Shandra Miller was my scheduled guest blogger today on the tour, but since she has been experiencing technical difficulties, I figured I could post her interview on my blog instead. I’d like to extend a big thank you to Shandra for the questions. If you want to check out her blog, Shandra’s Shadow World, you can find it here at http://shandramillerwriter.blogspot.com. Without further ado…welcome to my blog, Shandra! Ask away!
SHANDRA: Let’s start out with your latest release, or re-release, TRUTH AND HUMILITY. I might be wrong, but this seems to be a story of forbidden love, a hatred between two families keeping, at least trying to keep, two lovers apart. That’s not a new premise – and that’s not a criticism, because I think all writers, to one degree or another, are telling the same stories in a different way. With TRUTH AND HUMILITY, how did you approach an old theme with a fresh perspective?
J. A.: Yes, it has been compared many times over as a “Romeo and Juliette” type of story, but many reviewers express surprise at how different it is. First of all, my story has a HEA ending despite the tragic elements. It is definitely not flowery and there is no swooning involved between my H&H. But I think what really makes it different is the individual characters. They all have such a unique, captivating voice. The setting is also unique. Not many romances are cultivated in the demolition field, which changes things up a bit.
SHANDRA: Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this is a re-release. When was the original release? Why a re-release?
J. A.: The original version was published on November 18th. The popularity of it gained the attention of my literary agent and I’ve since signed with her. I was very much a hobby writer with no literary background, so she listed a few kinks that needed to be ironed out. Once those changes were implemented, it became a new and improved version. Though the story is the same, there were enough differences to warrant a re-release.
SHANDRA: Can you tell us a little about what moved you to write initially? How long have you been writing?
J. A.: I started my first novel in 2001. I’ve always had stories in my head, but they were very private and used as a tool to combat insomnia when I was a child. I hadn’t had trouble falling asleep for many years, but suddenly this one story was keeping me awake! I needed to purge it! Once I started laying it down, I absolutely fell in love with writing. Over the years, it was treated much as a hobby until I decided to get serious with it and self-publish my work.
SHANDRA: Specifically, what draws you to romance?
J. A.: I’ve been reading romance since I was twelve. I can’t remember, but I think my first one was called “Dreams of Yesterday.” My youthful mind was deliciously scandalized. I’ve been in love with impossible love ever since.
SHANDRA: How did you get into the writing field? At what point did you think this was something to pursue professionally?
J. A.: Halfway through my first novel, I decided to treat it seriously enough to send out some query letters. I had a few things working against me like the fact I wasn’t an educated writer. Knowing how hard it is to get an agent, I figured I was swimming upstream, so I gave it a half-assed effort. When self-publishing became a viable option, I followed that route leaving a lot of blood, sweat, and tears in my wake. At that point, since I was so invested, I figured I’d give it my all.
SHANDRA: Okay, let’s try a few non-writing questions. Rapid-fire style, just reply with the first thing that comes to mind. Ready?
SHANDRA: Favorite television show? Justified
SHANDRA: Favorite movie? Raiders of the Lost Ark
SHANDRA: Favorite band (any sort of music)? 3 Doors Down
SHANDRA: If money were no objet, what kind of car would you drive? 1963 Corvette Stingray
SHANDRA: Again, if money were no object, where would you choose to live? Jackson Hole, WY, Prescott, AZ, AND somewhere in the Cascades.
SHANDRA: If you could have any job in the world, without regard to whether it would be enough to financially support you, what would it be? Writing novels
SHANDRA: Okay, back to writing. I know you have TRUTH AND HUMILITY available for sale in e-edition and paperback, and you have two other works, FLESH OF THE ANGELS and FLESH OF THE FATHER, available for sale. I also noticed you now have literary representation. Is that new? Can you tell us a little about getting an agent?
J. A.: It certainly wasn’t through the query system! Marisa contacted me through Facebook in January after she read the synopsis of my book on Amazon. It also helped that it was in the top ranking in Romantic Suspense. It was in that position because of a lot of work on my part, though, so it wasn’t an easier route by any means, just a more promising one.
SHANDRA: How has that changed your outlook on writing, marketing, and so forth? Will you be submitting future work to traditional publishing houses?
J. A.: Yes, I’d like to see all of my novels in mass-market paperback. But if it doesn’t happen, I’d still want to self-publish them if I feel they’re worthy. I noticed a lot of popular trad-published authors are still working the social networks to keep things warm, so I’m prepared to do the same no matter what happens.
SHANDRA: I noticed you have a rather active blog tour going on right now for TRUTH AND HUMILITY. How long did it take you to set that up? How much time do you have to spend on marketing your work vs. writing?
J. A.: The blog tour took about a week to set up. I’d like to give myself more time to prepare for the next one, because the crunch was a bit stressful. Marketing for T&H has kept me incredibly busy, so I haven’t moved past the research stage of my next book. I DO need something for my critique group this week, so I will definitely make time to get the first two chapters written. Once it’s started, watch out!! Cuz nothing else is getting done till it’s finished.
SHANDRA: Tell us a little about what’s coming up next, either a work in progress or something you’re kicking around inside your mind?
J. A.: My next book is the companion novel to T&H called BETWEEN FAITH AND FEAR. We’ll get to re-visit some characters from the first book, but this one will be a complete, independent story as well. No cliffhangers, I promise!
SHANDRA: Tell us where we can find TRUTH AND HUMILITY
J. A.: My website, www.JADennam.com, is a one-stop-shop for purchasing my books. It provides all of the buy links and you can even read free samples of my stories. If you prefer more direct links they are:
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/truth-and-humility-j-a-dennam/1113819061
SHANDRA: Anything else you’d like to say in closing?
J. A.: I have a very special unveiling coming up on my blog tour on Wednesday the 27th. Feel free to join the tour any time here: https://www.facebook.com/events/146762805492268/
All are welcome! I try to keep my posts limited to two a day, so I promise your inbox won’t be inundated with event updates 🙂