We're delighted to welcome lovely Judy Jarvie to our spotlight today. Here are Judy's answers to our minxy questions...
What is your writing process?
I'm wincing to admit I don't have a process as such. I just write when I can because my youngest child is only just about to start school so I've grabbed time whenever I can do it and I continue that way. I've found NaNoWriMo a very helpful process - it made me appreciate the value of just getting a dirty draft done (and lovely Harlequin author Natalie Anderson introduced me to NaNoWriMo first). I find now that I have to dip in and out of projects in order to refill the well and keep momentum.
Everyone who writes knows it's not easy - what methods do you use to keep at it on days when it would be so much easier to go shoe shopping?
I like to give myself a words quota to get done though again it's just not possible every day - it's all about taking control a bit like my recent dieting! So if it's not a good day - just being in control by making some notes in my pad is a tick for progress. You just keep doing what works and moves you forward is my motto.
Keeping fit: Do you have an exercise regime to counterbalance all those hours sitting at a computer?
As indicated above I've been dieting (so far lost 18lbs (yey but there have been good days and bad!). So I've taken up new activities (walking and zumba). Ironically they also provide essential time to think/time to drift off. I am finding I come up with lightbulb moments in 'active time' so it's all good. Plus it's nice to know it's shaving inches off my behind too!
Do you believe in writer's block?
I believe you can put too much pressure on yourself. A lovely writer friend told me once that it's absolutely vital to refill the well and I heartily buy into that. Sometimes I just need a break so I won't force it. I need to do all the other things I love - e.g. family time, reading, crafts, baking and having a life! Though I love writing with a passion I guess it's all about balance and I try not to get too het up about taking time away. Being able to return refreshed and fired up again is worth the break. If I am finding it too hard going I either switch project or take some time out - I usually end up back at the computer pretty soon.
Have you ever used an incident from real life in a book? If so, did it get you into trouble?
I have 'fictionalised' real life situations. I did have to admit to my mum's friend that I'd taken her 'embarrassing incident' and used it in a published short story. She took it very well and requested a copy - even when it involved a rather garish comedy picture of the heroine lying on the payement on a hen night! She's still my mother's friend and I'd tweaked the story and upped the stakes anyway and nobody would ever guess the identity of the woman who started it all.
In what way is being a published writer different to how you thought it would be?
I knew from secondary school age that I loved writing, especially fiction. At the time I figured that meant becoming a journalist. I went into PR and then turned to fiction writing later because I still had the urge. I always knew I wanted to write stories and romances. I feel very privileged that I can do what I love so much.
Promotion is no longer a dirty word. In what ways do you strive to reach more readers?
Despite doing marketing qualifications in the past there's a tiny part of of me that doesn't want to get all promo pushy because writing still feels personal. But I agree that promo is vital. I think web and social media presence help as well as cultivating a network of writing buddies. It's just about good pre-planning and using opportunities well. A willingness to keep trying new things is vital too.
What is your top promo tip for other authors?
Take yourself seriously from an early point even if it feels like the only person who might look at your website and WIP is your Granny. Having a professional facade will feed into everything else and it shows you have it all under control and you're serious and committed to driving your aims forward. It's all about having a positive attitude!
What did you learn while writing this book?
Pitched Into Love was published this year by My Weekly Pocket Novels. It's now being published by E-scape Press as Falling For The Laird in e-format in their brand new exciting imprint Ballgown Books which is due to be launched imminently. Coincidentally it is the first book I ever tried to write. It sat in a cupboard for a long time as I knew I had work to do to bring it up to standard. Last year I realised what I had to do (which basically amounted to cutting for pace and adding more drama to keep pages turning better plus giving the heroine and hero more of a growing relationship as friends besides the attraction!) I'm very glad I finally sat down and started over. It showed me that I wasn't a million miles away, I've just learned to tweak the fine points better!
What was the most fun part of writing this book?
I love this book because it reminds me of an old favourite BBC programme - Monarch of the Glen. It's set on a highland estate in Scotland and there are quirky local characters. It's the kind of story that appeals to me and I still watch old episodes of the show.
And just for fun: what would your hero’s honeymoon destination of choice be?
Hot Scot Jack McGregor is a very modern highland laird and he's also a multi-tasker - he runs an estate and he's a doctor plus he's refurbished his castle hotel! He's no stranger to hard work so I think he'd take a well earned break somewhere indulgent so he could be pampered for a change - let's go for Mauritius! Let's face it we Scots deserve a bit of sunshine and a beachy paradise and Jack and Steph deserve a sun-drenches get-away retreat.
Falling For The Laird will be published soon by exciting new book line venture Ballgown Books (part of E-Scape Press). If you like an escapist read that's intense and brimming with romance and glamour, Ballgown Books is a perfect destination for the read of your dreams. More information soon from E-Scape Press at escapewithabook.com. This title will also be released as Pitched Into Love large print from Ulverscroft in December 2012.
Falling For The Laird by Judy Jarvie
Steph Baxter goes to the highlands to help out her pregnant friend Ally and her husband. She doesn't expect to end up battling to help save their stunning movie-style castle hotel. Or to wind up assisting and falling for its equally impressive part-owner Jack McGregor! Steph's highland adventure brings a tough mission, a hot man and a massive challenge for a woman who likes to give every task 100%.
Go to judyj.blogspot.com - buy links to follow soon and the launch of Ballgown Books is just around the corner and will be fully flagged.