Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Party Plan by Melanie Jayne

The Party Plan Cover

INTERVIEW
How did you come up with the idea for your story?
The Party Plan started as a 3,500 word short story that I submitted to an Open Call for an anthology. It was rejected but I liked Avery and Kade so much that I decided to expand their story. I have always been intrigued by missed opportunities and the “what ifs” in life. I thought I would give two people the chance to explore their long held feelings. By the way, I do have two godsons that are named Brian and Kyle but the resemblance to the characters ends there.
 
Where do you find your inspiration?
I have always been the person that people tell their stories and problems to. I mean the lady that sits by me on a plane will spill her guts to me. Since I am older, many of my friends have been through a divorce or the end of a long-term relationship. I have watched them regroup and move on. I am a huge believer in that you must keep moving forward, don’t live in the past and you simply must learn from your mistakes.
 
Is there anything that you find particularly challenging in your writing?
How much time do we have? I am still very new to all of this and my work schedule recently changed so I’m still getting used to that. I am a slow writer, who needs to ease into my groove so I waste a lot of time getting into writing mode. I am also terrible with commas. I either use too many or not enough. I can talk myself into adding a comma to almost any sentence. I know my editor probably was ready to kill me.
 
What are your current projects?
I have a novella called A Change for the Good that is in the editing process. I hope to have it published at the end of June. I’m writing book one of a small town romance trilogy. It has two very stubborn characters, who have a second chance at love. It is called You Only and I hope to have that out in early winter. Then there will be a novella based in the Casino world. When I get all of that taken care of, I’m starting a story that has been hounding me for months. It is a paranormal tale about Lycans, however, these aren’t your mama’s werewolves. It is much darker than anything I have ever attempted and deeper because I will have to world build. I’m going to change up some established rules regarding the Lycans. Wish me luck because reading that list makes me feel anxious.
 
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Absolutely. Don’t let your past dictate your future. If you are unhappy then make changes. Stop making the same mistakes over and over. Change your decisions, then you will change your life.
 
Does music play any type of role in your writing?
YES. I create a playlist for every story. I am constantly finding and adding songs. For The Party Plan, I listened to the songs, Glitter in the Air and Colorblind often. For the sex scenes, I always start with Nine Inch Nails’ Closer.
 
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your life?
About two years ago, I learned that my best friend’s marriage was ending. They had been married for 23 years, have four great kids, a lovely home and a dog. From the outside it seemed like a great life but there were problems. I admire her so much for how she handled everything. She has since moved from Chicago to L.A. so that the girls, who are teenagers, can be closer to their dad, plus she found an even better job. I hope that when she is ready that she will be able to find love again or at least have fun looking. I made her promise to share all of the details.
 
What books influenced your life most?
I read the book Scruples when I was fifteen, I found it hidden in my mom’s closet so I knew it had to be good. Oh wow- it had billionaires, fashion, and hot sex. I then went through a British Mystery period. I love Patricia Wentworth’s Miss Silver, Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey and Agatha Christie. More recently, I’ve re-read Welcome to Temptation and Faking It by Jennifer Crusie, I could relate to the small town and the characters. After reading several books in Lorelei James’ Rough Riders series, I knew that I wanted to write about real people and real situations that I could relate to.
 
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I have not read as much as I used to. I will tell you about two authors that I fell in love with over the last year. I am obsessed with Kit Rocha’s Beyond Series. I read the first book, Beyond Shame and when I finished, I called my friend Val, and told her to stop whatever she was doing and read that book. I then started to read it all over again. The world building is amazing and easy to follow. Even though there are many characters, the way they are written, you remember them and care about them. I met one part of this writing duo at RT2014 and had a total fangirl moment that included jumping up and down and shouting “O’Kane for Life”. I also read the Experiment in Terror series by Karina Halle. Horror/New Adult isn’t something that I generally read but a trusted friend suggested it so I tried it. Ms. Halle can set a scene so that you can feel the cold rain hitting your face or the cold on a snowy morning. Plus Dex, the hero is so complex, damaged, crazy, cranky and wild. I was charmed by him and at times equally frustrated, but I never stopped reading. I will also tell you that two of her scenes still freak me the hell out – even today in the daylight. I will never rent a cabin in a snowy, mountainous area nor will I ever be able to sit on a deserted beach and look out at the surf without thinking about coffins washing ashore. A shiver just went down my spine thinking about it.
 
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I want to say that if you love a book, tell your friends, talk about it on social media, and post a positive review. Send a message to the author to tell them how much you liked the book and why.   Share your love of reading and the books that you find special. I will also add that for years I have heard that writing can be a very lonely vocation. It is true, so a positive message really can brighten an author’s day.
 
