Welcome back, Jeanne! So last week we talked a little about your writing journey. Your style, the years of sweat and doubt that you endured to get this far. Today, I’d like to turn to the fruits of all that hard work. Tiaras and spotlights, oh my.
What’s life (specifically your writing life) been like since the nomination, Jeanne?
JE: The nomination came in at the end of March, while I was still polishing Demon’s Wager. Soon after that, I started receiving manuscript requests from editors and agents as a result of the various contests I entered, so I wound up scrambling, trying to get it ready for prime-time.
I know you’ve been scrambling a lot since then. What’s happening right now?
JE: I’m working on plotting the next book in the series. I don’t have a title yet, which is making me a little crazy—it’s like families who call their youngest child “Baby”—for heaven’s sake, give that kid a name.
I think the royals wait a few days before announcing, so if they can do it, so can you (Tiaras and all). Tell us a little about your top three fav writers. Who has impacted your writing the most and how?
JE: Ouch, that’s tough. I’m going to give myself a break and limit my answer to the three romance authors who most impacted me. Jenny Crusie, definitely, though more as a professor than as a writer. (Her fiction is great, but having the opportunity to drink of her distilled wisdom was life-changing.) Susan Elizabeth Phillips because of the sheer likeability of her characters—even the unlikable ones. And Stephenie Meyer because, say what you will about the Twilight series, she crafted a narrative that millions of people found riveting. If it’s your dream to do that, it’s worth spending some time figuring out what she did that worked so well.
When you talk about writing it’s obvious you love it. What sends you the most?
JE: I love the Zone—when the voices become so loud, and so clear, it’s like you’re just a transcriptionist writing it all down as it transpires in front of you. Last August I was ready to give up on Demon’s Wager, to set it aside and start working on something else. Then, out of nowhere, the story was suddenly there, complete in my head. It took me two-and-a-half years to write the first 25,000 words, and 10 weeks to write the last 75,000.
Ooh, that’s wonderful inspiration for those of us going on two years and counting. What’s the plan for book two? Three?
JE: The next one (still looking for a title, all suggestions welcomed) stars a young woman named Georgia O’Keefe Blackmon. She comes from a family of serious artists, but she makes her living drawing caricatures of tourists in Sedona, AZ.
Her antagonist is a demon named Asmodeus. In the first book, he was the boy genius who ran the demonic bureau in charge of outfitting demons for Aboveworld assignments. He worships Technology and he’s convinced the proper tech can solve any problem. So it’s a clash between Art and Technology.
The final book of the trilogy will center on Lilith, a secondary character in both of the other books. Lilith was Adam’s first wife, molded from the same clay. He had a problem with the fact that she considered herself his equal, so he got rid of her. She wound up in Hell, where she met Samael, the love of her life, only to be separated from him, too. I’m going to see if I can get them back together.
Sounds awesome. Now, it’s time to get down and dirty. What do you plan to wear to the award ceremony in NY this July?
JE: With direction and help from one of the other 8 Ladies, I bought a navy blue, floor-length Adrianna Pappelli gown. It’s gorgeous. I’ve never owned a dress that glittered before.
I know you’ll be a knockout and the best-looking nominee there. So, what does it feel like to be a GH nominee? Do you and your fellow nominees talk about your books?
JE: At the beginning we each shared a two-paragraph synopsis of our work. We were also asked to share what we felt were our strengths, areas where we might be able to help each other. I said “plotting,” so one of the other finalists sent me her synopsis. I analyzed it and told her where I thought she could use some shoring up. I’m a plotting wonk.
Give us the backstage/greenroom scoop. What are the expectations of nominees? What events are planned?
JE: There’s an organization called The Golden Network that’s open to Golden Heart finalists from all years. They’re hosting a retreat on Wednesday, with keynotes and panels, featuring names like Dee Davis, Sarah MacLean, Kristan Higgins, Eloisa James and Robyn Carr.
Is it true dancing may be among the festivities?
JE: I heard that last year Samhain Publishing hosted an event that included dancing. I haven’t heard anything about this year.
Have you written your acceptance speech? If not, will you?
JE: Sometime between now and July 24th I’ll jot down some notes, because I’m the world’s worst extemporaneous speaker and if I do have to make that long walk to the podium, I don’t want to stare wordlessly at a room full of people until someone takes pity on me and drags me off the stage.
If you get stuck just move your lips. We’ll be applauding/screaming/whistling so loud no one will be the wiser. What are your after-ceremony plans?
JE: Going out with the Eight Ladies! Not sure where, but by the time the awards ceremony is over, I’m going to be ready for a lemon-drop martini, maybe even two.
Anything else you’d like to share?
JE: Just a thank you for having me here on the blog!
Our pleasure and thank you for giving us the low-down on the Golden Heart! We’ll be rooting for you!
Any questions for Jeanne before she hits the spotlight?