Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Jacqueline Roth Author of Measure of Healing

Today Jacqueline Roth is visiting us with an interview and some information about her new release Measure of Healing coming out January 17th. The interview will be repeated on the 20th as well.

Thanks for dropping by Jacqueline.

Why did you become a writer? Was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
I wrote when I was younger and it was something that I wanted then. The “practicalities” of life intervened later and it was something that was put away because it was frowned upon as not being productive and being down right silly and childish. I later learned that the persons telling me these things were people who had either lost or surrendered their own dreams and really couldn’t stand to see anyone else, even a young person, cling to theirs.

I scribbled in notebooks I kept hidden from time to time, but didn’t really reconnect with that part of myself until about four or five years ago.

What do you love about being an author? Is there anything you dislike?
I love that I get to share the stories in my head with others. I love that writing down my stories gives them a sort of life and home that they didn’t have before. I hate the anxiety of worrying if others will like them. How do you balance your personal and writing time? Badly. Some days I come home from school so exhausted and run down, that I barely have time to do the basics and then crawl in bed. If I make a resolution this year—something I’m not prone do, it will be to start taking advantage of every opportunity I have to write.

How do you write? Do your characters come to you first or the plot or the world of the story?
My characters come first. I may have a fragment of an idea bouncing around like an image from a dream or a line from a song but eventually a character starts to develop. It is oddly like giving birth in away. The character grows and develops into a full person. He tells me what his life is like, what he is like. Sometimes other minor characters drift in and out and I can pump them for details about my character. But once he is developed, he will finally tell me his story.

And I don’t say “he” as a neutral pronoun. For some reason it is always the man who drives the story with me. Any time I try to work with a female character as the moving factor in a story it causes me headaches. My boys just treat me better.

What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?
I’ve written different genres but the one that keeps coming back to me time and again is the sci-fi/fantasy. I include paranormal in that category as well. These are the movies I love, the books I read and the stories that tell themselves in my mind.

My stories, no matter what genre, are always focused on one thing. Relationships. How the people interact with each other. That is the most important thing in our real world and it is the driving force behind better fiction. Action and complicated plot twists are nice, but they are empty if the characters don’t touch us.

What is the biggest misconception about being an author?
”So now that you’ve gotten published are you going to quit teaching? Are you going to be rich?”

I’ve heard some variation on this theme several times in the past few months. I knew enough going in to know that authors, unless you hit the mother lode of big money PR, movie rights, merchandising, etc. you don’t “get rich.” I blame people like J.K. Rowling, Michael Crichton and John Grisham for this. As I keep pointing out…movie deals.

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
My characters are entities in and of themselves. The way I write demands that. But the reality is that of course there are bits and pieces of the people in my life that slip into my characters. My first novel, Access Denied, was dedicated to my friend Sean. I began to recognize similarities between my hero, James, and Sean early on. They share a unique and razor sharp wit, a sarcasm that leaves you uncertain whether you were just deeply insulted or affectionately teased, and a love for family that is not common place. Oh, and they both hate to be called English. I didn’t set out to create a character like Sean, but James’ development was most certainly influenced by my interaction with him.

Out of all the characters that you've written, who is your favorite and why?
I have a work in progress right now that has my favorite character. His name is Alexi and he will be part of the story that is planned for the follow up to this month’s release, Measure of Healing. Alexi Gregoravitch is a blood wolf. A large man with muscles to spare and dancing brown eyes, he was born a Wolf—a shifter, and he takes great pride in his superiority. He is in many ways the quintessential wolf-man. He battles for dominance, he personifies the traits of the wolf in battle and in his loyalty to and love of his family. His sister calls him a “great meddling oaf.” The hero of this story says he thinks he is absolutely right, without question, in any situation. Period. Yet he’s funny and quite affable.

If you were writing a script for the big screen, who would you want to act in your movie?
For Access Denied they’d have to get an unknown to play the heroine Leah. No super sexy Hollywood Hottie “scruffed” up. Just a character actress who looks normal. James, my little Scottish hero, I’ve always said was not “super sexy”. He’s adorable, a bit scruffy. Yet I honestly couldn’t see anyone but Gerard Butler playing him. One brooding but charming Scot to play another.

