Monday, August 31, 2015

Interview with author Jillian David

Q ~ Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Sure thing! It’s a blessing to come back to my writing roots. So, I started out as an English writing major, but then went on to medical school. Now I work as a rural family doctor, so my days (and nights) are full of delivering babies, emergency C-sections, hospital care, colonoscopies, mole removals, and the typical fare of high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, incontinence and rashes. (And on and on….) So, total craziness, right?

About 6 years ago, I wrote my first book. That first novel went through several revisions until my editor and I concluded that it was “not salvageable”. So I burned the manuscript. Literally. Since then, I learned from my rookie mistakes and managed to write not one, but the three books for the Hell to Pay series. I was fortunate (and stupid) enough to hold out for a publisher who would make an offer for the entire series. Since then, it’s been a whirlwind of rewriting, revision, marketing, and a book coming out every 3 months this year!

Q ~ Are you a dog person, a cat person, or does some other critter strike your fancy?

Cats, definitely. Um, hubby and I talk to our cats like they’re our kids. Yup, we’re >those< kind of cat parents.

Q ~ What’s something that you never leave home without?

Chap stick! The joke is that I have a tube stashed everywhere. It’s in pants, purse, cars, office desk, surgery locker, bedside stand, bathroom, etc..

Q ~ What’s one habit that you have that you’d like to break?

Cheating on the food entries for MyFitnessPal. And yet here I sit, shocked that I haven’t lost any weight. Funny how that works.

Q ~ If you were stuck on a deserted island, who and what would you want with you and why?

I need more information. If there is a chance for rescue, then I’d like someone like Bear Grylls or Les Stroud who have mad survival skills and could get us safely off the island.

Now, if there is zero chance of rescue and we’re going to be there forever, that’s a different kettle of fish. On a purely physical level, I’d be thrilled to hang out with any of my three heroes. Come on now, we’re on the island, we’re bored, and there are opportunities for shirtlessness, what’s a girl to do? And frankly, I know what all these guys look like naked. Any one of those guys would be a win.

Q ~ How do you think people perceive authors?

Depends on what’s being written. It appears there is a difference in the casual reading public regarding perception of, say, erotica writers versus “literary fiction”. This different perception is unfair. What people don’t understand is the massive work that goes into writing any novel, regardless of genre.

Q ~ What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?

“Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not ok, it's not the end.” ― Fernando Sabino

Pretty much sums up everything in my life.

Q ~ What is your favourite genre to read? To write?

My reading tastes range widely. However, my first love (no pun intended) is romance and sci-fi/fantasy. So no surprise that I put those two genres together in my first novels written! I also enjoy biographies and history, so that love also got blended into each of the books. So much fun!

Q ~ Do you have a favourite author? Do they influence your writing?

Not one favourite in particular. I do remember being moved as a kid by the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, being entranced by all books by Anne McCaffrey, and getting tingly reading Anne Bishop’s Dark Jewels series.

Q ~ How did you begin writing? Was there a single catalyst or a series of events?

I’ve written for as long as I can remember, all through college and a little into medical school. However, I wrote nothing for over 10 years while I finished training and began my medical practice. Then one day, boom! Writing started again.

Q ~ Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Well, I started as a pantser, and as I mentioned above, that manuscript is now ashes. So now I plot and plot and plot. I tend to mull over the overall shape of the book and series for a few months prior to putting anything down on paper. Then I do a handwritten brief plotline.

Then I do character “interviews” with 10 pages of very intrusive questions before rewriting the plotline in a much more detailed format. If I hit a block, I go running or hiking. Must be that the jostling knocks loose some good ideas!

Q ~ Do you prefer to write in a small town or big city setting? Why?

Small towns and rural areas. Again, no surprise there. One of the hardest things was writing about New Orleans in my last book. Might have been the toughest research as far as setting was concerned, mostly because it was so foreign to me.

Q ~ Do you have any writing rituals that you follow? What is your go-to snack while writing?

I tend to write while I’m on call. Even if I have an Ob patient in labor, it often takes many hours to go from 2 centimeters dilated to pushing. In between my trips to the hospital to make sure everything’s okay, I try to do spurts of writing. Of course some days it doesn’t rain but it pours, as far as patient care goes, so on those days…no writing.

Q ~ What are your five favourite verbs to use during a love scene?

Stroked. Pressed. Lifted. Nibbled. Nipped.

Q ~ Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release Flame Unleashed and what inspired you to write it?

To properly answer the question, we should look at the entire Hell to Pay series, which arose from the question: “What if people literally sold their souls to the Devil?” It’s this question that drives each book. What would compel someone to sell his or her soul? What would be the rules of such a transaction? And how would someone break that contract?

As far as Book #3, Flame Unleashed, I want to explore how a tormented Civil War nurse with the ability to read people’s memories would function as an eternally powerful being, compelled to kill humans to feed Satan.

Q ~ What was the most difficult part of the process while writing Flame Unleashed?

The plotting process was relatively easy, because I had been moving toward book #3 while writing the first two books. So I had a direction already in mind.

What I found difficult about book #3, Flame Unleashed, was the pairing of a very strong female with an equally strong male. I thought it would be difficult with no power imbalance to play off of. What appears to have happened, though, is the romantic conflict went much deeper and into different levels than in previous books.

Q ~ What is your favourite part or scene in the novel?

Love the “meet” and all of the variations on this scene.

Q ~ Do you have anything in the works at the moment? Care to give us a hint about it?

Oh, yes! I’ve got a 4 book series in the incubator about a family in Wyoming with odd…abilities, and their struggles to protect their families and the people they love from encroaching evil.

Q ~ If you could give aspiring authors one piece of advice, what would it be?

Write what’s in your heart, not what you think will be popular or sell. Your voice will be true and passionate as a result.

About the author:

Jillian David lives near the end of the Earth with her nut of a husband and two bossy cats. To escape the sometimes-stressful world of the rural physician, she writes while on call and in her free time. She enjoys taking realistic settings and adding a twist of “what if.” Running or hiking on local trails often promotes plot development.

She would love for readers to connect on Twitter @jilliandavid13 or on her blog at Readers are always welcome to e-mail her

About Flame Unleashed:

When Civil War nurse Ruth Blackstone sacrificed her soul to save her husband’s life, he utterly betrayed her trust. Now, 150 years later, she’s still stuck killing depraved souls to feed her devil of a boss, Jerahmeel. She’s never been one for hair-brained schemes or sweet-talking flirts. That is, until she meets Cajun rogue Odie Pierre-Noir.

Odie has the research and the war plan to overthrow Jerahmeel and win freedom for all Indebteds. There’s just one hitch: he needs Ruth to act as bait. With charm on his side, he shows Ruth an intense passion she’s never experienced before.

Now Ruth must make the hardest decision of her long, damned life: continue in relative safety as an Indebted with Odie as her lover, or risk their eternal souls for one chance to break the curse. Will she choose the lesser evil?

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