Marcia James, author of hot, humorous romances

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The James Gang


November James Gang Interview

Each month, I interview authors or publishing insiders who have some form of "James" in their names or in their books. My November interviewee is author Julia Blaine, who has a character perfect for the James Gang!

1. Why James? Why did you pick the name, “Butch Jamison” for the name of your character in Change of Heart, Change of Mind?

Butch is a football hero. When I wrote my first draft, I just grabbed a name that suited the sort of person I was writing about. In my high school, there was a very, very handsome athlete named “Butch.” Unfortunately I did not really know him, but there is no reason to believe the student from my school is anything like the character in my story. As I revised, I changed the last name to “Jamison” because it sounded strong to me; that of a businessman who is popular and important in the small community of my story. “Butch,” stuck. It just fit this captain of a championship team.

2. What fiction genre(s) and/or sub-genre(s) do you write?

I write mainly Regency novels. Adrian’s Pearl and Shot Through the Heart are enjoyed by readers of traditional Regencies.

Vampire Music, set in Regency Londonis, like Change of Mind, Change of Heart, a paranormal. I would rather enjoy meeting Gregory Weston [of Vampire Music]– except when he is hungry.

He knows he is irresistibly handsome and highly intelligent; wealthy and in complete control of every aspect of his life -- except for his extensive and disorganized library, which he loves. All he needs to fix that situation is a librarian. He does not expect to hire a beautiful, pregnant female for this position. She does not fit well into his plans and is difficult to control.

Three Little Cats is a brightly-colored Trick or Treat Picture Book based on a very old British Rhyme.

3. Tell us about your latest release.

I originally wrote Three Little Cats, a Trick or Treat Story, for my granddaughters.

Since I live near Circleville, Ohio – home of their huge fall Pumpkin Show – I thought friends and neighbors there might enjoy buying it at the new Circleville Book Store, Keystone Books.

My story is an adaptation of the old nursery rhyme, The Three Little Kittens; “Cats” rhymes with “Hats.” This time the “pie” is definitely pumpkin.

There are a couple games so young readers can search the pictures. Also, a bit of literary history of the folklore is included.

4. Is there a core story and/or theme(s) in your books?

Besides almost all being love stories with happy endings? (Three Little Cats does have a happy ending, and lots of us love Trick or Treat.)

My material is not truly inspirational, but there does seem to be a vicar in all my Regencies. The Men-of-the-Church in Vampire Music are definitely irregular, but it is necessary to have a vicar if one is to wed. The church at that time was as important a regulator of society as the iron-bound traditions of the Ton.

In Change of Heart, Change of Mind, there must be a reason Jason Bradford does not die in the ER. He’s pulled into the Afterlife Tunnel and returns as a different person; someone with access to the life he always wanted. Jason the school teacher never did want to be a football hero. He has no idea how to throw a football. But Butch’s wife – now that’s an altogether different dream.

5. Do you have a favorite hero and/or heroine in you books and why?

It is very hard to choose a favorite character. It is usually someone in my current novel.

I do love my frustrated vampire. It is such fun see him befuddled over and over again. He is so sure of himself, yet so deeply vulnerable. Slowly, he discovers the same traits in the very efficient heroine.

In Adrian’s Pearl, Major Adrian Seaborn returns as a hero from Napoleon’s Peninsular War. Being home is just as difficult as facing charging French Grenadiers. Thousands of veterans have also returned, most wounded in both mind and body. Adrian wants to help them. He believes most of these soldiers have more courage than he ever had.

Without proof, Adrian was accused of a terrible murder just before he left for war. Because of that scandal, he is not even brave enough to call on Catherine, the woman he has always loved. Only a terrible carriage accident forces him to take Catherine in his arms and carry her home.

Her face now bears a terrible scar. Once so beautiful, she was called “The Pearl.” Catherine is now rejected by her fiancé, friends and the Ton. She refuses to believe Adrian’s protestations of love and flees London, as wounded by The Season as Adrian’s crippled returning troops.

Yes, I think Adrian’s Pearl is my favorite book but, as much as I love Catherine and Adrian, my favorite character is veteran Michael Mason who has lost his right hand. His joie de vivre and imagination bring him strength to succor Adrian in his darkest hours and to find love for himself in spite of insurmountable obstacles. Michael is beside his commanding officer when the true murderer is revealed.

6. What do you enjoy most about being an author?

Stories and ideas whirl about in my head, trying to get out. They get in the way of everyday activities and distract me when they shouldn’t. Daydreaming? Of course not! I’m working on my next novel!

I put all those odd people and places on paper, just to get them out of my head! Nothing finished, just what I need to find them again. That doesn’t mean they’re totally gone. Usually they sneak back, not so urgently, whisper or call my name, and whoever is loudest may become a full-fledged story if the time is right.

