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  • Pages

An interview with Juniper Bell

  

Juniper, Thank-you for agreeing to an author interview today.

Thank you so much for having me! 

Can you tell everyone a little bit about yourself? 

I live in Alaska, but we’re hoping to move to Hawaii someday (we can dream, right?)  I spend my time writing, reading, tending to my stepchildren, doing yoga, and (these days) shoveling snow. 

How long have you been writing? 

I began writing romance and erotic romance about three years ago, but I was a TV writer before that. My first job was writing for an encyclopedia. So one way or another, I’ve been writing professionally my whole adult life. But writing fiction is the most fun, by far! 

What is your writing process like?  

It’s mysterious. It starts with a tiny wisp of an idea, then I set my mind loose on it and see where it goes. Sometimes I plot ahead of time, sometimes I free-wheel it. It depends on the story, and what it seems to want from me. 

Can you tell us about your newest release Doll?  

How about if I share the blurb, which sums it up perfectly! 

Even a plaything can be pushed too far…  

Chloe Barnes thought her marriage to a wealthy politician would be the stuff of fairy tales. Instead, he took advantage of her naiveté and used her as a plaything to fulfill his twisted sexual needs. Ten years is enough. She returns to Bellhaven Island to sell the summer cottage she inherited, hoping the money will buy her freedom—and custody of her daughters.  

Fisherman Dustin McDougal never forgot the childhood crush he once had on the fairy-like Chloe. The woman she’s become has a haunted look that brings his feelings back, stronger than ever…with a mature edge. Along with all his protective instincts.  

Their passion blows stronger than a Maine nor’easter, awakening Chloe to the joy of true love. Yet it may not be strong enough to free her from the past… 

The story-line for Doll sounds intrigue, could you expand upon how you came up with the story line? 

My family has a long history with an island in Maine, which is a romantic but rugged kind of setting. Visiting there always brings up a lot of emotion in me, and this story is all about deep emotion. A woman trying to free herself from painful memories and find some joy through sexual healing – the storyline came from a mood more than anything else.  

What are you currently working on? 

I’m working on my first historical – a Regency erotic romance called “My Three Lords.”  You can probably imagine what direction that one’s heading.  

Where do you get your ideas for your books?

Well, there’s this great new store … just kidding. I wish there were a guaranteed way to find ideas. Or at least, good ideas. They seem to pop into my head at random moments, I have no control over it.  Sometimes they’re good, sometimes crappy. I think the key is to remain open to what’s around you, and inside you.

As an author, you must be an avid reader. What books do you enjoy reading? Who are your auto-buy authors? 

I’ll buy anything Susan Elizabeth Phillips writes. I’d buy her to-do list, if she offered it! I’m kind of a binge reader. If I find someone I like, I’ll immediately and obsessively track down all their books. I’ve done that with Julie Garwood, Jane Feather, Georgette Heyer even Nora Roberts – and that’s a lot of books!  I went through an Elizabeth Lowell phase, a Lisa Kleypas phase, Lori Foster … I could go on and on.

What books are on your keeper shelf? 

Going back to childhood here: Little Women. Everything ever written by Jane Austen. The Chronicles of Narnia. As well as my later discoveries (see above.)

What was the first romance book you read or the one book that has stood the test of time for you? 

Two books made me want to be a romance writer: Sweet Revenge by Nora Roberts and Fancy Pants by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I loved them both so much, but I didn’t know they were “romances.” I just loved the stories, the happy endings, the characters, the focus on a relationship. My career took a different direction, but those books stayed with me, and later on I thought, hey, why not see if I can write one? They gave me so much joy, and I wanted to be able to do that for others.

If your book was made into a movie, which actors would like to see as the lead characters?  

Eek! I don’t think I could watch. But for the sake of the box office, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

If you could switch lives with one of your characters who would if be & why?

My characters tend to have troubled pasts, so I’m not sure I’d want to switch lives with them! Then again, they do have all that hot sex … I guess I could handle it for a day.

