J. Hali Steele has graciously stopped by to put under a microscope today and to talk about her latest release Flight of the Panther. Welcome!
1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
First, Chris, let me say how wonderful it is to be here. And to answer your question, probably the minute I finished reading Atlas Shrugged. I fell in love with John Galt and wanted to write a book with a hero just like him. Strong, silent, and enigmatic. I didn’t know at the time I wasn’t even reading a romance! Or that it was considered Science Fiction by some. The book is still my all-time favorite, and Ayn Rand I guess would be my favorite author. Because I went out and found Fountainhead – Howard Roark was pretty darn exciting to me as a teenager. I wonder how she’d feel if she knew her philosophical work birthed a romance author? Have I captured that essence in any of my heroes? I hope. If one fan says they love a hero I created – I did my job.
2. Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants?
Oh I’m a seat-of-the pants writer. I’ll usually get an idea in the middle of the night, out shopping, somewhere strange. I used to write notes down but technology has come a long way to help me. I push the icon on my phone now and do a brief recording of what’s going through my mind. The minute I’m near a computer, I start typing out ideas and do a synopsis which will have the beginning, middle and end of what I want to write. I do follow that pretty much, but in between – the characters write their own story. We argue over it sometimes in my head, and occasionally the character let’s me win.
3. What drew you to the subject of A Panther’s Flight?
My love of felines and a quirky TV series, Beauty and the Beast. Then a friend of mine sent me a video link to a saber tooth tiger after one of my cats bit me. It was meant as a joke, but little did she realize she’d given me an idea for my book. I’d already been working on something about cat shifters when the teeth of the prehistoric beast gave me another idea: vampyre cats.
4. How many rejections have you received? I passed needing more than two hands to count them a while back and that’s when I stopped counting them. Some of them gave me advice that was good, most were form letters and those I delete immediately now. The ones I keep, I look at after I’m over the disappointment and see what information they had to help me improve my work. I don’t think of them as bad if they give me something, a reason, a suggestion for improvement. But I don’t have to take it for gospel either.
5. What was the best writing advice someone gave you?
To join a critique group. I needed some guidance and someone to look at my work with an objective eye. They helped me find places for writing tips, and they even read my stories and work with me to polish them.
6. What’s your favorite quote?
It’s mine: Growl and roar-it’s okay to let the beast out. When I thought of it, I was thinking just that – sometimes you have to let go, enjoy life – it’s the only one we have. It’s become my ‘branding’ and I try my hardest to live up to it each day.
7. What three things would you want with you on a desert island?
My cats, they’re great little hunters and they count as one because they’re inseparable. LOL My laptop and a windmill with instructions included in the box, that’s only one, right? Somehow I’d figure how to get it hooked up for power. I could craft weapons for hunting, and once my laptop was up and running, I’d be able to find information on the web for what vegetation was edible and what I could use in place of coffee for my caffeine fix. Imagine the work I could get done without the world interrupting me?
8. What place that you haven’t visited would you like to go?
I plan to go on a safari. I want to see the wild animals in their habitats before there are none left. Do I sound like an animal activist or something? Guess I am. But the wide open savannas with lions, elephants – all of it – I want to spend at least a month in Africa. Oh, and Venezuela…ooh, and Australia. Heck, one place is hard to commit to because there are so many. I guess I got carried away with places. LOL
9. What’s your favorite thing about your book?
In all my books it’s the men, the way they bond and talk to each other. They can be friendly one minute and the next they’re at one another’s throats over something that usually ends up being trivial. But when it comes down to it, they’re there for each other.
In A Panther’s Flight we don’t get too much of that. The hero finds himself without his best friend. I can’t tell you too much without giving away the story. But he does well relating to, and winning over the heroine. *grins*
10. What would you like to learn to do that you haven’t?
Tango. I’d like to learn to dance the tango. Then I want to learn to fly a plane. I love flying and the freedom it brings. Being up in the clouds and whizzing along is so peaceful to me. To be able to own and pilot the plane, go where I wanted, would be fantastic.
Chris, thanks so much for having me in for an interview. It’s been great talking to you and letting the readers learn a little more about who J. Hali Steele is.
You are welcome to make up your own questions if you like also. Anything you think will illuminate what you want your readers to know.
J. Hali Steele lives in Southeastern Pennsylvania, she shares space with four furfriends (cats) and enjoys spending time with family and friends. Her passion is reading romance novels, especially those with vampyres and happy endings.
A multi-published author, she’s a member of the RWA, its Passionate Ink and ESPAN chapters, as well as the Liberty States Fiction Writers. When not writing, she’s snuggled in front of the TV with a good book, a cat in her lap and a cup of coffee.
Growl and roar – it’s okay to let the beast out. – J. Hali Steele – www.jhalisteele.com
Fane Baron is a Reign warrior—a sanctioned killer charged with hunting the rogue vampyre cats of the Sovereign Kind. Haunted by memories of stalking his best friend, afraid the same addiction will consume him, Fane stops taking blood. Then he meets her.
Edy Adair’s in a predicament of her uncle's making. Only days from her first change to a panther and dealing with the emotional turmoil of being in heat, she’s headed on a flight to Arizona with the vampyre cat of her dreams. He isn’t the mate chosen by her parents and he killed her cousin!