Jane Graves returns to the Lair!
Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Jun 21 2011, 5:32 am
interview with Suzanne
Jane Graves is the author of eighteen contemporary romance novels. She is a seven-time finalist for Romance Writers of America’s Rita Award, the industry’s highest honor, and is the recipient of two National Readers’ Choice Awards, the Booksellers’ Best Award, and the Golden Quill, among others. And I’m honored to call her my friend.
Suz: Welcome back to the Bandit Lair, Jane. Pull up a barstool and have a glass of wine while we catch up. It’s been a while since you visited us here. What have you been up to?
Jane: Thanks for the wine, Suz. I’ll have this glass of Cabernet while you sip your White Zinfandel. We do know each other well, don’t we?
For personal reasons, I took a break from writing for a few years. Fortunately, when I was ready to get back in the game, my editor was very excited and wanted to buy more books. Black Ties and Lullabies will be out on June 28, and Heartstrings and Diamond Rings will hit the shelves on September 27.
Suz: Black Ties and Lullabies is your third Romantic Comedy for Grand Central Publishing and it’s once again set in Plano, Texas. This time your hero is billionaire businessman, Jeremy Bridges. Many of your readers will remember meeting him in Hot Wheels and High Heels. How did he come to be the hero of this book?
Jane: I got more mail from readers wanting his story than any other character’s I’ve ever written. He was actually somewhat of a villain in Hot Wheels, but there was a scene at the end of the book that hinted that there was more to the womanizing multimillionaire than met the eye, and I think that was what readers picked up on. I’m so happy they did, because I wanted very much to write his story.
Suz: I fell in love with your heroine of Black Ties and Lullabies, Bernadette Hogan, on page one. She is a very unusual heroine and has a unique relationship with Jeremy at the beginning of the book. I’ll let you tell the Banditas and friends about “Bernie”.
Bernadette Hogan is a bodyguard, ex-military, who never met a firearm she didn’t like. It’s rumored that she once killed a man with a Popsicle stick, but she insists that’s absolutely untrue. It was a Q-Tip. She’s been Jeremy’s bodyguard for two years, and he aggravates her so much that if it weren’t for the outrageous amount of money he pays her, she would have quit a long time ago. If you read chapter one at http://janegraves.com/blacktiespage.html, you can get a sense of their rather unusual relationship.
Suz: Throughout this book, you had me chuckling frequently at both the internal thoughts of the characters and their dialogue with each other. Do you find it easy or hard to write the witty/snarky banter between the characters? Does internal dialogue come easy for you?
Jane: Writing snarky banter is second nature to me, because I’m a pretty snarky person. But in real life, even I have to draw the line somewhere. I can’t always say what I think. But my characters can, and oh, man, is that ever fun. It’s a blast to let them say things I couldn’t say in real life without getting slapped silly or arrested.
Suz: Since we’re on the subject of writing, you have a rather unique approach on writing a book. I know of only one other writer who does the same process as you. Care to let everyone in on the Jane Graves way to write a romance novel?
Jane: Okay, but I feel obligated to issue a disclaimer up front. DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME. It’ll make you certifiably crazy.
I begin writing a book by tossing down a whole bunch of dialogue, bits of scenes, exposition, whatever, that I can see possibly being part of the book somewhere in the 400 or so pages I’ll eventually end up with. Then I expand on those pieces at random until the characters start talking and the story comes to life. Then I try to zero in on page one, because I can’t sell the book until I can get proposal chapters written. Or if I’ve already sold the book, I can’t get paid for the proposal until those chapters are done. I like to get paid. But getting three consecutive chapters down in the very beginning? It just about kills me. Fortunately, the more I get to know the characters, the easier the writing becomes. Still, when I finally write The End, I invariably have at least fifty pages of excess stuff that ends up on the cutting room floor.
I hear other writers say they see the story in their head and just write it down. Consecutively. One chapter after another. I’m so jealous of people who can do that. It would make my life SO much easier. Then some of them go on to say that one of the reasons they can write so many books is that they type fast. Well, I type over 100 words per minute, but when I spend an hour working on a three-sentence paragraph until my eyeballs bleed, typing speed doesn’t really come into play.
I’ve been told many, many times that my writing seems smooth and effortless. That’s hilarious. If those people had any idea of how much I consider every freakin’ word that goes onto the page, they’d think twice about saying that. I’m actually not a very good writer. What I am is a pretty good rewriter. I just have the persistence to hit it over and over and over again until I get it right.
Suz: (Boy just hearing about that process exhausts me!) The next book in your future is Heartstrings and Diamond Rings. Can we have a little peek into that story?
Jane: The heroine is Alison Carter, Heather Montgomery’s best friend from Tall Tales and Wedding Veils. In that book, Alison’s dating disasters were well documented. In her own story, she’s still determined to find her Mr. Right, but she’s losing confidence in her own ability to find him. So she hires a matchmaker. But when it turns out that the matchmaker isn’t the kindly old lady she expects but her sexy young grandson, the fun begins. Heartstrings and Diamond Rings will hit the shelves on September 27.
Oh-I also want to let everyone know about a promotion my publisher is running for the month of June. They’re discounting the price of the e-book versions of Hot Wheels and High Heels and Tall Tales and Wedding Veils to only $1.99! That’s 75% off the cover price, so if you haven’t read those books yet, I hope you’ll consider picking them up! Check out the deal at http://www.janegraves.com/
And now a question for you. The original cover of Black Ties and Lullabies (the blue one shown here) was much more cartoonish in nature, a follow up to my two previous covers that were the same style. Then my publisher decided to go with a different look. They did a photo shoot and came up with the cover with the red dress.
Which one do you like better, and why? Also, there are a whole bunch of covers these days with headless characters. How do you feel about that? If you see hero’s and heroine’s faces on the cover, does it screw up your ability to imagine them for yourself? Personally, I feel a little sorry for the models-I wonder if their contracts include the fact that they’re going to be decapitated?
Those who comment will be eligible to win one of two copies I’m giving away. I have two sets of advance reading copies-one set for each cover-so the winners can specify which cover they’d like on the autographed copy I send!
Posted in Black Ties and Lullabies, Jane Graves, romantic comedy, Suzanne Ferrell, twins