Anyone who leaves a comment and emails me (e.ayers at ayersbooks dot com - no spaces) with Ask Me Again in the subject line will be placed in a drawing for a free copy of my upcoming novella Ask Me Again when it is released.
Thank you so much for having me, Janet. It is such an honor to be on your blog. I've always considered you to be a very special mentor and a wonderful author friend.
1. What's your genre or do you write in more than one?
I write contemporary romance with strong mainstream elements. Life is what influences us and I bring that into my writing. It's very slice-of-life, the romantic slice. But I'm toying with the idea of writing some historical novellas.
2. Did you choose your genre or did it choose you?
It must have chosen me, about the same way that my characters choose me. Once I started writing contemporary romance, I was hooked.
3. Is there any genre you'd like to try? Or is there one you wouldn't?
I love to read historical, but I'm panicked about writing it. I'm trying to write a few historical novellas to go with my River City novels.
I admire people like Roberta Gellis. She set the bar so high for today's writers by being accurate, yet she writes wonderful stories. History in school would have been much more fun if we'd been allowed to read Roberta Gellis instead of boring textbooks.
4. What fiction do you read for pleasure?
I love a cozy mystery, but I don't stick to one genre. I read to relax and enjoy a little escape from my life. As long as I'm entertained, I'll keep reading the book.
5. Tell me a bit about yourself and how long you've been writing.
Seems like I've always been writing. But about twenty years ago, I got serious about writing novels and wrote several manuscripts for young readers who are good readers. I had no clue how to publish them or even how to submit to a publisher.
A friend's daughter is a romance writer and she convinced me to write romance. After her arm twisting, I wrote one and submitted it to a publisher. That book was rejected, but the editor loved the story. I got the nicest rejection letter. I wasn't certain if I wanted to cry or dance on the ceiling. Then I got to meet that editor-in-chief about a week later in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She spent almost an hour talking to me about my manuscript. I had violated every romance rule. (There were rules for writing romance?) So she marches me over to the wonderful Janet Lane Walters and says, "Teach her to write it correctly because she's very good with the tale."
One treasured, autographed How to be Your Own Critique Partner, a few online classes with the authors of that book, several more classes, lots of workshops, and what feels like a million rewrites of that first rejected manuscript, and Wanting is now a real book and the first in my River City series. It's been a marvelous journey, and I've learned so much along the way.
6. Which of your characters is your favorite?
That's a tough question. I think we always fall in love with our characters as we write them. I adore Ari. He's my hero in A Challenge. He works hard to be an alpha, but he's more of a beta. In my mind, he's my best-looking and so far, my warmest and most loving hero.
My favorite heroine is Dallas from A New Beginning. Her blue-streaked hair and odd style show her uniqueness, but it's her personality and perseverance that I admire. She has a fresh quality about her and a vivaciousness that shines through. Talented and intelligent, she needed her hero to set her free.
7. Are there villains in your books and how were they created?
This is a tough question. I'm going to have to say yes. When I started writing, I didn't think about the fact that I had a villain or villains. And since I don't write suspense, I want to say no, but … a villain is a villain. None of them are tying Pauline to the railroad tracks, but a villain can make the hero or heroine's life miserable. We all have one in our life. Either we work with one, live in the neighborhood with one, or worse, he or she is a family member!
I believe that most people are good people. But there are people who don't care about anything other than themselves. They don't care who they hurt to get what they want. And I can't keep them out of my novels.
8. What are you working on now?
Ask Me Again is a novella which will be released before the end of the month. It's undergoing all those last minute things. I'm also polishing my still untitled wounded hero/recluse story which should be released in late February or early March. Plus I have two River City characters begging for keyboard time. My muse so wants to write that story.
9. What's your latest release and how did the idea arrive?
A Snowy Christmas in Wyoming was released in Nov. and I used the knowledge that I had of a blizzard that hit a friend's ranch in Colorado. That family's daily struggle stayed in my head and came out in A Snowy Christmas in Wyoming. It's not just a Christmas story. It's a tale of finding love, saving a herd, sharing the same family values, and small town prejudices.
