AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: BILLI JEAN
Joyfully Reviewed would like to welcome Noble Romance Best Selling Author Billi Jean. She has graciously agreed to answer the bunnies favorite questions.
Silver’s Chance is my most current work out. The story is the second in the Sisters of the Moon series, but falls before Midnight Star. I’ve heard it explains a bit more about the immortal world, the characters in it, and gives a full back ground on Silver and Derrick – since it is a story about the two of them. Noble Romance Publishing has also contracted me for two more in the series: A Spartan’s Kiss and Golden’s Rule.
Tell us a little about Silver’s Chance what inspired you to write it.
Silver’s Chance started as a story about two sisters – twins – separated at a point in their lives and how they survived apart. Silver is full of guilt – feeling as if she were to blame for her sister’s abduction. More, she feels as if part of her resented Susanna and because of this, when Susanna goes missing, Silver hunts for her non-stop. Or almost. She finds one very sexy Lykae who complicates her life, but in the end helps her come to terms with her failure to find her sister.
I think I am drawn to stories about sisters. Sisters can be so complicated – well, families can be complicated, but sisters – there’s just something about sisters that draws me to write about them. I have a historical series on the back burner about sisters – three of them – and three stories. The twists and turns, misunderstandings, and just plain emotions in play between sisters interest me, I guess.
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
I do a little of both. If I’m deep into another story, and this happened with Silver’s Chance, I took the time to plot the story out, and went back to Silver’s Chance. But, with Silver’s Chance, I got stuck at a point and couldn’t seem to find the right ending for Silver’s story – she is hunting for her sister – but if you read the story, you see she and Derrick have a HEA, but her hunt for Susanna is a HFN. That was a sticky point for me, and when I couldn’t get out of that sticky situation I picked up Star’s story in Midnight Star and wrote that without finishing Silver’s story! It was a tangled mess, to be honest. I was attempting to write two stories – well, if you count Midnight Star, three – at once! I tend to have my character’s lives intersect. I think in real life we aren’t in these mini-vacuums where we never touch our lives with others, but in fiction, those intersections are hard to write from story to story. A Spartan’s Kiss has several scenes where we see Tabithia’s POV in scenes from Silver’s Chance. I hope it works. I’m keeping them short, but I know how I am if a scene overlaps from book to book, I got get the first book and read the same scene….lol!
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
Fantasy. I wrote in the fantasy genre before I found paranormal. I read fantasy for years. I love it. Now I have what I consider the best of both worlds – romance and fantasy. Some of the stories further on in the Sisters of the Moon will occur in a more ‘fantasy-type’ realm. I hope my readers like these little dips into something different.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
Well, Ranger was fun. Star was too. Both gave me their story without the complications I ran into with Silver and Susanna. Those two were driving me nuts, and BAM, there was Ranger giving me the real story between him and Star. He’s a real hero. And Star is so sweet, but deadly. Great peeps, if you know what I mean.
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
Tabithia. She was hands down the toughest. She still is. I wanted her to be seen as the tough person she is, not the insecure, scared person she sees herself as. After all, it’s when you fear something and still do it, that you’re brave – at least in my mind. Tabithia was and is a favorite though. Her sarcasm and bravo hide so much, and there is so much waiting for just the right person to help her release – and when Aeros is there for her, she practically bursts free. Aeros is simply the best for the job. Unlike Ranger, Aeros tries very, very hard not to make mistakes and is very successful. He simply has the knack for not making mistakes, or else he simply is so in-tune to Tabithia, he does the right thing by instinct. He has one goal when he realizes how fragile Tabithia is and that’s to make her feel as beautiful as she is, and as well loved as he can – and he gives that is full attention.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
Mmm….well, some of the characters might have some of the personalities of people I’ve met, but not completely. I mean, I write paranormal most of the time and the characters are strong, they have to be. If I do draw from real life, it would be more along the lines of characters I see in movies! Ha.
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
I think the hardest part of writing is the editing process. I find that editing my own work, I miss so many little things. It’s difficult. My dyslexia kicks in and I often use the same word over and over, and can’t see it. Each time I write, I check for over used words, but sometimes it’s not overused over 300 pages, but it might be a page full of one word used over and over. Silly stuff like that.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you?
I love to punch a heavy bag….
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
What do you need before you start writing?
Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don’t flow? Time to myself. That’s about it. Oh, and my room cleaned.
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
Yes, absolutely. For example, Tabithia’s aunt, Trouble? She has a theme song that pretty much developed her entire back story! Adele’s Someone Like You.
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
Ohh….lol. I am so not good at names and actors, actresses. Let me see….Ranger would have to be Gerald Butler, I guess. And a very beautiful blonde for Star. I have pictures in my OneNote notebook, but I didn’t save actress/model names. Sorry!
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
I was at home, and I called my CP, Elizabeth Moore, then my mom, then an ex boyfriend! My son and daughter were here, so they were freaking out with me. I do that every time – not call the ex, but everything else – each contract!
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
Oh…I snuck a romance novel when I was thirteen! And wow it was hot. Then I didn’t read romance again until 7 years ago!
What author causes you to “go fan girl”/ squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
Samatha Kane was accosted at Lori Fosters in the elevator. I was so flustered I was speechless and stumbling over words. Nicest woman ever. She sighed my book!
If you still have one of those pesky non writing jobs what is it?
Oh…well, I am a teacher.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
My current projects are two more installations in my Sister of the Moon series. A Spartan’s Kiss is the story of Tabithia and Aeros. The next will be Golden’s Rule, the story of Beauty and Torque – who dropped in at the tail end of Silver’s Chance. I’ve also signed a contract with Totally-E-Bound for a contemporary, Running Scared which releases on March 22nd, 2012. Russell, ex-SEAL, now rancher meets up with a pretty little beach babe in his small town in Montana and the sparks fly pretty fast and hard. I’m hoping Running Scared will be the first of many in my new contemporary series: Love’s Command.
If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
Oh….Elizabeth Moore and I are planning a little something but not for a few more books. Maybe in 2013? She writes some very, very hot stuff – and we both have paranormal, so we thought the two worlds might collide.
How do you pick your characters names?
I usually look up names with meanings, but some characters simply come to me.
Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
I prefer the steady growth. I can’t rush love, maybe I do, but if I do, then there is some kind of kick in the head or sadly, heart, before there can be that feeling of finding the right one.
What is your reaction to people who say one of the following…”Oh you write romance, I thought you were a real writer”, “Romance isn’t a real writing career” or the ever popular “Oh, one of those books”.
Or, like my mom, “You write smut!” LOL. I simply smile and say yes. Heck, have they written a book or published it? I worked for years in academia, and believe me, I sell more even as a new author, than those stodgy old folks. Boring. Yep, I grin and keep quiet but I’m not worried or offended. After all, have they written anything?
Where can readers find you?
I’m over at International Heatwave Readers chatting it up with the ladies. I’ve got a blog called Reading, Writing and Romance My facebook is Billi Jean and I’m on twitter at Billi_Jean2
And for the silly side – What is your favorite type of chocolate?
Oh my god, I just had a dark chocolate with chilies and pumpkin seeds in it! Amazing. Amazing. I know sounds weird, but it was a nice change. Usually I go for dark milk chocolate or dark chocolate. See’s Candy is the best though!