AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: JESSICA JARMAN
Spend a minute with Joyfully Reviewed and Jessica Jarman…
What is your most current work out?
Coming Home, Book One in Angel Lake, now available from Resplendence Publishing
Tell us a little about Coming Home, what inspired you to write it?
This was actually the first real book I started to write. It’s been with me a long time. I started it when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, who will be 13 this summer. I just had this story, this family, in my head and felt the urge to write it down, so I did. And I fiddled with it again and again through the years. Finally, earlier this year, I pulled it up on the computer and just dove into it. It was amazing to me that even though my voice had changed significantly through the years, I still adored the characters and the story. I am beyond thrilled that it is now published.
Here is the blurb for Coming Home, which is the first book in my Angel Lake series which revolves around the Monroe family:
Coming home for Gabe Monroe isn’t a joyous occasion. He returns to say goodbye to his father, and he stays to honor his father’s final request—take care of the family. He’s completely unprepared for the attraction he feels for his sister’s best friend and blames his grief when he gives in to it. Gabe tries to put things right. Kate is practically family, and he promised his father he’d take care of her. However, Gabe is pretty sure taking Kate hard and fast against any ready surface wasn’t what his dad had in mind.
Kate Pearson thought she was over her childhood crush on Gabe, but his return has all those feelings rushing back. Add in the toe-curling, mind-blowing sex…and Kate is well on her way beyond just a crush. Despite his constant meddling and insistence that they need to keep things platonic, he makes her tremble with desire and yearn for forever with him.
Even as Gabe begins to accept their blossoming relationship, Kate’s past casts a shadow over their future as they realize he isn’t the only one who’s come home.
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
A little of both, I think. I used to a die-hard pantser—no plotting for me, thank you very much! That has changed a bit. I usually have the story pretty well plotted in my head, and find it helpful to jot notes down, a sentence or two describing each scene. However, I know with certainty I’ll veer off the “outline” in one way or another before the book is done. A lot of times it is because of what the characters dictate. I realize that he or she wouldn’t react a certain way to a situation, that I need to change something to stay true to the character.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
I have always loved romance, period. Strong heroes, heroines I can identify with, the happily ever after… all of it just makes me happy. I didn’t start out writing erotic romance. That was something that evolved. I didn’t want to shut that bedroom door. I knew what was going on in there and finally realized that I needed to write that too!
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
Seth from Tease Me, Please Me. He was a secondary character in a couple of books and he always intrigued me. He has this balance of angst and snarky humor that just does it for me. And he’s hot too, so what’s not to love!
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
Finley from Shadows of Fate which is with Total-e-Bound Publishing. This was supposed to be Ciarra and Leilen’s story, I had it all in my head and it was just perfect. Then suddenly there was Finley—Ciarra’s long-time lover. Um…what was I supposed to do with him? LOL This wasn’t a ménage, darn it! Well, apparently it was. So, here was this guy, who definitely wasn’t going anywhere, and I had to figure out how he fit in the story, with these two characters I’d paired together so perfectly in my head. It was tough, but now, I can’t imagine one of those characters without the other two.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
I don’t ever deliberately base a character on someone from real life, but I think it’s inevitable that my characters will have traits from people I know. It could be a character’s sense of humor or a little quirk. I don’t have any really funny stories, I’m sorry to say. The most humorous thing, I guess, is when someone thinks I’ve based a character on them. It’s usually not the case, but if it’s good things they’re identifying with, I just let them keep on thinking that. LOL
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
Finally an easy question! I didn’t have to think about this one at all. Balance, hands down, is the thing I struggle with the most. Balancing my writing with all the things that pull at me in everyday life. Balancing writing and time spent promoting, social networking, etc. I have horrible guilt. When I’m writing, I feel like I should be doing something around the house or with the family…and vice versa. LOL I’m getting better at it, but I have much room for improvement, believe me.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
I’m afraid I’m not that complex or interesting. LOL Um, I’ve only officially dated one man. We’ll have been together 17 years this summer, married for 15 of those. Incredibly lucky to have found a keeper first try! (don’t know if that surprising, but… LOL)
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Yeah, I’m addicted to Doctor Who. There, I said it. My comfort is I am not alone. I share this addiction with several awesome friends. I’ve bonded with people on Twitter over our Doctor Who love. And bless him, my son shares the overwhelming fascination with the nine-hundred and some year old Time-Lord and indulges in Doctor Who marathons with me when I’m between books. (Bunny note: Tanya the interviewer is also addicted to Dr. Who!!!!)
