THE JAMES GANG
Each month I interview a writer who has "James" in his/her pen name. My February James Gang interview is with Maddie James.
1. Welcome, Maddie James! Let’s get the most important question asked first: Why James?
Why James? Why not? <grin> James is not my real name, although my real last name does start with J. I’ve always liked Js, you know? And Ks and Ms for some reason. In my past, I was a preschool teacher and I’m well-steeped in preschool children’s literacy development. Children of that age get so attached to their letter (the first letter of their name) and then later on, their actual name. Well, that sticks into adulthood! I think subconsciously when I chose James, I was still keeping with the J theme. And besides, it is in the middle of the alphabet and most of the time in the bookstores the J authors are usually in the center of the shelf. Well, of course there are exceptions, but sometimes… I can remember vividly when my editor and I settled on Maddie James. I’d been writing under my real name, was going through a divorce, had switched lines within the house, and I told my editor at the time, Ann LaFarge at Kensington, that I wanted to switch to pen name. She said, great. So, we brainstormed through email, and for one reason or another, she or I nixed this one and that one. Finally, we agreed, and Maddie James was born. I remember Ann’s last part of the conversation was something like, “so there you go, Maddie James, long lost granddaughter of Henry.” I’m sure she doesn’t remember that at all, but it has stuck in my head all this time.
2. What fiction genre(s) and/or sub-genre(s) do you write?
Right now I’m writing straight contemporary, romantic suspense, and paranormal. That paranormal part includes time-travel. Funny how some people include time-travel in the paranormal realm, and others put it in a category all its own. And I have a couple of stories edging toward erotica. This is all a reinvention of myself, I guess you would say. When I wrote for Kensington years back, I was writing category (Precious Gems and Zebra Bouquet). My stories now are generally edgier, have more depth, and usually contain some element of suspense.
3. Tell us about your latest release.
I’d love to. I’m fortunate to have had two releases in late 2007. My November release, THE CURSE, is the first book in my time-travel series called The Legend of Blackbeard’s Chalice. There are at least two more books coming in 2008 in the series, and I’m thinking there is a good possibility of an additional two more. This is my first attempt at a series and I’m loving it. THE CURSE just hit Amazon in print a couple of weeks ago and I’m thrilled. It will also be available in all the usual ebook sites and brick-and-mortar stores soon, as well as through my publisher’s website, http://www.resplendencepublishing.com/.
Here is the blurb for the story.
Jack Porter is in hot pursuit of his kidnapped wife. Not an easy feat considering it is 1718 and the kidnapper is the notorious pirate, Edward Teach aka. Blackbeard. Determined to rescue his wife, Hannah, and take the pirate’s head in the process, Jack sneaks aboard the pirate’s ship but is too late. Hannah dies in his arms.
Nearly 300 years later, Claire Winslow vacations on a secluded east coast island, where the image of a man walking the misty shore haunts her. Then he comes to her one night, kisses her, and disappears. The next night they make love and he tells her his name is Jack. But did they really make love? Or was it a dream? And why did he call her Hannah?
The Curse sends Jack and Claire on a wild search through time for a powerful historical artifact—the silver-plated chalice made from Blackbeard’s skull. This chalice holds the key to their destiny and their love. Only with the chalice will they be able to reverse Blackbeard’s Curse.
Will they find it in time? Or are they destined to be parted by fate once more?
4. Is there a core story and/or a theme(s) in your books?
Seems like no matter what the sub-genre, there is usually some element of suspense in my stories. I like to use the tag line, “Edgy Suspense, Thrilling Romance.” Maybe that sums it up.
5. Do you have a favorite hero and/or heroine in your books and why?
Wow, that is a hard one. I am not even able to give you a favorite color, or favorite food, or favorite music artist, etc. I think I am missing that part of my brain that stores favorites! I often thing that my favorite characters are the characters in the story I just finished. Today, as a matter of fact, I sent off my final edits on THE CULT (book 2 in the series) and for this moment, the heroine (Tory Porter) and hero (Colt MacKenzie) are my favorite characters! Why? Wow, there was such spark between them. This is another time-travel story. She’s 18th century, he’s 21st. The sexual tension just drags you in (if I do say so myself), and they make some firecracker love! (My editor said so!) And right now, I’m very in love with their happy-ever-after.
6. What do you enjoy most about being an author?
Working in my jammies from time to time? Um, well, not often enough. I do have a day job. But that could be a goal… I love the camaraderie that I have with my fellow writers. Love it! With like minds, you can really communicate. My writer people understand me. I don’t have to explain what a synopsis is, or POV, or GMC, or HEA. They already know this stuff. I get a big charge when someone tells me they’ve read one of my books—and that they love it! Nothing better!
7. Do you have any awards, reviews or kudos you’d like to tell us about?
Guess I’m a slacker in that department. My first book, The Wild West, a Kensington Precious Gems, did win the Calico Trails Cameo award. I think that was around 1997 or so. If I remember correctly, it was awarded for the heroine in a western novel who most showed the spirit of the old West. I thought that was kind of cool.
8. How do you promote your books and your author brand?
I do as much online promotion as my time will allow. Probably not nearly enough, however. I try to take advantage of any free opportunities that I can. I have a pretty strong Web presence with a website, MySpace, blog, and a newsletter. I try to guest on other authors blogs and yahoogroups from time to time. I’ve bought ads in Romantic Times BOOKreviews and Romance Sells in the past and likely will continue to do so. I also think it’s important to network with other writers and be members of various Romance Writers of America chapters. I plan to attend the Romantic Times convention for the first time this year. That should be quite an experience! I’m looking forward to it.
I’m also fortunate to be with a publishing company that believes in putting a marketing budget toward each of its authors. So, I work in tandem with the marketing department there to promote not only my work and myself as an author, but my fellow Resplendence Publishing authors and the house.
9. What is your next project?
I’m currently working on a contracted novella titled, “Red: A Seduction Tale”. It is a grown-up remake of Little Red Riding Hood. Truly a seduction tale, it takes this little romp in the woods to a new level. The hero is a rougarou – a Cajun werewolf. Fun, huh?
10. Do you have a bit of wisdom you’d like to impart or a favorite quote?
Hm. My favorite quote is “Eat dessert first.” But I have no idea who said that. Maybe it was me? I dunno. LOL But that has nothing to do with writing, eh? A bit of wisdom. I would say this. Love what you do and do it because you love it. Writing is hard work. It might look easy but it’s not. You have to love it to keep at it. If it is truly a part of you, you will never let it go…nor will it let you go. Someone once told me that a cat chooses its owner. I think writing is kind of like that. Writing chooses you. Not the other way around.
Thanks, Maddie! Next month I’ll interview Sherry James!
Marcia James Interview