A special thank you to Jan Meredith author of Playing Doctor for joining me again for an interview. If you have questions for her please feel free to leave them in the comments section.
Let’s jump right into the questions shall we?
Do you have a pen name? How did you come up with your pen name? There was a time when I considered a pen name, but in the end, chose to write under my real name. Had I gone with a pen name, I would have used a combination of my son’s names, and I would have been, Justine Phillips. Who knows, I may still do it at some point.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? I’m a combination of both. I like to plot the book out to a point—basic story line, some vital scenes—but in the end, my characters will take over and the story goes their way.
What do we have to look forward to in the future? My next book, a New Adult titled, TAMING TESS will release later this summer. It’s the 5th book in the SUMMER LOVIN’ series I’m doing with four other writers. I’m really excited about this, having never worked with other authors before, and it’s my first attempt at self-publishing.
Which one of your characters do you most identify with? Why? I very much identify with Beth from PLAYING DOCTOR. We’re both ER nurses, both have strong personalities with a determination to forge ahead and make the best of what life hands. We both survived domestic violence—she from her spouse, and me as a witness to members of my family. I also share her love of muscle cars, and the one she drives in the book is the one my husband drove when we got married.
If you could sit down with anyone in the world who would it be? President Kennedy. I would love to know more about his vision for America.
You are a published author! What made you succeed where others fail? This is a hard one. Everyone has their own success or failure story and what lead up to it. I think what helped me most was the support of other writers, both published and unpublished. The HQN forums were very important to me, critiquing the excerpts I posted and encouraging me to give them more of the story. I also read a lot. Studying my favorite author’s works, coming away with the, the things that hold my attention, the things that don’t. And after reading a particularly great book, coming away with the feeling that, “I want to write a book that does that to others.”
What advice would you have for someone who is just starting out? Read the genre you want to write. Pay attention to what grabs you, holds you and keeps you turning the page until the very end. Research the publishers you’re considering submitting to. Talk to authors who publish with them to get their take on them. Learn the difference between 35% net earnings and 35% cover price earnings, and there is a MAJOR difference. Write. Get it on the page. You can’t submit it if it’s still in your head.
Where does your inspiration come from? Everywhere! Most of the time, though, it’s a photo, a song.
What attracts you to your genre? Contemporary romance offers so many possibilities. It’s about life, and life is ever changing.
What does your desk look like? Most of the time, it’s a mess! Notes everywhere!
What was the first novel/short story/poem you wrote? Did you ever publish it? The first novel I wrote was titled, Golden Thunder, Savage Lightening, and it’s tucked away in a boot box with an agent’s red mark-ups all over the pages. I may drag it out, dust it off and update it at some point.
Any spoilers you can give us about upcoming releases or projects? I’ve been asked by readers and reviewers to do a follow up on PLAYING DOCTOR, so that’s in the works. There’s also the story for Ian and Eve, the secondary characters in the book, and Connie is hounding me to give her some love, too. Right now, I’m working on a NA titled, TAMING TESS, which will be out later in the summer as the 5th book in the SUMMER LOVIN’ series I’m doing with four other authors.
Where do you like to do your writing? Where ever the muse catches me!
How do you come up with your titles? For me, the title sets the story. It always comes first. I feel that a good title should say, this is what the book is about.
Do you have a specific writing style? I love humor—it will always be there, along with the heat, passion and, if not a happily ever after, at least a happy for now. I also love a tortured hero, and a strong heroine.
Is there a message in your novel you want your readers to grasp? Never let life get you down. Take what it throws at you and work to make it the best it can be. I’m a firm believer that destiny and fate play a major role in life. Never give up.
How much of the book is realistic? All of it. We all feel helpless when a loved one dies, but to be a physician specializing in the condition that takes your wife, missing the symptoms and dealing with that—it happens. Nurses deal with victims of domestic violence in the ER, but to be brought into your own ER as a patient of the same, to lose your unborn child and the ability to have another because of it—it happens. Chance meetings of kindred souls who fit together in every way after surviving these things, the fear to risk getting hurt again even though you want more than anything to be with that person—it happens.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? Loosely.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? Oh, tough one! Ultimately, I would have to choose Sherrilyn Kenyon. Her own life story is an amazing story of triumph and the obstacles she’s overcome to achieve success is so uplifting. I love her writing.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Tessa Bailey, Robin Covington, Laura Kaye, Taryn Kinkaid, Smanthe Beck, Tawna Fenske…
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members. God.
