Dec 8, 2011

Interview With Jamie DeBree

Sit back, relax, and have a cup of tea. This is going to be a long post, but the subject makes it well worth the reading. They say that variety is the spice of life. If this is true then my guest today must be spicy indeed! She’s a writer, a blogger, a wife, a web-mistress, a tea connoisseur, and she even makes her own dog food, and she does it all with long, beautifully made up nails. Her latest book, Angel Eyes, puts the 'thrill' back in thriller, and will keep you up nights, shivering in bed with the lights on.

When psychologist Jake Werner is called to the hospital in the middle of the night, he’s shocked to find that one of his interns has been attacked, and her eyes have been cut out. The closest thing she has to family at the time, Werner is automatically a suspect. After his alibi checks out, stone-cold Special Agent Kate Paige asks for his help in profiling the person responsible. The monster they eventually discover is far worse than they ever could have imagined...

Angel Eyes is available at Brazen Snake Books, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

For those who aren’t familiar with my blog and haven’t heard me go on and on about how awesome you are, tell us a little about yourself.

Leave it to a writer to ask another writer to come up with a new/different bio on the spot. I mean, shouldn’t you be saving the torture for your characters? ;-)

Hmm…well, I live in south central Montana, which is the high plains side of the state, not the wild mountainous side that everyone wants to visit (Yes, we have an airport. No, I don’t own horses, and haven’t ridden one since high school.). I sleep around 4.5 hours per night because my brain likes to keep busy, and I have far too many interests for my own good. I read a plaque when I was in high school that “The best way to know life is to love many things.” (I forget who that’s attributed to). I took it to heart. My personality type is INTJ – that’s 100% introvert and one of the rarer personality types. Basically it means I think a lot, I don’t do well in large groups (prefer one-on-one interactions), and I’m very direct. I’m not right or left brained, but tend to use both halves equally, which also makes me an odd duck. Too analytical for many creative people to be comfortable with, and too creative for the purely analytical.

And that’s probably more than you actually wanted to know…

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?

I’ve wanted to be a great many things – a fighter jet pilot, an astronaut a doctor, a lawyer, a professor, a librarian…you’ll note that none of those has anything to do with sports. The one thing I never wanted to do was to be a programmer like my dad. And that’s what I ended up doing for my day job, though I program web sites, which is vastly more entertaining than the kind of work he does.

I’ve wanted to be a writer since high school, but being the practical person I am, with parents who encouraged me to find a “real career” to support my “writing hobby”, I never dared to think I could someday make a living as a writer until just recently. Now I dare to dream…but we’ll see. I am glad to have a decent day job to pay the bills while I pursue the writing career.

Where do you get your ideas?

Everywhere. Watching people (anyone I don’t know – I can’t write about people I know, and they don’t even inspire me), a piece of art, a song, a photo…it doesn’t take much to plant the seed of a plot in my head.

Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you get past it?

Nope – I don’t believe in writer’s block. If the story feels like it’s not working one way, I just look at where my characters are and where I’m trying to have them go, and then do the opposite. Normally they know better than I do what’s supposed to happen next, so I follow their lead. Basically it’s not me that’s blocked, it’s that I’m not trusting and following the characters closely enough.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?

That’s a very good question. Because I serialize most of my drafts, and because I publish my own work, I don’t hold myself to any specific word count. So I start writing with the general idea in mind, and when the story’s done, I stop. Some novel ideas I’ve had turned into novellas, some short story ideas I have run far longer than I’d planned. It takes as long as it takes – as much as I might want to rush it, I try to let it play out the way it needs to.

I write around 500-800 words per day 5 to 6 days per week…so if I were to work on one novel (50k words) every day, I’d have the draft finished in about 2 months. I never work on just one draft at a time though, so it takes several months to draft a novel/novella, and around 6 -8 weeks to write a novelette/short story.

Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?

I don’t know if I can say any of them were easier or harder – they are what they are, and every book is different. My last erotica novelette this year has been difficult, but it’s because I need to pin down some pretty interesting emotional motivations, and all the chaos in my personal and work life makes it tough for me to get into that mindset sometimes. Well, and Desert Heat, one of my romantic suspense novels was hard because the main character isn’t all that likable – but it’s who she is, and the way she needs to be, so I didn’t have any choice but to write her that way and hope that while most wouldn’t like her, some would empathize with her.

Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite?

Nope. The one I’m working on at any given time is always my favourite ... and then when it’s done, I’m tired of it and ready to move on to the next shiny new idea.

Do you have a favourite character from your books? Why is he/she your favourite?

Not really…though I am rather morbidly fascinated with the antagonists in my thriller stories. I think it’s the complexity…I’m most interested in characters with complex or dual personalities.

How much reading do you typically do?

