J.M. Stewart – Interview with the Author
TRC: Hi J.M. and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the release of THE PLAYBOY’S BABY.
J.M: Thank you! It’s a pleasure to be here.
TRC: We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?
J.M: I’m a stay-at-home mom by trade, married for sixteen years now. We live in Washington state with our two teenage boys, and two very spoiled puppies.
TRC: Many authors start their love of writing at an early age. What was the catalyst that sparked your love of writing?
J.M: I’ve written down short stories since somewhere around high school. I don’t even remember what started it. But my love of writing really began about ten years ago. I had this dream. It was very vivid, and I was very drawn to it. One of those that just won’t leave you alone. It kept bugging me, demanding me to write it down, so one day I did. I fell in love with the process, and it took off from there.
TRC: What is the name of your first novel published? Looking back, would you have made any changes to the storyline?
J.M: Well, this is a convoluted answer at the moment, so forgive if I write you a book. lol My first novel published was titled Staking His Claim, published through The Wild Rose Press. It’s currently out of print, as I’ve gotten the rights back on it. I’m revising as we speak, with plans to find it and the sequel another home. That being said, as I revise this book, I have to almost cringe. I originally wrote it over seven years ago. I took a six year break from my writing, and when I came back, almost three years ago now, I picked this book up, and decided to take my chances by submitting it to a small press (The Wild Rose Press). Looking at it now, I’m frankly surprised they ever wanted it. lol There are general writing “no-no’s” all over the place, such as show-don’t-tell, and the story needs a lot more detail to round it out.
But…yeah. I have decided to take it in a slightly different direction. I’ve twisted the beginning a bit, but as I revise, I’m aware that there are a million other ways I could take the ending of this book. All in all though, I believe I did what I felt was best at the time for the story. So, if I could go back and do it over, I’m not sure I would.
TRC: What challenges or difficulties have you faced as an author?
J.M: Self-promotion. I’m naturally a very shy, very introverted person. Talking about myself is extremely difficult, so I’m having to learn to come out of my shell by a lot. I also have to remind myself not to compare myself with other writers. It plays on my self doubt. I read a terrific book and I think, “why can’t I do that?”
TRC: THE PLAYBOY’S BABY is a romantic tale of heartbreak and love. Would you please tell us something about the premise?
LINKS TO ORDER
J.M: When an accident leaves her guardian to her six month old niece, Emma Stanton must find the one man she’s spent the last eight years trying to forget. She must risk the only family she has left as she tells him he’s the baby’s father. Can she stick to her resolve and resist the playboy’s charms this time?
All wealthy nightclub owner Dillon James has been used for his name and money one too many times in his life and has no desire to risk his heart to love again. Falling for Emma as they struggle to share the duties of raising a baby has Dillon thinking that perhaps it’s time he took a chance on love.
If only he can convince Emma to take a chance on him.
TRC: Were any of the characters or the storyline based on fact or real-life?
J.M: Well, most of my heroes and heroines have a lot of me in them. And I did realize recently that part of the storyline came from something my grandmother used to do. In the book, Emma and Dillon agree to share custody, but Emma still lives and works in Helena, which is an hour and a half drive from Hastings. I don’t want to give away too many details, but…it’s a long drive and Emma doesn’t want to commute every day. So, they compromise. Emma goes to the city for the week, then comes back on the weekends. In fact, it’s during the first time she does, that they make a sexy little bet. 😉
I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ve realized lately that this dynamic, of Emma coming back to Hastings on the weekends, is something I saw as a child. My whole family grew up in New York City. Eventually, my grandparents got tired of the city and bought a house in Pennsylvania, but my grandmother still worked in New York. So, she’d drive to the city for the week, then come home to Grandpa on the weekends.
Emma is also my grandmother’s name, though that’s where the similarities stop.
But, in general, in this book, pretty much everything is fictional. The characters took off with this one.
TRC: If you could virtually cast the storyline using models and actors, with whom would you cast the characters in The Playboy’s Baby?
J.M: Ah, now this one I have thought about. I always go looking for pictures of characters. This was a fun question!
Emma Stanton–Debra Messing
Dillon—romance novel cover model Jimmy Thomas with short hair. He’s exactly how I see Dillon.
Logan James (Dillon’s brother) –Eddie Cibrian
Camille James (Dillon’s mother)– Kathy Bates
Ethan James (Dillon’s father) — Walter Matthau
TRC: Many authors bounce ideas with other authors and family. With whom do you bounce ideas?
J.M: My critique partner. She loves bouncing ideas back and forth and I always find brainstorming with her tremendously helpful.
TRC: Writer’s Block is a very real phenomenon. How do you handle the stress and anxiety of writer’s block?
J.M: Oh, I can attest for that. lol I had a six year long bout of it. Though, to be fair, part of that block came from the stresses in my life I was having at the time. But… I’ve learned over the years not to let it get to me. It worries me for a few days, then I force myself to back off. I take it to mean that I need to go do something else for a while. usually a couple days or even a week of devouring other people’s books does the trick. Sometimes writer’s block just means that I’m burned out.
Sometimes it can mean that I’ve taken a story in the wrong direction and what I need to do is back track, find out where I veered off course, and change directions and it opens me up again.
TRC: On what are you currently working?
J.M: I am currently writing the sequel to The Playboy’s Baby, involving Dillon’s brother, Logan. I’m having trouble getting into this one so far, but it’s got a working title of Blind Date, which is the premise for the story. It’s an older woman, younger man, set up on a blind date by mutual friends.
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
J.M: I welcome contact with readers. I’d love to know what they think of the story.
Does coffee count?! lol I love Chinese and Italian is always a comfort food.
Favorite TV Show
Bones, also Supernatural
This one’s hard, as I don’t have just one favorite. The Color Purple, The Green Mile, City of Angels, Grease (1 and 2)
Last Movie you Saw
Dark or Milk Chocolate
Depends on my mood, but in general, dark.
Do you have any pets
Two dogs, a lab/shepherd mix and Chihuahua/French bulldog mix.
TRC: Thank you Joanne for taking the time to answer our questions. We look forward to your future novels and books.
J.M: Thank you very much for having me!