks
I love pizza with pineapple.
I'm always ready for a day at the beach.
When I'm alone, I like to watch scary movies.
You'd never be able to tell, but I'm really short.
If I had a halo it would be tarnished.
If I could hold a tune I'd sing.
I can never Reach the top shelves of our cabinets because I'm under five feet tall.
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