Sunday, January 13, 2013

Just For Now by Rosalind James interview, review




My Reading Addiction
Rosalind James Author Interview

Your series is called “Escape to New Zealand.” Why New Zealand?
I spent 15 wonderful months living and working in New Zealand, and fell in love with the country. The beauty and diversity of the landscape (not to mention the seascapes), the Maori culture and its integration into the country’s life, and, perhaps more than anything, the people: modest, good-humored, unfailingly polite and hospitable, and so very funny.  I think everyone would like to escape to New Zealand—I know I did!

On the same note, why did you decide on rugby players as heroes?
In New Zealand, being an All Black (a member of the rugby team that represents the country in play against other nations) is the absolute pinnacle of achievement—what every boy longs to be. But what’s different is that the players are expected to be model citizens off the field as well. These young men face so much pressure and are under such a spotlight—it’s a completely different environment from the U.S. sports world. The combination of superb athletic achievement and celebrity with the expectation that you’re still a “regular Kiwi joker” or a “good bloke” makes for fascinating hero material.

How many books have you written and which is your favorite?
I’ve just finished my fourth book, Just for Fun. They are all my favorites while I’m writing them! Here’s how they fall out for me:
Most cathartic to write/favorite hero: Just This Once
Snarkiest banter/most interesting research (Maori hero): Just Good Friends
Funniest/easiest to write: Just for Now
Sexiest/most heart-tugging: Just for Fun

Do you see yourself in your heroines? Which of them is most like you?
There’s something of me in all my heroines. Most like me: absolutely Hannah, in Just This Once. People say “write what you know,” so I did! That book has a fair amount of autobiography in it. The funny thing is that some reviewers haven’t liked her as well as my other heroines (I try not to take it personally!). They’ve thought her emotional issues should be resolved once she meets our wonderful hero. If only life worked that way, huh?

Least like me: Kate, from Just Good Friends. I wish I were that confident and tough.

What surprises your friends about your books?
That they’re so steamy! J

When did you begin writing?
I’d been a marketing writer for 10 years, but I never had a thought of writing fiction.
I was on holiday in New Zealand with my husband almost exactly one year ago, and I had a story unfolding in my head as I so often do. For some reason, instead of telling myself to stop daydreaming, I let the story continue for days. I asked my husband, "Do you think I could write a book?" and being the great guy he is, he said, "Of course!" So I had him stop the car in Te Kuiti and bought a notebook, paper, and a pen. It was Oh So Scary to write the first sentence of “Just This Once.” But within two weeks, I was writing six hours a day on top of my regular job, and I knew this was all I wanted to do.

How long did it take to complete your first book?
Six weeks, while working at my “real job.” (I finished the book and quit the job.) I think up/write/edit a book in about three months, but that's because I've been a professional writer working to deadline for so long--writing my own stories is so much more fun, it's just a matter of keeping up on paper with what's in my head.

I notice that you’re self-published. Did you try the traditional publishing route first? Any advice for other writers considering self-publishing?
I queried agents for about 3 months with "Just This Once," and got requests for more of the book from a few agents and one publisher. One day in June, I heard back from a very prominent agent, who'd requested the full manuscript, that she really enjoyed the story, but that "New Zealand rugby" would be too tough of a hook. An hour earlier, I'd heard from my doctor, who said, "I'm referring you to the oncologist, because we can't tell what your tumor is." My first thought was, thank God my children are grown. And my second was, thank God I have had the chance to find out what I wanted to do in life, and to do it. The one thing I knew for sure was that I didn't want to die without publishing my books.

And the other thing I knew for sure was that "New Zealand rugby" was a GREAT hook! I finished writing "Just for Now" two days before going into the hospital and started editing again seven days after surgery. I decided that I still didn't want to die without publishing my books, so within a month, I’d published all three! And by the way: I’m not dying anytime soon, unless I get hit by a truck—lots more time, I hope, to write lots more books!

We’re living in a wonderful time when you can see for yourself if your book has “sales appeal” or not. Why not give it a try and see? The risk and cost are low--professional editing and cover design, an author website. The dream, of course, is to get that lucrative publishing contract—but whether or not that happens, doing it this way is working great for me so far, and I’m so very thankful to have the opportunity to share my work with so many people.

