February Interview with Lexi Post

This interview was first seen on best-selling author Lexi Post’s fabulous blog found at http://www.happilyeverafterthoughts.com

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Interview with Jennifer Taylor, author of ECHOES OF THE MOON and a Giveaway!

EchoesoftheMoon_w12033_750

Today I’m interviewing historical Romance author, Jennifer Taylor, who is giving away a copy of the first in her series to one lucky commenter.

Lexi: What are you most excited about in this new release?

Jennifer: Thanks so much for having me, Lexi!Echoes of the Moon, book #3 of the Rhythm of the Moon historical romance series, features identical twins, Bethan and Elunid. Bethan is the caregiver for her sister Elunid, who suffers from mental illness. Bethan had resigned herself to living a life of duty and love without ever finding a mate, until she meets Henry. She finds herself drawn to him, despite his lowly occupation, and his courtly manners confuse and intrigue her as their attraction grows. At the heart of the story is the relationship between the twins, and the sacrifice that one must make for the other. There’s a lot of humor in the book, compliments of the antics of the townspeople and Henry and Bethan’s relationship. Music is a big part of my books, and I’m excited about the lyrics which I write on behalf of my characters.   

Lexi: What made you chose your title?

Jennifer: My heroine in book #1, Mercy of the Moon, is Maggie Wilson, a midwife in an 18th Century port town. Her life is ruled by the cycles of the moon and her delivering mothers. She lives her life solely for the women of the town, and never imagined finding a man who would understand that—until she meets the enigmatic Ian Pierce. And as we recently witnessed with the latest eclipse, the moon has been a mysterious force since time began. Midwifery continues to be an integral part of the series with Echoes of the Moon.

Lexi: Everyone has their own writing process…how they come up with ideas, how they name their characters, how they choose the setting. Can you describe your writing process?

Jennifer: I always start with the characters, usually my heroines first. I have a book journal, and I use it daily, and in that act of writing, the ideas begin to form. This prewriting is very crucial for me. I talk to myself, sometimes writing as the character. I talk to myself a lot! I don’t sit and think about the story, I think through the act of my fingers typing.  If I didn’t do that, the book would never come to fruition.

Once I get the hero and heroine fleshed out, I begin to plot. I use big pieces of butcher paper and sketch out plot ideas, drawing crazy spiderweb diagrams. I’m a global and visual learner, so this works well for me. It helps me think. Then the plot begins to form, but it changes quite a bit before the book is finished, because characters do unpredictable things and I let them. Those surprises are part of the joy of writing. I use the butcher paper a lot as the plot unfolds, sometimes with disastrous consequences, 😉 as I reveal later in the interview. Then I set to work in earnest, and generally write 6-10 hours a day, with breaks to pet my Great Dane, Bridget.

Lexi: What was the funniest thing you did wrong when you first started writing?

Jennifer:  So, regarding the butcher paper: during the writing of my second book, Heartbeat of the Moon, I had a scented candle lit, and several pieces of butcher paper on my desk that I was scribbling on as I was typing. I was so into writing a very passionate love scene, I didn’t notice I’d set my desk on fire. I put it out in an instant, knocking over my chair, and everything else on the desk. I like to say the love scene was so hot, it was on fire. Needless to say, now I keep my papers and candle far away from each other, just in case I get lost in a scene!

Lexi: What was the strangest thing that inspired a story for you?

Jennifer: I believe every good book should start in the middle of the action, with a big mess that the characters have to find their way out of. As I was dreaming up the plot for Book #1, Mercy of the Moon, I thought: what if my hero and heroine meet during the most tragic time in their lives? I happened to find a book called, Buried Alive: The Terrifying History of Our Most Primal Fear, by Jan Bondeson, and bingo! My hero and heroine meet over the grave of her sister. Later that night, she is returned, alive. Yes, she’d been buried alive and survived! As my hero and heroine, Maggie and Ian work together to save her life, they discover she’s greatly changed, and didn’t emerge from the grave alone. As they try to solve the mystery of who would do this horrible thing and why, their attraction grows. All three books are a mix of mystery, history, romance and supernatural, but always end with a happily ever after.

