Case Maynard: The Interview

YAA

I’m so excited to be doing my third YAA! Chat (Review:YA = Young Adult, A = Adult, ! = Excitement, Chat = Interviews, getting behind-the-scenes with other writers).

 Today, I will be introducing you to super-talented, Case Maynard and her debut novel with Blaze Publishing: THE SURRENDERED. Tomorrow, I will post my actual review. So stay tuned! 

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<—–This is CASE! Author of young adult fiction. When not reading or writing, she can be found binge-watching Netflix or watching NCAA football (Go Noles!)

surr

This is the AMAZING cover for THE SURRENDERED! —–>

INTERVIEW TIME:

The “Serious” Questions

JKL: The CLIFF NOTES version of your writing journey . . . when you started, etc.

CM: I sometimes think I came out of the womb reading a book. I can’t remember a time in my life that wasn’t full of stories—humor, romance, horror, bad guys, and good. With the end of each story, I was often left feeling that “book hangover” that every reader knows about. I hated for them to end and wanted more! Sometimes I would daydream continuations to the stories, creating new plots and introducing new characters into them. And it wasn’t long before I realized that I was actually creating stories of my own. I knew then I was a writer.

JKL: What authors inspired you to write?

CM: There are so many writers who I love and who inspired me to write. When I was very young, some of my favorites were Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, Francine Pascal, and Astrid Lindgren. As I became a teenager, my tastes in books changed, and I suddenly couldn’t get enough of Stephen King, Clive Barker, and Dean Koontz. Now, my absolute favorite author is Kresley Cole, but I also enjoy Monica McCarty, Sara J. Maas, Maggie Steifvater, and Marie Lu. There are really too many to name!

JKL: How do you pick your character names? (How did you pick Vera, Oliver, Cason’s names?)

CM: A lot of times my character names come from people who I actually know. For example, I have a great Aunt Vera, who is also known to my family as Aunt Vee. Another example would be Oliver’s character, who is loosely based on my son, Riley. When Riley was born, I wanted to name him Oliver, but my husband fought it. So I went with Oliver as his name this time around (and didn’t ask my husband’s opinion either lol)! Cason is actually the name that I chose for my daughter, Olivia—had she been a boy. It was a play on my own name, Case. John William, another character in The Surrendered, was based on my father, also named John William.

JKL: Are you a Plotter, Panster, or Staller (play on Facebook, Pinterest, clean, do tons of research…not much writing until the deadline is looming)?

CM: When I write, I generally just sit down and see where the words take me. I do normally have a broad idea of where I am going but don’t hold myself to any overall plot. I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my- pants type of writer! On top of that, I’m the world’s biggest procrastinator, so I often wait until the last minute to get started. Sometimes those two things are not the best combination of writing traits to have, but luckily, I work best under pressure!

JKL: Did you do anything weird while researching The Surrendered?

CM:All I can say is I hope that the government is not tracking my google searches. If they are, I have likely been flagged as a suspected extremist. While researching The Surrendered, I googled lots of information on topics like killing someone with herbs, ways that the government might fail under pressure, how to break someone’s neck, and how to live only off of the land. I need a special tag for my searches that let’s others know I’m a writer and not a terrorist!

JKL: Do you have any strange writing habits (like writing in the shower or writing under the covers at night?)

CM: Not really, but I do need extreme quiet while I’m writing. If anything is happening in the background, my head can start spinning. This is unfortunate because I have teenagers at home who are rarely, if ever, silent.

JKL: Which actors do you have in mind to play your main characters?

CM: I love to do Pinterest boards that depict actors and models for my characters. Some of the ones I have chosen for characters can be found at my personal Pinterest here: https://www.pinterest.com/casemaynard/the-surrendered/ 

JKL: What’s your favorite way to get past writer’s block?

CM: When I experience writer’s block, the best thing I can do for myself is to take a break from whatever it is that I am writing. I might take several day or even longer, binge watch some Netflix, or read one of my favorite books. Sometimes, you can be too close to a work, and you just need to take a step back and return later to reevaluate.