I love putting words together. I just start writing with the bare bones of – something. I usually have the ending in mind, but that may change. Yes, I’m a pants-er. I write by the seat of somebody’s pants. My characters often tell the story themselves and I love that! I’m hearing it for the first time, also.

What are the choices for a person with certain characteristics? What will happen if he chooses a certain route or makes a particular decision? I get to toss in a storm, a fire, or a highwayman – whatever makes it tougher. That’s a great challenge.

Another challenge is rewriting the first draft. I finish the story, then go back and fix what needs to be fixed and solve those nagging problems. What a thrill when I wake up in the morning with the answers I need.

I guess what I love most, what thrills me and challenges me, is the finished product. The characters have become my new friends that I often wish were real. Best of all, I can now share my new friends and their adventures with others.

7. Do you have any awards, reviews or kudos you’d like to tell us about?

Positive feedback from readers! A friend bought my book. I didn’t ask her to do so. She just knew I had written Adrian’s Pearl, so she read it. The next time she saw me, she told me over and over how much she enjoyed it! Unsolicited praise! Wow!

8. How do you promote your books and your author brand?

Once I have finished a book I post it on the New Release sites for Beau Monde (if it is a Regency) and for Central Ohio Fiction Writers.

I’ve attended book signings at libraries and book stores and even at an event for H&R Block Tax Services. One of their employees is a reader and asked if she could use Shot Through the Heart for discussion in her Book Club. (Duh! Please do so…)

For the book signings, I have signs and bookmarks. Bookmarks for Shot Through the Heart feature the cover of the book in different ways. There’s one in black and white that folds open to show the heroine in a different dress. Crayons are attached [so they can be colored]. The other is a colorful handout featuring the duel that is crucial to the story.

I also have cards to give away, listing of all my books with a reminder that they are available on Kindle and Amazon. I am available on Facebook.

Right now I am giving away a book of paper dolls with authentic Regency clothing appropriate to my characters.

My vampire has a dark cloak, of course.

Captain Doyle Moorefield, the supportive soldier in Shot Through the Heart, has a uniform with a red British coat, sword and emblazoned caps.

Aunt Racky’s huge friendly dog, Dudley, almost hides the skirt of one dress. It was difficult to resist featuring all her other animals; small, three-legged Quinton who nevertheless keeps up with Dudley, Hugo the grass snake, an aviary which attracts Daisy and many other feline friends and Louis the Capuchin monkey who just can’t adjust.

I restrained myself.

My favorite sales prop, made just for me by a friend, is an intriguing handsome stuffed animal dressed as a vampire. He attracts lots of attention. After all, Gregory Weston may say he is evil, but inside he is nothing but a Teddy Bear!

9. What is your next project?

I’ve said little about Shot Through the Heart.

Eight young men and women leave the small village of Brandon for the London Season.

Harte and Tia have been engaged since childhood. Does Harte really want to marry her? Tia is not sure. She’s determined to find out in London.

Harte and his brother Pierce look very much alike. Pierce, however, abhors firearms and will not touch them. As a second son, he is studying for the church. He falls in love often, and this time he is absolutely positive Hermione, the vicar’s daughter, is The One.

Flighty Hermione just assumes men will be attracted to her beauty, but only True Love will tempt her to marry. Distraction often triumphs over good sense.

Jim Rainey may not be the most handsome fellow, but he’s going to London to keep an eye on Hermione. He should have kept his eyes on her and not on Tia.

Lucy must leave Captain Doyle Moorefield behind when she travels to London but she keeps him in her heart.

The dissipated rogue, Terrance Tyson, must quickly marry an heiress – if he can discover which young woman is wealthy.

Tia stays with her eccentric Aunt Racky, just one of her two peculiar aunts. Doyle is allergic to monkeys. Mistakes happen. Accusations made in the heat of passion cumulate in a duel -- with the wrong man. Someone dies.

Like London fog, emotions and tensions swirl among the young people. The Season offers more problems than it solves.

Why am I telling you about this?

The book I am working on now, Christmas and the Vicar’s Daughter, is a sequel to Shot Through the Heart. Has Hermione learned anything from her stay in London? With kisses under the mistletoe, Christmas wishes do come true. It should be available in late 2016.

10. Do you have a bit of wisdom you’d like to impart or a favorite quote?

Give a reader something that takes her away from real life and returns her to house and hearth well satisfied and happy. Write the story you would like to read yourself.

Check out Julia’s books on her Amazon Author Central page:

Thank you, Julia! Stop by next month, when my interviewee with be author Caroline Clemmons, who has a character custom made for the James Gang!

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