Monday, February 17, 2014

My Writing Process (Blog Tour)

I was asked to take part of the “My Writing Process” Blog Tour by Tracey Livesay. Tracey is a good friend and fellow romance writer.  We were roomies at the Romance Writers of America conference last year in Atlanta and have been on author panels together.   

Her debut novel released just this month The Tycoon's Socialite Bride – so fabulous! Find out more info about Tracey at:

So here’s the scoop on My Writing Process, based on the four questions.

What Are You Working On at the Moment?
I am currently writing Book 2 of a 4-book romantic suspense series. The series centers around Omega Sector – a covert interagency task force, made up of the most elite agents our country has to offer. The stories are about each of the Branson siblings (three brothers and a sister) who are in some way tied to Omega. 

These books will be released in January, February, May and June 2015 by Harlequin Intrigue.

How Does Your Work Differ From Others in the Genre?
The challenge with Intrigue books – because they are category books rather than longer single-title stories – is that I have to make my stories compelling and emotionally gripping in 55,000 words, rather than 90,000 words. Fortunately, that’s how I prefer it.

It requires keeping the main things the main things, and in Harlequin Intrigue books the main things are suspense and romance. My books are not filled with dozens of pages of backstory or description.  They’re not riddled with secondary characters that slow the progress of the story. The hero and heroine don’t meet half way through chapter five. 

Because of the word count constraints, the action and romance have to start almost right away.  And then it’s my job to make the characters (and the dangers!) heartfelt and real to the reader. It’s a challenge, but one I enjoy. It requires conciseness and focus – I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Why Do You Write What You Do?
In two words: first kisses.

I can be a pretty cynical person, so many of my friends were surprised to find that I had written a romance novel – I think they more had me pegged for straight up mystery or maybe science-fiction.
But the truth is, I love to read romance. Not sappy or bodice-ripping or any of the ridiculous stereotypical labels that often plague the romance genre.  But a compelling story where a boy meets a girl – in which one, or sometimes both of them, are wounded by their past in some way – and they find strength in themselves and completeness with each other.

Mostly, I love that moment when a character realizes: Holy crap, I’m in love with this person. And everything in their world changes. 

Of course, because I write romantic suspense, I also get to throw guns and serial killers and bombs and crime syndicate groups into the mix. I don’t want to let the love come too easily!

How Does Your Writing Process Work?
Often, sadly, not very well. Four kids, a day job, training for an Ironman… life can get in the way.

My goal is 1000-1500 words a day, which is about  5-7 pages.  The key for me, I’ve discovered, is protecting my novel-writing time. First thing in the morning, after getting the kids off to school, I sit down at my computer and write the novel I am contracted to write.  Usually while listening to the music of Cody Westheimer (fabulous mood music, for whatever mood you’re seeking).

I do not turn on Facebook.  I do not have my email open.  I do not work on my blog. I write my novel. Only after the required word count is completed do I allow myself to move on to other things.

All of the last two paragraphs would be TOTALLY AWESOME  if they were true. 

But the truth is, sometimes Facebook is blowing up my phone by the time I wake up and I’ve just got to get in on that time-wasting.  Or I have to research some random thing like who created liquid soap and why. Or I have a student who needs to be talked down from the ledge because she failed a quiz. Or I want to look at the sales figures of my current novel. Again. In case they’ve changed since yesterday.

But I’m working on protecting my novel-writing time. It helps that I have four insane deadlines in 2014 – basically one book due every 2.5 months. That doesn’t leave much time to waste. So I better leave you now and get back to that.

Hopping onto the "My Writing Process" Blog Tour next week (2/24):

1) Amy Woods is a new author for Harlequin Special Edition. Her first book will release in September, 2014. A library science grad student, research assistant, and writer, she lives in beautiful Austin, TX with her husband and a very spoiled rescue dog. Find her on her website:, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

2) Sun Chara was shocked/surprised (in a fabulous way!) with her novel Manhattan Millionaire’s Cinderella First Prize Win in the JABBIC (Judge a Book by Its Cover) - Readers Choice/contemporary series. Hooray!

3) Maria Michaels writes inspirational romance for The Pelican Book Group/White Rose. Her debut novella is Harte's Peak, part of the Redemption Peak series. Find her at:

4) Jane Hunt returns to the My Writing Process tour next week too.  Her book, The Dragon Legacy, is available now. Find her at:


  1. So, who DID create liquid soap (and why)?

    1. Blahahaha. It's a quote from the 1985 John Cusack movie "The Sure Thing." I loved that film!!! But I have no idea who invented liquid soap, or why. :)

  2. Okay, you got me, too. Who created liquid soap? Great interview, Janie. And CONGRATS on being RT's Top Pick!!

    1. See my response above, but I'll have to Google it. :)

      Thanks about the Top Pick. I'm ridiculously excited!!

  3. LOL You crack me up, Janie! You had me going with your discipline and "get my words done first" thing. LOL Great blog. I'm so glad I asked you and that you said yes! :-)

    1. Oh man, I wish I had that much self-disciple. But I'm trying. Like we know, you gotta treat writing like a job if it's going to be your job!