Lexi: Of all the books you’ve written, which is your favorite character?

Jennifer: I’d have to say my hero in book #1, Mercy of the Moon. Ian Pierce is an apothecary by trade, but a musician at heart, and sets to work wooing practical midwife, Maggie with his music and humor. He seeks to lighten her load and encourages her to care for herself,  and does whatever he can to relieve her burdens. He’s travelled the world searching for a cure for his affliction, which we now call bipolar disorder, and I so admire the bravery in his struggle to deal with it. And though he suffers from this disorder, he is still able to come to Maggie’s rescue when she needs it most. I have a weakness for musicians, and he sings a lot.

In my books, I enjoy finding love for unlikely heroes. There are many forms of heroism, and there is heroism in characters who struggle with a condition daily, and they deserve love too. Don’t we all deserve a chance at love?

Lexi: Absolutely! And everyone deserves a chance at winning your book, Mercy of the Moon. Be sure to leave a comment with contact information so you can be in the running to win!

Excerpt from Echoes of the Moon:

Through the buzzing in her ears, a voice called to her from far away, low and resonant. Strong arms cradled her, naked, and so warm. Her head lay against his chest, the hairs upon it tickling her ear. The muscles of his broad chest were hard and solid against her side, and so reassuring, rising and falling against her, encouraging her to suck in breath. But it was as if she sucked through a hollow reed.

“Bethan, you will be well soon. I’ll take care of you.”

He smelled of soap and earth. She clasped her arms tighter around his solid neck and closed her eyes. She’d not been held like this since childhood. He began to walk, carrying her as if she weighed no more than a kitten. Heat radiated from his chest, and his stomach Jennifer Taylor 56 muscles shifted and tensed as he headed toward the cottage.

She wheezed, then coughed.

“Don’t worry, Bethan. I know what to do.”

She nodded, her cheek rubbing against his chest, the curls there soft, yet pleasantly rough. His heart beat a reassuring rhythm against the uneven frantic beat of her heart.

“Georgie has the same problem. I’ve some herbs will help you. George!” he yelled. “Is there water left in the pot?”

“Aye, Da. What’s wrong with Mistress Bethan?”

“She’s having trouble breathing, much like you do.”

“Da always makes me feel better, Mistress Bethan.”

Protected. Safe.”

Echoes of the Moon Buy Links:

Amazon  

Barnes and Noble

Wild Rose Press

Boogie Writes

This blog was first seen in February of 2014 at Sunshine State Romance Authors. I am reprising it, because it is Musical Monday. Plus, Thursday was “Get Funky Day”, and I missed it. That is all.

 

Music has ruled my world since birth. I shimmied out of the womb with a bad case of Boogie Fever. I came by it honestly: my mom, a 40’s glamour girl, gave up her dancing career to marry my dad and have a family. My two older brothers are both musicians. LP records played nonstop during my childhood, introducing me to the many melodies and rhythms of human emotion.

My first record was Disney’s The Story of Thumper’s Great Race. As far as I was concerned it was a masterpiece of pure joy. Who could resist Thumper? I played it over and over, until I memorized every word. I learned about melancholy from Del Shannon’s “My Little Runaway.” The haunting melody of my mom’s “Goldfinger” opened my eyes to danger and mystery and the Beatles’ “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” introduced my six-year-old heart to young love.

My love affair with words began with listening to lyrics. Mom bought me an album with a collection of poems set to music. I loved “The Walrus and the Carpenter”, by Lewis Caroll. I still remember the tune to “My Grandfather’s Clock,” which I just discovered was written in 1876 by Henry Clay Work, a British author. Even then, I was drawn to historical writing. Who knows? Maybe that’s why my first novel is a historical romance. Once I could read, I consumed lyrics like candy and even now, lyrics keep me writing.