Are you an AM, PM, or ANYTIME I CAN writer? As I said above, I have to have complete silence to write which means, in my household, that my writing is mostly done early in the morning. Unfortunately, I’m not a morning person though. I would prefer to write deep into the wee hours of the night, but those are the hours my nocturnal teenagers keep.

JKL: What is your favorite quote?

CM: Passion, only passion, can elevate the soul to greatness.

—Thomas Diderot.

JKL: What do you crave when you’re writing?

CM: Solitude? A best-selling epiphany?

JKL: When writing with ink, which color do you prefer?

CM: Up until a couple of months ago, I would have said blue, but this really sweet friend of mine sent me some purple gel pens, and I absolutely adore them. The one downside to them is that everyone at work keeps trying to steal them.

The RANDOMNESS questions

Favorite accent: The sexy Scottish burr. Oh boy am I a sucker for a Scot.

Favorite party game: It, shit, or bullshit OR Drink, drank, drunk.

Favorite dessert: Coconut cream pie

Dream job: Trophy wife? Just kidding. Writer

Weapon you’d choose for a duel: Violence from afar suits me best!

Go to Karaoke song: Crazy by Patsy Cline

Song you’d choose for The VOICE: Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran or Not a Bad Thing by Justin Timberlake

Most interesting thing you could do with 400 pounds of cheddar cheese: Carve a sculpture? Maybe of some famous Wisconsin landmark.

Funniest thing to fill a piñata with: 400 lbs of cheddar cheese?

Pet pet peeves: Oh gosh, I have so many I don’t know where to start. Fairly OCD here.

Coffee or another type of drink and how do you take it: Coffee, with cream and Splenda

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And that’s it for now! Thanks for hanging out with us! Hope you enjoyed getting to know more about Case. Stay tuned for my review of THE SURRENDERED!

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April Wrap-Up

Another month gone . . .

Life-Happenings Summary: April was such a fun, exciting month! I went out to Amish country in Ohio with my mom and sister. Did some sight-seeing, shopping, eating at the CHEESE BARN (survived eating ghost pepper cheese…), and a little bit of research for a novel idea I’ve been working on. It’s about an Amish girl (17) . . . But that’s where the similarities between Amish fiction end. Stay tuned! Gonna be a fun one . . . hopefully!

On the 23ponmrd, I went with my partner in crime, Laurel, to the CHILLER EXPO in New Jersey. I got to see (looked around a corner at him after waiting in line for 25 minutes…) Alice Cooper and Weird Al, and got to meet the guys from CHiPs! They were all genuinely-sweet men. Really enjoyed chatting (being mauled by Ponch) with them!

Larry Wilcox = Jon Baker.

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Robert Pine (Chris Pine’s dad!) = Sgt. Getraer
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Erik Estrada = Ponch.

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Writing Summary: I’ve been busy working on a series I started during NANOWRIMO. I’m hoping to have the first draft done soon so I can get to editing!

Editing = LOVE

Exciting things coming in June: Last week I was introduced to a writers conference, UTOPIA. After some, but really not much–all the doors opened wide–finagling, I’m GOING to Nashville, Tennessee in JUNE!! It’s a long drive, but gonna be so worth it! I’m especially looking forward to meeting, and hanging out with, the wonderful staff and authors of Blaze Publishing! I’ve been able to connect with a lot of their authors through Facebook–seriously, go check out this publishing house (their new website logo is AWESOME!). Their second book comes out May 17th! Already ordered my copy! http://www.blazepub.com/

Reading Summary: I read 9 books this month. That brings my total to 28 for the year . . . only 72 to go until I reach my year goal of 100 books!

Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine: 2 STARS. This was a Snow White, Evil Queen, Huntsman twist. It pulled me in at first, but then I quickly lost interest and ended up skimming through just to get to the end. The characters were okay, nothing memorable.

Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell: 3 1/2 STARS. This was a neat, unexpected twist on Peter Pan and Captain Hook.

