My guest today at My Writing Corner is romance author, Babette James. Tell us about your journey to becoming an author. How did you get started?I’ve always loved writing and making up stories, beginning back when I used to act out epic fantasy tales with my dolls. (My Barbies had swords and knew how to use them.) I remember carting home armloads of books from the library, loving all the different stories and worlds and I wanted to write the stories I imagined, too. I remember playing out complex tales with my dolls and studiously writing out pieces of stories in spiral-bound notebooks and on backs of school papers. I even have a degree in Literature, but it wasn’t until 2004 that I wrote my first full rough draft of romance novel and began gathering up my nerve to pursue publication. I fell in love with writing romance and have focused on that ever since.
My debut novel, Clear As Day, started life years ago as that little "story under the bed you love but can't do anything with. I had originally written it as a short story back when I was in college as an exercise featuring the desert setting of Lake Mohave, which is a stretch of the Colorado River below the Hoover Dam. I never found a place for it in its short story form. Too sexy, not sexy enough. Too long, not long enough. I'd take it out every now and then and ponder what to do with it, only to file it back away. There were many times I felt like giving up, but I kept on writing new stories and improving my craft. In January of 2010, I took the story out once more, thinking t expand it into a small novella for a publisher's call. That did not work out, but taking that step pushed me forward to really write Nate and Kay's story and the once short story bloomed into the sweet and sexy novel published by The Wild Rose Press in 2012 and spawned the River series and my new release, Summertime Dream. ,
You write contemporary romance and fantasy romance. What do you like best about writing each of the different genres?I love romance for the happy ending and the twists and turns and traumas it takes to get there. I fully admit to being a sucker for "and they all lived happily ever after."
I’m most comfortable writing fantasy and paranormal romance, and love the freedom of building fantasy worlds. I have to say my first sale being a contemporary romance came as a surprise. I originally was focused on writing fantasy and paranormal novels, but it was while writing Clear As Day that I found a love of writing contemporary romance and I’ve been inspired to continue in the genre by the group of friends and story world that has developed in this series.
Writing contemporary romance lets me explore the twists and turns and traumas of everyday, modern life. I like writing characters you could actually meet and be friends with, and who have familiar faults, problems, and joys.
What made you want to write fantasy?I love playing with dragons and swords! Lol My favorite author is J.R.R. Tolkien and I devoured fairy tales, fantasy, and science fiction when I was a child and even into college. It was a natural progression from making up fantasy stories with my dolls to writing fantasy novels. I have two fantasy series in the works and hope to someday see them published as well.
Your newest contemporary romance is Summertime Dream. How did you come up with the idea for this story?I was taking a little mental break from writing the next novel in this series, and was playing around with some scraps of scenes. I had in mind a very green, steamy hot July 4th day at a picnic ground in a town park. I’d been wanting to learn to write short and writing a short story around a Fourth of July picnic, something very sentimental and traditional, and completely separate from my River series sounded like a fun project.
The viewpoint of my heroine was already in the first scene, frustrated with her family and yearning for change, yet loving her small town traditions. Then my hero walked into the scene and I discovered that he was in town because he’d unexpectedly inherited a house. Beyond that I hadn’t a clue who these two would be, not even names, but her yearning for change and his unexpected house were simmering in the back of my mind as I was pondering some back story information for the new River novel.
Then idea hit me that these Fourth of July scenes could be perfect for a happy little short story or short novella of how Christopher and Margie first met and married the summer before the events in Clear As Day. Best laid plans…
How did you come up with the characters for this book?Christopher began as a college friend and part of Nate’s circle of camping friends in Clear As Day and had recently surprised his friends by marrying Margie and bringing her camping for the first time. I had enjoyed writing them, but they were happily in love, and I had intended they would remain minor characters throughout the series. Then I was playing with that Fourth of July scene and I made the mistake of asking my characters what happened next. Well, my characters had far more to tell than a short story. My sweet happy couple had shadows in their pasts and problems to resolve.
