THE JAMES GANG
Each month, I interview authors or publishing insiders who have some form of "James" in their names or their books. My May James Gang interviewee is Berkley Prime Crime author, Dorothy St. James.
1. Let’s get the most important question asked first: Why James?
Hi, Marcia. Thank you for inviting me to talk about my "James" background on your site. I'm happy to be here. Dorothy St. James is a pen name. I'd been writing romance under my real name, Dorothy McFalls. While some of my romances are sweet, I have published a few decidedly racy ones, like Lady Sophie's Midnight Seduction. Because I didn't want to confuse readers about what they'd get when they picked up one of my books, I decided to launch the "Dorothy St. James, Mystery Author" brand.
So why James? That's easy. I married one! I couldn't ask for a bigger supporter of my writing. My Jim talks through plot points with me, listens patiently while I discuss people who don't exist (for hours), and holds my hand during the middle of the book when the plot seems to always fall apart. I initially planned to use the name "Dorothy James," but the website URL for that name was already taken. Jim suggested I upgrade him to sainthood. I told him I could do that, but it would mean he needed to earn the title of saint, to which he promptly replied, "time served."
2. What fiction genre(s) and/or sub-genre(s) do you write?
I write cozy gardening mysteries set at the White House. The research for the books has been quite the adventure.
3. Tell us about your latest release.
Flowerbed of State is the first book in the White House Gardener Mystery series published by Berkley Prime Crime:
Free-spirited Casey Calhoun, the White House's new organic gardener, has a lot on her mind with her upcoming presentation to the First Lady outlining her plans for implementing organic practices on the White House grounds while preparing for the Spring Garden Tour and the annual Easter Egg Roll. But all her carefully made preparations begin to unravel after she's mugged in the same park where a Treasury accountant was murdered. Not long after that, she accidentally pepper sprays a Secret Service agent, a senator begins a campaign against organic gardening, and Wall Street's most eligible bachelor takes a sudden romantic interest in her. Not to mention the President's new puppy is constantly nipping at her heels and digging holes in the South Lawn. The local police, FBI, and Secret Service all assure her that they are on top of the murder investigation, but something isn't adding up.
4. Is there a core story and/or a theme(s) in your books?
The core of all of my books is about discovering secrets. Often the process of uncovering secrets forces my main characters into accepting difficult truths about themselves and turning weaknesses into strengths. Being stubborn can also be called persistence. Lying can be called creative thinking. Being fearful can be considered cautious. It all depends on the individual's point of view.
5. Do you have a favorite hero and/or heroine in your books and why?
Casey Calhoun, my fearless organic gardener, is my favorite character right now because she is so different from me. I seem to be constantly in a dither about this or that, sweating over the small stuff. Casey, on the other hand, marches through life knowing what she wants and "thinking" she knows exactly how to get it. Unfortunately, she's often wrong about that second part. But does that stop her? No, she just keeps on trying new things until she succeeds. She's my personal heroine. Yes, she's loosely based on a real person. And no, I'm not going to tell you who, because she might read this part and get all smug about it.
6. What do you enjoy most about being an author?
Being able to work in my PJ's is priceless. I also enjoy the freedom to set my own hours and to be available for my family when they need me.
7. Do you have any awards, reviews or kudos you’d like to tell us about?
As Dorothy McFalls, mild-mannered romance novelist, my work has been nominated for many awards including: Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award, Reviewers International Organization Award, National Reader's Choice Award, CataRomance Reviewers' Choice Award, and The Romance Reviews Today Perfect 10! Award. Reviewers have called my work: "amazing", "perfect", "filled with emotion", and "lined with danger."
The initial reviews for Flowerbed of State, my first Dorothy St. James novel, have been good. In fact, Publishers Weekly praised the book, saying it had "credible characters, a fast-paced plot, and a light look at political life in Washington, D.C."
8. How do you promote your books and your author brand?
What don't I do? I have a page on Facebook and a Twitter account. I'm a regular guest blogger on Killer Characters, where characters from cozy mysteries come to life. I also guest blog whenever and wherever anyone will have me. I hand out bookmarks to whoever will take them (Do you want one? Just let me know and I'll mail you one or many) and run periodic contests. If you have any other suggestions on how to promote myself, I'd love to hear about them. I'm always looking for new and fun ways to attract readers.
9. What is your next project?
I'm currently working on the second book in the White House Gardener Mystery series with the working title, The Scarlet Pepper. It's scheduled for a May 2012 release. Casey Calhoun turns her talents to growing a vegetable garden. Everything is going well until a grouchy reporter ends up poisoned and the evidence suggests that Casey grew a deadly concoction for him to swallow.
10. Do you have a bit of wisdom you’d like to impart or a favorite quote?
I recently ran across a Mark Twain quote that struck a chord with me: "Most of my life's worst experiences never actually happened." You can spend a lot of time worrying about what might or might not happen, or you can live your life. There's so much in the publishing business that is beyond the writer's control. I'm working on accepting that truth and just enjoying the process of writing the best darn book I know how to write and enjoying the people in my life to my fullest.
Thank you, Dorothy! My June James Gang interviewee will be Pocket author Kris Kennedy, who has a character perfect for the James Gang!
Judith James Interview
Tawny Weber Interview
Jaime Samms Interview
N.J. Walters Interview
Silver James Interview
Jimmy Thomas Interview
Jamie Lee Coulter Interview
Jamieson Wolf Interview
Christina James Interview
Cara Lynn James Interview
Syrie James Interview
Jessica James Interview
Julie James Interview
Lori James Interview
Jamie Hill Interview
Jeanne St. James Interview
Kelly Jamieson Interview
Jaime Rush Interview
Jami Davenport Interview
Lorelei James Interview
Dina James Interview
Lyric James Interview
Ava James Interview
Sandy James Interview
Tiffany James Interview
Angela James Interview
Kate St. James Interview
Jamie Leigh Hansen Interview
Jeannie James Interview
Jamie Denton Interview
Elle James Interview
Liza James Interview
Raina James Interview
Allyson James Interview
Marianna Jameson Interview
Sherry James Interview
Maddie James Interview
Marcia James Interview