Today I welcome Joanne Stewart to my blog to help celebrate the release of her new novel, The Playboy’s Baby. Congratulations, Joanne!!!
Joanne and I first met while haunting the Harlequin online forums, asking questions, and learning from the pros of romance. I’m so pleased to be part of her blog tour for this wonderful story. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy getting to know Joanne as I interview her.
First, the bio…
J.M. writes what she likes to call sweet and spicy contemporary romance. She’s a stay-at-home mom by trade, married to her very own hero. They live in the Great Northwest with their two boys and two very spoiled puppies. J.M. has been devouring romances for as long as she can remember. Writing them has become her passion.
Hi Lorraine! Thanks for having me!
What first decided you on writing?
A dream, actually. It was all very random. I had a dream one night, and it bugged me for days. I saw a story in that dream and it called to me, demanded to be written down. So one day I did, and this story emerged.
Your books are classified as Contemporary Romance. Everyone needs a little romance in their lives, but I’m curious. What draws you to write this type of story?
Oh, I’m a sucker for a good love story. I’m such a sap. lol I’ve been reading romance since I was a teenager. I don’t even remember how I picked them up, but I’ve been hooked for a while. I love watching two people fall in love. Almost everybody wants to fall in love, it’s what most people search for, sometimes their whole lives. And of course, I’m a believer in fate, that there’s someone out there for everyone. I like watching people find that someone. Reading itself is a fantasy for me. I want to get lost in someone else’s world, and these are my modern-day fantasies.
Where did the idea for The Playboy’s Baby come from?
Ahahaha. I was afraid someone would ask me that. I originally started this book over seven years ago, so I don’t actually remember anymore. But…I was reading a lot of category back then, and I recall this being my twist on the secret baby and the wealthy hero themes.
What comes first, names of H/h, location or plot?
Names first, almost always. I usually get the characters first, so I get at least the first names. Then location. I usually have to drag the plot out by its toenails. lol
Are you a plotter or pantser?
I’m a bit of both. I used to be a pantser all the way. I could set down with a vague idea and a couple of characters and just write. But as my craft grew and I actually learned how to write, I find that I need a few things before I can really dig into a book. I need to know my characters a bit. Who they are, names, a bit of background, at least some of their GMC, and what my premise is. Then I let the characters take me. I don’t actually formally plot. It’s more ideas in my head. I don’t write anything down. So over time, the idea usually evolves.
When do you find the time to write? What is your typical writing day/night?
I’m a housewife, so I don’t work outside the home. So I have all day to write. Typical day starts at 6am, when the dogs get me up and demand breakfast. Then it’s coffee and checking email. Writing is whenever the mood strikes me, off and on in between housework. I stop for lunch.
Do you ever have trouble getting into the ‘writing zone’?
All the time. Happens a lot lately, actually. I find that I have to be in the mood sometimes and I’m one of those writers that if I force it, all I’ll get out of myself is pure crap. I tend to psyche myself out a lot. I worry about everything and it sucks up my creativity. So these days, I’m trying to get back to basics. Trusting myself and remembering that I love doing this. It’s hard sometimes when I get caught up in trying to write the next bestseller.
My characters ‘speak’ to me as I write their story. Do yours?
Yes. They keep me up at all hours of the night, won’t let me sleep, and they shove me aside and take over my novels. “No no no, we’re doing it this way.” And if I don’t do it right, they stop speaking to me. And that’s a bad thing because then they pout. Or throw a fit. Either way, I get no sleep until I meet their demands. 😉
If you had to describe yourself, what three words best suit you? 🙂
Oh this is hard. Empathetic, soft-hearted, family-oriented. Wait, that’s four words. lol Not when they’re hyphenated. You’re safe! 🙂
If someone else described you, what three words would they use? *evil grin*
Oh now this one depends on who you ask. 😉
Strangers or people who don’t know me well… Quiet, nice, mysterious
My husband or people who know me well? goofy, emotional (not always a good thing), big-hearted
Do you think you’ll try your hand at different genres in the future? If so, which ones?
