June McCrary Jacobs
author, Robin's Reward
Hello, Jennifer ~ Thank you for inviting me to share with your readers. I’m happy to be a guest on your blog.
Most writers are readers. What are some of the books you have on your nightstand and/or on your "must read" list?
I’ve been a voracious reader since I was a child. I remember one summer when I was old enough to ride my bike to the neighborhood library, probably between fourth and fifth grade. I would go over there each afternoon and check out two books, devour them, and return the next afternoon to check out two different books! It’s much like that now, to be honest, except I don’t ride my bike to the library these days.
Books I’ve got in my TBR pile at the moment include ‘Breath of Spring’ by Charlotte Hubbard, ‘To Everything a Season’ by Lauraine Snelling, ‘The Storykeeper’ by Lisa Wingate, and anything written by Debbie Macomber, Shelley Shepard Gray, Lisa Scottoline, and Beverly Lewis. I love reading books about sewing, quilting, crafting, and cooking too.
What is your favorite genre to write?
I enjoy writing inspirational romances—contemporary and historical. My first book, ‘A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom’, is a contemporary inspirational Christmas story with just a touch of romance. My newest release, ‘Robin’s Reward’, is a contemporary inspirational romance. The other stories in my works-in-progress pile are all in the inspirational romance genre either contemporary or historical.
What is your favorite genre to read?
Awww--Do I have to pick just one? :0}
I read a lot of fiction and a good amount of non-fiction. Right now I’m reading as much inspirational romance (contemporary and historical) and Amish fiction as I can fit in with my writing and promotion schedule. My favorite authors in those genres are Shelley Shepard Gray, Beverly Lewis, Rosalind Lauer, Charlotte Hubbard, Tracie Peterson, and Tricia Goyer.
I enjoy reading thrillers and legal thrillers. My favorite authors in those genres include Lisa Scottoline, Sue Grafton, Marcia Muller, Nevada Barr, and John Grisham. I enjoy reading books about different cultures such as ‘Rain of Gold’ by Victor Villasenor, ‘Cane River’ by Lalita Tademy, ‘The Joy Luck Club’ by Amy Tan, and ‘The Imposter Bride’ by Nancy Richler.
What is one silly fact about you?
A lot of people are intrigued by the fact that I don’t watch much television. The shows I do watch were aired mid-century such as Bonanza, Hawaii Five-O, Rockford Files—you get the picture. My favorite television character is Peter Falk as Lt. Columbo. I’ve never seen a reality show or the singing and dancing talent shows they broadcast nowadays.
What are the elements of a great romance for you?
I believe the elements of a great romance are the same in real-life as they are in fiction. Respect, trust, honesty, respect, friendship, common values, respect, fun, thoughtfulness, humor, and respect. I believe friendship is the foundation of a strong love relationship, so it’s a theme that runs through my writing.
Do you have a favorite comment or question from a reader?
Many people who read my first novella, ‘A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom’, mentioned that the story would make a perfect Hallmark Channel Movie. I heard this from reviewers, bloggers, and a couple of my close friends. I accepted this remark as a great compliment!
How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
The wit and humor in my books is definitely from my personality. Some of my characters’ reactions to their challenges are feelings I’ve experienced when going through a tough time in my own life.
The setting for my Bonita Creek Trilogy, with ‘Robin’s Reward’ as the first installment in the series, is the Mendocino coastal region of Northern California. That area is my favorite place to visit and vacation! Between the fact that I love being near the ocean and the fact that almost anything grows there year round, I’m in heaven. My adoration for the locale led me to set the series in a fictional small town called Bonita Creek in the coastal mountains about an hour from the coast.
The thoughts and actions of the villains and villainesses in my stories are the most difficult for me to write because it’s just not in my nature to be unkind and cruel to others. In this case, I use my imagination to think of negative, hurtful things these ‘bad’ characters do to harm others. I might hear something on the news or observe something out in public that makes me think, ‘Why would somebody do that to someone else? What was their motivation behind their action or words?’