The Duff by Kody Keplinger: 2 STARS. . . I picked up this book after watching the movie. Must say that out of the two, I enjoyed the movie a lot better–there was more of a plotline. The novel, well all they did was have sex and try to keep that fact from everyone. I did like the ending of the book (but the ending of the movie I could watch over and over, I love their playful, friend-banter…and Robbie Amell…) . . . Overall, it was a quick read . . .

Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson: 5 STARS. I absolutely LOVED this book! The characters were well-written and spunky. It had a Scarlet Pimpernel feel with a hint of Robin Hood. This was the first book I’ve read by this author, can’t wait to read more!

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey: 4 STARS. This was the second book in the series. It picked up right at the end of the last story and continued on it’s merry way. Can’t wait to pick up the next book and see what happens next for all the characters.

Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly: 5 STARS. If you’re looking for a fun, fast read, grab this one. It was a riot! The characters were quirky and well-written and I laughed out loud several times at their antics.

A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn: 4 1/2 STARS. (Adult romance). I’ve read several of Deanna Raybourn’s novels, but this was definitely my favorite! A quirky heroine living in Victorian England + A murder mystery = FUN! Can’t wait to continue in this series.

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury: 4 STARS. I really enjoyed this twist on Aladdin (Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves). “Aladdin” made his wish to be a prince and marry the princess . . .  but what happens if ithe genie is female and he starts to fall for her instead? The characters were very well-written, and it had several twists and surprises along the way

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton: 4 1/2 STARS. This was a very unique and fun story. I loved the main characters and the journey they went on. Looking forward to picking up the next book in the series.

 

 

My 2014 Writer/Reader Year

2014 was an interesting year. I don’t remember half of it (loooonnggg 7 months story…) But what I do remember, has impacted me greatly, growing me as a person and as a writer.

PERSONAL: In the spring, I went on an impromptu trip (as “keep me awake as I drive” companion) to Michigan with this crazy-amazing woman/mother named, Sarah who I’d kinda just met (she locked me in a hotel room for three days, where I wrote like crazy!!)..and, as they say, the rest is history! I now have a BFF who gets me and has stuck with me on this rollercoaster year! So thankful! Also this year, my SUPER Editor got engaged, and I’m a bridesmaid. Shopping with her for her dress and playing mannequin for my dress, has been so much fun! Looking forward to the wedding in July, 2015.

WRITING: I spent most of this year editing, revising, rewriting, and brainstorming BOUND. I sent out at least 100 queries and several proposals to agents (Status: Professional Waiter). My editor and I worked so hard this year–sweawordst & tears–and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished…now to find the perfect agent who agrees! 🙂

In September, I finally joined a critique group. There are 5 of us, and it has been such an encouragement to spend time with these ladies. We’re a great mix of writing talent and knowledge–it’s been so helpful! Can’t wait to see what this year has in store for us! We’ll always have SKYLARK!!

In 2013, my boys started going to a new school, and I have to pick them up every day. This put me in the path of Laurel Pardo–a VERY talented author who writes super-awesome TV scripts (Horror/mystery/paranormal—SOOOO out of my genre of quirky, witty YA fiction). Fast forward….Laurel and I are great friends, and recently partners! As I write this post, I’m in the process of adapting her scripts into a full-length novel! Stay tuned to meet Eli Toler–the cemetery Restorer!! So honored to be a part of this project!

I also worked on my other WIP’s…and got a few new plot ideas…So many ideas….:

  • Taken: “sequel” to BOUND–Main characters: Dillon Xanthis and Marisa Hale (YA Urban Fantasy)
  • Endicott: Main Characters: Endicott Keary (Cinderella’s best friend) Della Bentley (my cinderella), Daved Bentley (Cinderella’s Brother), Prince Cyril, Princess Keturah (YA fantasy/steampunk series)
  • Acacia: Main Characters: Acacia Mitchell, Samara Bethany (YA paranormal Series)
  • New Creation: Main Characters: Cayce Thornton, Marco Brooks (YA Christian Fiction)
  • Lines Crossed: Main Characters: Marianne (TBA), Chris (TBA) (Christian Adult)
  • Flip-Flop Kimmi in Tap Shoes: Main Character: Kimmi Joy Harper (Middle Grade Novel)

EXTRA BLESSINGS: In addition to all the ones above… 🙂 Through Facebook, I connected with SO many amazing people/authors who have blessed my life with advice, books (WINNER OF GIVEAWAYS!!!), friendship, and encouragement in my writing journey. This year, I also got to be a part of several editing/promotion projects! I did several book reviews and 2 YAA! CHAT interviews on my blog–hoping to do more in 2015!

