WATCH OUT: Jane Kent Interview
SC: I want to welcome you all to another edition of Watch Out. This week I’m excited to bring you a great author by the name of Jane Kent.Welcome Jane, it’s so great to have you here this week.
JK: Thank you, Savannah. It’s my pleasure to be here. Thank you so much for inviting me to be a guest on Watch Out.
SC: For the readers out there who might not know about you or your work, can you please tell them a little about yourself.
JK: Hmmm, let’s see…well, there’s not much more to know about me than what is in my bio, but I’m happy to tell you a little bit more about my work. My first three books (Getting It Right, Perfect for Each Other and Marry Christmas, Baby) are moderately erotic m/f contemporary romances with a touch of suspense in the first two. They are loosely linked—though each stands alone—by the small fictional town in which they take place. I think of them as the Atticus Chronicles, after the troublesome, needy cat named Atticus who appears in all three stories. My two short stories, Serendipity…or Something Like That and Angel’s Luck, are both g-rated m/f contemporary romances; Serendipity…or Something Like That is also a paranormal. My latest release, The Promise of Canaan, about one woman’s journey from slavery in South Carolina to freedom in Canada with the help of the Underground Railroad (and, because it’s a romance, the help of one special “conductor” in particular J), is my first historical, and, though categorized as erotic by the publisher, it’s actually pretty tame sexually.
SC: In your bio you mentioned that you moonlight in your job in theatre and film. Do you ever get inspired by your job?
JK: Oh, definitely. I don’t think any writer can escape that! All of us are who we are with our own beliefs and views of the world because of our life experiences; how can that not seep into an author’s writing? My job in theatre and film (building costumes—in particular, period costumes) involves a great deal of research, which meant that when it came to dressing my historical characters in The Promise of Canaan, I was way ahead of the game! All that practice with research also made doing the rest of the inevitable research required when writing an historical (you know, like what kind of border security existed between Canada and the USA in 1857 or how long would it take a ship to sail from South Carolina to Maryland or when were tin cans invented?) a breeze. I work at a large repertory theatre that specializes in Shakespeare, so a little bit of the Bard’s work and other classics plays and books tend to sneak their way into my work. My first two books are about a brother and sister named after Shakespearean characters, and, I confess, a tiny bit (honest, just a smidgen!) of the plot from The Taming of the Shrew made its way into Perfect for Each Other. Atticus, the cat in my first three books, is named for the main character in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and a little bit of Edgar Allen Poe’s work makes an appearance in The Promise of Canaan.
SC: Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
JK: My latest book, The Promise of Canaan, has a special place in my heart. I’m sure all authors have books and characters that stay with them long after the book is finished…for me, it’s Evangeline and Quin and their story. The Promise of Canaan placed second in the Whispers Publishing’s African-American Heritage Writing contest and garnered a five star review from BookWenches.com, so it’s gratifying to know that the story touched others as well. When I first read about the contest I had this vague notion that I wanted to write about the Underground Railroad, but as already mentioned, I’d never written an historical before and I was a little intimidated. From my day job (remember those period costumes for theatre and film?) I know what happens if you don’t get the details right; out of the thousands of people who don’t know if something is historically accurate or not, there is always one who does. And that one will usually let you know if you get it wrong. Adamantly.
SC: What is the one thing readers might be surprised to know about you?
JK: Shhhh, it’s a secret! Some of my family members still don’t know I write erotic romances…it’s the erotic part I’m having trouble figuring out how to explain! Those who do know are sworn to secrecy!
SC: Is there anything you are currently working on that you can give us a taste of?
JK: Actually, I have several projects on the go right now. Here’s a little excerpt from one of them, an as-yet-untitled post-apocalyptic romance (yeah, seriously!). It’s about a scientist and her unwelcome, unexpected and suspicious companion on the run from a group of ruthless men who are planning to use the vaccine/cure she developed to control and exploit the survivors of the virulent plague that wiped out most of the human race.
They’d emerged onto a wide street and Esme halted as she unzipped her hoodie to lift the dog out and set him down on the cracked and buckled pavement. Then she sloughed off the knapsack and removed the jacket altogether.
“Stay, Chutney,” she said softly to the little dog, knowing he would obey her command. Leaning over, she opened the pack and stuffed the hoodie inside.
At the sound of her voice, Dex turned and began walking back toward her. “What—”
He came to a dead stop ten feet away as Esme straightened and assumed a balanced two-handed stance, the gun she’d pulled out of the pack pointed directly at his heart.
“This is where we part company. Go,” she commanded.
He gave the old Sig Sauer complete with silencer a long, contemplative look and then his gaze rose back up to meet her eyes. One cocky eyebrow arched. “You know how to use that thing?”
She jerked the barrel of the gun down and squeezed the trigger. There was a muffled pop and a chunk of concrete in front of his left foot exploded.
Esme moved her aim back to his chest in an easy glide and raised a mocking eyebrow of her own. “What do you think?”
There was another long, heavy silence as they faced off, each gauging the other.
Then a corner of his mouth slowly curled up. “I think I feel lucky today, Dirty Harry.”