10. Tell me about your latest book and how it came about. Include the opening of the book.
Ask Me Again is a product of my normal matchmaking. I never think in exact terms when characters form. It's all very foggy at first, but then it takes shape. So what would bring a grown man home and force him to telecommute? What kind of a job would he have that would allow him to do such a thing? Why would he come home and not another sibling? All these things roll through my mind until they settle into a realistic, cohesive storyline.
Every family has its own dynamics, every family has its problems, and parents have secrets, too. Unfortunately, most all of us will cope with a dying parent during our lifetime. As we face these kinds of life altering events, our perspectives on our own lives tend to change and it forces us to think about what is important.
Rob Miller's life is on overload! His business is thriving and his life was in fast forward until he is called home to deal with a family crisis. The last thing on his mind is romance, but when he bumps into Torrey Timberlake, he has to re-evaluate his priorities. She might be the best thing to happen to him at the worst of times. Will she be the one to help him pick up the pieces?
Here's the unpolished sneak preview!
"Mom, I need to stretch my legs. Do you need me to pick up anything from the grocery store?"
"Oh, Robbie, I do need several things. Let me make a list for you," Marion Miller said to her son as she grabbed a sheet of paper from a magnetic pad that hung on the refrigerator door. A minute later, she handed him the list. "I put your favorite cereal on here."
He looked at the name of the chocolate and marshmallow cereal and shook his head. He couldn't believe they still made the sugar-laden puffs that he once ate. "Mom, are you going to eat this? Because I don't eat it anymore."
"Well, son, if you want something else go right ahead and buy it. I want you to be happy while you're here. Let me give you some money for this."
"Don't worry about it, Mom, I've got it covered."
Kissing his mother on the cheek, he strode out the back door, and headed for his car. Rob wanted to tell her exactly what would make him happy, but there was no point, it would only upset her, and she didn't need more stress in her life.
When he reached the supermarket, he grabbed a cart, and examined his mom's list. He intended to do some serious shopping. He went through the produce section picking out a variety of fruits and vegetables.
His mom's list contained several basic items such as coffee and he easily found most of them as he wandered through the aisles. He grinned as he picked the box with the large K that his mother had listed, and then turned his attention to the top shelf where the whole grain cereals were lined up. One promised great taste. He read the list of ingredients and added it to his cart. Squirrel food.
He should have done this when he had first arrived home and not waited three weeks, but he hadn't wanted to hurt his mom's feelings. It wasn't that he didn't enjoy a home-cooked meal, but he tried to eat healthy foods, and his mom was feeding him like a growing teen.
Just as he turned to the next aisle, he caught a glimpse of a slender blonde about his age. She looked familiar, but he hadn't even attended a high school reunion, and the names of classmates were escaping him. T...uh. T-T, it begins with a T. It isn't Tammy. Darn it! Why can't I remember?
He told himself to stop worrying about it. Most of the women his age were married with kids. What would he say anyway? 'Hi, remember me? Remember Mrs. Fisch? Wasn't she the worst math teacher?'
He pushed the cart along at a steady clip looking for pasta. I've seen Dan, Bill, and Butt a few times over the years. Who would name their son Butler? Wouldn't they know it would be shortened to Butt when he got to school? And where are they hiding whole grain pasta in this store? Deep in thought, he almost plowed into the blonde.
"Robbie? Robbie Miller?" the woman asked.
"Yes, and I'm very sorry, but I can't remember your name. It starts with a T?"
"Torrey Timberlake. Well, it changed to Snyder, but I changed it back to Timberlake after the divorce. I'm sorry. That's way too much information." She blushed as she stared at him.
Torrey Timberlake? "No, not at all. I guess I haven't seen you since graduation. You look wonderful." Oh, have you changed!