At least a little every day on my lunch break. When I’m on a reading “binge”, I can read a book a day or even a couple. When I don’t get reading time in, I get pretty crabby. I normally have several books going at once, so I can choose according to my mood on any given day.

Which is better, ebooks or print books?

For me, it depends. I love collecting old hard cloth-bound books – antiques, normally of the classics. And the old etiquette books I have just wouldn’t be the same on screen. But for everyday reading? Ebooks, hands down. No need for storage, easy to read one-handed (important, since I’m normally eating or hanging onto a tea cup while I read), and far easier to carry around than paperbacks. I hate actually *reading* a hardcover…so I never buy modern books in that medium. If not for my husband who still reads print, I’d buy all my books in digital format. As it is, we buy thrillers in paperback so we can share.

What are you reading right now?

“Seized by the Sheik” by Anna Voss Peterson (Harlequin Intrigue)
“The Donzerly Light” by Ryne Douglas Pearson (suspense)
“The Big Sky, By and By” by Ed Kemmick (true local color stories by a local journalist)
“A Walk in the Snark” by Rachel Thompson (I can’t decide what it is…but might be a bit snarky for my personal taste, so aptly named)
“The Role of a Lifetime” by Jennifer Shirk (sweet romance)

How many blogs do you have?

Seriously? You’re going to make me count? *sigh*

Fine – total blogs (writing and not): 11 (though one of those is a Halloween blog only updated a few months of the year)

Aside from all those blogs to maintain, you also have a day job, a publishing business, a husband, two dogs, and a home to take care of. How do you manage to juggle all of that? Or have you mastered the art of cloning?

Not well, at the moment. LOL I’m drowning right now, but I can’t bear to give any of it up, so I’m working on finding that balance with several changes I’ll be making in the new year. I may not be able to have it all, but dang it, I’ll have as much of it as I possibly can…

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to an aspiring author?

Write what you want to write. Don’t worry about who’s going to read it, or how you’ll get it published, or any of those extraneous things until you have several pieces of work under your belt. Trust your characters to show you the story, and be open to wherever that happens to lead, even if it’s uncomfortable to you. That’s where the gold is.

What can we expect from you in the future?

In terms of books? More romantic suspense, more erotica, and more thrillers. I haven’t lined out next year’s publishing schedule yet, but it will be another busy one, for sure. I’m currently working on the second book in my Fantasy Ranch romantic suspense series, a stand alone romantic suspense, a really creepy thriller novella and I’ve got the theme for next year’s erotica collection and the first story all plotted out. I have enough ideas to last me well into the future.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

I think I’ve probably gone on long enough, don’t you? ;-)

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

I’d like to thank Jamie for taking the time to answer all my questions. Check out her website at Jamie DeBree or connect with her on Twitter or Facebook.

She currently has four serials she updates on a weekly basis. In order of update, they are:
The Fantasy Ranch series, updated on Tuesdays. The current novel here is the Minister’s Maid, a romantic suspense.
Writing as Alex Westhaven, check out Animal, updated on Wednesdays. This is a thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
If you’re looking for a Naughty Encounter, try her alter ego Trinity Marlow. The current story in the Working Stiffs collection is The Paramedic, updated on Thursdays. Caution, these stories will melt the ice off your mukluks, and are definitely NSFW!
Can't get enough romantic suspense? Have a peek at The Variety Pages. The story featured here is Falling in Public, and is updated every Friday.

And think I was lying about the tea and the nails I mentioned at the top of this page? Check out Tea on Tap and Nail Art Tuesday.


Heidi Sutherlin said...

11? I need to go back an count. And I thought my tiny handful of sites/blogs was hard to handle. And I'd just like to add that I liked your main character in Desert Heat. I tend to be drawn to the characters that are a little odd or considered a bit rough around the edges. The square pegs/round hole type characters.

Great interview, ladies. I learned a lot. :) Can I be your official biographer? lol.

C R Ward said...

I think it also needs mentioning that Jamie set up a special blog during NaNoWriMo (a couple of years ago) where she posted chapters as she wrote them. I was one of the priviledged few who got to read Desert Heat as it was being written! She wrote the whole awesome book in a single month!

Jamie D. said...

You ladies are too kind. And I like Marie too Heidi...she's just not for everyone.

Thanks for having me, Carol...and thanks to anyone else who reads through my long-winded answers too. :-)

Brooklyn Ann said...

Damn, Jamie. You're amazing!

Dolly said...

11 Blogs...okay I hadn't gotten around to counting, but this makes you officially crazier than me (that's saying something) :-))

Great interview!

Jamie D. said...

Nah, Brooklyn - crazy, more like it. Just so many things I want to do, but sometimes it's to my own detriment. ;-)

LOL Dolly - I argue with myself about keeping all of my blogs nearly every week. And thanks!