04-24-2012 10:46 AM - edited 04-24-2012 10:48 AM
Congratulations on your first contemporary romance being published. You write like an old pro! Tell us a bit about the book, so readers know enough to follow my questions!
Thank you very much, I’m honored! THE FIREMAN WHO LOVED ME is the first book in the Bachelor Firemen series, which is based around a fictional California firehouse that may or may not be under a curse that dooms its firemen to a rocky road to romance. In this first book, Captain Brody falls for Melissa McGuire, a local news producer who can’t believe she’s being asked to report on a curse. Despite their wild attraction, both are wary of getting involved. It takes a meddling grandmother, a conniving news anchor, a huge fire and a bunch of sexy firemen to shake things up.
Firemen. Why are they so hot? Explain.
Where do I start? Firefighters are bona fide heroes. They throw themselves into danger for the sake of others. They’re physically fit, they’re technically skilled, they can cook (some of them), they’re fun loving, they look mighty fine in their gear, they have a very special bond with each other, they’re protective, daring, courageous, knowledgeable. And yet you see them working out, grabbing coffee, doing ordinary things. They’re both ordinary and extraordinary –the heroes next door.
And Captain Harry Brody in particular is quite attractive. What are your thoughts on him, and did you base him on any public servants you actually met?
Captain Harry Brody is a bigger than life leader. I adore him because he doesn’t lead by bluster or posturing or threats; he leads by sheer force of character, by his presence, by the respect he inspires. I’ve seen elements of that style of leadership – that natural-born, ingrained authority -- in a few people, but he manages to outshine them all, and look good doing it. I loved writing him and found him absolutely fascinating. He himself doesn’t know why he inspires such respect, but he takes on the responsibility without hesitation. There’s a saying, “With great power comes great responsibility,” that I wish everyone in a position of authority lived by. Often they don’t. But Brody does. He’s a man of honor down to the bone.
Melissa McGuire is such an appealing character. She’s got a few personality traits she’s trying to work on (challenging people comes to mind!) but overall she’s kind of an every-woman, with a good job and family obligations, a woman who’s trying to do the right thing and live a balanced life. Talk to us a bit about her.
I love the way you phrase that. She is an everywoman in the sense that she’s trying to make a good life for herself and take care of the people she loves. She wants to make a difference in the world, but she doesn’t see herself as particularly extraordinary. But she’s smart and persistent and once she learns to stand up for herself, she surprises everyone. She’s fought the odds to get where she is, and now she has to take another big leap in order to be truly happy.
Is Grans based on any people in your life? I want her to have her own romance novel!
Aw, she’d get a laugh out of that! Grans is the grandmother I wish I had. I never knew either of mine. But I based her on a few feisty elderly ladies of my acquaintance, women who have entered the stage of life in which you can do and say what you want. And she did have her own romance, which is still with her very strongly. It’s part of what motivates her to want the same thing for Melissa.
Can you give any advice or anecdotes about what it’s like for a first-time author? How long was this book in the works, and what kinds of feedback did you get on it before it was bought by Avon?
Being a first-time author is like strapping yourself into a rollercoaster and, as it picks up speed on the first down curve, suddenly wondering if you really passed the height test. Do you belong on this ride or are you going to get flung into the churro stand? You’ve put yourself to the test, announced to the world and to your publishing company that you can do this thing. Now you just hope it’s true.
I’m still in the begging-for-advice phase, but I’ll share the motto I’ve adopted. Whatever happens, keep writing. If you get a rejection, keep writing. If you win a contest, keep writing. That’s what you do, you write, no matter what. The ups and downs come and go, but if you follow that North Star – keep writing -- it’ll all work out. That’s my theory, for what it’s worth. My other piece of advice is to find a support group – other writers you can vent to and obsess with. Trust me, this will save your marriage/relationship/non-writing friendships.
I believe I finished the first draft of this book about five years ago, but it’s been through plenty of changes since then thanks to critique group members and contest judges. When I signed with the brilliant Alexandra Machinist, she thought it would be a good fit for Avon. It took Avon and my editor, Tessa Woodward, to see the potential for a series. I’m very grateful to Avon for really getting behind the books and bringing them to life with such great covers and so forth.
What’s next for the sexy firemen of San Gabriel?
I’m sorry to say that Ryan Blake, the station’s resident heartbreaker, is about to take a Captain Brody-mandated leave of absence. He has some growing up to do. But when he gets back to town, watch out. He wants his position back, even if he has to take a bartending job at the local dive while he proves himself. Little does he know what a distraction bar manager Katie Dane will be, but he’ll find out in
Hot for Fireman , out on May 29.
Of course I should mention that San Gabriel has female firefighters too. One of them has a huge secret, and when a new Training Officer from New York transfers to the station, all kinds of chaos is going to break out. That’s Book 3, SEX AND THE SINGLE FIREMAN. Suffice it to say there’s lots of fun, sexy romance still to come in San Gabriel.
04-24-2012 05:49 PM
I'm so thrilled to see Jennifer here - she's been a friend and, yes, mentor for years now and I admire her more than I can say. And that doesn't even count how much I love her books -- they're smart, fun, funny and so well-written. All I can add is, Congratulations Jenny! I'm so thrilled for you and all your new readers!
04-25-2012 11:38 AM
I've purchased this book for my Nook and with these reviews am looking forward to a great read...and a great series. I've noted the second one is out May 29.