I read and reviewed A Christian Writer’s Guide to The BooK Proposal by Dave Fessenden. My review was published!

Stop! Before you even write one word, read this book! Author Dave Fessenden makes the case that the proposal should come first, and that writing it can actually be enjoyable. Dave’s invaluable wisdom saves countless hours of Googling “How to write the killer book proposal.” It gives writers the how-to and examples they need to catch the editor’s eye and nail down the ever-elusive publishing deal.  –Janelle Leonard, novelist, and blogger at The Writing Life: behind the Scenes with an Author of YA fantasy

Through a dear writer friend, I connected with Oliver Dahl–got to read and help with some edit/thoughts for his novel LIES Lies(My name is in the acknowledgements!!) Check out Oliver’s website: http://www.thedreamersadventures.blogspot.com/

One of my greatest joys, is helping promote and encourage other writers toward their dreams–love seeing them accomplish something that they’ve worked so hard for.

Shout out to: ** Michelle Weidenbenner:   http://randomwritingrants.com/

**Olivia Stocum:  http://www.oliviastocum.com/

READING: I didn’t read as many books as most years, but what I did read this year definitely had an impact on who I am as a person and as a writer. Here is list of my 10 out of 10 coffee cups awards:

bookTV

YOUNG ADULTbookAG

Crash Into You & Red at Night & Dare You To Katie McGarry

Skull Creek Stakeout Eddie Jones     

Out of Easy Ruta Sepetys

bookRS    Splintered A.G Howard

Spies and Prejudice Talia Vance   

 On the Fence Kasie West

The Queen of the Tearling Erika Johansen 

ADULT

This year has been one of the BEST reading years for Adult fiction! I discovered, and fell in love with the:

Brain-tweaker, heat-felt stories: Katherine Reay

https://janelleleonard.wordpress.com/2014/11/08/lizzy-jane/

BookKRLizzy & Jane

Fellow Jane Austen (& Arrow) fanatic: Mary Jane Hathaway

https://janelleleonard.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/yaa-chat-mary-jane-hathaway/

BookMJ2 BookMJ BookMJ1

Swoon-Worthy, quirky, & fun: Nicole Deese

https://janelleleonard.wordpress.com/2014/11/22/interview-with-nicole-deese/

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Also loved this novelization of The YouTube series The Lizzy Bennet Diaries:

The Secret Diary of Lizzy Bennet Bernie Su & Kate Rorick

BookBK

NON-FICTION

BookJAHBookKIThe Jane Austen Handbook Margaret Sullivan

A Christian Writers Guide to the Book Proposal Dave Fessenden

How to Adapt Scripts Into Novels Rene Gutteridge & Cherly McKay

RE-READS

Cinder Marissa Meyer, Pride & Prejudice Jane Austen,

Emma Jane Austen,

Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets J.K. Rowling

Last but not least . . .

DISTRACTION: I discovered I-should-be-writing-but-I’m-watching-yet-another-episode TV showsarrrow

Arrow (Absolutely love Felicity and her babbling ways!)

 The Flash

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

Firefly (WHY did it take me soooo long to watch this???)

Witches of East End

YOUTUBE: The Lizzy Bennet Diaries & Emma Approved

Well, that my year in a nutshell review. Thanks for journeying with me on my blog and my writing life! So appreciate ALL of you!! Here’s to 2015 and all the amazing BOOKS waiting to be read (and written).

The Waiting

HELLO!!!

Yeah….it’s been awhile since I’ve been on here. Sorry, if you’ve been waiting…but you can join my club. 😉

The rest of the 5K editing involves lots of encouragement, pain, and joy. But, persistence finishes the race and the editing. I’m so close to crossing my 5K editing line, at least on this project. It’s been a long but inspiring ride! Thanks for tagging along.

