Tell Me Your Story Tuesday
and her alter egos:
Jessica Sims and Jessica Clare
Let's get to know Jill!
Introduce yourself and all of your alter egos (pen names). What does everybody write?
I write under three (whew!) names currently:
|Beauty Dates the Beast|
Jessica Sims – paranormal romances
Jessica Clare – starting next year, I’ll be publishing under this name. The books will be erotic contemporary romance.
What made you decide to write? What did you do before becoming a writer?
I worked (and still do work) for a very large financial institution. I love the thought of writing full time, but I love a 401k and health insurance more at the moment! I’ve always written here and there, though – it wasn’t until I hit my mid-twenties that I was bored with my career path and decided to turn all my journal scribblings into a novel.
I loved Wicked Games, what inspired you to write about a reality show?
I really love reality TV gameshows. Not bridezilla or dating stuff – but I love Survivor and The Amazing Race. There’s just something so exciting and adventurous about those sorts of things. Plus, it really brings out the worst (and the best) in some people. I’ve watched so many seasons and I’ve always thought that it would be the perfect opportunity for a pair of characters to hook up. So I wrote it!
Do you have a writing routine? What does it look like? Where do you usually write?
I credit my husband with my productivity. He’s my coach – he encourages me to hit my word counts every day, and nags me until I do. It’s so effective I ask him to constantly stay on me to ensure I get stuff done! I’m kind of, what’s the word, FLAKY, so if he isn’t there to remind me, I might get distracted by shiny objects and not follow through.
My writing routine is not so glamorous. I sit in a chair with a lapdesk and my Alphasmart, and write until I get my word count. On weekdays, it’s a smaller goal (1k) and on weekends it’s a larger goal (anywhere from 3k to 5k). Writing every day really makes the word count fly, but I don’t beat myself up too much if I can’t swing it that day.
Is the life of a writer what you thought it be? What is different?
It’s what I imagined it would be…and not. Lots of deadlines, lots of writing. Sometimes a little stressful when reviews aren’t what you hoped they would be. I thought I’d be able to write full time, too! So much for that. J
With as many books as you have out, do you have any special time management tricks for working in writing time and living a normal life?
I don’t have children, so I credit a lot of productivity to that. Plus, my husband coaching me (as mentioned above). Other than that, you just have to want it really badly. You have to recognize what sorts of things derail your productivity and cut them out. I love video games, but when I’m on deadline, I can’t play them because they eat at my brain and distract me. I can’t work at my laptop because the internet distracts me. It’s all about finding the things that bog you down and cutting them out.
What is the best advice you have received about this journey?
Write the book you want to read, but also write the book that plays to your strengths. If you’re not good at certain aspects of writing (be it world building or sexual tension), write stories that don’t focus on those parts so you end up looking smarter than you are!
Also? Writing advice is crap, for the most part. Find what works for you and stick with that.
What advice do you wish someone would have given you when you were starting out?
You really don’t have to put a book aside for six months to revise it. Not everyone can handle that well. I did that when I first started writing, and by the time I’d go back to the manuscript, I’d lost all enthusiasm for it and didn’t want to edit it. I’m a writer that works best when I still have the fire burning in my belly. If you’re like that, don’t put the book aside for six months! You’ll kill it! Finish that last page, then start over and edit right away.
What do you do to fight burnout? Do you ever worry about "running out of stories"? How do combat that?
I stack stories. Which sounds crazy, but I usually don’t get burned out on writing, just on the story I’m working on. So I give myself a second story as a ‘carrot’ to encourage me to write. I can work on this shiny new project if I get my wordcount in on this other project. Plus, I read a lot.
What kind of scenes do you have a hard time writing?
That’s hard. I always struggle with the climax of the book, I think. I dread it and my writing slows down as I move toward it, and then one day, it just all arrives on paper in one massive brain dump. But I never look forward to the climax of a novel.
Do you ever write material based on your close relationships, such as a best friend? How do you balance that material with the need to tell an interesting story?
God no. I mean, I think we are all inspired by things that happen in our lives, but overall, I don’t cobble characters from other people that I know. I think that can get you into more trouble than its worth!
What sources do you use for inspiration? ( Music, movies, people watching)
I read a lot. Watch TV (who doesn’t?) and I try to pick up on the quirks of people. Oh, and I’m addicted to Wikipedia and reading up on obscure figures in history. Oddly enough, they figure into my writing quite often. One of the characters in an upcoming book is based on an infamous Greek hetaera, for example. I take what we know about those characters and I let my brain roll their timeline forward, imagining what they’d be like now.
What do you do when you aren’t writing?
I sleep. There’s never enough hours in the day for sleeping. Plus, I’m a video game fanatic (current favorites are Uncharted 2, Left 4 Dead, and Dead Space) and I read a lot. I try to read at least a book or two a week. Sometimes I go through dry spells, but overall I hit about 100 books a year.
Tell us a bit about your work in progress.
I’m almost done with a first draft of The Care and Feeding of Alpha Males – it’s going to be the next book in my Bluebonnet series for Berkley Heat. After that, I am full steam ahead on Succubi Are Forever.
What is next for you?
My next release is a short story in the Agony/Ecstasy anthology. My next full release (not counting Succubi Are Forever) is The Girl’s Guide to (Man) Hunting under my Jessica Clare name. It comes out next May. Next fall I’m going to have three releases in a really short timeframe – a second Jessica Clare book, and two more Jessica Sims books.
How can we find out more about you? Blogs? Facebook? Twitter?
I have a blog, but I mostly use it for announcements at this point. I tweet under @JillMyles and I have a facebookpage (though I don’t check it as often as I should).
Thank you so much for stopping by, Jill!
So, anything else you want to know about Jill?