What have you learned from writing and publishing your books?
Life is all about taking risks. Anything that’s worth doing is going to be scary. The trick is to feel the fear and go ahead and do it anyway. Fall in love, write a book, pursue your dreams. That’s the underlying theme of my books, and my life.




I Hated This Book! Or, Coping With Negative Reviews
To be honest, I thought this one would be easier. In the first place, I haven’t had that many negative reviews (knock on wood). So I should be able to dismiss those I have received as outliers, or shrug and say, “can’t please everyone,” right? Alas, it’s not so easy. It’s like somebody telling you your baby is ugly. It still hurts. Here’s what I’ve found:
1.     People love it or hate it for the same reasons. For example, “Just for Now” is a tender, funny story about family, without a lot of external drama. It is many readers’ favorite of my books. But other readers haven’t been crazy about it, for the same reason. Too much family, too much about the kids, not enough excitement. It’s personal taste.
2.      An apropos quote. Bill Cosby said, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” It’s one thing to examine your negative reviews, or negative comments within positive reviews, for anything that is truly HELPFUL. Was the ending rushed? Do you have grammatical errors that need to be fixed? That’s helpful. That your book didn’t appeal to someone’s personal taste—not helpful.
3.     Your mileage may vary. I’ve written four books, and just in my little critique circle, there are four different favorites! My readers share the same diversity of opinion. When I think about my own favorite authors, I don’t love all their books equally. Some of them I don’t even care for very much. I’ve never been a huge fan of “Mansfield Park,” because Fanny Price is kind of a drip, isn’t she? And she and Edmund seem set to have a mighty virtuous and boring life. And yet I’ve read it at least three times, because Jane Austen writes so well. 
4.     It goes double for sex. Think people’s opinions differ about your heroine? Get reviewers going about the sex in your book! I’ve had people say, about the SAME BOOK:
“I loved . . . that the sex scenes weren’t so intense.”
“I found the sex scenes to be a little kinky for my taste.”
“Too much explicit sex.”
“Plenty of hot steamy sex.”
One reviewer thought that the hero putting his hand over the heroine’s mouth was BDSM (that would be the “hated it” category). Bottom line (so to speak), there is a huge variation in steam levels in contemporary romance. When your books are just getting known, people are finding out if they like the way you write, and in particular, the way you write sex. You are finding your audience. And that ain’t everybody.
5.     The acid test. I realized, after wrestling with the “ping-pong ball” effect, where I’d think: “It’s good!” “No, wait, it’s bad!” “No, it’s good!” after every review, that the REAL question was, “Did I write the book I wanted to write?” And in all four cases, I answered, “Yes, I did.” That is all I can do. And it’s all that matters. On to Book Five.

Review:
4.5 stars

Coming home to find her husband in your bed with another woman was the wake up call Jenna McKnight needed.  After a year of building confidence, losing weight, and relocating Jenna is ready to begin to start again finding a temporary job as a nanny to one of Rugby’s top stars Finn Douglas. 

Finn wasn't looking for a nanny who had anything other than his kids interests at heart, he found exactly that with Jenna and after a rough start Finn is so glad he did.  His admiration for Jenna builds quickly and when he begins to notice the beauty over the employee he knows he is in trouble, he doesn't quite count on Jenna feeling the same way.

There are some extremely funny moments in this books, from the mouths of babes you never know how innocent thoughts could be so utterly hilarious.  Wonderful story, I love books that the heroine reinvents herself a bit and finds her inner strength.  Excellent read, highly recommend.




Brief Author Bio:
Rosalind James is the author of the Kindle bestseller "Just This Once" and the three subsequent books in the "Escape to New Zealand" series (#4, "Just for Fun," due December 8!). She is a former marketing executive who has lived all over the United States and in a number of other countries, traveling with her civil engineer husband. Most recently, she spent several years in Australia and New Zealand, where she fell in love with the people, the landscape, and the culture of both countries.



Website/Blog: http://www.rosalindjames.com
Twitter: @RosalindJames5  (https://twitter.com/RosalindJames5)
Facebook: rosalindjamesbooks (https://www.facebook.com/rosalindjamesbooks)
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/rosalindjames/rosalind-james/
Link to Purchase





2 comments:

  1. Hey,
    I just wanted to say that I enjoyed your interview with Rosalind James and I will definitely add "Just for Now" to my TBR list. Thanks
    Madeleine

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the great review! I really appreciate it! Best, Rosalind James.

    ReplyDelete