AUTHOR UPDATE: I’m still in the waiting phase, but I’ve been very ACTIVELY waiting. Edits are flying in from my editor, and ideas on how to make my novel even better, are abounding. The waiting can be an exciting time when I stay busy. 🙂 And….good news, I’m now waiting to hear from 2 agents that have shown interest!! So, in honor of this waiting, here’s a song that I’ve been singing. Thank you Jamie Grace for putting words to my situation.

5K Editing: Mile 1 to 1.5

You’ve crossed the starting line. You’re off and running, surrounded by hundreds of runners. It’s a little congested, and you feel like you might trip over someone. But you don’t, and little by little, it thins out. Runners start passing you, and you even pass a few. You round a bend. There’s a clock—you’ve only been running for 2 minutes, and you’re not close to the one mile marker…But you’ve committed to run without stopping until the halfway point. You’ve got this!

Your running buddy starts to pick up speed, moving a few paces in front of you. You know you’re holding her back. You yell for her to just go! She flies ahead and is soon out of sight. You wish she’d stayed with you, but you know that this is her first race and you want her to do the best she can. Besides, you’re both going to reach the finish line—even though it’ll be at different times. You smile and let her go …

**Pauses to sing (Admit it, you can’t read or say that phrase anymore without singing it!)

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You stop singing just as you reach the one mile marker. The time has you grinning. If you can keep that time up for the next 2.1 miles, you’ll beat your time. You go down the hill, remembering it from last year. The halfway mark is coming up.

WATER BREAK! YES!

Mile 1.5! You’ve reached the halfway mark! You stop running to drink your ice cold water—but you’re still walking fast. You finish the water, toss the cup, and then begin running again–setting a pace that you can keep until the finish line!

5K EDITING

Your editor finally read your whole novel. SHE LOVES IT, and can’t stop thinking about it, even days later!! She tells you that the beginning and ending need to be reworked . . . But great news: Your middle doesn’t sag!!

You get to work. It seems to take forever to get the first three chapters just right. You write, rewrite, rearrange, divide, and take out lines that you love (but add some wonderful new ones) . . . You work until you both feel it’s been thinned to “perfection.” Now you’re off! Edits are coming in faster–you happily notice that there aren’t as many edits to be added. You feel great.

A great friend moves ahead in her writing career! She’s publishing–seems to be flying ahead. You cheer her on, telling her to go!! You don’t get mad or jealous, you just keep plugging along with your edits. After all, you’re both going to reach publication—even though it’ll be at different times.

You’re almost to the halfway point of your novel!

CELEBRATION BREAK: You’re amazing editor gets engaged! You’re soooo thrilled for her, but your book gets set aside for awhile. You stop editing so you can hang out, ogle over wedding magazines, try on dresses (her dress and your bridesmaid dress!!) share ideas . . . SMILE . . . SQUEAL . . . DANCE!

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After a time of your “celebrating-detour”, you’re both refreshed and ready to get back to the editing! You can do this!

 

5K Editing: Before the Starting Line

This year (since the last 5K) has been filled with agent hunting, rejection letters, networking (I’ve connected with several amazing authors!) editing, editing, and EDITING–with the exception of November when I wrote 66,000 words for NaNoWriMo. I’ve learned and incorporated several techniques that have greatly improved my writing. I love learning. Love the editing process. Yes, there were days when I wanted to quit, but I kept in mind that all the editing was just taking my WIP from good to GREAT!

I’m going to break up this 5K series a little differently:

Before the Starting Line

Mile 1 to Mile 1.5 (with water break)

Mile 1.5 to 3

Bonus: .1 Miles

Crossing the Finish Line & Beyond

BEFORE THE STARTING LINE

It’s your second 5K. You quickly fill out the paperwork  and send it in. You decide you should actually train more for this one. You get a running buddy who tells you she wants to run in the 5K with you!

