Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Authorsday: J. Rose Allister

Welcome to J. Rose Allister.
What was the name of the first novel you wrote? Did you try to publish it?

My first novel was called VISIONS, a romance about a hunky Hollywood star who bumps into a reluctant psychic and inherits her “gift.” When he does, he sees a future—for the two of them. It got published by the first place I submitted to, but not the first time I submitted it. I had to revise and send it back in. VISIONS was released under my other pen name, Lisa Logan, in 2006.

What drew you to the subject of TROPICAL HEAT?

This was written as part of my IMMORTAL PARADISE series for the National Novel Writing Challenge a couple of Novembers ago. I decided I wanted to have a bit of extra fun with it, so I held a contest to ask readers to decide who the hunky romantic lead should be. No physical descriptions were allowed—just what the guy did for a living and why he goes to the island the series is set on. The winning entry suggested a P.I. who goes to the resort to investigate a cheating spouse. Bam—day one of the writing challenge, sexy Steve Detroit burst into resort hostess Jessamine Valentine’s life. Fireworks were inevitable!

Who is your favorite character in your book?

With his humor and sexy blond looks, Steve Detroit was a blast to write… but I have to say that I have a warm—okay, hot—spot in my heart for one of the recurring characters in the series. Lust is a special servant to the god Eros, a unique demigod who is the virtual embodiment of his name. His power and that of his counterpart, Love, triggers a lot of supernaturally charged passion on that island—sometimes deliberately, and sometimes not. Jessamine and Lust share a highly charged scene in TROPICAL HEAT when she confronts Lust about his influence in her love life. Lust is egotistical, sharp-witted, and as one can guess, eternally turned on—but he’s not without his flaws. He quite reminds me of my muse, actually. Perhaps a bit too much. Hmm. Can a muse write themselves into their own story? LOL

What was your favorite scene to write?

There is a smokin’ scene where Steve drags Jessamine into a dark housekeeping closet while he’s evading hotel security. And there’s the aforementioned scene where Jessamine confronts the god Lust about his role in her wantong behavior toward Steve. Ooh, and a scene where wisecracking Steve meets a memory-altering soir-class vampire—the first mention of these recurring characters in the series. Huh, guess I can’t pick just ONE favorite!

Where do you write?

In some ways, I write wherever I am. I carry notebooks with me all the time to jot things down when inspiration strikes. More often, I’m in a position where I can’t write things out, but if I’m having one of those “spare” moments sitting at my desk, in line at the store, watching my kid at the park, etc., I let my mind play out the latest scene I’m working on. At night, the last thing I do before going to sleep is to work through scenes and program my brain to literally “dream up” the next sequence. Talk about carrying your work around with you!

In terms of where I physically sit and type the results of all that jotting and brainstorming, I have a laptop that I mainly use while sitting on the couch, on my patio swing, or out by the pool as weather permits.

What is your favorite writing reference book and why?

I read literally everything I could get my hands on about the subject of writing fiction when I decided to try it. Among those, one stands out above the rest for a couple reasons. That book is On Writing by Stephen King. After more than a year and a half of struggling to finish my first novel, I suffered a head injury. Insert whatever “lost my mind” jokes you want here, but bottom line I was too fuzzy in the membrane to write. Part of me feared that post-concussive syndrome would cost me my writing for good. Reading wasn’t the easiest task, either, but I recall sitting in the neurologist’s office with Stephen King’s book and hanging on every word. In his advice to new writers, he offered me a ridiculously simple, yet vital insight that finally turned things around once I got back to writing again. He said to sit down every single day, no matter what, and write 1,000 words before doing anything else. That’s it. I did it and finished the book in less than a month.

Part of me related to his story about a return to health after an accident, I suppose, but aside from that I recommend his book to anyone interested in writing fiction. His advice is no-nonsense and right on the money. Though I had to give up most of my beloved books when we downsized to a tiny apartment, I have kept that book with me.

What was the best writing advice someone gave you?

An author I used to do web design for when I was starting out (the awesome Susan McBride of the Debutante Dropout series) gave me a piece of advice that helped me as much as Stephen King’s book. With my first novel I kept skipping around in the plot line. I would be writing one chapter, then would have sudden inspiration about something that happened later, so I’d stop and write it right then so I wouldn’t forget. Then I’d try to go back and would forget where I was, and by then had lost the pacing and flow of the prior chapter. I wound up with huge gaps and pacing/language inconsistencies, and the whole process drove me nuts. I complained about my errant ways to Susan one day and asked her advice about those “sudden Eureka! moments.” She told me that when the muse jumped in with another scene idea, book idea, etc., to stop only long enough to jot down a few notes to remember the basic gist, then get right back to where I was before losing momentum. This was a simple “duh” thing, but at the time I was at the end of my rope and her words were like a cool drink to a man stranded in the desert.

If you have a day job, what is it?

I work as a unit secretary on the cardiac floor of my local hospital. For the uninitiated, the unit secretary runs the nurse’s station desk, meaning answering phones, paging doctors, reading MD handwriting to interpret and initiate orders, answering patient call lights, assisting visitors, staff, and outside personnel, facilitating patient admissions, discharges, and transfers, checking charts for appropriate paperwork, helping assure the environment of care meets state standards, and about five hundred other things daily. It’s a high stress job, but one involving a great team of people. Most of the time, I love it. Then there are moments I dream of hitting it big like JK Rowling so I can retire. LOL!

What’s your favorite quote?

“A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities.”—J.R.R. Tolkien

This quote has always struck a chord with me on several levels, especially with my penchant for dream programming and my side hobby of dream interpretation.

What three things would you want with you on a desert island?

A solar-charging laptop (sand resistant, of course!), a reliable high-speed internet connection, and a damn good survival knife. Hey, a gal’s gotta live! I could write, catch up on my reading, access movies and music, keep in touch, and find recipes for coconut and fish stew. Yeah, I’d be set with that.

Author Bio : J. Rose Allister is an award-winning short story writer and the author of eight published romance titles. When she isn’t dreaming up new tales, she home schools her first grader, cooks and gardens, and enjoys reading and watching movies. She’s also involved in her husband’s small production company, Dragonfyre Entertainment, and dabbles in special effects for video and stills.

Book Blurb: Jessamine Valentine’s VIP hostess job at the exclusive Amante del Mar resort makes her privy to many secrets, including the existence of supernatural entities and paranormally-enhanced eroticism. But she could care less about the island's innate passion until she finds herself entangled with Steve Detroit, a smoldering P.I. who uncovers the resort's--and Jessamine's--most intimate secrets. What will ultimately prove more dangerous--the consequences of his accidental discovery, or their heated desire for one another?

1 comment:

J said...

Thanks for having me over here, Chris! It was a fun interview.