When you are not writing or reading, what do you enjoying doing in your spare time? 

I like to ski for very short periods of time, plan trips to warm climates, and play make believe with my five-year-old stepdaughter. (Talk about ideas! She has a million a day.)

If you could ask readers anyone question, what would it be?

What pisses you off the most in a book? Annoying heroine, obnoxious hero, dumb plotline? I really hope we get some feedback on this, so I can make sure never to do it!

Where can readers find you on the internet?

My website is http://juniperbell.com/. I also have a blog at http://authorjuniperbell.blogspot.com/. I’m always open to new friends on FaceBook, and I’m also on Twitter as AuthorJuniper.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog!  And — You Do Not Have to Wait, “Doll” is available as of Tuesday at http://new.mybookstoreandmore.com/shop/product.da/doll.

***Leave a comment answering Juniper’s question and one lucky commenter will win a either a digital copy of Juniper’s first book The Extremist or a gift bag containing an autographed cover flat of “Doll” and hot chocolate (that is mentioned in the story). Winner’s choice. Good Luck

Q&A (and contest!) with Meg Benjamin

Available now!

There’s no room in her life for love. Love has other ideas…

Konigsburg, Texas, Book 3

If Jessamyn Carroll had only herself to consider, staying in Pennsylvania after her husband’s death would have been a no-brainer. Her vindictive in-laws’ efforts to get their hooks into her infant son, however, force her to flee to a new home. Konigsburg, Texas.

Peace…at least for now. She’s even found a way to make some extra money, looking after sexy accountant Lars Toleffson’s precocious two-year-old daughter. She finds it easy—too easy—to let his protective presence lull her into thinking she and her son are safe at last.

Lars, still wounded from enduring a nasty divorce from his cheating ex-wife, tries to fight his attraction to the mysterious, beautiful widow. But when an intruder breaks into her place, and Jess comes clean about her past, all bets are off. Someone wants her baby—and wants Jess out of the picture. Permanently.

Now Jess has a live-in bodyguard, whether she wants him or not. Except she does want him—and he wants her. Yet negotiating a future together will have to overcome a lot of roadblocks: babies, puppies, the entire, meddling Toleffson family—and a kidnapper.

Hi Meg! Thank you for agreeing to do an interview today. Can you tell everyone a little bit about yourself?

I write about South Texas where I lived from twenty-plus years, mostly about a mythical Hill Country town called Konigsburg. However, my DH and I recently moved northwest of Denver. Just before moving, I retired from twenty years of teaching writing, Web design, and desktop publishing. Now I write more or less full time. When I’m not writing, I like to listen to Americana music, drink Colorado and Texas wine, and cook. I’m also getting to know my new home by taking excursions around the Front Range of the Rockies.

How long have you been writing?

It seems like forever—over a decade, anyway. I wrote textbooks and technical manuals as a sideline while I taught. I also tried to write mysteries, without a whole lot of success. I discovered romance around five years ago and have been working on it ever since.

What is your writing process like?

I’m pretty orderly. I like to do my plotting in advance so that I don’t have to worry about running out of ideas while I’m actually writing. I try to write a minimum number of pages a day, and I usually go over that. But if I have a really bad day, I know I at least got the minimum done. I’m flexible on time, but since I usually run errands in the morning, most of my writing takes place in the afternoon.

Can you tell us about your newest release Be My Baby?

Be My Baby is Lars Toleffson’s story. All the Toleffson brothers have moved from Iowa to Texas, and Lars had a pretty tough time of it in Wedding Bell Blues, where he broke up with his really awful wife, Sherice. Now he’s living in Konigsburg with his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, who needs a babysitter. The sitter he finds has a baby son of her own, and some serious problems with her late husband’s family, including an attempted kidnapping. Lars steps in and saves the day, becoming something new in romantic fiction—a heroic accountant!