The day of the race arrives. You’re excited. You’ve been here before. You know what to expect. You know you can do this…after all you did survive last year! You think about last year’s race, reliving the agony and the feelings of accomplishment. You gear up. Sneakers: Check. Running Uniform: Check. Several water bottles: Check. Check. One Running Buddy: Check…Oh, surprise, her brother wants to run too! You all pile in your van, chatting excitedly, and drive to the race. This is going to be great!

You set goals again:

     1. Don’t be last.

     2. Don’t die, get injured or throw up.

     3. Run more than you did last year.

     4. Beat your time from last year!!

You can’t wait to get started! But . . . It’s taking forever. The race was supposed to start at nine, but it’s already way past that. The megaphone guy hasn’t told you to go to the starting line. WAITING . . ..

WAITING . . . .

WAITING . . .

While you wait, you drink water (which cause you to visit the Port-a-Potty 5 times). You talk a lot because you’re nervous and just want to get going. You join your running group for picture time–Which you confidently and happily walk over and pose for. You’re a real runner, of course you should get your picture taken!

(Can you find me? 🙂 )

And then . . . YEAH! The megaphone guy finally woke up. “All runners to the starting line. Race starts in 5 minutes!”

5K EDITING

Your novel is done! You go back through it with a purple pen and a highlighter. You know your novel–you’ve been here before. It’s fun to relive the story and laugh at lines you totally forgot about. But as you read, you realize you should probably hire an editor to give you “fresh eyes.”

CUTTING IN HERE: I’m sooooo blessed to have 2 amazing editors! LaJoie and my dad…I know what you’re thinking. “Your dad won’t be tough on you! He’ll think every word you wrote is wonderful!” Well, my dad is tough, and I so appreciate it. (My dad is a very talented writer!) He told me that he was scared to read BOUND because he didn’t want to have to tell me to take up knitting. But then he did read it….and was surprised at how much he LOVED it!! It was an interesting journey. Dad read BOUND out loud to me. To hear him read from the POV of a 17-year-old girl: Priceless (And super embarrassing at times…especially the kissing scenes! *BLUSHES) BONUS: having a guy’s perspective on male dialogue is awesome! All my guys sound like guys, thanks to my dad!

You search for the perfect editor. You find one and send her your novel. You start to get nervous. What if she hates it? Days go by . . .

WAITING . . .

WAITING . . .

WAITING . . .

While you wait for her response to your words and answer: You write up a query letter and a proposal and then edit those several times. You read and write. You send out letters to agents…You get rejection letters. You get your professional author photos taken. Because you are a REAL author! (Have to be prepared for when you make it!)

And then . . . The editor sends you a note. She read your whole novel and loves it! She can’t stop thinking about it, even days later. The best news, she agrees to become your editor!

LET THE EDITING PARTY START!!

YAA! Chat with Mary Jane Hathaway

Introducing Mary Virginia Munoz, or as her books like to call her:

MARY JANE HATHAWAY

JL: I’m sooo excited to have you on my blog today. Thanks for agreeing to be the first interview on YAA! Chat. And thank you for donating for the book GIVEAWAY!

MH: Thank you for having me, and I’m absolutely honored to be your first interview!

JL: Before I start the questioning, I just wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you, and I’ve seriously fallen in love with your books!! I like LOVE all things Jane Austen, so of course I had to read your Jane Austen Takes the South series. Boy was I in for a pleasant didn’t-get-much-else-done-for-the-rest-of-the-week reading spree. Your books aren’t merely entertaining twists or retellings of the classics. Yes, they have all the main hero/heroine, major plot points, themes, love story, and ending, but the journey to get there is a refreshing, very well-written surprise! And I must say, you definitely win the TASTEFULLY HOT award! Especially for Emma, Mr. Knightley and Chili-Slaw Dogs! *Cue self-fanning*

Some “Serious” Writer Questions

JL: Where do you get the inspiration for your character names?

MH: Ohhh, so funny you ask. I take their names from the books in front of me on my desk. Franklin Keene is from my Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books, for example.

JL: I absolutely love your covers! Who designed/inspired your them?