What do you like best about your hero?Christopher’s solid and kind, and has a good sense of humor. He’s tough and dogged when he must be, and gentle enough to be the man Margie needs in her life. He believes in love, appreciates a smart woman and the quiet everyday pleasures in life.
What about your heroine?Margie’s sweet, optimistic, and energetic. I love how close she is with her family even when they are driving her crazy. She’s willing to give things a try and likes to believe things have a way of working out.
This book is part of a series. What do you like about writing a series?I’ve had so much fun writing stories for the circle of friends in my River series. I love being in one story world and seeing it expand and become richer and my characters grow and change. It’s like visiting with family in your favorite neighborhood. You know everything so well, but there are always new things to see and learn. Since I’m a pantser, I do like being able to hop from story to story within its series. It’s rather like writing one enormous novel.
What are some of the pitfalls?Keeping track of everything is one big troublemaker. I have a series bible, but even that doesn’t stop continuity problems from slipping in. There’s always little details you still need to search for. For example, as I was working on book 3, I had to go back to Clear As Day to check if I’d ever shown one particular character dancing in any scene. Seems like not big deal, but could have caused a plot issue in the new story. Another is finding things down the road you wish you could change in an already published book. Ooops. Oh, well. You just have to find a workaround. Another pitfall with this series is the stories are being written out of chronological order to the whim of the muse. That’s been a bit of a headache. I’m working on a separate contemporary novella series and I’m making sure to work in chronological order and complete the series first.
What are you working on now?I’m working on multiple projects. I have my River series, I have the four book contemporary romance novella series set at some of my favorite New Jersey shore towns, and the fantasy romance series. The good news is that I’m nearly finished with my next novel in this series, Love Burns, so fingers crossed for that one to be submitted soon. This story takes off right from where Clear As Day ends. I love this couple’s chemistry, and while it’s been a challenge to complete, I’ve enjoyed seeing their story come to life as they work through their personal trials and find their own happily ever after together. Having them all in the works at once is handy for when I need a change of pace or a story needs a little time to simmer. Thank goodness for coffee!
How about a blurb for Summertime Dream?The Fourth of July is over, but for these summer lovers the fireworks have just begun.
An unexpected inheritance brings business consultant Christopher Gordon from Los Angeles to quaint Falk’s Bend. He’s carved a week from his demanding schedule to list his great-grandparents’ house for sale and explore his roots. However, disturbing family secrets and the sweet temptation of writer Margie Olsson derail his plans, challenging him to seize the elusive dream missing from his hectic life— love.
A recent brush with death shook Margie’s life, but not her dreams and she’s ready to move forward. Only, standing up to her loving, over-protective family isn’t easy. Helping Christopher explore the derelict mansion and unravel his grandmother’s mysterious past should be a harmless fun taste of independence. But when her experimental summer fling ignites into unexpected love, how can her small town dreams work with his big city life?
Come fall in love at the river:
Summertime Dream is available at:Amazon.com (Print and Kindle):
The Wild Rose Press (Print and ebook): http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=191&products_id=5517
Barnes & Noble Nook:http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/summertime-dream-babette-james/1119073773?ean=2940149283262
All Romance Ebooks:https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-summertimedream-1468219-149.html
How can readers reach you or find you online?About the Author:
Babette James writes sweetly scorching contemporary romance and loves reading nail-biting tales with a satisfying happily ever after. When not dreaming up stories, she enjoys playing with new bread recipes and dabbling with paints. As a teacher, she loves encouraging new readers and writers as they discover their growing abilities. Her class cheers when it’s time for their spelling test! Born in New Jersey and raised in Southern California, she’s had a life-long love of the desert and going down the shore. Babette lives in New Jersey with her wonderfully patient husband and extremely spoiled cats.
You can find Babette at:
Facebook Profile: http://www.facebook.com/babette.james
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/BabetteJamesAuthor
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.com/e/B007KDJWV8
Thank you, Babette, for being with me today and telling me about your new book. It sounds like a fun Spring read. Any comments or questions for Babette?