Interview & Contest: Janet Eckford

Jen: Today we welcome Janet Eckford to Romancing the Book. Janet, will you share a short bio with us?
Janet: Like most great superheroes (or super-villains, depending on who’s telling the story) I live a double life. By day I’m a mild-mannered crusader for justice (or nefarious deeds, depending on who’s telling the story) and by night an indestructible creator of prose (or pathological liar, depending on who’s telling the story) while munching on my favorite cookies—oatmeal raisin. A native West Coaster who hails from the sunny state of California I have loved the romance genre ever since I convinced my dad it was required reading when I was eleven. I believe love shouldn’t have a color code and strive to create stories that represent that belief.

 

Jen: Tell us a little about your newest release.
Janet: My newest release is called All of Me. This particular story was actually tucked away on my jump drive with my collection of forgotten WIPS. I’d started the story years ago when I was toying with the idea of a “secret baby” story and never seemed to capture what I wanted to say about the characters lives and experiences. I dusted it off after talking with my critique partners about contemporary romance and my desire to tell a love story without fur and fangs. Charlie Ambrose is a fiercely independent heroine that loves the order of her life. Grant Carter is a hero that is also fiercely independent and like Charlie takes pride in his ability to control his environment. Which makes it very interesting when an unexpected pregnancy turns their lives inside out. I enjoyed going back to this story because it allowed me to craft a love story after the cow had left the barn. 😉

Here’s the blurb to give you a peek of what I’m talking about:

As a man who spent the majority of his time calculating for a living there wasn’t much that Grant Carter couldn’t account for. Or so he thought until he found himself suddenly snared by eyes the color of jade and an inviting smile. A smile that haunted him once it was suddenly gone. After one night with Charlie Ambrose he finds himself more than a bit obsessed with the woman who slipped quietly out of his bed leaving a simple note along with the remnants of her scent. When Grant starts his mission to locate her, he wants nothing more than to get her to admit she felt what he did but the moment he lays eyes on Charlie again, it’s brought to his attention that he wasn’t the only one left with a reminder of her time in his bed.

And how about a short excerpt to whet your appetite:

When he first spotted Charlie Ambrose walking into the hotel bar at the Rome hotel where he was staying, he felt as if the wind had been knocked right out of him. With thick, wavy black hair falling around her shoulders and a coppery bronze complexion that practically glowed in the dim light of the bar, she had mesmerized Grant.

He watched her with a purely male appreciation as she glided toward the bar with the grace of a dancer. The thought of approaching her sprang to his mind, but he dismissed it quickly. He had completed his business earlier, then had decided to stay a couple of more weeks to get a little R & R. Grant rarely had time to himself, and trying to woo a woman wasn’t initially in his itinerary. The thought of her helping him relax flittered through his brain as he watched her laugh with the bartender. The unconscious way she threw back her head, and the infectious quality of the throaty sound that sprang from her mouth, had him quickly changing his mind.

From his position at a table set a bit in shadow, Grant was able to look her over in more detail. She was dressed in a simple, flower-print summer dress that wasn’t overtly provocative, not compared to some of the dresses other women were wearing, but there was something extremely sexy about its simplicity. There was a carefree nature to her that drew him in.

He didn’t realize he was staring until she turned as if drawn by his gaze and gave him a quizzical glance. She had one perfectly shaped eyebrow raised in a questioning manner, and Grant couldn’t mistake the quirk of a smile on her lips. He was struck by the emerald color of her eyes even from across the room. It was such a striking contrast to the bronze color of her skin, he couldn’t make himself look away. There was a lazy, feline quality to the shape of her eyes, and when the small smile that played at the corners of her lips blossomed into an open grin, he felt his body tighten with need. He was up and across the room before conscious thought could prevent him from discovering if she purred just like a cat when petted properly.

Jen: What age did you discover writing?  Tell us your call story.
Janet: I can’t remember what age I was when I first discovered I wanted to be a writer but I do know I’ve always had an interest in being a storyteller. When I was around preschool age my parents bought my sister and I toy typewriters and I have memories of tapping away at it for hours (it could have been 10 mins but in my kid memory it seemed extensive). I’d take the sheets of my nonsensical ramblings (I’d only mastered spelling my name at this point), bind them with yarn (we had copious amounts of craft supplies growing up), decorate my pages with marker and crayon, and read my new story to my parents. They’d listen with patience as my narrative (also nonsensical because I’m a preschooler) went on sometimes longer than what the pages could have contained. That typewriter was one of the greatest gifts my parents ever gave me (my car at 16 was pretty cool too).

Jen: How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
Janet: I have started using the notes function on my phone to house all of the random ideas that pop in my head. Now the problem happens when the note is so obscure I don’t have any idea of what I was even thinking of. Creativity at its best!

Jen:  Is there a genre you’d like to write?  Is there one you’ll probably stay away from?  Why?
Janet: I love history and would love to write a historical but I’ll probably stay away from it at this point. When I say I love history I love history, to somewhat of a fault because I can get obsessed with historical accuracy. When I start to plot one out I seem to fall down the rabbit hole of fact checking that soon I’m looking at how silk thread was woven in a particular pattern because….you get the point.

Jen:  Who has influenced you as a writer?
Janet: There are so many “who” that have influenced me as a writer. I come from a family of storytellers and can remember being at family functions and listening as the older members of my family retold experiences in their lives from funny antidotes to tragic commentary. My parents encouraged me to read even before I knew what the words on the page meant and I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a book in my possession. I love most genres of fiction and can become engrossed in nonfiction as well. I live in a city that is vibrant and ever changing, with great weather and beautiful people. I have a husband that is enough of my opposite that we fit together like perfect links and I have a dog with a personality that exacerbates me as much as he makes me love him. I’ve had the luxury of higher education and the opportunity it affords and the ability to travel to a significant part of the country. I’ve yet to go out of the country (I never think of Tijuana as counting) but when I finally make a trip out of the States I know I’ll find even more things to influence me. In a nutshell Dr. Seuss was very accurate when he told me as a little girl, Oh the places you’ll go!, and I made sure to work it into the fabric of who I am as a writer.

Jen: If you were able to travel in time, where would you go and what 3 things would you take with you?
Janet: If I were able to travel in time it would have to be in a TARDIS because I’d want to travel in style and I’d like the flexibility of going to multiple locations. 😉 As I mentioned above I love history but because I’m freakish about historical accuracy (and also because I’m a bit of a sci-fi nerd) I’d be concerned with affecting the timeline if I was plopped down in the past. I’d have to take a clocking device because I’d want to walk freely about without disturbing the timeline (I’ve obviously thought this out). The last item I’d take would be a recording device because when I’d finally gotten around to writing my historical I’d have the accurate evidence I needed to appease my neurosis.

Jen: What’s next for you?
Janet: I enjoyed writing All of Me so much that I’ve decided to create a series around the Ambrose family. I’m sometimes notorious for putting in secondary characters that I plan to revisit in another story but soon become distracted with telling another tale. This time around I really enjoyed introducing Charlie’s brothers Thomas, Edward, and Micah. I enjoyed them so much each will get to be the hero in his own story. I’m currently two scenes away (Yippee) from finishing Edward’s story and can’t wait to introduce him to the world. As the middle child he’d found himself overshadowed by the more dynamic personalities of his older brother and younger twin siblings. It only seemed fair he’d get to go first amongst the brothers. His book is called I Hadn’t Anyone Till You and as a contemporary romance it’s really pushed me to tell a sweet romance with just the right amount of spice.

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