I would love to write a paranormal. I have an idea and a scene I’ve written down, but I don’t really have a paranormal brain. Most paranormals are shifters and vampires. IOW, alternate reality stuff, and I’m all about realism. I prefer my fantasies to be something that could actually happen. So, I don’t have a plot for it yet. But I’d love to write one.
What pearls of wisdom would you like to impart to aspiring writers?
Write from the heart. Learn your craft, of course. Work to strengthen it and make it the best you can be. But write from the heart. Someone’s going to kill me for saying this, but I say forget trends, forget shoulds and shouldn’ts. Write a story from the heart and it’ll find its place in a reader’s heart.
And I say this because I can get caught up trying to write what I think people want, rather than doing what’s right for my characters and the story. It gets me stuck sometimes, because I can’t write according to a trend. I have my own style and I know it. So I find freedom is simply telling my story, my way, then trusting that somewhere out there is someone who wants to read it. So that would be my advice to others. Be you and write from the heart, from your heart. I think it transfers onto paper. You can tell a book that came from someone’s heart as opposed to one written for a trend. The ones that touch the heart are the ones people talk about, that people pass on to their friends. At least, I do anyway.
Author? Diana Gabaldon.
Car? The “bumble bee” car from the Transformers movie. I had to look that one up. It’s a Camaro. In orange. 😉
Color? I have two—blue and lavender
Desktop or Laptop? laptop
Dessert? brownies, but really, anything chocolately, gooey, and cakey. So cookies are up there, too. lol
Holiday? Halloween. Makes me feel like a kid. I miss it now that my own aren’t into it anymore.
Movie? Oh geez, this one’s hard. The Green Mile, City of Angels, Grease (both of them).
Vacation Spot? the beach. Give me some soft, warm sand, a bit of sun (okay, I live in Seattle—give me a lot of sun! lol), and the ocean.
The Playboy’s Baby recently released through Etopia Press.
I love the cover!
Thanks! Me, too!
What prompted you to write this story? How long did it take?
It took roughly three months, but it did get revised along its journey to being published.
What prompted me to write it? Honestly? I haven’t the foggiest. lol As I mentioned, I started this book years ago, so I don’t actually remember where the idea came from or even when the characters came to me. I’ve been wracking my brain and coming up blank. lol But…I wrote about the first three chapters way back then and hit a speed bump. Some personal stuff cropped up and I hit a road block in my writing. A major case of writer’s block. Couldn’t write to save my life, so those first three chapters were all I was able to pull out of myself.
When I finally picked up the “pen” again, this was the first story I completed. What prompted me to finish it was the need to complete it. The characters were calling to me. I hate the thought of them not getting their HEA. I couldn’t just leave them hanging. 😉
What characteristics/personality traits make your hero and heroine memorable?
My heroine, Emma, is the type of woman who puts herself last. She puts her family first and always has. She’s lived her entire life doing everything for everyone else. Helped raise her sister when her mother was sick, then gained custody of her sister when their mother died. At the start of the story, her sister has died, and she’s left in charge of her niece.
Dillon. He was fun to write. He’s a big guy, but he’s a big teddy bear. He has a big heart, and he’s a bit of spoiled brat. He’s wealthy and he likes it that way, but he made his own money. He thinks someone needs to take care of Emma and he’s determined to be the man to do it. He has a reputation as a playboy he admits he earned, but he’s grown up and trying to change his image. When he finds out he has a daughter, he doesn’t deny it or try to get out of it. He steps up to the plate. I think he’s the kind of guy girls want to rely on, lean on.
Can you share the blurb?
They can’t forget the past, but is it enough to create a future?
