Author Interview: Billi Jean
Hi, Billi. Welcome to my blog. It’s a pleasure to have you here with us.
Would you take a moment and introduce yourself to us?
Well, I’ve been a published author now for over a year and it feels incredible. It’s still hard to believe, but being an author has been a dream of mine or I should say, writing. I was never clear on what I would do with my work once I wrote it, but after writing several novel length books, I joined some author groups and thought, well, you need to take the next step. So, off I went to subbing my work. I think I had around 15 full manuscripts finished within two years and really hadn’t had anyone read them. I was lucky enough to get some great advice and survive some horrible critique groups prior to finding my now Critique Partner (CP). We hit it off, encouraged each other in writing and in life and are now both published.
Can you tell us a little more about your books, Midnight Star and Silver Chance’s?
Silver’s Chance is my most current work out. The story is the second in the Sisters of the Moon series, but falls before Midnight Star. I’ve heard from readers that Silver’s Chance explains a bit more about the immortal world, the characters in it, and gives a full back ground on Silver and Derrick – since it is a story about the two of them.
Both characters were introduced as an already existing couple in Midnight Star and I got some good feedback from readers that they wished I’d published Silver’s Chance first! I wish I could have, too! J But Derrick and Samantha were not working with me, let alone each other. Derrick is an ancient warlord whose been bolted to a wall for centuries only to be freed by his mate. He struggles with controlling his wolf, and giving Samantha the time she needs to trust him enough to give them a chance. Samantha for her part struggles with guilt. She’s on the hunt for her missing twin and battles not only enemies at every turn, but her feelings for Derrick and her own guilt over not being there for her sister when she was needed the most. The two find out that what’s between them is bigger than anything else. And while they don’t find Samantha’s twin, you can tell together that they will.
Midnight Star is a story of two people fighting their way out of a bad situation, both emotionally – a lykae who hates vampires, and a vampire who struggles with self worth – and physically when they find themselves in some tricky situations. Ranger, the male lykae that he is tries his best to win Star, his reluctant and smart mouthed vampire over. Unfortunately, he lies, cheats, and almost gets her killed in the process. He’s definitely a man’s man. Star schools him pretty well and in the end they are a perfect fit.
Tell us a little about Silver’s Chance what inspired you to write Silver’s Chance?
Sure! I think I am drawn to stories about sisters. Sisters can be so complicated – well, families can be complicated, but sisters – there’s just something about sisters that draws me to write about them. I have a historical series on the back burner about sisters – three of them – and three stories. The twists and turns, misunderstandings, and just plain emotions in play between sisters interest me, I guess.
How did you come up with the idea for each of the stories?
I think for the Sisters of the Moon series, I’ve always had these stories in the back of my mind. They flesh out sometimes with a song, or a visual aid, such as a movie, or television show – I might see one scene out of the show and might develop an entire story around that one event.
What type of research did you do for the books?
I do a great deal of research, but I’m creating my own worlds in the paranormal series. My witches are different than other writers, same with my vampires, lykae, mermaids, sirens and demons. I had to stress that a bit in Silver’s Chance when I used the term ‘wiccan buddy’ and then described my characters thoughts on lying. My editor was upset over my use of Wiccan and what Samantha kiddingly called, “The first rule of the wiccan world,” which happened to be lying to get out of sticky situation! My witches are truly gifted with magic, and can do impossible things. That power comes with a price, and of course witches have been hunted for centuries. So, I mix and match my research with my own ideas, I guess.
Are these books a part of a series? Can you tell us more about the series?
The series is going to be long, I can tell you that much. I have three more manuscripts completed in the series and five more plotted out. Noble Romance Publishing has also contracted me for two more in the series: A Spartan’s Kiss and Golden’s Rule. I hope with the progression of the series to unfold more and more of the worlds that surround our own. Some of my characters spend all their time in our world, others only visit or are sent here as punishment.
What’s your favorite writing genre?