What other things do you have planned with your writing for the next year or so?
I am currently working on Book Two in my Bonita Creek Trilogy, ‘Penny’s Promise’. Completing Penny’s story is my main goal for 2015. Many readers and close friends have encouraged me to write another Christmas novella. I have some ideas swirling around in this active imagination of mine, so if things go well with ‘Penny’s Promise’ I may have the time (or make the time, as they say) to take on writing another Christmas story. It will involve different characters and a different setting than ‘A Holiday Miracle’.
Do you have a favorite character you have written so far?
I develop a special relationship with all of my characters—well, except for the bad girls and guys.
Robin is my favorite character in my new book. Two of my all-time favorite characters are a couple in one of the stories I mention in my answer to question #10 below. Sorry, but I can’t reveal their names at this time because their real names are a focal point of the story.
How many books have you written, and how many of those have been published?
I have written two books. ‘A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom’ won the 2013 Holiday Tale Contest for Cedar Fort Inc. It was released on October 8th, 2013. ‘Robin’s Reward’ is my first full-length novel and will be released on April 28th, 2015.
I have several short stories I’ve written in the past five years. I love my characters and storylines for these shorter stories so much that my goal is to develop them into full-length novels once I’m finished writing the Bonita Creek Trilogy. The stories are all inspirational romance stories. One is a historical story from the era immediately following World War II, and the other two are contemporary stories involving characters and settings which aren’t related in any way. Sigh . . . If there were just more hours in a day!
Please share about your book.
Thanks for asking, Jennifer. I love talking about ‘Robin’s Reward’. I originally wrote this story back in 2010 (yes, it’s been four and a half years in the making) as a submission for a small print press for an anthology they were putting together. They didn’t accept the story for the anthology. Since I really liked the setting and characters I’d constructed, I decided to develop the story into a full-length novel. I added in the faith element and changed the genre from contemporary clean romance to contemporary inspirational romance because that genre incorporates who I am as a woman and how I try to live my life.
I don’t want to reveal any spoilers, but Robin Bennett and Jeff Clarke meet at the beginning of the story. They like each other, but they keep important details about their lives from each other. Robin keeps a secret about her past from Jeff. He keeps a ‘deal-breaker’ type of a secret from Robin about what he’s doing in Bonita Creek. Messy, embarrassing revelations ensue, and they have a lot of tension to deal with as the story progresses. Oh, let’s not forget the adult bully they both must deal with—on many, many occasions throughout the story.
My goal was to write a believable story about two flawed individuals seeking to follow God’s path for their lives. They are not perfect, and they know it! There is a lot of humor in the book and lots of great supporting characters which make Bonita Creek such a special place to live. One beta reader wrote to me that she wants to move to Bonita Creek!
If you could sum up your main character in five words, what would they be?
Robin Bennett is faithful, dedicated, determined, loyal, and flawed.
Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?
Read ‘Robin’s Reward’ to discover how Robin and Jeff overcome the challenges and obstacles in their individual lives and in their relationship. Enjoy a virtual vacation to the beauty of the sights and sounds of the Mendocino coastal region of Northern California.
This was fun, Jennifer! Thanks for hosting this interview. I’m giving away two signed paperback copies of ‘Robin’s Reward’ on my website, and I’d like to invite your readers who are United States residents to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway before May 31st at: http://www.junemccraryjacobs.com/robins-reward-autographed-copy-giveaway/
I enjoy corresponding with readers, authors, bloggers, sewers, quilters, and crafters. You can contact me through my website (http://www.junemccraryjacobs.com), Author’s Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/June-McCrary-Jacobs/153549754836128), Goodreads Author Page (http://www.goodreads.com/June-McCrary-Jacobs), my Amazon Author Page (https://www.amazon.com/author/june-mccrary-jacobs), or through email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I appreciate your spending time with me, Jennifer; and I wish you all the best in your blogging endeavors.
All my best, June