Jen: Today we welcome Jamie Cortland to Book Talk. Jamie, will you please share a short bio with us?
Jamie: Yes. I’d be happy to. I was raised in Roswell, New Mexico and have spent most of my life in the Sun Belt. Educated in the fine arts, I have worked in the fields of modeling, real estate, and art. For the past ten years, I have been a full time author and have won awards for my free-verse poetry and a second place award for my romance novel, APACHE SPRINGS. My published novels include PROPHECIES OF THE ANCIENTS, APACHE SPRINGS and Wyatt’s DECK written under my given name, Weslynn McCallister. My latest release, Skin Deep, is the first of my romantic suspense novels and is written under my pseudonym, Jamie Cortland.
Jen: Tell us about Skin Deep and where it’s available.
Jamie: Skin Deep is about Evelyn Valentino, a divorced single mother who becomes involved with the wrong man. Warned by her family and friends not to rush into this new relationship with a handsome and compelling stranger, she ignores them. Once caught in the stranger’s carefully woven web, he drops his mask and reveals his madness. Will Evelyn and her young child be able to escape, or is it too late?
Skin Deep is available through most on-line bookstores, the publisher, and mmpubs.com or through me at http://www.weslynn.com. It is available both as a trade paperback book and as an eBook through mmpubs.com
Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Jamie: Oh my! I began telling stories and acting them out as plays before I began attending grade school. As a young woman, I had several major desires, one of which was to become a novelist. For me, writing requires concentration and a quiet environment. I did not begin seriously writing until about ten or twelve years ago. At that point, I began attending classes in creative writing and seminars, which were held by notable authors, most of which were members of the Romance Writers of America. When I decided that I wanted to write romantic suspense, I attended seminars held by bestselling authors, many of which belong to the Mystery Writers of America or Sisters-in Crime.
Jen: How does your family feel about your career?
Jamie: They are happy that I’ve found a career that I love and enjoy reading my work.
Jen: Describe your writing in three words.
Jamie: Strong, intricate plots.
Jen: Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?
Jamie: I must have a quite environment.
Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
Jamie: I begin writing early in the morning after I go to the gym. After writing for three or four hours, I answer my email and phone calls. After lunch, I take a break, run errands, and return to my work-in-progress later on in the afternoon. If I have a deadline, my schedule will vary and I may work late into the evening.
Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Jamie: Skin Deep required a great deal of research about mental illness. The National Association for Mental Illness (NAMI) proved to be a wonderful source. My daughter, who has a degree in Psychology, edited the psychological content of Skin Deep before the novel was submitted to the publisher. About the locations that Skin Deep was set in, I have not only lived in the Phoenix, Arizona area and on the east coast of Florida, but I spent time writing the novel in the specific areas.
Jen: How do you pick the character’s names?
Jamie: I choose my character’s names by his or her nationality and by the particular generation that he or she was born. If I have a difficult time coming up with a name, I may refer to a baby-naming book. While writing my sci-fi/fantasy novel, I browsed through a Greek Mythology book for the Sorcerer’s name as well as the Oracle’s.
Jen: Do you do anything special to celebrate a sale (new contract) or release?
Jamie: A new contract requires a special celebration… an evening out on the town, maybe a weekend at the beach. A new release calls for a Release Party to celebrate the birth of the book.
Jen: What five authors or people, from the past or present, have been important to you as an author? What question or comment have you always wanted to say to them?
Jamie: Tina Wainscott, a well-known romance novelist who was in my RWA Chapter in Naples, Florida encouraged and inspired me time after time.
Piers Anthony, a well-known fantasy author whom I met personally at a writer’s conference before I was published answered many of my questions and inspired me to continue my writing.
Janet Evanovich… I love her novels! She is so talented and humorous with a gift for plotting and forming great characters. This wonderful author has written a book titled “How I Write.” I recommend this book to all aspiring writers as well as to any author who may be stuck or having problems with the many various aspects of writing a novel.
Robert Mykle, a wonderful non-fiction author, inspired me and taught me almost everything I know about marketing.
Elmore Leonard, whom I’ve never met, taught me how to write dialog simply through reading his books. If you are an aspiring writer or an author who may be having problems with dialog, I recommend reading several of his novels.
In regard to asking questions… I always ask whatever I need to know. If I ever have the pleasure of meeting Elmore Leonard, I will ask him how he has found the time to write so many books!
Jen: If your book was made into a movie, which actors would you choose to play the hero and heroine.
Jamie: Maybe George Clooney for the hero; Julie Roberts for the heroine. Skin Deep, a romantic suspense, features a powerful villain. I would suggest Brad Pitt for that role.
Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Jamie: I think the most interesting was in reference to my novel, WYATT’S DECK, a time-travel romance novel set in Tombstone, Arizona, 1881. Since I combined Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday, and the Clanton Brothers with modern day characters, I did an enormous amount of research. Several people who purchased and commented on the book were historical buffs. Without exception, the book was praised for its historical accuracy.
Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Jamie: Travel, visit with friends and relatives, attend live musical performances.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Jamie: I’ve just completed “SURVIVORS,” a romantic suspense novel and have started research on another novel.
Jen: Where can you be found on the web?
Jamie: Please go to my website: http://www.weslynn.com/
Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Jamie: Thank you for asking. What genre do you prefer? Do you prefer reading a short or a long novel?
Jen: Jamie, thanks for stopping by the blog today. Readers, Jamie is giving away an autographed copy of Skin Deep to a random commenter. To enter, you first must leave a comment on this post or the excerpt from the book. Then you have to leave your email address or send a message to email@example.com to let us know you want to be entered in the drawing. I’ll pick a winner around 8pm PST today, Friday, July 24.