When an accident leaves her guardian to her six-month-old niece, Emma Stanton must return to her small hometown of Hastings, Montana to find the one man she’s spent the last eight years trying to forget. She and Dillon had grown up together–he was her sister’s best friend. But that hadn’t stopped him from sharing a kiss with Emma that had followed her through the years. Now, not only must she break the news of her sister’s tragic death to Dillon, but she must risk the only family she has left and tell him he’s the baby’s father.
Wealthy nightclub owner Dillon James has been used for his name and money one too many times, so when he comes face-to-face with Emma Stanton and her gorgeous lips, he’s determined to keep things light. All he wants is to be the father his daughter needs, to make up for not being there for her and her mother. But spending time with Emma, as she shows him the ropes of caring for his daughter, is wearing down his defenses. Perhaps it’s time he took a chance on love.
If only he can convince Emma to take a chance on him…
When his hands shifted down, reaching for the button of her slacks, an awful memory flashed like lightning in her mind’s eye. In the span of a heartbeat, she was back in that darkened car, her arms pinned above her head, helpless while her attacker tried to pull off her pants.
Shaking, acid rose up the back of her throat. She caught Dillon’s wrists and wrenched her mouth from his, fighting a near-overwhelming urge to shove away from him altogether and run like hell. This was Dillon. He’d never hurt her. Knowing that, didn’t stop the panic from seizing her chest in a vice grip that refused to let go.
“Not so fast.” She sucked in a deep breath. Her breathless voice trembled. “Please.”
Dillon’s hands paused and he pulled back, confusion and concern puckering his brow. “You okay?”
She shook her head, her voice already starting to wobble. “I had a bad experience once.” She felt like a fool, a child, but prayed he’d understand. Fear stuck in her chest, refused to let her breathe, and she couldn’t stop shaking.
He studied her, his dark eyes moving over her face, and then his jaw tightened. “Somebody hurt you once.”
When she nodded, embarrassment heated her face.
Regret and torment filled his eyes and he stroked her cheek with the back of his fingers. “God, I hate that thought. Do you want to stop?”
“No. No. I want this. I want you.” She wanted fear to stop dictating her life, to experience passion. She wanted it with him. “I trust you. I feel safe with you. I just…I need to go slow.”
Understanding dawned in his eyes. His expression softened. “I’m going too fast and it scares you.”
She hated admitting it. Hated it still had that effect on her, but nodded nonetheless. “I’m nervous.”
“Come on.” He took her hand, pulling her behind him into the living room. Once there, he took a seat on the sofa and patted his lap. “Sit with me.”
She climbed onto his lap, sitting sideways on his knees, and he wrapped his arms loosely around her waist. His arousal pressed into her bottom, hard against his zipper, but he didn’t otherwise move, didn’t demand anything more. Rather, he stared into her eyes, for so deep and so long she lost herself in the infinite depths.
Finally, he lifted a hand and cupped her cheek. “You’re in control of this. When you’re comfortable with me again and you want more, you let me know. If you don’t…” He shrugged a shoulder. “We’ll just sit here and I’ll get to hold you for a while. Okay?”
Sounds good, Joanne! Where can you be found?
Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-JM-Stewart/129990420383155
All Romance ebooks: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-theplayboy039sbaby-905734-149.html
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-playboys-baby-jm-stewart/1112343120?ean=2940014920773
In the near future, it’ll also be coming out in Sony and on Kobo books, but right now, these are the only ones I have. I’ll update my website as the links come available.
Joanne is graciously giving away a copy of her new release. Winners will be announced on August 10th. All you have to do is leave a comment and include your email addy for a chance to win. And, in case you missed one, here are the links for the blog tour. The more you comment on, the better your chances of winning. Best of luck! 🙂
This is my first blog tour, so I kept it small. There are four copies up for grabs!
Aug 6th—Empi Baryeh– http://empibaryeh.wordpress.com/
Aug 7th –Tara Chevrestt — http://wwwbookbabe.blogspot.com/
Aug 8th –Ju Dimello — http://judimello.blogspot.com/