Book Nerd Interview
No, that moment actually occurred quite late. At 40, to be specific. When I was young I wanted to be a rich widow. It wasn’t until I read Twilight and fell deeply, madly in love with Edward Cullen that I realized I wanted to write a novel about supernatural people falling in love. So I did.
I don’t subscribe to the school of thought that one has to figure out what they should “be” by the time they graduate high school. Over the past 20+ years, I’ve been a recruiter, a floral designer, a business owner, and several other things I’m unwilling to mention in print. All of which enriches my writing. After this, I’ll probably go be an astronaut or run for office. And why not?
Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
In every story, there is the opportunity for learning. Some of the truest lessons I’ve learned in life have been from something I’ve read in a book. Like world travel, good books expand your consciousness and your imagination, and offer a very real chance to become a better person by ingesting thoughts and ideas from minds finer than your own. Some people can’t imagine a world without television, but I can’t imagine a world without books. I feel so sorry for people who never developed the habit of reading for pleasure. (Jay, I’m talking to you.)
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Don’t read the reviews. Impossible, of course, but excellent advice.
In your new book; Shadow's Edge, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it and why they should read your novel?
Shadow’s Edge is the first installation of the Night Prowler Novels, a paranormal romance/urban fantasy series about the Ikati, an ancient race of shape shifters that originated in Africa and spawned the cat-worship culture that thrived there thousands of years ago. Hunted to near extinction by the emperor Caesar Augustus after Rome conquered Egypt, they settled in small, secret colonies around the world and have a system of iron-clad laws that punish traitors and deserters with death. In Shadow’s Edge, we follow Jenna Moore—daughter of one of the tribe’s most notorious deserters who’s been raised in ignorance about her past—as she discovers the truth about her roots and is plunged head-first into a world she had no idea existed when a handsome stranger shows up offering her answers about her mysterious past. The story is a blend of fantasy, suspense, mystery and of course romance.
What part of Jenna did you enjoy writing the most?
Jenna is a take-no-prisoners kind of girl. She’s all emotion and very little calculated calm, throwing herself head first into danger if her heart tells her it’s the right thing to do. She’s strong and smart, but she’s vulnerable, too, and I loved pairing her with someone like Leander, who’s used to getting his own way in all circumstances.
If you could introduce Jenna to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Wow. Let me think here. OK – Bella from Twilight. Bella is ruled by her emotions, just like Jenna, but unlike Jenna she’s a bit of a wimp. She has no boundaries, or at least didn’t until she became a mother. And she strings Jacob along through four books – not cool. At 25, Jenna has a few years on Bella and I think the two of them could have some amazing conversations about what it means to be in love without having to sacrifice yourself in the process.
For those who are unfamiliar with Leander, how would you introduce him?
Leander is a badass Alpha with a marshmallow heart. From the get-go, he worships Jenna, risking his own neck time and again to keep her safe, even when she’s being a royal pain in the butt and keeping him at arm’s length. Though he sometimes seems hard and coldly in control, he’s honorable and loyal—and so beautiful it makes my eyeballs hurt. Think up the most gorgeous, masculine man you can, then multiply it by a thousand and add a proper British accent and you have Leander. Sigh.
What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
Book two in the Night Prowler series, Edge of Oblivion, is finished and will be released October 2nd. I’m currently working on book three, Edge of Surrender, and am hoping to have a total of five books in the series. There’s also an off-shoot series in the works (which means simmering on the backburner of my brain) involving a Scottish werewolf and an ancient curse from the Druids.
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
“How are you?” I always answer, “Fine,” but that is both a lie and factually incorrect. Hair is fine, people are either “well” or “ill” or somewhere in between. If I were honest I would answer something along the lines of, “Incredibly happy at the moment, thank you, but check back in an hour—I might be plotting your death by then.”
What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?
Read everything. And by everything, I mean excruciatingly hard to finish literature (like Ulysses by James Joyce) all the way down through Jackie Collins and the free stuff on Amazon. You will get a sense for what works, what doesn’t, what the sweeping archetypes look like, what you hate and what you love. Think about it, sit on it, then throw it all out the window and write exactly what you want to write. Your writing will be informed by all the reading you’ve done, and if you keep at it after being rejected by about four thousand agents and publishers, your own particular style will eventually shine through. And that, my friends, is worth the price of admission.
Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
My husband Jay, though I don’t have to call him because we own a business together and are basically joined at the hip 24/7. (Incidentally, he is the cause of all my good days AND my bad days, which is what happens when you are madly in love with your spouse and you work together.)
What's the worst summer job you've ever had?
God, what’s the worst summer job I haven’t had? Summer jobs are, by definition, bad. The first job I ever had does stand out in my memory, though, and that was when I was 15 years old, addressing envelopes by hand for a local beauty pageant run by an insanely blonde mother-daughter team with a penchant for expensive shoes and small dogs. Don’t ask.
When was the last time you cried?
I cry almost daily. I cried twelve minutes ago as a matter of fact, re-reading chapters from my work in progress. And not because it’s earth-shatteringly good (well, it is to me) but because I’m a crier. Crying is like laughing for me; it happens all the time. Like I said, almost daily. Pet food commercials are the worst; have you seen that cat food commercial about the lost cat and the little boy who is looking for him in the rain? “Morris, Morris, where are you?” That sends me into apoplectic crying jags. My husband has learned to live with this, but the poor man does get a little confused.
What is the one, single food that you would never give up?
What an evil question! The ONE food? Gah! More like the nine dozen foods! Oookaaay….if I had to choose, it would be…wine. A good Bordeaux. Is that a food? If that doesn’t qualify as a food, then I’ll choose cheese. Any kind of cheese, stinky, hard, soft, crumbly, whatever. I love me some cheese. With a high quality prosciutto, and a little jar of orange/fig marmalade. And some roasted Marcona almonds. And maybe a little salame, the gourmet kind with the powdery rind you have to slice yourself. And a good loaf of French bread with a black olive tapenade…
Where can readers stalk you?
The plot goes into full gear as readers learn about an ancient strict code of behavior enforced by the Ikati shapeshifters of England. The law states that whoever betrays it will be punished by death. The group learns that two traitors are living in California and have a daughter together. They send Leander McLoughlin to America to bring her to England to see if she can be educated with their customs, or more preferably by the tribe, kill her. But when Leander meets her, they are attracted to each other. But an unknown force within the shadows is determined to harm the two.
The first thing readers will notice about this book is that it is highly detailed. J.T. does a remarkable job of presenting such an intriguing society and provides rich and vivid descriptions of how they operate. There is so much action going on in every chapter. Whether it is tension between Leander and Jenna, with the villain, or within the Ikati themselves, the book promises to never lose grip of readers’ interest. To top it off, J.T.’s writing style is very poetic and has a magical way of drawing in her readers into this fantastical world she has built. She is skilled at giving so much life to the characters that readers will get a sensation of all the emotional feelings that Jenna goes through.
Readers are forewarned that this book will be glued to their hands once the first page is read and be prepared to be emotionally invested as it will touch on a range of emotions. Shadow’s Edge is a brilliant and spectacular story laced with some of the most compelling characters ever written. It will not disappoint…it will feed your need to want more.