Interview with Jacquie Rogers

Jen: This weekend we welcome Jacquie Rogers to Book Talk. I met Jacquie in an online chat in September 2007. I was bemoaning the fact that there are never any good book signings in my area. She told me about a conference and book fair that she was participating in the next month in Seattle. So, a friend and I took a trip across the state to go to the book fair and I met Jacquie. I was shocked that she remembered me from the chat and even more surprised when a year later as we’re setting up this promo, she still remembered me. 🙂 Jacquie, will you please share a short bio with us?
Jacquie: I’m a former software designer, campaign manager, deli clerk, and cow milker. I’ve been writing fiction for nearly 10 years and have several completed novel-length manuscripts in the western historical and futuristic romance genres. My current release is Down Home Ever Lovin’ Mule Blues, which is set near the area where I grew up in SW Idaho.

My previous release, Faery Special Romances, is a collection of 10 stories connected by the Faery Princess Keely, who has her own myspace page. http://www.myspace.com/keely_faery (Yes, Socrates the Cogitating Mule also has a myspace page. http://www.myspace.com/muleblues) I have stories print-published in two other anthologies—and are now e-published as well. My stories and books have finaled and won several awards, including the 2006 P.E.A.R.L. Award for Best Short Story.

Jacquie has donated all royalties from Faery Special Romances to The Children’s Tumor Foundation (http://www.ctf.org), ending neurofibromatosis through research. Internet Voices Radio donated the air time for me to host two 2-hour podcasts to spread neurofibromatosis awareness.

Jen: Tell us about Down Home Ever Lovin’ Mule Blues and where it’s available.
Jacquie: I was writing western historicals and a highly respected NY editor in as much as told me she’d buy a book from me if I’d write in another subgenre, so I thought I’d give contemporary a shot. Turns out I couldn’t think of a single idea, because any conflict could be resolved in 4 or 5 phone calls. Then, Socrates the Mule came to me and told me he’d be the star of my book and he’d even give me a couple of characters, so we negotiated. (Yes, writers are a teench bit crazy sometimes.) Hence, Down Home Ever Lovin’ Mule Blues starring Socrates, the Cogitating (and now Matchmaking) Mule. Once he was in place, the rest of the book was doable.

The hero is Brody Alexander (don’t tell Socrates it’s not him!), a rodeo clown and bullfighter. What his friends in Owyhee County don’t know is that he’s also the majority owner of a Fortune 500 company. Writing Brody was great fun because I remembered all the wonderful shows Leon Coffee, one of the greatest rodeo clowns and bullfighters ever, did. He was so athletic and graceful—reminded me of the Minoan Bull Dancers. Also, Jim O’Keefe helped me out. Jim is a retired clown and bullfighter who spent many hours talking to me about various bullfighting techniques and how they get the bull to spin so the cowboy can earn a better score (part of the scoring is how well the bull bucks). He also discussed at length how a clown gets a bullrider loose when they’re “hung,” meaning their riding hand is stuck in the bull rope and they can’t get away. Cowboys can and have been killed this way—it’s extremely dangerous. Anyway, Jim told me about the two-bullfighter method versus the solo bullfighter approach. He told me that in a certain scenario, there’s no way to get a cowboy loose without the bullfighter breaking a few ribs, but that’s their job, so they do it. Of course I had to put Brody in exactly that situation.

Down Home Ever Lovin' Mule BluesAlso, the underlying theme of the book is would a woman want to commit to a man whose profession puts him in danger of death or paralysis every day of his life? So I used Jim’s injuries. He has a plate in his head, rods in his spine, internal damage, and has had over 200 bone fractures. This isn’t extraordinary for a bullfighter—the saying is, “It isn’t whether you’ll get hurt, it’s when and how bad.”

But this is a fun book. There’s Guinevere the Skunk, Perseus the Australian Shepherd, Beauty the Bloodhound/Collie mix, and even a baby porcupine—all making sure their humans find True Love.

This book is trade paperback, although my publisher says it will be available on Kindle soon. Here are the buy links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/DOWN-HOME-EVER-LOVIN-BLUES/dp/0980035686/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221897732&sr=1-1

BN.com: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Down-Home-Ever-Lovin-Mule-Blues/Jacquie-Rogers/e/9780980035681/?itm=1

Reviews:
PNR Staff Top Pick
5 stars from Huntress Reviews
5 hearts from Book Reviews by Crystal
5 stars from GhostWriter Literary Reviews

You can also view the book trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byHDYL37qMo
The theme song was written and performed by Justin Saragueta (http://www.myspace.com/justinsaragueta) and drawings by Tresa Leigh Hiatt.

Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Jacquie: Most authors say they wanted to be a writer since the moment they took pen in hand. Not me. I wanted to be a professional baseball announcer, but everyone told me girls couldn’t do that, and my mom wanted me to be a writer. Since she thought it was a good idea, I didn’t, so through a circuitous route, I ended up being a software consultant. Then, when my daughter was in high school, she introduced me to romance novels. One night I dreamed a book, so I wrote half of it before I figured out that I had no idea what I was doing. At that point, I made a conscious effort to learn the craft of writing.

