I’m so excited. Today, after months of planning, The Whirlwind Blog Tour kicks off with an interview featuring debut author Robin DeJarnett. But that is not all! We’ve got 10 more tours stops planned, which include giveaways of Whirlwind at every stop, plus a LIVE CHAT with the Robin at the end of the tour. Trust me, you are not going to want to miss out!
And now, let’s get to that interview with Robin!
All my amateur writing was pretty tame – young adult level. My friend, Elizabeth, was convinced I could write steamier and made me a bet: I’d write a hot sex scene, and she’d write a G-rated short story (a big challenge for her). One scene for each of us, that was it.
What I found was I couldn’t do it without knowing more about the characters. Okay, I thought, I’ll sketch out a little bit about how the couple meets at the wedding. That led to Melissa’s backstory with Mitch (the groom), and then to the fact she’d actually ‘met’ Jason online. My little exploration turned into one chapter, then two…then a certain wrinkled wedding guest made his appearance, and a full plot took shape.
So I did win the bet, and though I don’t remember what the prize was supposed to be, holding Whirlwind in my hands is winnings enough.
What’s it like being a first time author?
It is pretty wild! Getting that signed contract was a huge moment for me – that’s when I knew Whirlwind was going to be real. I thought I’d prepared for the work that followed, but there’s so much more to publishing than just writing and editing. Finding that balance between marketing the current book (tweeting and blogging, for example), editing the next project, and writing the one after that has proven to be tricky.
The biggest surprise has been the huge level of support I’ve gotten from everyone. My family is amazing, doing everything they can to help (including my daughter writing the music for my trailer, my son waiting patiently for dinner while mom finishes her chapter, and my husband keeping me on track with my writing). My friends have been just as supportive, treating me like a such a celebrity I have to laugh. It still freaks me out a little when someone I’ve known for a long time asks if they can have a picture with me. “You see me all the time!” I want to say.
Out of all genres, why contemporary romantic suspense?
The romantic part came from the bet, but I needed a little more than just boy meets girl to drive the story. I’ve always enjoyed reading mysteries and thrillers. Suspense is kind of in between – there’s not so much mystery about who the bad guy is, it’s the chase/hunt that is the hook. And contemporary because you know what they say: Write what you know.
Do you read Whirlwind book reviews? What kind of effect do they have on you?
I try and read every review out there. I have my name on Google alerts, so I should be seeing most of them (‘Whirlwind’ is a little too generic of a term to search for), and I periodically check goodreads and amazon for updates.
I love hearing what part of the story touched a particular reader, and am always surprised at which aspects a reviewer will highlight. I’ll admit hearing criticism of the story isn’t easy, but it’s part of the territory. Constructive criticism presented in an intelligent way is something I take very seriously. With book two underway, I’m always looking at ways to improve my writing and character development.
Okay, time to get serious. Jason McAlister (Whirlwind‘s heartthrob) is seriously yummy. Where did he come from?
Ah, Jason. *sigh* I’d love to tell you he’s someone I really did meet in college, but alas, he doesn’t exist (as far as I know). I guess I’m more attracted to the smart, classy kind of guy (my husband’s grinning right now, but he’s not Jason either), versus the bad boy in leather. Oh, and I think swimmers in general are yum – just buff enough for me.
Does Jason have traits of people I know? Probably. But he’s not modeled after anyone in particular. He’s someone I’d definitely love to meet. I already have my happy ending, though, so if I do find him, I’ll let you know.
So, Jason is in love with a gal named Melissa… and my name is Melissa. Is that fate or what?
Hahahaha – I’d forgotten Missie is short for Melissa! Yup, it’s fate.
And, for the record, my Melissa prefers Mel. But if you have Jason in a closet somewhere, I hope you’re enjoying him!
Speaking of Melissa, she has this dual personality thing going on that I think most women can relate to. Did you base her character on anyone you know?
Well, Melissa isn’t me, but I’m sure there’s a lot of me in her. I know I have different personalities depending on the situation, and I’ve seen the same thing in almost everyone I know. As a mom, I act one way around my kids, but in a professional environment, I can act very differently. I think most people do that.
