Jana Stocks Brown
author, Desert Rains
Give us a bit of your background (where are you from, your family, traveling adventures)
I live out in the heart of the Rocky Mountains in Salt Lake City, Utah. I’m married to my best friend and we have three amazing children and one crazy, but loveable cat. I love to travel and started running around the world when I was 17. I’ve currently been to: England, Scotland, Wales, Norway, Singapore and all over the United States (Though hubby and I have a particular love for Disney World whenever we can get there).
Everywhere I go I find inspiration. We live on an amazing little rock in space.
Most writers are readers. What are some of the books you have on your nightstand and/or on your "must read" list?
Oh goodness, you’ve seen my teetering piles… Between what’s on my bookshelf and what’s in my Kindle I probably have enough reading material for the next five years, but I can’t stop acquiring more. I read a lot of genres from hard SF to Romance and non fic. I love a good fairytale retelling, and I’m a big fan of Urban Fantasy in general. Cookbooks are a distinct weakness. I loved Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. I have a toddler so I’m an expert at The Monster at the End of this Book and I Want my Hat Back, by John Klaussen.
Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?
I’d go back to New Orleans, Louisiana in a flash. I’ve visited there a few times and I love it. I love the culture, and the food, and the people. It’s a fascinating place.
What is your favorite genre to write?
I’m really a speculative fiction kind of girl. I love writing romance, but I like mixing in a little fantasy or science fiction to take my stories out of the ordinary and into the extraordinary.
What got you started on your writing journey?
I have always been an avid reader and I started writing stories when I was about 8. My mother thought they were the best thing ever! From that point forward I was determined to be a writer. I got my first professional novel rejection when I was 14 and just kept writing. I studied editing and publication in college and served as the executive secretary on a magazine staff for three years. Desert Rains is my first published novel (I’ve written about a dozen others), though I’ve been published in the local newspaper, journals, webpages and other such things for the last 20 years.
Why do you choose to write clean/sweet romance? Do you write steamy romance as well?
At the most simple level I write clean romance because I like to read clean romance. I love seeing two characters come together, that emotional arc is just thrilling to me, but I’ve never really needed or wanted the explicit details. There’s also the aspect that I KNOW my very supportive family and, in particular, my Grandmother will read what I write and I want her to always feel comfortable recommending me to her friends.
What other things do you have planned with your writing for the rest of the year?
This year I’m presenting at a Local Author event and finishing book 2 in the Desert Romance Saga. Desert Hearts. It’s Teddy’s story and I’m already having so much fun!
What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
It’s fulfilling a lifelong dream for me. As well writing has allowed me to stay home and raise my little girl while still having a career doing something I love. Who could ask for anything more?
Where do your ideas come from?
I know there are authors that struggle to come up with new ideas. I am not one of those people. Instead I am bombarded by ideas from every corner. Funny things people say, a phrase of music, a line of a poem, my husband teasing me… everything is a seed for a story. I have notebooks all over the house (and in the car, and by the bed, and in my purse and…) with character sketches and snippets of things. The much harder thing is deciding what to develop into a full novel and what is just an idea still maturing.
What are your hero and heroine of the story like?
Richard and Charlene are both confident, capable people in their own rights. Richard is a whip smart technician from a good family looking for a chance to prove himself. Charlene is a capable cattle woman with a knack for biotechnology who has problems with her joints and even more problems letting anyone help her. They’re trundling along both pretty certain they are happy and getting what they want out of life.
Once they meet each other they realize there’s so much more they can have and be. They’re really a good example of the sum of the parts being greater than the whole.
Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?
Because a book doesn’t really have life breathed into it until someone outside of the author reads it, and I’m very certain that Richard and Charlene and all the characters at the Double P deserve that breath.
Do you have a favorite character you have written so far?
My favorite character in Desert Rains has to be Teddy, even though I love them all. He’s Charlene’s big brother and loves to tease and torment her, but he’s also her biggest fan and protector. At least until Rick comes along and gives Teddy some much needed help.