Friday, 21 October 2016

Interview with JC Santo and Jen Luerssen

At the end of a busy and exciting Foster An Author week my foster authors, JC Santo and Jen Luerssen, have joined me for an interview.

Hi Jen and JC, welcome to Just Books. Thank you for coming along today.


Why don't we start with a brief introduction...
JEN: 
I'm serious when I need be, the majority of the time not. I love books, my family, and the beach. I love ice cream.
JC:
I’m a fun, outgoing and (I like to think) spontaneous person. I’m typically up to try anything once and love to have a good time!


...and what is the most important thing in your life?
JEN: 
My family and their happiness. I feel like since I’ve been able to pursue my heart’s desires this past year or so I’ve been the happiest I’ve ever been. I want that for them too.
JC:
My three sons, they are amazing. I was brought up by a single mother who always showed my brother and I as much love as possible. And I want my boys to have that too. My husband is in the military so he’s gone a lot and works crazy hours, so I’m normally the rock in our house.


How did your writing journeys begin? Have you always been creative souls?
JC:
I’ve always written since I was in school. Writing papers had to be one of my favorite assignments in school, simply because it was easy and an expressive outlook for me. I had a friend encourage me to pursue writing romance after she read a small excerpt that I had written and I immediately found that spark that writing gave me again.
JEN: 
My journey began as a writer when I decided to take some time off from teaching to write a story that had been in my head forever and to be able to spend time with my ailing mother.
I feel like I enjoy being creative and have flashes of goodness, I’ve always liked to draw and write and sing (not very good at the last one but I don’t care.)


Are there any particular places that help you get the creative cogs turning?
JEN: 
My public library-not sure why but I do my best writing there.
JC:
Not really, as long as I have my laptop and earbuds, I can usually make my own creative headspace.


Jen, if you had to move from New Jersey where would you go, and what would you miss the most about New Jersey?
JEN:
If I had to move from New Jersey I’d move back to San Francisco because I miss everything about it. I’d miss the four seasons, my family and the beach.


The best thing about being an author is…
JEN:
...when someone reads your story and they really get what you were trying to do.
JC:
...connecting with readers! I love knowing that my stories have touched people in some way.


Tell us about your writing routine; what’s a typical writing day for you?
JEN:
I write in spurts. I usually write 2-3 times a week at the library for about 5-6 hours. Or I handwrite at home. I usually hand write a pretty detailed outline first.
JC:
Normally I don’t get to sit down and write until later in the evenings. I’m a stay at home mom, so I don’t get a lot of peace and quiet until my three boys go to bed!


JC, What foreign country would you most like to visit?
JC:
Australia. I want to go and spend a month or so there. I’ve been obsessed with it since I was young and have always wanted to visit. Hopefully one day I’ll make it there!


Do you both use your personal experiences in your writing?
JC:
Absolutely. My most recent book is dedicated to my late father in law and a lot of what my main character goes through is how I dealt with his illness. And there are little things in each of my books that are from my personal experiences, either something I did or places I’ve lived/visited.
JEN:
 All the time. My life has had some ridiculous moments.


Can you tell us about your book covers and how they came about?


JC:
I wanted something simple and loving for my covers. As much as I love a shirtless man with hard muscles, I wanted the readers to see a couple in love with each cover. And I’m incredibly picky, so I hope that readers find my covers match the description of the characters.

JEN:
For both covers I had an idea of what I wanted and since I don’t have the money to pay for a cover, I did them myself. My step-dad drew the Golden Gate on Too Far to Care’s cover and the girl on The Tide is High’s cover. I designed and did the rest with the help of my dear hubby.
For Too Far to Care I wanted the cover to convey travel and the geographic heart of the story, I also wanted the Irish flag colors, hence the green and orange.
For The Tide is High I wanted a girl in a bikini and an ocean.



What is your favourite scene that you’ve written? Can you give us a peek?
JEN: 
It’s hard to choose one, but i do love the first meeting of my two MCs in Too Far to Care. Here’s an excerpt (sorry for the language--Jane has a dirty dirty mouth):