Melissa tends to keep her ‘game face’ on when she’s around men. It’s been my experience that even in the most supportive environment, a woman still has to prove herself when in a man’s world. Any crack in that armor, whether it’s on the job or not, and a woman can lose any respect she’s earned. Maybe things aren’t that bad anymore, but Melissa isn’t about to risk finding out.
The Naughty Melissa that comes out when she’s around Jason is a twist on her online personality. Most people are a little more outgoing when using a keyboard than face to face. The fact that personality has leapt off the screen is very new to her – but it shouldn’t be. She met Jason through email, after all.
Melissa’s past experience with boyfriends is very different. In contrast to her assertiveness as a journalist, she was more of a follower and pleaser as a girlfriend. I think we’ll hear a little more about that in the coming books.
Melissa is convinced that Mitch (her best friend and Jason’s brother) would be pretty… umm… creative when it came to describing her. How exactly would he describe Melissa?
Great question! Melissa knows Mitch is her friend, but doesn’t really see how much he respects her. She thinks he sees her as one of the guys, not as pretty or desirable.
Mitch, on the other hand, would describe Melissa as feisty, strong, and yes, creative, at least as a reporter. As a woman, he’d probably describe her as a diamond in the rough. “I’m pretty sure she’s clueless to the way she turns head wherever she goes. Get her away out of the jeans and ponytail and into some high heels and dresses and guys would be dropping at her feet.” He’s seen Melissa with her past boyfriends (and hated the way they treated her), so would probably warn Jason to not heap his own sh*t on her the way they did. He’d tell Jason it takes time to know the ‘real’ Melissa – time he doesn’t think Jason has. The Melissa Mitch knows would give Jason a run for his money, he believes (which is different from Jason’s last girlfriend, btw). And he’d tell Jason that if he breaks Mel’s heart, Mitch will break his arms.
What are you working on next?
I just finished the edit on a short story titled Concessions. It’s going to be published as part of the Summer Lovin’ Anthology: Heat Wave, coming out this July 5. Omnific Publishing and the authors involved are donating all the proceeds from this limited release to Save the ta-tas. It’s my first paranormal short story, and I’m excited to join the fight against cancer in this small way.
I’m also writing the sequel to Whirlwind, currently titled Quicksand. Book two picks up where Whirlwind leaves off, with Melissa trying to fit into Jason’s world. The blurb (the teaser on the book’s back cover) is still under construction, but here’s a hint:
Melissa Williams walked away from her family, her friends, and her home to spend the summer with new love, Jason McAlister. An intruder into Jason’s well-established life, Melissa faces his past in the form of his former girlfriend and almost-fiancée, his best friend–a man she doesn’t trust, as well as new threats involving drugs, athletes, and Jason’s closest classmates. Melissa must pit herself against those Jason has known and trusted for years, risking not only losing Jason, but her own identity as she tries to fit into his world.
Oh Wow, Robin! There is going to be a second book?! Best. News. Ever! Thanks for answering my questions. I’m a very happy fangirl right now.
- Leave a comment with contact info to enter.
- Open Internationally!
- Retweet for an extra entry! Include RT link in comment.
- Ends 6/17 at 11:59pm CST.
- Winner will be selected using random.org.
For more chances to win, be sure to follow The Whirlwind Blog Tour:
Tuesday, June 7: Geeky Blogger’s Book Blog’s/ Review and paperback giveaway.
Wednesday, June 8: A Trail of Books Left Behind/ Whirlwind outtakes and eBook giveaway.
Thursday, June 9: For What It’s Worth/ Review and paperback giveaway.
Friday, June 10: Books and Things/ Review and eBook giveaway.
Monday, June 13: A Tale of Many Reviews/ Interview with Whirlwind heartthrob Jason McAlister and paperback giveaway.
Tuesday, June 14: The Bookish Brunette/ Review and paperback giveaway.
Wednesday, June 15: Supernatural Snark/ paranormal vs. contemporary romance guest post from Robin DeJarnett and paperback giveaway.
Thursday, June 16: My Love Affair with Books/ See the settings in Whirlwind and eBook giveaway.
Friday, June 17 (Double Stop Giveaway Day): Happily Ever After/ Staying contemporary guest post from Robin DeJarnett and paperback giveaway.
Cheeky Reads/ Review and eBook giveaway.