Okay, before we get to the spotlight today, I just have to say thanks so much to the golden heart spotlighters we’ve had so far! Keely, Linda, Sharon & Lisa – I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you better and can’t wait to meet you (hopefully) in Orlando! Now that my book is done and turned in (TEMPTED – Book 3, Eternal Guardians, as of today, wahoo!) I can relax a little and get back to enjoying the blogosphere.
And now, as they say in tinseltown, on with the show…
Writer Jennifer Jakes lives outside St. Louis, Missouri on fifteen rural acres with her husband, two daughters, two elderly horses and four spoiled dogs. While she’d like to say she spends peaceful days writing, that’s not quite true. Her process is more of a manic sprint than a relaxing stroll. In fact, that kind of describes her life.
Her manuscript – RAFE’S REDEMPTION – is a finalist in the Historical category of the Golden Heart contest. It also won First Place and Grand Prize in the 2009 Gateway to the Best contest.
To learn more about Jennifer and her writing, visit her website.
Here’s a little about Jennifer’s Historical Romance Golden Heart finaling manuscript, RAFE’S REDEMPTION:
Artist Maggie Monroe wants to travel and see the West. Her cousin wants to see her dead. But when they are stranded in a rough Colorado outpost, Maggie becomes collateral for her cousin’s gambling debts.
Disillusioned recluse Rafe McBride went into town to buy supplies, not a woman. Maggie is exactly what he doesn’t need: a female, yes, that, but worse, someone depending on him. He has problems of his own. He’s being hunted by a vengeful killer – his own stepbrother. But Rafe’s conscience won’t let him leave Maggie in the hands of the lecherous townsmen, so he buys her, promising to return her to St. Louis. All he asks is that she follow orders.
Maggie isn’t about to follow orders. This is her first taste of freedom after a controlled upbringing, and just because Rafe is the most attractive man she’s ever met, he’s still a man -an infuriating one at that – and his rules were made to be broken. But her new found independence drives Rafe to distraction. And desire. Each day he wants her a little more. But he knows no woman would accept the dark secret he’s hiding.
So together they trek across the Rocky Mountains, pursued by killers, delayed by blizzards, and tempted by passion, forced to face all three head-on.
And now a few fun questions to get to know Jennifer better:
1) How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing about four years. Perhaps it’s better said I’ve been putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, about that long. I’ve been writing stories in my head since I was a little girl.
2) Did you always want to be an author or is this something you fell into later in life?
No. I actually didn’t consider it until my first (colicky) child was born. Walking the floor all night gave me lots of time to consider the story of my heart, Rafe’s Redemption. So I made several notes and stuck them into a file folder labeled: The story I’ll write someday. Ten years later I finally decided it was “someday.”
3) What do you do in your “other” life? (Day job, family, etc.)
Well, my mom says I’ve been a Jen-(not Jack)-of-all-trades. Guilty. But my most unusual day job was driving a dump truck! My husband and I owned a dump trucking company for twelve + years. So besides doing the paperwork and payroll, I was the fill-in driver. Once we sold the company, I told my husband I wanted to devote my time to writing—‘tho I do work part-time at a bookstore. (Dream job for a writer!) Besides that, we are Civil War re-enactors. My husband is an artillery man, and I portray an Army laundress. It’s great fun for a historical enthusiast like me.
4) Who are your favorite authors?
The author I pick up over and over again is Sabrina Jefferies. I love her style, her voice. And her plots always have some new quality. Not easy in a flooded Regency market.
5) Do you have an agent?
6) Where do you see yourself in five years?
How about a beach! I’m thinking Key West. Pastel buildings, white sand, blue water, and me with my laptop, cranking out storiesJ
It’s great to have Jennifer here today. And now, in her own words…
PERSONAL: WESTERN OR NOT?
Michaela and Sully. Stands with a Fist and John Dunbar. Hawkeye and Cora.
Have I got you thinking? Take a moment. What TV series or movies did these characters come from?
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman; Dances with Wolves; Last of the Mohicans.
I like to use peanut M & Ms as a reward. So if you got one right, give yourself one M & M (your choice of color). If you got two right, give yourself two. If you got all three right – go ahead and give yourself the entire package.J They’re small.
Now, down to business. The characters I mentioned are those I never tire of. These are the kind of characters I write about. These are the kind of characters that grow larger than life in my head. Ever since elementary school, when I spent my summers reading about Sacajawea leading Lewis and Clark, I’ve had a love affair with frontier stories. So I have to wonder: Does that make me a western historical romance writer? I’m not sure. Let me explain. In my opinion ‘western’ brings to mind a certain image. When you say the word, do you automatically picture Clint Eastwood or John Wayne riding down a dusty Texas street? Do you picture two gun-slingers meeting on said street at high noon? Mmm-Hmm. Me too.
And therein lies my dilemma. None of my stories take place in Texas. Stagecoaches? Nope. Cacti? Sorry. And *gasp* there’s not a tumbling tumbleweed in sight.
Am I a fraud? Will the real card-carrying western romance writers kick me out of the circle? OK, I joke, but it’s something I’ve given some – maybe too much – thought to. And I have to ask: What is my subgenre?
A chaptermate suggested I call my work frontier historical romance. What do you think? What do you expect when you pick up a book labeled western historical romance?