Dirty Harry? Who was—
He took a step forward.
Shitshitshit! What was he doing?
SC: Describe the perfect romance story that you wouldn’t mind living out.
JK: Hmmm…well…every romance story is unique to the people involved, so for me (since I don’t have a significant other), the perfect romance story that I wouldn’t mind living out would depend on who it was with! That’s the challenge with every story I write, to find a hero and heroine who “get” each other, who are made for each other but maybe don’t realize it and who compliment each other, to match up two individuals who would be able to go on living without the other if he or she had to, but who wouldn’t want to… Wow, is that convoluted enough for you? LOL But, out of all that, I guess the perfect romance story to live out would be to find a guy I love who “gets” me…and loves me anyway!
SC: Some authors when they write they need total quiet. Do you write with music or a TV on? If you do, does it help the creativity flow?
JK: Sometimes I listen to music to get into the mood for a story or scene, but I don’t usually have it on when I’m actually writing. I do tend to have the TV on…maybe because I live alone the sound of voices in the background gives me that comforting feeling of being connected to other people without actually interacting!
SC: What are your 3 favourite words?
JK: “Ohhhhhh, he’s hot!” (Actually, I’m not sure if a contraction is technically one or two words J ) Okay, seriously, my three favourite words…“I love you.” I know, I know, kind of hackneyed and unimaginative, but I’m a romance writer…what else could I say? Besides, it’s true. I don’t think people say those words enough…and I’m not necessarily talking about romantic love. Those three words are powerful and they can have an amazingly positive effect, so it’s important to say those words often to your partner, but also to parents and siblings and children and friends, don’t you think?
SC: One guilty pleasure when you procrastinate?
JK: Actually, I’m looking for a new one. When I was procrastinating or working out a plot kink, I used to go for a “think” and a cigarette, but I quit smoking a few months ago. I’m very good at procrastinating, but now it usually involves doing something else (yuck, like house work!) that I’ve been procrastinating in order to avoid doing the new thing! I’ll have to find a guilty pleasure that’s good for me but also fun, like…wild, random dancing for ten minutes…or going for a short walk in order to think through those sticky plot problems…hmmm, now that could work J …I live a block and a half from Dairy Queen!
SC: What is the first thing you do when you start a new book? Character names, book title or something else?
JK: Well, I’m a “panster”, that is, I don’t have pages and pages of step by step plot all laid out when I start a new book. I usually have a vague outline in my head of how the story starts and how it ends, but the getting there is directed by the characters. So my first step is to find those two people who compliment each other, get to know them really well, and then…well, then I agonize for hours over the perfect name for each of them! Getting from the beginning to the end of that vague outline comes from who those characters are and what they would or would not do and/or say. Book titles are my bugaboo. They are never the first thing I come up with when I start a new story…sometimes they’re not even the last! My editor came up with my first title, Getting it Right. Like character names, a title is something that I have to think about for a loooong time to “get it right” for each particular story!
SC: What is the biggest misconception you think people have about authors?
JK: Oh, for sure it’s that a writer just whips out a book and, voila, agents and publishers love it and it’s a New York Times bestseller overnight. LOL, not gonna happen…well, I guess it can happen, but that’s the exception.
SC: Is there one specific genre you would like to be well known for?
JK: Definitely not…I like to explore, try new things, as you can probably tell from what I’ve already written (contemporaries, an historical, a paranormal) and from what I have on the go, a post-apocalyptic romance, in addition to a space opera, another historical, a romantic suspense and a YA paranormal. My mother would say, “jack of all trades, master of none”, but I disagree; they are all still romances. So, that being said, I guess I’d like to change my answer to yes, I’d like to be known as a romance writer, all genres, as opposed to, say…a mystery writer or a horror writer, both of which I read, but have no talent for writing. When asked why she wrote mysteries, Agatha Christie once said, “One writes what one can, not what one can’t.” Not a bad person to emulate, don’t you think?
SC: What is the one pet peeve you have when it comes to publishing?
JK: LOL, well, of course, it’s that I can’t just whip out a book and, voila, agents and publishers love it and it’s a New York Times bestseller overnight!
SC: What advice do you have for new writers out there?
JK: Write because you love, it, don’t give up, and don’t take rejections and bad reviews to heart. This is a completely subjective business; no author, no matter how famous, has a book that absolutely everybody loves…readers’ reviews on Amazon are proof of that!
SC: Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
JK: Please visit me at my website www.janekentauthor.com to find out more about my books and where they can be purchased. And don’t forget to check out the On The Horizon page for a look at the one sentence “pitch” descriptions for the space opera, the new historical, the YA paranormal etc. etc. etc. I love to hear from readers and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org And I’ll be blogging about doing research in a blog entitled Everything I know I Learned from Gidget at www.savvyauthors.com on July 15th…please join me (and, yes, I do explain that title in the blog!).
Again, my thanks, Savannah, for inviting me to be a guest on Watch Out. It’s a generous idea and a wonderful venue for finding out about all kinds of new and talented artists.