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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Author Interview: Jana Richards

The Long and the Short of It: LASR is very pleased to welcome Jana Richards, who has two short stories in the soon-to-be released The Cupid Diaries: Moments in Time.

Jana shared with me she had tried her hand at creative writing, but never really found what she really wanted to write—until she read her first romance. "That first book was full of suspense and danger with a wonderful love story and amazing characters. I was definitely hooked."

She usually starts with an idea—a "what if" question. For instance, in her current work-in-progress, she wondered what it would be like to have a second chance—an opportunity to go back in time and do things differently the second time.

"Then I started to think about the kind of person who would need a second chance, especially a second chance at love," she explained. "What circumstances had led to this character losing the love of his life the first time? Who was the love of his life? Why did she leave him? What time period would my hero go back to? What setting? And exactly how do you travel back in time? By asking and answering these questions, the plot and the characters start to come life for me."

This paranormal time-travel WIP has a working title of "Twice in a Lifetime." I asked Jana to share a bit about it.

"Frank Brennen is an old man living in a nursing home when he’s visited by an angel who gives him the opportunity to go back in time for a second chance at love. She takes Frank back to 1944 to Plymouth, England just before the D-Day invasion. Back to Claire, the English beauty he’d loved, who betrayed him with another man. Frank can’t imagine how anything can be different the second time around, unless he’s able to save the life of his best friend Cal this time. But Angelica the angel tells him he can’t change history, only his reaction to events. She urges him to give Claire another chance by keeping his heart and his mind open. Can he find his way to true love this time?"

Another story she's working on is a contemporary romance. "My heroine, Bridget, moves back to her small hometown after both her business and her marriage fail. Her teenage daughter is acting out, she and her mother are at odds, and her sister has revealed some of her secrets to the town gossip! Bridget feels like a big, fat failure. At her absolute lowest point Bridget is reintroduced to Jack, her high school boyfriend and first love. Bridget discovers that things she always believed about her family aren’t necessarily the truth. And she also discovers that the embers of her old flame are still burning bright."

Jana usually goes with a theme-based title or something in the book that suggests the title. In her book Her Best Man, Sarah falls in love with the best man at her wedding—after her groom dumps her at the altar. In Burning Love, her latest release from The Wild Rose Press, the hero is a firefighter and the heroine is prone to setting fires. The novella opens and closes with a fire. "And I like it's the name of an old Elvis song," she added.

"After causing three cooking fires in her apartment, Iris Jensen finds herself homeless. She lands on Riley Benson's doorstep, looking to rent a room in the beautiful old home he's restoring. It's only for six weeks until Iris leaves Portland, Oregon for her new job on a cruise ship. Firefighter Riley knows exactly what a bad tenant she can be. But he needs money to finish the work on the house he loves. And something about Iris pulls at his heart…

"Meanwhile, in Heaven, two angels watch over the young lovers. Angelica and Hildegard work in Heaven's Relationship Division, where angels match mortals with their soul mates. The angels believe so strongly in Iris and Riley’s love that they break Heaven's rules to help them. Can the the angels convince them their love will last a lifetime before time runs out?"

I asked her to describe her writing space.

"This is kind of embarrassing because my writing space is somewhat unorganized. Mostly I write in a corner of a spare bedroom where I have my desktop computer. Being a packrat/unorganized/messy person, my desk is covered with papers and notes, and all manner of stuff. I also have a laptop that I take from my dining room table to my bedroom to the deck when the weather’s good. I keep saying that someday I’m going to be organized and neat but unfortunately it hasn’t happened yet."

There are many things Jana finds hard about writing a book.

"Making sure I have an interesting plot and a solid and believable conflict. Creating characters that jump off the page, and ensuring that the sexual chemistry between them consumes them and the readers. But for me, probably the hardest thing in writing a novel is keeping all the threads from unravelling," she revealed. "All the plot lines need to be kept straight. Sometimes by the time I get to the middle or the end of the story, I can’t remember what color my hero’s eyes are supposed to be. Or what his brother’s name is. Hey, I’m lucky if I can remember my own name by the time I finish a book!"

On a personal note, some things you might not know about Jana:

She has cried through so many movies, she never goes any more without tissue. She also cries during sappy commercials.

Her favorite pizza? "I love ham and pineapple, loaded with cheese. But I’m also crazy about pepperoni and mushroom. Oh, let’s face it. I’ll eat pretty much any kind of pizza."

She feels scientists should invent a pill that instantly makes you lose weight and gets you fit and healthy.

She's terrified of thunderstorms. "When it comes to thunderstorms I’m a total wimp. During storms me and the dog head downstairs and lock ourselves in the family room. It has no windows and so if I close the door we can’t hear or see the thunder and lightening."

To read more about her dog, Lou, check out the short story on Jana's website: "A Dog Named Lou". You can keep up with Jana on her website, http://www.janarichards.net

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