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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Contest and Interview with Jane Graves

I LOVE when I find an author who has been out for awhile but is new to me. I'm especially excited to find Jane Graves because her books have all that I look for in a great read, romance, humor and great H/h. 

Check out Jane's web-site
Naughty DHi Jane thank you so much for your time. I have to admit Black Ties and Lullabies is the first book of yours I have read, but it won’t be the last.   In BTAL Jeremy is pretty much a set in his ways, he’s a playboy, a bit of an arrogant jerk and self-centered. Bernie is tough talking, take no mess off of anyone, not very feminine independent woman. IMO you took a chance creating two types characters that aren’t typically reader favorites on their own and put them together in the search for their own HEA. What inspired you to create such a difficult match?

JaneActually, Jeremy and Bernie made their first appearance as secondary characters in Hot Wheels and High Heels. Yes, Jeremy was arrogant. And self-centered? Absolutely! But for one reason or another, readers were so intrigued by him that I got more mail asking for his story than any other character's I've ever created. In Hot Wheels, he was a viewpoint character—we got inside his head—so I needed somebody for him to interact with so he wasn't just sitting there talking to himself. Because he was a multimillionaire CEO, I thought, how about a bodyguard? But because I like to go against reader expectation every chance I get, I made that bodyguard a woman instead of a man, and Bernadette Hogan was born. And because Jeremy was a real womanizer who preferred sexy blondes, I made Bernie about as far from girly as girly got. More fun that way, you know? Jeremy and Bernie are two smart people who annoy the hell out of each other, which generates a lot of really great dialogue. And two smart people who annoy the hell out of each other who realize they're falling in love—for me as a writer, characters don't get more fun than that.

I’ve actually had people tell me, after reading the interaction between Jeremy and Bernie in Hot Wheels and before reading Black Ties, that I must have lost my mind by making them the hero and heroine of their own book. How in the world, they said, is that ever going to work out? But opposites do attract, and by the time readers finish the book, I hope I've convinced them that Jeremy and Bernie are a perfect match. (Naughty D –  I will be moving Hot Wheels and High Heels up in my TBR. And yes I think they are made for each other, mid-way through the book I was in love with Jeremy) 
Naughty DI love your sense of humor in BTAL, the poker game where Billy placed the bet with Bernie had me laughing so hard my eyes were watering. My favorite romances have humor in them. Do you put humor in all of your books?

JaneYes. To one degree or another, there's humor in every one of my books. I just can't help it. Life is pretty darned funny, and a day that goes by without a laugh is a day with a great opportunity wasted. To think I could tell an entire story of two people meeting, getting to know each other, and making a commitment without something funny popping up is impossible for me to believe. (Naughty D - I read to escape for a little while and books with humor always brighten my day) 

Naughty DCan you tell us a little about yourself? What do you like to read? How long have you been writing? 

Jane From the time I was a little kid until now, I've read everything under the sun. I used to spend hours at the local library just going through the shelves looking for interesting things. I read biographies, books about magic tricks, and books that taught me how to train my dog. And then there was the fiction! Little House on the Prairie books. Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew, of course. And the Black Stallion books—if it had a horse in it, I was all over it. (Naughty D - I loved all of those and one of my favorite authors that,to this day, I remember is Marguerite Henry and her Misty books) 

To this day, I still read all kinds of fiction. But I also love nonfiction. If I see an interesting subject, I buy a book about it. I love reading about human behavior, and my favorite magazines are Psychology Today and Scientific American Mind. 

Unbelievably, it wasn't until I was well into adulthood that I read my first romance novel, and boy, was I hooked. It was Judith McNaught's A Kingdom of Dreams. I remember thinking, my God, this is entertaining stuff! And that was when I started writing what I loved to read.

How long have I been writing? Almost as long as I've been reading. I was probably five years old when I wrote my first story. Later I got a degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma in the sequence of Professional Writing, but it was years before I wrote my first novel with an eye toward publication. I sold my first book in 1999, and right now I'm working on number nineteen. 
Naughty DBecause I spent the last 18 yrs as a busy single mom I didn’t have a lot of time to enjoy books like I used to, when I looked up your backlist and I was pleasantly pleased to see it’s quite impressive (it’s also shown me how many books I’ve missed out on reading). How many books do you have out? Are any in series that should be read in specific order?

Jane I wrote ten books for Harlequin under the name Jane Sullivan, mostly for the now-defunct Temptation line. I really loved those old Temptations—if you can find one used, pick it up! Then I wrote four books for Ballantine Books under my real name, Jane Graves. Those have the humor we talked about in varying degrees, but they also have a suspense element. While they're loosely connected (three brothers and their sister, who make appearances in all the books), there's no particularly reading order to those.

Now I write for Grand Central Publishing, and the first four books are part of a series—the ones with the rhyming titles. If you like to laugh, these are the books for you. They're also loosel connected with characters spanning the various books, but they can also be read without regard to order. (Naughty D – I wondered if they were connected, I’m anal about reading order so I will be reading the rest in order, can’t wait to read them. I LOVED the Temptation line also)
Click here to read Chapter 1 of Heartstrings and Diamond Rings
Naughty DI am so excited to see that you have a release coming out 9/27, Heartstrings and Diamond Rings. Can you share a brief description of it?

JaneThe heroine, Alison Carter, made her first appearance in Tall Tales and Wedding Veils as the best friend of the heroine in that book. Her dating life has been more Titanic than Love Boat, but she's still determined to find her Mr. Right. After Internet dating, blind dates, speed dating—all of it—she decides to try something new and consult a matchmaker. Oddly, the matchmaker isn't the kindly old lady she expects, but her sexy, incredibly handsome grandson, Brandon Scott.

As for Brandon, when he inherits his grandmother's business, he figures he's hit the jackpot. Set up a few lonely ladies, collect the fee, how hard can it be? Then he meets Alison, and suddenly something that seemed so simple becomes very complicated… (Naughty D – Sounds like another winner, I can’t wait for it!)

Naughty DI know you are swamped with blog tours and getting ready for your upcoming release I really appreciate your time. I am excited to spread the word about your books to my friends. Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

Jane I'm happy to announce that I'll be doing two more books for Grand Central Publishing. They're the start of a new series that's set in a small fictional town in the Texas hill country. I can't say much more about it right now, except that the books will have the tone of my previous stories—humorous, a little edgy, but ultimately heartwarming—with a premise that involves pets in an integral way. The stories will be set against the backdrop of a close-knit community populated by a quirky but engaging cast of characters, both human and animal. Watch my website for release dates!   http://www.janegraves.com
Naughty DCongratulations on the new series, I will be impatiently waiting to read it. BTW I live down between Houston and Galveston, and there is nothing prettier than driving through the Texas Hill Country in the spring.

Thanks again for sharing your books and time with us Jane. Good Luck on release day for Heartstrings and Diamond Rings.

Want to win a copy of Black Ties and Lullabies? Leave a comment or question for Jane and you will be entered into a drawing for your own copy of this funny, sweet story.  Winner to be posted Thursday, 9/22/11 at 3:00 pm, CST.

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