THE JAMES GANG
Each month I interview an author or publishing insider who has “James” in his/her name. My February James Gang interview is with Tiffany James of the Armchair Heroines blog (http://armchairheroines.blogspot.com/) and Two Ps Promotionals.
1. Let’s get the most important question asked first: Why James?
James is my pen name, but it's also a family name -- first as a surname and then as the middle name of my grandfather and father (among other various and sundry relatives). I chose it because I like the connection to my family. Plus it's short and simple...something my married name isn't with thirteen letters including two sets of doubles! Would that even fit on a cover?
2. What fiction genre(s) and/or sub-genre(s) do you write?
My heart lies in the romance genre. First as a reader (I started sneaking titles off my mom's shelf in junior high), and now as a writer. I've tried my hand at historical romance, and I'm currently working on a contemporary. I'm still trying to find my stride and the sub-genre that really lights my fingers on fire, where my voice and style fit.
3. How did you start writing romances?
I never really sat down with the plan or idea to be a writer.
In the fall of 2007, when my "baby" started kindergarten, I found myself with a serious case of PMS, acne and angst. I suddenly felt like I was back in high school, pondering the age-old question, "What am I going to be when I grow up?" And like the proverbial seeker who can't spy the forest for the trees, I pondered, mused, meditated, speculated and reflected…
Then I panicked. I cried. I got depressed. I threw myself into a couple of different projects that didn't feel right. I journaled, did my fair share of soul searching and then decided to do as my recent read, Life Organizing by Jennifer Louden, suggested: to hop on the inner tube of life and float…see where the current would take me.
So, there I was in a premature, pseudo-midlife crisis when I stumbled upon the National Novel Writing Month website (NANOWRIMO.org). I can't remember now how I found it. I wish I could. I decided to give writing a novel in thirty days a go. I wrote, read articles on the site and in the e-mails I received and by day twenty-seven I had a sloppy, painfully rough, 56,000-word first draft of a novel. Hmm, I thought, interesting experience. Then I promptly put it away and went off to clean house, do laundry and resume chauffeur duty for my three children…
But a strange thing happened. I woke up one night pining for my characters. I missed my heroine's sassy mouth and romantic longings. I yearned to bask again in my hero's charming, debonair, albeit arrogant presence. So I went back and read my manuscript. Groaning an "ugh" of disgust one moment and raising my brows with a, "Holy expletive! Did that really come out of my brain? It isn't half bad!" the next, I started adding, editing and revising…
And now, here I am!
4. Are you a plot-driven or character-driven writer?
Definitely character-driven. I'm finding my stories are chronicles of transformation, journeys toward authenticity and wholeness. That all comes down to characters and their experiences as they put one foot in front of the other on their paths.
5. Tell us about your Armchair Heroines blog.
I wanted to meet other romance readers, find out what they really love about romantic fiction, as well as connect readers and authors. Some of my favorite novels are those in which normal, everyday people are the stars. I think we all do amazing things everyday. I also wanted to celebrate that -- the "armchair heroine" in all of us. So I decided to create a place where we could all hang out, and Armchair Heroines was born. It's a work in progress, and I love watching it evolve. You can check it out at http://armchairheroines.blogspot.com
6. I hear you're doing a "Blind Date With a Book" event this month.
Ooooh, yes, and I'm so excited! I rounded up a handful of autographed romance novels from various sub-genres and wrapped them in brown paper (hence the "blind date" part). Anyone who comments at Armchair Heroines from now until February 13th is entered to win. I'll announce the winners on Valentine's Day. It's a great way to venture outside your reading comfort zone and possibly try something new -- all from the safety of your own armchair. No angst and embarrassment with these amaurotic assignations! :0)
7. What do you like about blogging vs. writing romantic fiction?
Blogging is more interactive -- and all about real people. I have active and animated conversations with the characters floating around in my head all day, but it's just not the same! :0) Writing can be a very solitary pursuit. Blogging keeps me from feeling so isolated. And I've made friends from all over the U.S. (Washington state to Kansas to New York) and the world (Finland, England, and Switzerland)!
8. What's the best part of writing about "Heroes, Heroines, Happy Endings…And that crazy little thing called love"?
The best part...hmm, that's a hard one...there are so many things I love about it!
My fondest memories growing up are of days spent with a good book. I had this amazing room in high school with a loft that I set up as a library. I'd crawl up there on a vacation day, curl up in my bean bag and get lost in the stories. It was so much fun to actually take on a different identity as I became the characters in the story. I often came away inspired, with a renewed sense of faith and hope in the world, relationships, etc. For me the best thing about writing "Heroes, Heroines, Happy Endings..." is creating that experience for others: characters who become alter egos or good friends, stories that touch and influence, bring joy. That's what I strive to do each time I sit down to write.
9. Tell us about Two Ps Promotionals.
Two Ps offers unique, custom promotional products for authors. It's been such a great way for me to combine my "crafty" bone with my love of the world of romance and books. I create sticky note holders, book thongs and bags adorned with cover art, personalized stationery, cover art jewelry, and much more. Almost every day I find something new I can adorn with cover art, authors' logos, names, and websites. You can visit Two Ps at www.twopspromos.com
10. Do you have a bit of wisdom you'd like to impart or a favorite quote?
I love quotes! They're posted all over my house and office -- the mirror in the bathroom, the coffee pot, my nightstand, my computer monitor. Here are two of my favorites:
"Hell, there are no rules here, we're trying to accomplish something." ~ Thomas Edison
"Try. Fail. Try again. Fail better." ~ Samuel Beckett
More of my favorite quotes are on my website at www.tiffanyjames.net
Marcia, thank you so much! I've always wanted to have an infamous reputation and be "wanted"! :0)
Thanks, Tiffany! Next month I’ll interview Bookstrand author Sandy James!
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