MH: I have about 3 different versions on my covers. The first version was a stack of books, which did NOT scream romance, so that was very confusing for some readers. I got reviews that said, “I thought this was a history book about food”! The next cover was very pretty and simple. The first professional cover was through the Killion Group. And these are by Howard Books. They have a great design team!

JL: What’s your favorite way/method to get past writer’s block?

MH: Dishes. And take a hot shower. Something about NOT being able to write anything down unlocks that place in my brain.

JL: Did you do anything weird while researching this series?

MH: I actually like to try out all the food my characters might be eating, so when I’m working on an Austen takes the South book, we eat a lot of interesting dishes! And I like to watch a lot of documentaries.

JL: Do you outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you? (Plotter, Pantster, or my favorite, Staller (You play on Pinterest, facebook, clean, do tons of research—not much actual writing until deadline time…LOL)

MH: HAHAHAHA! I haven’t heard that one! I’m definitely more of a Panster, but with a twist. After I write the scene, I scribble in a big map I have. I write down who, what, where, and when. Then I step back and see how it matches with what happened before. I might move it, but it gives me a good idea of what’s happening next… even though it’s backwards.

JL: Which actors/actresses do you have in mind to play your main characters?

MH: Ohhh, someone asked me that once and I had no idea. I don’t really watch many movies, but I see Shelby as tender-hearted girl with a tough exterior. I’ve seen Sandra Bullock play a character like that and she was just perfect. Hardnosed and funny, then so vulnerable she made me weep! And I used Richard Armitage’s picture for inspiration with PPCG. For me, he can look very serious and dour, when on the inside, he’s actually feeling something else. He has a good “make my day” face.

 The Randomness Questions

Favorite accent: I LOVE the New Orleans accent. *swoon*

What do you have on your fridge door?: Lots of kid art! I try to put ‘to do’ lists there and they just get covered with art.

What’s your favorite joke?: “What’s green and has wheels?”

“Grass. I lied about the wheels.”

What was your last dream about?: Hm. I have no idea. I don’t sleep much, and when I do, I don’t think I dream! But the last one I really remember was being in a giant house and trying to round up all my kids. Just when I’d get four or so, I’d lose a few and start looking again. I’d get close to getting them all together, but never quite finding all of them in all those rooms. Very funny…

Favorite party game: Quelf! My kids make me play it and I laugh my fool head off.

Would you like to build/design your own house? What would it be modeled after?: Interesting question! When we moved to our house, we had one child. It had two rooms and one bathroom. Ten years later we had six kids and it STILL had two rooms and one bathroom. Yikes. So we recently built on and that was a very fun/frustrating project. We had to interview contractors and make plans. If we had to start from scratch I’d definitely build up, not out. My husband likes the ranch style homes, while I prefer stairs and levels.

When writing with ink, which color do you prefer?: Thick black.

Choose a movie title for the story of your life: Cheaper by the Dozen, haha!

What color is your toothbrush?: Purple

What’s your favorite quote?: I love quotes. I have hundreds of them written down. But one of my favorites is from Anne Lamott about writing:

“I’ve managed to get some work done nearly every day of my adult life, without impressive financial success. Yet I would do it all over again in a hot second, mistakes and doldrums and breakdowns and all. Sometimes I could not tell you exactly why, especially when it feels pointless and pitiful, like Sisyphus with cash-flow problems. Other days, my writing is like a person to me― the person who, after all these years, still makes sense to me.”

I loved that and it resonated with me because I feel like the whole process of writing and creating and publishing is very personal, and each process is different. I look back at how I wrote a book and when, and it seems that time is a blessed one for me, as if I was meeting and learning about a dear friend the entire time.

JL: Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

MH: Just that this is probably the funniest interview I’ve ever done! And thanks so much for having me on your blog!

JL: So glad you came over! 🙂

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All right, readers: Leave a comment for a chance to win Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits (signed!) and Emma, Mr. Knightley and Chili-Slaw Dogs (signed!) I’m giving away 3 copies of each, so if you can keep your friends from coming over to the blog, you might be able to get all of them to yourself!!