Saturday, July 23, 2011

Q and A with Jaci Burton

I know I have been promising this for a few days now---but I have been stuck in my home with three children and NO HELP...ACK!

So, I sent a list of questions to Jaci and she was sweet enough to reply back. I had the honor to meet her when I attended my first RWA this past June in NYC--and it ROCKED!

Jaci was one of those peeps who was so down to earth-offered great advice-and she truly made my year.  Thank you, Jaci, for taking the time to talk to me and my friend Crystal - it means a lot to me.

1.Your new series, Play-by-Play, is about the hot men that play professional sports (football, baseball, and hockey). Are you an avid sports fan? If so, who is your favorite team? What kind of research did you have to do to make the writing authentic?

I’m a huge sports fan. I love sports of all kinds—football, baseball, hockey, NASCAR—you name it, I love it. My favorite teams are the St. Louis Rams football, St. Louis Cardinals baseball, and the Oklahoma Sooners college football teams. As far as research, there’s always a certain amount of fact checking that goes into a book, no matter what you’re writing. With sports, it’s player position, certain plays, making sure you call a game correctly, getting the sports lingo right. Even a die hard fan can get something wrong so you have to make sure when you’re putting it in a book that it’s accurate.

2.  I’ve read the first book of the series, ‘The Perfect Play’ (excellent, btw) and loved Mick. He was so sexy—and the romance was steamy-sensual. HAWT---Now, I’m reading ‘Changing the Game’, and Gavin has me holding my breath and my girly bits singing Hallelujah—By page 39, Gavin and Elizabeth have tickled each other’s fancy (Hah!) three times and I think I took at least three cold showers. I don’t remember the smexy times being that smokin’ in ‘The Perfect Play’.  Is this something that you, as the author, decide—or did Gavin totally take over and write the scenes himself? Do you think that there should be some build-up before the sex, or does it depend upon the character? Believe me, I am in NO WAY complaining ***smiling hard here**.

It totally depends on the characters. I’ve written books where the sex happens right away and often, and other books where the sex doesn’t happen until much, much later in the book. Sex always has to be right for the characters and their situation. It’s about their feelings, their emotions, and if it’s right for them at a particular moment, then great. If it isn’t, then they wait. I wrote a ménage book last year (Riding The Night) where, because of a past trauma the heroine suffered, sex didn’t occur until midway through the book. Like I said, it has to be right for all the characters.

3.  You have a lot of writers that are good friends; Maya Banks, Lora Leigh. In fact, you and Lora haven written several anthologies together. Is this something that developed between the two of you on your own? (“Hey, let’s write a book together”) or was that something your agents came up with?  The writing community itself is such a warm and accepting bunch of women. Is there any secret animosity, as with other typical jobs? If so, how do you deal with that?

I’m very lucky to have very good friends in this industry—people I know I can always count on. I’ve known Lora for a very long time. She and I had always wanted to do an anthology together, but as you can imagine, she’s an incredibly busy author. The opportunity finally came up for us to do one, with her Nauti books and my Wild Rider books. We got our agents together to iron out the deal with our publisher, and Nauti and Wild  came together beautifully. I’m so thrilled to be pairing up with Lora again with Nautier and Wilder.

**Release Date December 6, 2011

The most important thing to have in this business is good friends. I have several I trust and can count on—people who I know have my back and I have theirs. As far as secret animosity, I’m sure there’s some, but none has been directed at me. If it was I’d just ignore it. You can’t change how people feel. All you can do is your job and write the best books you can.

4.  Is there any genre that you have been contemplating writing about but haven’t done yet? Especially with paranormal being the rage these days, have you considered writing this particular genre? Or do you think that it’s too oversaturated?

Actually I’ve written in every genre out there with the exception of historical, so you name it, I’ve written it. I dabbled in a lot of different genres with my earlier work, and I had a mass market paranormal series released by Bantam Dell—the Demon Hunter series. I loved writing paranormal, but these days I really enjoy writing contemporary romance and romantic suspense. J

5.  I recently attended the RWA Convention in NYC (where I met youJ) and met some really great authors. Everyone was warm, friendly, and offered such great advice for aspiring writers (“Just sit down and write it”).  If we were sitting on my front porch, drinking some peach fuzzy navels, and talking about writing, what one piece of advice would you give me that HAS NOT been said.
It was great to meet you, too! Not knowing what advice you’ve already heard, I couldn’t speak to what hasn’t been said. The only advice I ever give is to take your writing seriously, because if you don’t no one else will. Writing is hard work and takes you working hard at it to be successful. This isn’t an easy business. It will wear you out and wear you down and take everything you’ve got. You’ve got to want it bad. But the fruits of your labor are an amazing thing if you’re willing to stick it out, so hang in there.

6. Is it THAT important to get an agent? What things can an agent do for an author that you don’t get with self-publishing? When in a writer’s career should she consider to get an agent and how does one go about finding one?
I think it’s important to get an agent when you feel the time is right to have one. And as an author, you’ll know when that time is. Navigating the contractual waters can be mind boggling sometimes, but a lot of authors have done it successfully without an agent for a long time. An agent and self-publishing are two different things, so one has nothing to do with the other. Typically if you’re going to self publish you’re going to do it without an agent. An agent gets you a deal at a publishing house, whereas self-publishing your book is done on your own, gets your book out there to readers right away—a do it  yourself process. And in answer to your third question, I’ll give you the same answer I gave in the first part—when you feel you need help managing your career, you’ll know it’s time for an agent.
7. Most writers recently use ‘playlists’ to help get them in the mood. Do you have a playlist? Or do you need ‘ultra quiet’ for writing?