Paranormal is my favorite because I can really let my imagination flow without worrying over whether or not something like what I’m writing can happen!
Have you experimented with others beside what you currently write for?
Yes. I have a new book coming out that’s a contemporary romance titled, Running Scared. I also have some historical novels that I’m working on.
Do you have a favorite character from any of the books?
Tabithia. She was hands down the toughest character to write, but I love her. She still is. I wanted her to be seen as the tough person she is, not the insecure, scared person she sees herself as. After all, it’s when you fear something and still do it, that you’re brave – at least in my mind. Tabithia’s sarcasm and bravo hide so much. There is so much inside her, simply waiting for just the right person free.
Aeros is simply the best for the job. Unlike Ranger, Aeros tries very, very hard not to make mistakes and is very successful. He simply has the knack for not making mistakes, or else he simply is so in-tune to Tabithia, he does the right thing by instinct. He has one goal when he realizes how fragile Tabithia is and that’s to make her feel as beautiful as she is, and as well loved as he can – and he gives that is full attention.
Do you have any upcoming projects that you can tell us about?
Well, my current projects are my paranormal series, Sisters of the Moon and a new contemporary series I have coming out with Totally Ebound. Hooray! My Navy SEAL meets hot, pretty independent chic out in the wild west of Montana is on its way to edits! Heehee, sorry, I’m pretty excited about my contemporary! And, three books coming out in 2012? Awesome crazy! The contemporary is Running Scared and will hit the shelves over at Ebound in March. Over at Noble Romance, I have A Spartan’s Kiss and Golden’s Rule. Both are in the Sisters of the Moon series. A Spartan’s Kiss is the story of Tabithia and Aeros. The two of them have had a rough time, but in their story we see more of why that love story has been rocking its way along through Silver’s Chance. Golden’s Rule also has a character introduced in Silver’s Chance – Torque, otherwise known as Dominic. He’s found out he has a bonded and like most men, he panics. J Beauty, the wonderful and patient woman she is, lets him have it – in several locations. Let’s just say, my editor was panting!
How do you find inspiration when writing?
Writing for me is like typing out scenes I see in my mind. Sometimes they run so fast, I can’t keep up. I like music on, but really, the inspiration for me is the quiet and time I need to write down what I’m seeing as the scenes unfold. My job is to clearly relate what I see and sometimes to paste together different scenes. For instance, if I see a scene and write it, but later on there is this gap from this scene to the next I have to figure out what is missing . . . . Finding those missing parts, writing, both are inspirations for me.
What/who has influenced you the most?
I think my mom, Barb Jones, has been my example of how to live and reach for your dreams. An artist, she’s always lived her life. I mean, lived it. Hiked the Grand Canyon, biked a hundred miles, walked, run, and swam through life and simply enjoyed living.
Do you have any recommendations for books that you think the blog’s readers may enjoy?
Sure! I love to read, too. Writing is essential for me, but so is reading. I don’t have much time anymore to read, but when I do, I vary my reading based on what I’m in the mood for. If I want hot and historical, Samantha Kane since she is hands down my favorite, so far in the erotic historical department. (I tend to stick to a few authors and stay with them….I read all their work and so on.) I’ve also fallen in love with the fast paced, hot reads by Rhain Cahill and Lexie Couper. I’ve read Lora Leigh, Maya Banks, Gaelen Foley, Sabrian Jeffries, and Elizabeth Moning. I just love Larissa Ione – both as a person and as an author. My reading simply depends on what I’m craving, I suppose.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Both. It really simply depends on the story. Sometimes if I do plot, I move the plot around so much I might as well have pants it!