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don’t flow?
I’m pretty flexible. For years, I wrote with little ones running around, so if I only had 15 minutes to write, I wrote hard for those 15 minutes. I typed one handed quite often while holding a baby. I do like to have something to drink beside me, preferably something with caffeine, though I’m trying to make it water more often now.
But really, as long as I have my laptop, I’m good to go.
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
Music absolutely influences my writing. It also helps me tune out what is going on around me. We have a pretty chaotic household, and music playing in my ears is definitely preferable to the bickering or the television blaring or just loud conversations. It’s also a great signal to the family that I’m writing, not just checking email or playing around on Facebook. If I’m on the computer with earbuds in, I’m working.
I don’t make playlists for my books. I’ve tried, but then find I spend more time on that than actually writing, and that is not a good thing! I prefer to listen to instrumental music when I write, because I will get distracted by lyrics. LOL I have a lot of soundtracks/scores from movies, like Pride and Prejudice, Braveheart, Last of the Mohicans, Pirates of the Caribbean, and many more.
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
This is a tough one. I’ve never imagined actors as my characters so I’m drawing a blank here. Though imagining one of my books as a movie is a fun thought! I’m going to have to ponder this one now. LOL
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
I was at home alone with the kids. The acceptance came via email and I was holding the baby, so I did a quiet little butt wiggle in the chair. Then, after putting her in her crib, I called my husband and I think I actually squealed in his ear. Luckily he didn’t mind.
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
I think I was about 11 or 12. My mom had bags and boxes of Harlequin and Silhouette romances she’d gotten from my grandmother, and I devoured them. And never stopped.
What is your favorite genre to read if you have time?
I really enjoy paranormal romance. Vampires, shifters, magic… You name it and I eat it up!
Do you have an all time favorite book you have read? written?
Oh wow, I don’t think I could just name one book. I do have some comfort reads—those books I’ll pick up again and again. The In Death series by JD Robb, Julie Garwood’s old historicals (The Gift, Saving Grace, etc), Nora Roberts’ romances, Shelly Laurenston’s Magnus Pack books… And I’ll stop there, ‘cause I really could go on forever!
Favorite book I’ve written so far? I’d have to say my vampire series, Into the Shadows.
Particularly the most recent, Tease Me, Please Me. I love Seth, as I mentioned above, and writing his story was one of the best writing experiences I’ve ever had.
If you still have one of those pesky day jobs what is it?
I’m a stay at home mom of four. That is a full time job in and of itself! Luckily, the kids are all school-aged now, so writing is much, much easier! I used to work at home as an editor, but recently left to focus on my writing.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
I’m finishing up book 2 in the Angel Lake series, Losing Control, and there will be 2 more books to follow in this series—one book for each of the four Monroe siblings.
Also, I’ve just plotted out new vampire trilogy and am super excited to jump back into a paranormal story.
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”?
I’m lucky in that no one has actually said these things directly to me. Sure, I have moments of annoyance when I read these type of statements or hear about them. My career is just as valid as anyone else’s. I work hard at what I do and am very proud of my books. The fact there are readers out there buying my books and other romance, that’s enough for me. That’s all the validation I need. And those readers are who I listen to, not the naysayers.
Where can readers find you?
And for the silly side – What is your favorite type of chocolate?
Shockingly, I’m not a huge chocolate person. Though when I do want chocolate, I usually go for dark chocolate—I pretend it’s healthy for me.