“Oof! Goddamn, son of a bitch, shit!” I’m not very good at censoring myself when I fall and/or hurt myself, but when it’s mostly hurt in the form of humiliation I let ‘er rip. “Mother fucker, seriously? Balls!” I think I’ve only managed to scrape my wrist and bruise my ass, but I startle easily, and I think I got some dirt on my dress. “You’re fucking lucky I didn’t have a drink, buddy, or you’d be cradling your balls right now. Who sneaks up on a lady like that?”
I hear melodic chuckling, “I’m sorry if I startled you, lass, but most ladies I know, don’t use language like that.”
“I am a fucking lady goddammit, and you are forgiven, maybe.” I finally dust myself off and turn to look at the sneaky fucker, and sweet corn on the cob, it’s Shannon’s brother.
He leans towards me and I flinch (smooth I know), “You have something in yer hair, ya wee thing.” I feel light headed around this guy, I feel like he may be laying the brogue on a little thick but it’s beyond hot.
I bat his hand away, “Wee thing eh? I know I’m short, but I’m a grown woman.” I really hate any nickname that points out my stature. Just ask TJ about the time he called me “munchkin.” He tells me he still gets pain in his nipples when there’s rain in the forecast.
“That, I can definitely tell.”
JC:
I can’t give a peek at my favourite scene because it’s a huge spoiler in the series, revealing something that the readers have been itching for since the very first book. But it’s the epilogue of my third book, Resilient Love and involves one of the most liked characters of the series, Marshall.



What did you do this summer, JC?
JC:
I spent the summer back home in Texas with my family. It’s a family tradition since my husband enlisted that we go back home for a long visit each summer.





How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
JEN:
 Names are very important. I usually use names I like, or people I like, or use a derivative of a friend’s name. I do like nicknames because I use them myself all the time.
JC:
I usually base names on liking how they sound, however a few of my side characters are named after some of my close friends.


What can we expect from you both in the future?
JC:
In the next year I’ll finish out the Navy Love Series, then I’m planning to start a spin off of that series (it won’t be necessary to read the Navy Love in order to know what’s going on in the new series). And I have plans to write at least one stand alone, second chance romance as well. After that, I’m not sure!
JEN:
I’m currently writing Lia’s story from TFTC. She is Jane’s best friend and her love interest is a hot, younger man.
I’m also working on a project with my writing partner. It’s a hate to love story with a Taming of the Shrew influence.


What do you think is the best writing advice you’ve been given?
JC:
Don’t ever trash anything. There have been many times that things just didn’t ‘fit’ in a particular spot in a story, but luckily, after hearing that tidbit of advice multiple times, I learned that it’s better to just save it to another document to be revisited later.
JEN:
Just write what you want, not what you think will be popular



What is your favourite holiday, Jen?
 JEN:
My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving (total American answer). I love it because it’s all about the food. You don’t have to worry about gifts, it’s solely a food holiday and I can totally get with that!




Your books is being made into movies, what music would you use as soundtracks?
JEN:
Music is a really big influence on my writing. I listened to a lot of Adele while writing Too Far to Care and I listened to a lot of beach music, Sia and Neil Diamond while writing The Tide is High
JC:
I actually have a soundtrack for each of my books. Top song from Inevitable Love is Yours by Russell Dickenson. Top song from Love Unexpected is Confession by Florida-Georgia Line. Top song from Resilient Love is How you Love Me by 3LAU.
All of my playlists are on Spotify under the book titles.


So, it’s time to relax! What do you do?
JEN:
Read, go to the beach, paint.
JC:
Read! If I decide to indulge in TV, it’s normally trashy reality shows! Lol


Pets... do you have pets?
JC:
I have an eleven year old beagle/dashuand mix. My husband and I have had him for the last 10 years and he’s spoiled rotten. We got him when he was a hyper puppy who constantly destroyed our first apartment and now he’s a little old man who does nothing but lay around and sleep most of the time.
JEN:
We have a dog named Buster. He’s the sweetest, most timid dog. We rescued him in January and he’s 2 yrs old. It’s amazing to see him come out of his shell in the past year.


JC, when did you last sing to yourself or to someone else?
JC:
Lol. I sing to myself daily! And I usually sing to my kids a couple times a week. I took years of choir in jr and high school, so I don’t think I’m a terrible singer! (Not that I’ll be entering any singing contests anytime soon!)



Were you ever in a school play, Jen?
JEN:
I was in both choruses of Oklahoma and Bye Bye Birdie in middle school and I loved every minute. I also still know all of the songs 30 some years later.



What is your biggest fear?
JEN:
Something happening to my husband and daughter
JC:
That I won’t be there when my kids need me. They are my life and I don’t ever want to disappoint them in any way.



And finally... What are your favourite books?
JEN:
This changes all the time but the most consistent one is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I just love Elizabeth, she’s such a strong and unique character. All of the Bennet’s are.
JC:
Ahh, that’s such a hard choice. I have so many favorites. Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover and Undeniable by Madeline Sheehan are some romance books that come to mind. The Promise me series by Paige Weaver is another one i could reread over and over again. And I love the Harry Potter books as well as the Hunger games and No Easy Day by Mark Owen.


Thank you JC and Jen for joining me today.



Today is your last chance to enter our giveaway and win a $5 gift voucher and copies of Jen Luerssen and JC's books.






#FAA2 Day Five


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