There are a few readers who have contacted me over Midnight Star being first when Silver’s Chance falls before Midnight Star. I think a bit of explanation would help! lol
For instance, Silver’s Chance started as a story about two sisters – twins who each had their own story. I wrote both sisters’ stories at the same time, well, almost. But when I’m deep in the story, (this happened with Silver’s Chance and Golden’s Rule) and another story blossoms out of nowhere (Midnight Star), I take the time to plot the new story out. With Silver’s Chance, I got stuck at a point in the story and couldn’t seem to find the right ending– she is hunting for her sister – but if you read the story, you see she and Derrick have a happy ever after, while her hunt for Susanna is a happy for now. That was a sticky point for me. When I couldn’t get a HEA for everything in her life, I picked up Midnight Star and gave Silver’s Chance a rest. Midnight Star flowed without a problem and before I knew it I had completed the manuscript without a pause! It was a tangled mess. Writing two stories – well, if you count Golden’s Rule too that would be three stories at once – was horribly hard!
When I write a series, I tend to have my character’s lives intersect. I think in real life we aren’t in these mini-vacuums where we never touch our lives with others, but in fiction, those intersections are hard to write from story to story. A Spartan’s Kiss has several scenes where we see Tabithia’s POV in scenes from Silver’s Chance. I hope it works. I’m keeping them short, but I know how I am if a scene overlaps from book to book, I got get the first book and read the same scene . . . . lol!
Do you have any tips, or thoughts, that you would like to offer to the blog’s readers?
If you’re a writer, and you’re not published, don’t give up!!! Keep at it. Write. Write. Write. Then swallow your fear and send your work out there. I never have entered contests, but some authors claim those are great ways to get noticed. I researched publishing houses and picked the ones I thought I could work with then sent them my work. When I got rejections, I asked for advice and the publishers were all willing to give me advice! Ask for advice from other writers too. But write. Don’t ask for advice on getting published, if you’ve not written a story! So many people tell me they want published, but haven’t written anything! Write! Read. Live! Love!!!
Thank you so much for the interview, Billi. I hope my reader’s have enjoyed learning more about you. I look forward to more of your work. Best of success always.
Synopsis for Midnight Star:
Ranger is a werewolf, a Lykae with a problem. He’s found his one true mate, the only female who can complete him. Only trouble is, he’s denied his instinct to claim her. Now his mate hates him as much as she believes he hates her. He will have to risk both their lives to finally prove to his stubborn vampire he loves her?
Star is a half-breed vampire with a past of not being accepted because of her mixed blood. Ranger is just one more example of how much she doesn’t fit into the immortal world no matter how much she tries to fool herself into believing otherwise. She’s a strong female, a fighter, but when it comes to the opinions of others, she has no defenses. Why fight what she knows is true? She is a half breed, less than those around her. She has a home, friends and females she loves like family. Only trouble is, her family is now related to the mangy wolf man who hates her.
Synopsis for Silver’s Chance:
When life throws Samantha a curve ball in the form of an ancient Lykae warlord bent on marking her as his—what’s she going to do? Run like hell? Oh, yeah, that so worked the first time around. With Derrick hot after her tail, Samantha discovers being the hunted just might not be as bad as she thought.
Derrick is a warlord hardened by centuries of battle. Now that he’s free from years of torment, he discovers his mate. Only his beautiful little half wolf is as determined to deny him, as he is to claim her.
As the battle to keep her safe intensifies, Derrick faces the biggest fight of his life: winning Samantha’s heart and keeping alive long enough to claim her.
About The Author:
Billi Jean has been writing since high school when she couldn’t wait for Robert Jordon to write his Wheel of Time series faster. She writes from home in a little two hundred year old farm house in Western Massachusetts where she shares her space with her active children, an old dog, and two lazy cats.
Her first book, Midnight Star, has won numerous awards and was voted Best Book by Long and Short Reviews. Her next installment in the Sisters of the Moon series, Silver’s Chance, hit the shelves in August 2011. The next, A Spartan’s Kiss will arrive right on Valentine’s Day, 2012.
Stop by her blog http://readingwritingromance.blogspot.com and leave a message! She can also be found on twitter and Facebook. For more information on what’s coming up in her series, friend her on Goodreads, or follow her blog for snippets of her upcoming stories in the Sisters of the Moon series.