Do you see writing as a career? I see it as one of my careers. I’ll always be a nurse, and I’ll always continue to write.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? Originally, PLAYING DOCTOR was supposed to be a full length Brazen, but I ended it as a novella. If I had the opportunity, I’d go back and finish it as a full length.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? It started with poems in my teens, then later I’d find myself looking at a picture and writing a short story, or lengthy caption on what “could” be happening.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? The most challenging thing for me is concentrating on “one” story and pushing the others back until I finish it.
I have the same problem!
Who designed the covers? Heather Howland does the Brazen covers and quite well, I might add. Croco Designs is doing the one for TAMING TESS
What was the hardest part of writing your book? Deciding whether or not to make it full length.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? I learned a deeper respect for writers. We’ve all picked up a book, read it as far as we can and thought, “I can do better than that.” Well let me tell you—it’s more difficult than you can imagine to tell a story that holds you in its grip from beginning to end!
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? Thank you!
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life? I wanted to adhere to the “write what you know” policy. I wrote about healthcare. I wrote about staying strong even in the worst circumstances. I researched PTSD and the psychological effects it has on a person.
What were your expectations for your novels before you were published? As it was a new experience for me, I tried not to have a lot of expectations. I hoped it would bring the readers pleasure and impact them enough to recommend it to another reader. That, to me, is the ultimate compliment and measure of success.
What are your expectations now that you are published? I want to continue publishing with Entangled Publishing, as well as self-publish a few books, and maybe branch out to another publisher as well.
Do you ever experience writer’s block? How do you get through it? Oh, Lord, writer’s block! When I experience it, I read a good book to remind me that I should be writing my own.
Do you ever write naked? Bwahahaha!
I guess that’s a no. Ha!
Do you ever find yourself jealous of other authors? Who? Why? I constantly find myself in “awe” of my fellow authors. How can you be jealous of someone for putting all that work into a book? All their soul? They deserve every bit of the success and praise they get, and more.
How do you react to a bad review? I haven’t had any “bad” reviews. I’ve had a couple of 2-star ratings with no comments, but a review is that reader’s opinion and what they’ve taken from the book. Not everyone comes away with the same feelings or thoughts. That they took the time to write and post their feelings, no matter what they are, is a good thing.
What a great way of looking at a review!
Any topic you will never write about? Adulterous characters.
What are the most important attributes to staying sane as a writer? Walk away when you need to, let it cook a while, then go back and dive in again.
What do you consider your biggest failure? Flower arrangements and knitting.
Has your dog ever eaten your manuscript? No, but my cat has slept on the one in the boot box from time to time.
How much impact does your childhood have on your writing? Very much. I grew up in a home touched by domestic violence and anger.
What are books for? Escape.
Why do you think what you do matters? As a nurse—I provide a service for the sick or suffering. As a writer—I provide an escape.
How many hours a day do you devote to writing? Depends on the day. I don’t have a set amount of hours or a certain time that I write, although I do seem to get more words down at night when the house is still.
What kind of pen do you use? I have a pen that Taryn Kinkaid sent me in a swag pack that I keep close.
What are the most important elements of good writing? According to you, what tools are must-haves for writers? Imagination and determination.
Do you prefer e-books, paper backs or hard covers? Depends. I always buy either hard cover or paper backs of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s books because eventually she will do a signing near enough for me to drag them to her for an autograph. My iPad is packed and very convenient to take with me where ever I go.
Do you buy a book by the cover? The cover is the first thing that catches my eye, but it’s the author and the content that sells the book. If Jennifer Probst had a cover with a blade of grass on it, I’d buy the book because I know I’m going to get an awesome read, regardless of the cover.
Jan Meredith has loved reading humorous, spicy romances since her teens. In 2012, she decided to write one of her own. What began as a two-paragraph blurb for a writing contest eventually became, Playing Doctor. She lives in South Central Kentucky, near Mammoth Cave National Park with her husband (her former high school sweet heart) Tommy. She spends her weekends working as an Infusion Therapy nurse, and her weekdays writing and plotting her next book.
You can learn more about her at her web site: http://www.janmeredithauthor.com