In college I studied creative writing and danced and sang professionally. Ah, college! Fast forward to disco in all its glory: every Friday night my small liberal arts college held a disco. It was joyful and liberating. After all, who can think about their problems while doing “the bump” with your dance partner to the Commodores’ “Brick House?”*(See below.) Certainly there was nothing profound about the lyrics: “She’s a brick house/ She’s mighty mighty/Just letting it all hang out.” Whatever! Disco wasn’t deep, but for me it was joyful and liberating. Dancing meant freedom, giving myself up to the bass beat and letting the music and lyrics fly me away.

Thirty years later, my fingers dance on the computer keyboard, creating romance novels. For me, writing and dancing will be forever linked. In the choreography of language, I find the freedom once found in dancing as I work to create plots with rhythm and characters with the range of emotions, in stories that I hope will entertain and satisfy.

In my column, I will share my thoughts on writing romance novels, my daily hustle, if you will, toward better writing and publication and the connection between my two loves, words and music. Just so you know, every so often, my body gets the “Boogie Fever” and I must get down with my bad self. Welcome to Boogie Writes. I hope you enjoy it.

*(For those of you too young to know what “the Bump” is, the dance consists of bumping hips with a partner, with various degrees of creativity and bad taste.)

If you’d like to read some more of my Boogie Writes columns and other great blogs about writing by my fellow members, check out the blog archives at:  http://www.sunshinestateromanceauthors.com

Tribute to Al Jarreau

A song is much more than mere music. A three minute tune can capture the history of our lives, times of joy or sorrow. A song can elevate our souls and lift us up when we’re down, energize us when we feel we can’t go on. Jazz and pop singer, Al Jarreau does all of those things for me. May he sing on.

I first heard him in the 80’s, and I was blown away by his scat-singing, his smooth, flexible voice, and above all, the sheer passionate joy he conveyed in every note. I’d never heard anything like it in my life. As a young mother of three small kids, to play his music while going about the same old routine (diapering, cleaning, preparing meals, seeing to everyone else’s needs) probably saved my sanity more than once. As the kids got older, I enjoyed blowing their minds with scat-mad songs like “Roof Garden,” and the unique version of “My Favorite Things.” He came into my home, bringing his vocal playfulness, filling the rooms with  joy.

Later, when my father became ill and passed away,  and while another family member recovered from a life-threatening disease, Al Jarreau placed his hand upon my shoulder with his music, and in kindness and comfort lifted me up with hope. There is compassion in every note he sings, and his love for life is contagious.

He will live on and gift his afterlife with passion and joy, transporting us out of the darkness, lighting up the world with his brilliance, turning three minutes into musical magic. Sing on, Al. And thank you.

Ian Sings to Maggie: Mercy of the Moon

Maggie Wilson is a serious woman. She’s a midwife in the 18th Century, and all she’s ever known is Work and Duty. The first time she meets Ian, he’s singing. When they work together to save her sister, he’s singing. When she’s angry, he tries to calm her with his music, and makes her feel things she’s never felt before: Longing. Desire. And he makes her laugh. So to celebrate his ability to charm and uplift her, I give you a passage from Mercy of the Moon, book 1 in the Rhythm of the Moon seriesShe is extremely angry, and he is accompanying her on a walk:

“She felt like an instrument of the devil, full of poison and a heartbeat away from screaming like a harpy and clawing her way through town.

He held her upper arm firmly, and she felt his fingers through her cloak, cool, calm. A deep rumbling arose from his chest, and he began humming, then louder, to match the ferocity of the wind. That was the preamble, apparently, for suddenly he released her arm, leaped in front of her and began to sing.

‘”My woman, when she’s angry, puts Medusa’s hair to shame.

She rouses all my senses and sets my soul to flame.

When she unleashes fury, a virago gone insane,

I’m only very thankful I am not the one to blame.'”

                                                 COPYRIGHT ©2014 Jennifer Taylor

The song has the desired effect on Maggie. More on that tomorrow, when I talk about passion.