I didn’t get a call. Originally, I was included in a group of writers who wanted to do a charity anthology to benefit breast cancer research. Highland Press published No Law Against Love, and I had two stories in it, Single Girls Can’t Jump, and Faery Good Advice. Keely, the star of Faery Good Advice, made quite a splash so my editor asked me to write a solo anthology about faeries. So that’s how it all got started.

Jen: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
Jacquie: My cousin and my mother both wrote literary works but neither published. My grandfather was a musician, artist, and cartoonist. Several others a talented in the arts—in fact, I’m the only one who can’t play a note or draw a stickman. Our whole family is creative.

Jen: Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?

Jacquie: I must have block time and a goal. I’m a goal-oriented person so I need a story goal, a personal goal, a writing goal, and a family goal to keep myself organized. If I know what the goal is, then I’m good. If not, I’m . . . not good at all!

Jen: Do you have a specific time or place that you write?

Jacquie: I have an office with a cool mural painted by a friend, Nancy Radke. My dh set up my office to my specifications and I love it. I have a nice big window that overlooks the forest in the back. I start writing from 3pm to 5pm and then again from 10pm until 2am. Give or take.

Jen: How do you pick the character’s names?

Jacquie: I can’t write a word until I know all my main characters’ names. The first thing I do is decide if the character is aggressive or laid back. Aggressive characters get the hard consonants, and laid back characters get soft consonants and vowels. I go to several internet sources, depending on the ethnicity of the character, and get ideas. Another thing I think is important is to understand the circumstances of the character’s birth. His parents could have been hippies living in a commune or outlaws in the Old West. Whoever the parents were, it gives me insight to the character’s name.

Jen: Is there a genre that you’d like to write? Is there a genre you’ll probably stay away from and why?
Jacquie: I prefer braincandy—both reading it and writing it—so humor is my thing. If an author makes me laugh and love all at the same time, I will read all her books. Maggie Osborne did this, and what an awesome writer she is! I write Romance in nearly every time period except Regency, and I’ve written one of those, too, although I don’t plan to write any more of them. I love paranormal elements: faeries, dragons, shifters, ghosts, demons . . . just about all of them except I have no interest whatsoever in vampires. One thing about the market today—there truly is something for everyone.

Jen: Where do you draw your inspiration?
Jacquie: Just about anything I see, hear, smell, touch, or taste can be an idea for a new book. People-watching, history, my kids, a news story, genealogy. . . anything. For instance, Sir Darian, the hero in Faery Much In Love, the first story in Faery Special Romances, is patterned after my ancestor who fought with King Richard the Lionhearted. In 1199, my ancestor was awarded an estate and the general’s daughter for saving King Richard’s life. Sir Darian didn’t get the general’s daughter, but what tickled my funny bone was this: what if a macho warrior comes home from a Crusade, enters tournaments to regain his prosperity, enjoys the company of lots of women, but then finds out he now is guardian of eight orphans? How would he handle this? He knows a lot about war, but nothing about children. Truth be told, war was easier.

Jen: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Jacquie: Absolutely, and in fact I can’t even begin a story until a character “lives” in my head. How does that character do mundane chores? Slap-dash, maybe? Or anal? What does he or she remember about a room? How clean it is? The hand carved mantel? So they’re with me day and night. Some of them get annoying, too.

Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Jacquie: My editor couldn’t believe that there are more characters in Down Home Ever Lovin’ Mule Blues than there are people in the area where the book is set.

Jen: What’s next for you?

Jacquie: I’m currently writing a novella to be included in Romancing the Dragon with authors Deborah Macgillivray, Cynthia Breeding, and Eilis Flynn. After that, I’m writing a pirate novella for Love On a Dead Man’s Chest with Deborah Macgillivray and Cynthia Breeding. And during all that, I’m starting a new dragon series, which I haven’t sold yet.

Jen: Where can you be found on the web?
Jacquie: Website: http://www.jacquierogers.com
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/jacquierogers
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jacquie-Rogers/18676302690
Texty Ladies: http://www.textyladies.com
Blogger: http://jacquierogers.blogspot.com
Livejournal: http://jacquierogers.livejournal.com/
Unusual Historicals: http://unusualhistoricals.blogspot.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jacquierogers
And a whole bunch more that are listed at http://www.jacquierogers.com/blogs.html

Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Jacquie: When I work up a story, the question is first and foremost, how will this couple get together? Personally, I think the basic element in long lasting love is respect for one another. So my question to the readers of this blog is, what is the defining moment when you know two people belong together? In all the books you’ve enjoyed the most, is there a common element in the moment when you decide the hero and heroine are worthy of each other?

Jen: Thank you Jacquie for being our guest this weekend. Readers, Jacquie will be stopping by to answer your questions and read your comments. She’s also giving away two prizes to two random commenters. One winner will get a Down Home Ever Lovin’ Mule Blues baseball cap and an autographed copy of Faery Special Romances. For the runner-up, will receive a Faery Special Romances Tote Bag. Winners will be chosen around 5:00 pm on Sunday, December 28. Please remember that if you do not want to check back to see if you’re a winner, leave your email address with your comment so we can contact you.