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
You can find my author page on Facebook- Melanie Jayne, Author. I’m MJSmut on twitter. My website is www.ReadMelanieJayne.com. Maybe we can meet up at the following events that I am planning on attending, RT2015 in Dallas, Lori Foster’s RAGT in June, RWA in NYC, and AAD in Hotlanta in August for my Birthday. If you are feeling adventurous and aren’t upset by a monster dog and her slobber, then come by my house for a visit.
 
Do you have a special time to write?
How is your day structured writing-wise. I am trying to become more structured. I work 5 overnights a week at a casino and I need my sleep. Without it, I am a zombie. I am trying to program my brain and my life so that I can write 1-2 hours in the late afternoon after I wake up. On weekends, I try to put in three hours each morning. I am not a fast writer and I need time to get into my writerly groove. I’m working on getting my groove on much faster.
 
Why did you choose to write Erotic Romance?
It’s what I like to read. I like sex. I like to talk about it, hear about it and think about it. It just seemed to be a natural extension that I write books with explicit sex in them.
 
What is for you the perfect book hero?
For me, this is a very hard question. So I am going to tell you about my current favorite. I am so in love with Dallas and Lex, the King and Queen of Sector 4, from Kit Rocha’s Beyond series. I feel that I have to name them both because they are a package deal. Dallas is brave, intelligent, and he learns from his mistakes. Lex has a huge heart and the brain to back it up. She is a natural leader and her influence makes Dallas a better man. Dallas takes care of business behind a desk and in the ring fighting, and if necessary Lex won’t think twice about cutting your throat. Plus they are both sexy and extremely sexual.
 
If you start a book, do you already have the whole story in your head or is it built progressively?
I am a Plotter. Usually the entire story comes to me at one time. I then make an extensive outline, a list of character attributes, and a list describing the location including the town name, what their homes may look like. I cut out pages from magazines so that I can dress the characters, I even have bedroom decorating ideas. I also have phrases or bits of conversations that come to me that I jot down and save. For instance, a woman at work told me that she “can never get rid of old boyfriends because she has a magic vagina”. I wrote that down immediately and I know the perfect scene for it.
 
When and why did you begin writing?
I have always made up stories, I did it to help me fall asleep or to pass the time. I tried to write a book when I was a teen but soon gave up. In college, I was really excited to take a creative writing class. The professor hated my work. She gave me C’s and D’s. I was shocked and hurt by those grades so I put that dream away. About five years ago, I was complaining to my good friend, Valerie Cozart, about not connecting with anything I was reading. She suggested that I try to write. Boom-the pieces fell into place. I organized some ideas and shopped them to my friends to get feedback, I started attending conventions and going to panels on craft. I attended the Writer’s Bootcamp at RT2013and took a few online courses. I read books about writing and I started reading with a critical eye towards the craft. I also asked questions and listened to writers talk. It was in June of 2013 that I started to write seriously. I felt so free when I was typing away. I would laugh out loud or get teary eyed as I put those words on the screen. It is an amazing feeling.
 
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It hit me last May when, I was sitting on the bed in my hotel room at RT in New Orleans. I had just hired an editor to work on The Party Plan. When I sent her the manuscript, it became a reality, I was going to do this. I wasn’t going to put that manuscript away because I was afraid of rejection, I was going to get it published and share that book with the world. Then I was going to do it again and again. I was excited but I was also scared shitless, however I felt so alive.
 
List three books that you have recently read and would recommend.  
I haven’t been reading much recently. I did read The Prisoner by Skye Warren and Annika Martin. This book has haunted me, especially the power shift when he breaks her glasses. I need my glasses to see so the violent intent behind that action really hit me. Beyond Addiction by Kit Rocha. I am obsessed with this series. I love Finn, the bad boy that works to become a better man for the woman he loves. I am and always will be O’Kane for Life. A few weeks ago, I needed the comfort of my book friends so I re-read, Rock Chick Reckoning by Kristen Ashley. I love Mase and Stella’s story, he is a badass P.I. and she is a local rock star. I think one of the most romantic scenes that I have ever read is when Stella is singing Pearl Jam’s song, Black, and Mase climbs onto the stage and kisses her. That song means so much to me and the scene is so powerful, it gets to me every time.
 
Tell us something that people would be surprised you know how to do.
I am a klutz. I run into things constantly and I am always bruised. When music plays the klutziness magically goes away and I can move. At one time in my life, I achieved some success as a competitor in Pro/Am Ballroom dancing. I think it was mostly due to my partner who was a Viking and so bossy- just like a character in a book. Still to this day when a good song comes on, I can move in 3” heels, two sets of fake eyelashes and a ballgown laden with stones that weighs a ton.
 
Will you write more about these characters?
I can’t say ever, but at this time, I don’t have anything in mind for Kade and Avery.

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