If Measure of Healing were being made years ago, I’d have insisted on Antonio Banderas for Alejandro Ramirez. Now I’d love to see Santiago Cabrera from Heroes play the part.

I just noticed…I have no idea for the women. Guess that goes back to my writing style again. Maybe Jessica Alba for Measure’s heroine Gabriela?

What would you want readers to take away from your books?
Number one, two and three: a happy warm feeling that the experience was fun. Reading should be fun. As adults we tend to forget that and to lose it. Look at what people are actually reading versus what they will tell you they are reading. Romance books make up the majority of books sold in the U.S. but many people will not admit to reading them. Why not? When did it become uncool to want to read about people? About lives? About relationships? Romance novels are just as well written and meaningful as any other genre.

Do you have any advice for beginning writers in regards to writing a book?
Write the story you want to write. Don’t worry about its genre, its marketability, its appeal to others. Sherrilyn Kenyon, who I absolutely adore and read in all her incarnations, once said she doesn’t work on anything she isn’t in love with. I think that’s one of the smartest things I’ve heard. If you love what you’re writing, then it will be the best you can possibly make it because you care too much to let it be less than that.

And in regards to publishing. Keep trying. We’ve all been rejected. We will all be rejected again. You’re in good company.

Who are your favorite authors?
I mentioned Sherrilyn Kenyon/Kinley MacGregor before. I love historical novels and have probably read most of what is out there on the Elizabethan and pre-Elizabethan era. I also have a weakness for Highlander romances.

In other genres I am a fan of Octavia Butler. She was an amazing talent and a tremendous voice in science-fiction. Her compellation novel “Lilith’s Brood” is one of the best books ever written. It actually contains three of her novellas pulled together as the history of a planet, a people and a family unfolds. Orson Scott Card also tops my list. His “Ender’s Game” and the three novels that follow the adult Ender (“Speaker for the Dead”, “Xenocide”, and “Children of the Mind”) are wonderful.

What are you reading right now?
I just finished Kinley MacGregor’s long awaited “The Warrior.” It was the first book in that series since 2005. As I’m typing this, I’m currently reading Anny Cook’s “Cherished Destinies.” Her character Arturo crawled into my heart in “Dancer’s Delight” and I’ve been eager to get to this one. Up next will be “Kitty in the Midnight Hour” by Carrie Vaughn. My book group will be discussing it in January.

By the way, can you send me a link where readers can purchase your book? Thanks!
My website also has links and excerpts at

Here is an excerpt of Measure of Healing.

