Jen: This weekend we are pleased to welcome Jan Bowles to Romancing the Book. Jan, will you please share a short bio with us?
Jan: I live in an old farmhouse in the UK, in the East of England. I love painting, large sweeping vistas of deserts. You can see a selection of my works on my website.
When I’m not painting, I’m writing. I have three books published with Siren-Bookstrand; they are The Return, Love Lessons with the Texas Billionaire, and Dark Secrets. Dark Secrets is my first erotic novel, the other two are mainstream titles.
Within the last few days, I have just received contracts for three more. They are due for release in October and November of this year.
Jen: Tell us about Love Lessons with the Texas Billionaire and where it’s available.
Jan: Here’s the blurb:
English beauty Eva St. John is flown to Texas to shadow rugged billionaire oilman Jack McClaine, for the magazine article she is writing. He has a reputation as a fast living, womanizing rogue, who has quite literally come from the wrong side of the tracks. A self-made man who always gets what he wants. Still nurturing a broken heart and a secret past she left behind her long ago, Eva intends to remain professional at all times. But will she be able to resist the inevitable sexual advances of the predatory Texan Jack McClaine? And will she really want to? As a rule Jack McClaine never mixes business with pleasure, but for the beautiful and intriguing Eva St. John he will make an exception. Who is she really? And what is she running from?
It’s available from Bookstrand, Amazon.com, All Romance Ebooks, and Mobipocket.
Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Jan: Fifteen years ago, I wrote prolifically for family and friends. Then life simply got in the way.
Two Christmas’s ago my husband found my old manuscripts in the loft. When I re-read them, I thought I can do better than that. I re-wrote the first one.
It felt an amazing journey, one that should inspire other writers—Never give up doing something that you enjoy.
Jen: How does your family feel about your career?
Jan: My family is 100% behind me. Especially my husband. He is so proud of my achievements, and tells everyone we meet. He’s a natural promoter, unlike myself.
Jen: Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?
Jan: Pen and paper – even with the advent of computers and word processors, I have to initially write onto paper. I then transfer to the computer, and begin to layer in extra information. Another item I cannot do without is my trusty usb storage device. So small, and yet so useful. I put all my important files onto it. In the past I have lost the entire database on my computer because of a virus, and thanked my foresight that I’d put my manuscripts onto it.
Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Jan: I researched quite a lot for a suitable location in Texas. The type of dialect a man from Jack McClaine’s background would have. Even down to the type of horse biscuits available. I’m so grateful to the internet. This type of research would have taken months before. Now it can be done from the comfort of one’s own home.
Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?
Jan: I think keeping the muse going is the hardest thing of all. Especially when there are other members in the household.
How can I write with ‘Stairway to Heaven’ by Led Zeppelin blasting through the walls?
On the other hand when one is relaxed and refreshed the muse just keeps flowing. Writing then becomes a joy.
Jen: What’s the most rewarding aspect?
Jan: Seeing the cover for the first time is just so thrilling.
Jinger Heaston did a fantastic job on the cover for Love Lessons with the Texas Billionaire. Eva and Jack are just the way I had envisioned them. I simply love the horse featured in the background. He makes an appearance in the story, and is pivotal in Jack and Eva, finally giving in to their mutual attraction.
My first book The Return came into print in May, and to actually hold the book in your hands is so wonderful. I know I kept gazing at it for days.
I am so looking forward to when Love Lessons with the Texas Billionaire, finally goes into print, this June. It is just the most exciting thing that can happen to a writer.
Jen: Do you become attached to your characters and have a hard time letting them go, or are you happy that their story is told and you can move on?
Jan: Whilst writing Love Lessons with the Texas Billionaire, I grew very attached to Eva and Jack. When I wrote the ending, I’m afraid I literally burst into to tears. Yep. What a wuss, I know, but I just loved everything about them. It’s good that they really got to me. I think it helped me tell their story.
That’s what readers are looking for, emotional depth. If I can feel it, then I’m sure they’ll feel it, too.
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?
Ernest Shackleton – Your escape from the very jaws of death, in the deep-frozen waste of Antarctica is nothing but inspiring. Your audacity, and determination, through what can only be described as a living nightmare, stands you apart from many others. I have a picture of your aptly named ship Endurance, on my bedroom wall, just to remind me of your story. Thank you.
Rudyard Kipling – Thank you for your poem IF. I carry a copy with me every where I go. The words are inspired, and they mean everything to me.
Charles Dickens – During my youth, I read every single one of your books. They enriched my childhood, and widened my outlook on life. I learnt through your writing that, great good can come from the worst of situations. Thank you.
Jane Austen – You brought wit and realism to your stories. Full of moral issues, they show the social nuances between men and women, to perfection. Thank you.
Norman Vaughan – Through your Maverick style, and tenacity, you showed that it’s never too late to try anything. I quote you: “Dream Big, and Dare to Fail”. I once saw a documentary about you, and you’ve inspired me ever since. Thank you.
Jen: If you could travel back in time for one year, what time and place would you choose? And if you could only take 3 things with you, what would they be?
Jan: I would go back to the time of Jane Austen, and live in London. The year around 1779-1800, so I could see the new millennium in. I would have to be wealthy of course, because the poor didn’t fair well in those days.
I would take with me, my husband, for companionship. My internet connection, and my computer, because they are the three most important things in my life.
Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Jan: This was sent by email from a reader of The Return: “I just finished reading The Return. I absolutely loved it. The story line was very moving. It just made me think of how this situation is affecting other families in real time. The characters and situation was so real, the story just flowed off the pages. I had a hard time stopping at times.”
Now those sort of comments just make you want to continue writing.
Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Jan: I love Patricia Cornwell, and her Dr Kay Scarpetta novels. I’m hooked from beginning to end. I’m also a big fan of Diana Palmer. I love all her contemporary westerns
Jen: What’s next for you?
Jan: I’m currently working on a series of three western/cowboy romances, all are set in the States.
Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Jan: If you could be a heroine for a day, would you choose to be historical or contemporary. I would love to hear your preference. You can email at email@example.com.
Jen: Readers, Jan is giving away a download of her book Love Lessons with the Texas Billionaire. Although it is a mainstream title, because it is rated STEAMY, you have to be over the age of 18 to win. To enter the contest, answer Jan’s question or leave her a comment. Then to finish your entry, leave your email address in your comment or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. The winner will be chosen on Thursday, June 10.