    I can’t write to music. I love music, but can’t write to it. It distracts the hell out of me. My writing cave is the kitchen table, sometimes the sofa, and sometimes outside (when it isn’t 106 degrees like it is right now). The laptop is very mobile.
8.  Do you try to challenge yourself as a writer—write outside of your comfort zone-and what was the most difficult book you have ever written? I’m thinking of your book, ‘Riding the Night’ in particular where you have two men (AJ and Pax) with one heroine, Teresa, as the focus of this romance—a ménage. This was the first time you wrote such a taboo subject…would you do it again? And just HOW do you do research for such a topic>Invite a friend over?  LOL…just kidding.
Writing is always a challenge. Every time I start a new book, it’s a challenge, because these are new characters and a new storyline. The most difficult book I ever wrote was, in fact, Riding The Night, because I had to take a heroine who’d been through a very painful, traumatic past and put her with not one, but two men. At times I wondered if I could ever finish this book. It was the most difficult book I’d ever written, but I loved that book when I finished it, and was so proud of Teresa’s strength, and AJ and Pax’s gentleness and compassion for the woman they both loved.
I have written ménage scenes before, but this was the first ménage story I’d written. It was definitely difficult, but given the right set of characters, yes I’d do it again.
As far as research, there’s none involved. It’s all about the characters. It’s their story.
9.  What comes first in your writing—the story or the characters? Are you a pantser or a planner?
It depends on the story. Sometimes the characters will come to me first. Sometimes the storyline will. It varies every time. I’m a combination pantster/planner. I plan a very loose outline, then create the story as I go along.
10. Describe your typical day of writing-early morning, late at night, or when the mood hits you.
Sometimes morning, sometimes afternoon, sometimes evening.  Lol. Really, I have no set schedule, just a certain number of words I need to write per day.
11.   What was the first book you ever read that left you breathless—you know the one that you say to yourself, “Man, I wish I had written that”.
Oh, a lot of those books. I can’t remember the first book, but there are at least 5 or 6 books a year that leave me breathless. There are a lot of amazing authors out there who write incredible books.
12.   What author(s) is an auto-buy for you?
I have so many favorite authors. Nalini Singh, Maya Banks, Lora Leigh, Jill Shalvis, Shannon Stacey, Nora Roberts and so many more!

13. Your next release in the Play-by-Play series is titled, “Taking a Shot.” Can you give us a sneak peek or a blurb about it? What other things are in the works?

As far as other things in the works, the first book in my new romantic suspense series—The Heart of A Killer—will release in October. I’m so excited about my Killer series! Also, the second book in my Kent Brothers series—A Rare Gift—will release in December from Carina Press.

And here’s the back cover copy for Taking A Shot:

If you want to score, you have to get in the game…

The last thing Jenna Riley needs is more sports in her life.
While her brothers are off being athletic superstars, she’s stuck running the family’s sports bar, whether she likes it or not. Then in walks pro hockey stud Tyler Anderson. As much as Jenna would like to go to the boards with him, she’s vowed to never fall for a jock—even one as hot as Ty.

Ty, intrigued by the beautiful bar owner, becomes a regular. He senses that Jenna wants to do something more with her life. And as he gains her trust, the passion between them grows, as does Ty’s insistence that Jenna should start living for herself. With his encouragement, Jenna starts to believe it, too…

But first, Jenna has to figure out what she wants, what she needs, who she loves, and if she has the passion and pride to take a shot at having it all—including Ty…

Okay—now just for fun—silly, inane questions that have not one ounce of seriousness.

14.   Name only one –(hard to do, I am sure) of your characters that you would LOVE to sleep with—and why.(I can’t even pick just one—and believe me, I’ve tried.) (Right now, Gavin is at the top of the list)
The only man I love to sleep with is my husband, so I can’t answer this question. And my husband would give me the side eye if I answered it. ;-)
15. What heroine that you have written would you love to be?
Gina from Surviving Demon Island was a fierce ass kicker and to this day remains one of my favorite heroines.
16.   Give me your top 5 things on your “Bucket List”—things you want to do before you kick itJ
Visit Italy, since my grandparents were born there.
Relearn Italian, since I spoke it fluently as a child and can’t remember a word of it now.
Drive a race car
Take ballroom dance lessons
Take a road trip through every state in the U.S. since I haven’t seen them all

17.   What is the grossest food that you would never consider to eat—not even if someone paid you cash to eat it.  Favorite food and weakness-(Mine for the moment is Frosted Flakes cereal—damn that Tony the Tiger)
Octopus. Ugh.
Favorite food is pizza. I could eat it three times a week. Seriously.
18.   The one chore around the house that you LOATHE to do ( and secretly wish that Biker Dude would do it for you)
The awesome thing about Biker Dude is that he’ll do any chore I don’t want to do. But I really hate laundry, dishes and grocery shopping.
17.   Tell us one thing that people would be surprised to find out about you.
I cry very easily. I’m very tough, but seriously a marshmallow on the inside. Lifetime television movies, Disney movies, some episodic television, the news. At the drop of a hat I’ll burst into tears. Do not invite me to your wedding and God forbid to a funeral—even if it’s someone I don’t know.
Thank you so much Jaci, for taking time out of your busy day to do this for me. And I wish you the best of luck with your upcoming book----Changing The Game

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