Jeanne Guzman On Her Journey…
What is this journey like for you?
Honestly, Tiring, exhilarating, frustrating, and so worth the sleepless nights.
People often think of writers as having “overnight success.” How many years have you been working toward “overnight success”?
I’ve been writing now for 20 years. But it wasn’t until about 3 years ago that I finally said, “enough playing around” and got down to following my heart.
What galvanizes you to keep writing?
My family and friends. The closer I get to publication, the more supportive they are. The more supportive they are, the more I want to write.
On her Book And Characters…
What inspired you to write romantic fantasy with dragons?
Simple, my youngest daughter. I was sitting in my office, struggling with “Writers Block” and she came in and said, “Hey, mom, why don’t you write a book about demons. Or better yet, Dragons.” And the rest, as they say….
If you had to choose, which scene from Dragon Lover is your favorite?
If I had to pick just one, it would be when Kimball (she’s a Sparrow living in Austin) and Dmitri (he’s a dragon from North Texas) have first contact. (end of chapter 4) Trust me, seeing a little thing Like Kimball flip a dragon the size of Dmitri, I laugh every time I read that part, and I wrote it.
On Her Writing Process…
As someone with a large family, how has this helped or hindered you in planning/writing your books? I’m sure this is true for most everyone, but my family always comes first. I know this, and they know this, and in the beginning they took that fact for granted, but as my writing developed and they could actually SEE that writing really is hard work, they began to learn to do for themselves. Now, instead of getting interrupted millions of times a day to help with this or that, requests for my undivided attention have dwindled. My husband has even been known to wash dishes. *gasp* I know, shocking.
You’ve written a book about dragons. How much world building is involved? Would you care to share how you do this? World building, believe it or not, I hadn’t given much thought to building that world until I’d submitted to an editor. She loved the book, but couldn’t bring the world into focus. Needless to say, I got a crash course in building my world, developing towns, (picture a city like Austin, but underground) and making the editor believe there was such a place. I now have maps, diagrams, pictures, and notebooks strewn all over my office. I keep a profile on every character, (yes, even a house can be a character) I have a Dragon-Sparrow dictionary that I’ve created. A lineage Tree (names get added as they’re introduced into the series) There is so much involved in building a believable world, in my own opinion, a person has to live there in order to write about it. So in short, I live in a world I created.
How do you give your dragon characters the depth and detail necessary for readers to want to cheer them on?
I really don’t think I can take credit for that. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has this issue, but as I start to write, my characters come to life and tell me how their story should go. If I try to make them do something they normally wouldn’t do, they tell me about it. They’ve even woke me out of a sound sleep to fix what they believe is an issue.
Was it difficult to “get into character” for heroes/heroines from another realm?
Not at all, because really, a dragon is just like anyone else, if you take away the wings, breathing fire, and flying.
What challenge or struggle do you face when you try to build emotional bonds between the characters?
That would have to be their personalities. For instance, Kimball has been hunting demons all her life, then she’s told they’re not demons, but dragons. Then she finds out that not only can she NOT kill the dragon who comes to her aid, she’s basically married to him. As you can imagine, she’s not too happy about this, and she lashes out.
How do you, then, go about addressing the part you struggle with?
I put myself in their shoes. I know where they need to be, and what their goal is, if they refuse to listen, I’ll take something away. Another for instance. Dmitri is not only a Hunter (form of law enforcement for his race of dragon) he’s also extremely protective of Kimball. Kimball is a fighter, but Dmitri tried to prevent her from fighting. Simple, I took away his status as a hunter. He’s listening better now.
On Her Personal Life As An Author...
What do you find most rewarding about your writing career?
Personal satisfaction. No more doubts that I can, because I did. Most disappointing? That I can’t answer yet. Every moment has been a learning experience for me, and I’m still learning.
If you could give writers one small piece of advice, what would it be?
Never give up on yourself. Believe in what you’re doing. If one book, one way of writing isn’t getting you the results you want, stick it in a box, store it in your closet, then get back to work on something new. You can always go back.
What is something that you often see beginning writers doing wrong?
Thinking they have all the answers. You can’t just wake up one morning and say “Hey, I think I’ll write a novel today” and honestly believe it will happen just like that. Writing is a constant learning experience. It’s work. It’s blood, sweat, tears and hours and hours sitting in front of your computer or typewriter.
What is a little known fact about you?
I can tell you, because I know my grandbabies are not going to read this, but I hide candy in my nightstand. I allow myself one a day, no more, and then no more sweets for me.
What book are you reading right now?
Ummmm, just bought a few from Borders (their final days) and haven’t decided what I’m going to read first. No, I lied. I’m about to read Treachery In Death, by J. D. Robb. (Nora Roberts for those who didn’t know)
If you could have a beer, wine, coffee, or tea with a literary luminary living or dead, who would it be and why?
It would be Nora Roberts. The woman is the goddess of writing. Through the years, I have come face to face with many a published author, but never have I been as tongue tied as when in the presence of her greatness. Just to be in the same room with her would be enough. (Okay, I got a girl-crush, I admit it freely)
What's next for you?
Book 2, The Dragon Within. I’m in the final edits before sending it off to my editor.
Where can we buy your books and find you on the web? You can find me on the web at http://www.romanceinflight.com/ http://www.romanceinflight.blogspot.com/ and to buy my book, go to http://www.gypsyshadow.com/
Jeanne’s question for readers.
As I outline future books in my Dragon Hunters Series, what location would you, the reader, like to see most? (So far, I’ve written about Australia, Texas, Oklahoma, Southern Chili, and I’m about to take a few of my dragons to Scotland)
Don’t forget to leave a comment. I’ll be picking a winner at the end of the week who will receive a signed copy of Dragon Lover.