Working together they carried the crate into the small bedroom in the back of the house. Alejandro noticed the Spartan décor. The bed was stripped to the mattress and a couple of blankets were stacked on it. The room had a bedside table and rather than a dresser, a shelving unit. All of it bare. There was one picture, its plastic frame affixed to the wall by screws at all four corners. A small clearing in the Everglades met his eye. Brie opened the door to the crate.
“I cleared everything out of here when I came to get the 4Runner,” she responded to the question he didn’t ask.
“Will it take long to clear out the closet?” Alejandro leaned against the wall of the room. Brie watched him shift slightly against the wall as if he were stiff and was stretching. If he was doing what she thought he was doing she’d slap him.
“I’m not clearing the closet,” she walked over and pulled on the door. The latch was tight.
Alejandro frowned. “You’re not going to give him a place to hide are you?”
“No,” she turned to face him. “We’ll leave the crate with the blanket for a day or two then I’m taking it out as well.”
He opened his mouth to protest but stopped when she glared pointedly at him. “You said you wouldn’t interfere in this.”
“You’re sure about this? That this is the right thing?” He couldn’t help it. His mind kept telling him how stupid it was to trust a human to know what was right.
It was on the tip of her tongue to tell him if he didn’t trust her, she could have him and the boy back on the plane in a matter of hours or just open the back door and toss them both out. Instead she forced herself to see past his skepticism and his suspicion. She counted to ten, twice. She told herself he was worried about Tomás and that that was to his credit.
“I’m sure,” she said through tight lips. “He’ll be better if he wakes up alone,” she motioned to the door.
Alejandro frowned at her again. “Alone in a strange place?”
“Not entirely strange. The scents will not be threatening. He will stay in the crate most of tonight and tomorrow, unless I miss my guess.” She looked pointedly at the man, “And I never miss my guess.
“Then he’ll start exploring the room. Something he’ll feel freer to do if there is no one around.” She walked out of the room and he followed, closing the door behind him.
“What if he hurts himself? You’re just going to leave him in there for the next few hours unsupervised, unmonitored?” This was not right. He was a child, cat form or no. You didn’t leave a child unattended for that long. Especially one you had drugged.
“No, I’m not. That’s where you come in.” She’d been thinking about this on the drive in. If she was stuck with him, he might as well be useful.
Alejandro relaxed. Was she being deliberately obtuse? “You want me to stay with him.” He stated, finally understanding. The woman should have just said so.
“No.” She met his eye unflinchingly. “You are not to step foot in that room until I say you can. Those are the terms, Cougar. Take them or go.”
When he didn’t answer but stared at her, eyes blazing, she snorted angrily, “Look, do we really have to do this crap or is there enough human in you to realize that we’re talking about a living child and not a deer carcass that you’re protecting? Because, Cougar, you are either going to help or stay out of my way.”
She didn’t even blink when the low growl came from his throat. “No one who didn’t birth me or raise me ever talks to me like that, lady. And even they don’t talk to me like that any more.”
“Oooh,” she rolled her eyes. “Big scary Cougar-man is angry.” She stood tall and actually stepped closer to him. “See me tremble.”
She was either the bravest human he’d ever known or the most foolish. His brothers and sisters backed off before they pushed him too far. Even his father seemed to know how far to press him.
“Don’t push me, lady.” He stepped up to her and glared down into her face. Even as he did it, he knew she wouldn’t be intimidated.
“Why? What are you going to do about it?” she smirked at him. A little more, she thought, just a little more and we’ll know.
“Are you stupid?” he moved closer, forcing her to back into the hall wall to avoid making contact with him. He braced his hands on the surface to either side of her head. “Little doctor I could rip your throat out before you could even scream.”
“I’d like to see you try it.” She sneered. Alejandro narrowed his gaze and watched her. She was amazing. She wasn’t afraid of his threats. His proximity bothered her. Hell, it bothered him. But he smelled no fear, no hesitation in her. If he wasn’t so angry he’d damn well be impressed.
“As tempted as I am,” he stepped back and turned away from her. “I won’t.”
There it was. What she wanted to know. “Why? How do I know you won’t get pissed off later and kill me in my sleep?”
“Because I said I wouldn’t,” the words came out loud but he stopped them from becoming a full yell. “On the plane I told you I wouldn’t hurt you.”
“And because you never have,” she said softly.
The change in her tone turned him around. Her face was calm and emotionless but her eyes held a shrewd look. Her voice, when she spoke was almost gentle and it ran down his spine as if it physically stroked him. “You’ve never attacked anyone, have you?”
“I’ve had my share of fights and I’ve got the scars to prove it.” He watched the startling blue eyes watch him.
“But you’ve never attacked. You’ve defended yourself but you’ve never attacked.” She said the words as if she knew them to be absolutely true. With humans that was to be expected. But she could feel it in him. He’d never even attacked another Cougar, never challenged another male.
“What does that matter?”
“It matters a great deal,” Brie smiled inwardly. She didn’t trust him. Trusting a Cougar got you dead, or worse. But she didn’t have to sleep with a gun under her pillow. When the time came that he hurt her it would be because he had no choice or didn’t understand the consequences of his actions. He might be the cause of her death but she now believed he wouldn’t be the instrument of it. Then again maybe that’s why he’s here, she thought. It wasn’t the first time this had occurred to her. Maybe he’s a part of it or maybe he’s just an innocent pawn. She was wondering more and more if the whole thing weren’t a set up. Wondering if the Cougars hadn’t gotten tired of waiting. His presence here would give them all the impetus they needed to finish what they started all those years ago.

1 comment:

Jacquéline_Roth said...

Thanks for inviting me to play on your blog.