Will we be seeing more of the Toleffson brothers in the future?
Well, there’s one more brother to deal with, Erik. After Erik’s story, though, I hope to go on writing about Konigsburg and the people who live there, with the Toleffsons and their assorted relatives and in-laws coming in as supporting characters. Now that I’ve gotten to know these people so well, I hate to leave them.

What are you currently working on?

On books 4 and 5 in the Konigsburg series.

Where do you get your ideas for your books?

From everywhere, really. For instance, I love to visit wineries and talk to winemakers, particularly in the smaller wineries you find in most states now. Since the Texas Hill Country is home to a large part of the Texas wine industry, it seemed natural to work it into a book, and once I’d done that, other things I’d seen—a couple of wine and food festivals, the ubiquitous weekend bikers who ride their Harleys around the Texas hills, some particular bars and restaurants in the Hill Country—just seemed to naturally slip into place. They’re all the next book in the Konigsburg sequence. And the ill-fated Christmas crafts fair in Be My Baby was the result of the various Hill Country crafts fairs I’ve visited over the years. Sometimes I’ll see something and think, “That would make an interesting story,” but more often I start working and then various things I’ve seen and done will start popping into my mind.

As an author, you must be an avid reader. What books do you enjoy reading? Who are your auto-buy authors?

I love romances of most kinds—contemporaries, historicals, and thrillers, in particular. I have lots of auto-buys: Mary Balogh, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jennifer Crusie, Loretta Chase, Barbara Metzger, Julia Ross, Elizabeth Lowell, Kathy Reichs. I also get a kick out of “cozy” mysteries, with Donna Andrews and Margaret Maron as a couple of favorites.

What books are on your keeper shelf?

My all-time favorites include Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels, Mary Balogh’s Slightly Dangerous, Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s Dream a Little Dream, Jennifer Crusie’s Welcome to Temptation, and Sara Smith’s The Knowledge of Water.

What was the first romance book you read or the one book that has stood the test of time for you?

The first romance novel I read was Linda Howard’s Dream Man. It was shelved with the mysteries in the library, but it was different from any mystery I’d ever read before, much more focused on the relationship between the hero and heroine than on the mystery. It made a huge impression on me, and helped me see what I really wanted to write. Actually, it was what I was already writing, which was why my books didn’t really work as straightforward mysteries.

If your book was made into a movie, which actors would like to see as the lead characters?

Well, all the Toleffsons look vaguely like the young Kris Kristofferson, so if I could have the Kristofferson of several years ago, as he was in Songwriter, for example, I’d go for it. And Docia has always reminded me of a great character actress named Suzie Plakson, who was Dustin Hoffman’s assistant in Wag the Dog.

If you could switch lives with one of your characters who would if be & why?

Docia, of course. She’s absolutely fearless, as well as being the kind of woman who makes men’s jaws drop. And she has a devoted sweetheart of a husband. What’s not to like?

When you are not writing or reading, what do you enjoying doing in your spare time?

I like cooking, and I’ve gotten better at it over the years, thanks to Cooks Illustrated and the Food Network. I’m not a baker, but I’m a pretty good all-around cook.

If you could ask readers anyone question, what would it be?

I always like to know what readers do and don’t like. So I guess that would be my question—what would you like me to do now?

Where can readers find you on the internet?

My Website is http://www.MegBenjamin.com/ I’m on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/meg.benjamin1, MySpace at myspace.com/megbenjamin, and Twitter at http://twitter.com/megbenj1 And I love to hear from people
at meg@megbenjamin.com

***Leave a comment answering Meg’s question and be entered for a chance to win a digital copy of Be My Baby. Good luck!

Contest Reminder – Win a Kindle

Angela James, Executive Editor of Samhain Publishing is running a contest and the grand prize is Kindle. You actually have two chances to win, she giving away two.

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Check out her blog daily through December the 12th for chance to win books, gift certificates to on-line stores, books, laptop bag, books, Austrailian gift pack, books, vera Bradley purse, books, fun promotional items, books and books.