At what point did you decide to be an author and what was your path to publication?
I think this is something I’m deciding to do every day – it’s like maintaining a relationship. Either you care for it, or you don’t. Either you put in the work…or you suffer the consequences! Fundamentally I started writing because I loved telling stories in my head and I needed an outlet. And then I came to a place where I had more time on my hands and could finally devote myself to taking this hobby seriously. I wrote Gun for Hire very quickly, and then spent close to a year in rewrites until I felt I had a good version to submit. I submitted to…so many agents. I think if I were to ever count how many I’d cry, so I don’t bother. Because at the end of the day, all it took was one agent, Sharon Belcastro, and her wonderful assistant, Ella Marie, to believe in me. And all that failure just became practice for when the right moment came. It took Sharon and Ella Marie over a year to finally sell the manuscript to The Wild Rose press. I found out the week after my daughter was born, which was one of the most exciting and daunting moments in my life.
What do you do when a new idea jumps out at you while you’re still working on a book? Do you chase the squirrel (aka “UP syndrome”) or do you finish your current project first?
I never knew this phenomenon had a name. Um, YES, I chase the shiny object. It’s probably a horrible habit, but I write because I love to write; I love to dream up stories. And not chasing down those thoughts, or moments of inspiration, would be like denying who I am as a person. I have more 6 chapter books than any reasonable person would, but I love those moments of discovery.
What are some books or authors that you would recommend to our readers?
I adore Jennifer Crusie and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I think if I were to ever meet them, it would be one of those horrible embarrassing moments that would live with me forever. It’d probably involve submissive peeing and incoherent rambling, seriously. That’s how much of a writer/girl crush I have on these ladies. Jennifer Crusie’s Bet Me is maybe the best romance novel I have ever, ever read. Just do yourself a favor and pick that one up. You will never look at fairy tales the same way again.
Describe the book/series in 10 words or less for people who are just learning about it.
Stephanie Plum meets Hawaii 5-0. That’s only 5 words, right? I’m an overachiever.
Is there anything you would like people to take away from your book?
I say this everywhere I go, but I hope I make someone’s day a little more fun, or a plane ride feel a bit shorter. My favorite authors have accompanied me in some of the most boring circumstances of my life and they’ve turned it into something…magical.
What has been the toughest criticism you have received as an author? What has been the best compliment?
My writing friend, Mary Cain – who is a marvelous editor, by the way – is my toughest critic and my biggest cheerleader. She can cut right to the core of a problem with plot or grammar. And therefore, her compliments are just sublime. Because I know she’s telling me the truth.
Share some advice for aspiring authors. What advice would you give to your younger self?
I think every creative person who reaches any level of success will pass through moments of severe self-doubt. Because unless you’re really hanging yourself out there, you’re probably not making progress. As Stephen King wrote, and I’m paraphrasing here, good writing is when what’s on the page is absolutely as true as you can make it. And the truth is hard, and sometimes it’s scary and a lot of times, it hurts. So just remember, it hurts and it’s hard because it’s supposed to be that way. Growing pains. Embrace them. Also, wine and chocolate help.
What is your take on book boyfriends? Do they actually exist? Or do they set the bar for “real life men” impossibly high?
This is an amazing question, thank you for asking it. It’s something I think about all the time…and I guess the conclusion I’ve reached is that these traits and characteristics exist in the best men. But because we live in real life and sometimes the kids are sick, and the car breaks down, and someone loses a job and then the furnace breaks, in the same freaking week, none of us is our best self all the time. But do I look at my husband and still see flashes of all the wonderful things I love about my hero, Grady? You betcha. But yeah, sometimes he has to take out the trash, too.
J.J. will be awarding 5 ebook of Gun For Hire to randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the RaffleCopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here.
The job should have been easy—patrol a swank beach that serves as a backyard for Maui’s rich, kick out the riffraff, and get a tan in the process. But rent-a-cop Samantha Winters didn’t anticipate a deliciously grumpy cop, Sergeant Grady Roark, who comes down to the beach to bust her chops and instead leaves her breathless…and wondering why the one man who could help her seems determined to thwart her at every turn.
Grady is keeping secrets from Sam that have him walking the line between attraction and duty. But when Sam becomes the target of a shadowy organization, Grady will have to choose between the law and the temptation of a woman who has him breaking every rule he’s ever known.
The job should have been easy, but when the bullets start flying, Sam learns nothing is as easy as it seems when you’re a Gun for Hire.
Amazon | The Wild Rose Press
J.J. MONTGOMERY writes romantic suspense novels with a sense of humor. Her heroines are as smart as they are smart mouthed and the men in their lives are just trying to keep up. Gun for Hire is the first book in J.J.’s Maui Heat Series.
If you’d like to know more, including info on her newest book, where she gets her ideas, and how it’s possible she can’t use Facebook, please visit her:
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