Former nurse, reluctant romantic, and serious reading addict, J.M. Adele, is the author of paranormal and contemporary romance, and romantic suspense. After years of indulging in her addiction to reading, her own characters started to tell their stories. They were relentless, forcing her to put pen to paper and release them into the world. She also owns and runs The Flare Up book blog where she shares her reading obsession.
On most days you can find her juggling motherhood with authorhood while carrying a book in one hand. When everyone else drifts off to dreamland she escapes into the worlds conjured by the characters in her head.
And on with the interview...
ME: What is your favorite childhood book?
J.M: I had the whole series of Anne of Green Gables. I love strong, intelligent female characters. And the movie made me love the stories even more.
ME: What is the first book that made you cry?
J.M: I don’t remember the first, but One Day by David Nicholls did me in. There have been many, but I haven’t had one like that in a while.
If an author kills off my beloved main character, or kills any hope of them achieving happiness, I’m gonna cry. You bastards.
ME: Is writing your primary 'job' or do you have another source of income?
J.M: I work as a teacher aide, and volunteer at a couple of other places. Writing is my nighttime gig. For now …
ME: Do people around you know you write romance/erotica and what do they think about it?
J.M: The word is slowly spreading, but it’s so awkward when people find out. They’re either shocked or intrigued. They generally want to read what I’ve written, and I have a laugh to myself when they tell me how much they enjoyed my stories. I must look unassuming.
ME: Do you believe in writer’s block? If not, why not? And if so, what suggestions do you have to start the juices flowing again.
J.M: Yes and no.
If the words aren’t flowing it’s because you haven’t got a clear picture of where the story is going, or who your characters are. Maybe you need to do more research. Maybe you need to ruminate a bit more about the characters’ dilemmas and how to solve them. Maybe you’re just too damn tired and you need to put your feet up and switch off (N.B. writers never switch off - please see above comment about ruminating).
Do something that keeps your hands busy and your mind free to wander. Or sit and write whatever comes to mind. Ruminating again, but on paper.
ME: Hmm, I sense you ruminate a lot... Now let's talk about your process for a bit. Are you a plotter or fly by the seat of your pants kind of writer?
J.M: I always plot the story, but invariably it goes in a completely new direction. I dream scenes and wake up needing to write them down. Actually, I think about scenes almost all the time. Even now. #weirdo #ruminationofthenation
ME: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
J.M: It all depends on the book. I’m writing one at the moment that involves a lot of medical and legal stuff, so I’ve been researching that for a long time (years). I’ve researched things like southern slang terms, how to convert brakes on a ’67 Chevelle, and rock climbing tips. Google Earth and Google Street View are brilliant, but still not as good as visiting the place where you want to set the scene. The internet is a wonderful thing, but it’s still second-hand info. If my character has an occupation I’m unfamiliar with I’ll find someone with that job and ask them all about it.
Watching docos is also a good source of info. There are so many ways to research. Once you start, you seem to find links to more and more information sources. Just keep going until you have what you need.
When I’m writing I double check my facts. And when I’m editing I triple check them. Yes, I am anal retentive. It ruins a book if you know the author has misrepresented something or just plain stuffed up the facts, so yeah, I’m a horrible perfectionist about this kinda thing. And I’m sure I still get it wrong, but that’s what beta readers and editors are for.
ME: Would you rather write standalones, standalones with connections to your other works, or multi book series with no true conclusion until the very end?
J.M: The problem with writing a series is that you have to follow through. And in order to follow through you have to maintain the level of enthusiasm and love for those characters and their story. I don’t think I could do that for an endless number of books. I love to write standalones within a series. I need a strong connection or belief in a character to write their story. I’m writing a standalone, and 2 series at the moment. I have 2 more series planned. More standalones to come, too.
ME: Sounds like you have a lot on the go. Where do your story ideas come from?
J.M: Life! The ether. I dunno, they just pop into my head. You’re asking what goes on inside my head. It’s dangerous terrain you’re trekking into.
ME: LOL!! Do you ever base your characters, events or locations on real people, events or places?
J.M: Yes! Loosely. But don’t tell them.
Real events and locations—yes.
ME: Is there a character in one of your books loosely based off yourself?
I’m sorry, what was the question?
ME: Bahaha, avoidance... What process do you use for selecting the names of your characters?
J.M: Ugh. I hate this part.
Angel was easy because Aiden believed that he’d seen an actual angel. And they had to have names starting in A, like the uncles all started with H.
Ronnie was also easy because the nickname suited how she wanted to portray herself, but ‘Veronica’ embodied how Brad saw her.
It depends on the characters and the story. #somebodyhelpme
ME: Who has been your most difficult character to write so far?
J.M: Felicity (Flick) from Sensing You. She is not what she appears, and she’s severely screwed up. Writing her story in Indulging You will be a major challenge, so excuse me if I seem to disappear off the face of the planet early next year.
ME: Have you ever killed off someone who pissed you off in one of your books?
J.M: Nope. I’m not that vindictive. If you piss me off I’m going to move on and forget you exist.
ME: What was your hardest scene to write?
J.M: Always the scenes involving death or abuse. It’s hard to take, but I’ve got to push through.
ME: Does writing energize or exhaust you, and why?
J.M: Mostly it energizes me, but if it’s an emotional scene I may need to raid the chocolate stash, and possibly the tissues.
I love writing. I need to write. It’s my therapy.
ME: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal, and why?
J.M: A tortoise made of chocolate with No-doz strapped to its back. I think that’s self-explanatory (I do not condone the use of drugs O.o).
ME: If you could tell your younger writing-self anything, what would it be?
J.M: Grow a set!
Drink a cup of harden-the-f@#k-up.
Write for yourself and push past the fear of judgement. There will always be people who don’t like what you’ve written, but the people who do will make it all worthwhile.
ME: What are common traps for aspiring writers?
J.M: Thinking that you can do this all yourself. You can’t. You need to form a team around you.
Thinking that your work isn’t good enough, or that it’s the best thing that has ever been written. Get a second, third, and forth opinion before you go judging yourself because you will never see your work clearly.
ME: And finally... What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
ME:Thanks, J.M. I think you showed us a touch of the crazy we will get to experience when we meet you in September. Can't wait.