Follow our hero as she vanquishes the evil of ‘Bite-off-more-than-You-can Chew’! Read on and find out more…
All good superhero stories, have a sequel–something else happens after the first foe is vanquished. How does your sequel begin (after the publication of you first/most recent book….)
My sequel has a twisted plot, with several unexpected shifts, a cliff-hanger, and a happy ending that I didn’t see coming.
I published Farewell to Kindness on 1 April (New Zealand time). By then I was already several chapters into my next book, Encouraging Prudence, which I planned to publish in September. As it turned out, April Fools’ Day was a good choice, and the joke was on me. The publication date for Encouraging Prudence is still fluid, but the little novella I started in late April is now a full-sized novel, and was published on 5 August.
All super heroes have their mild-mannered secret identity. How has yours grown and changed since you started life as a superhero?
Just as Superman sometimes has trouble not using his superpowers in his every day life, so I find the novelist occasionally leaking into the commercial writer. Only last week, I was explaining to clients why they needed to make their documents easy to read, no matter how educated and intelligent their audience. “Complex sentences with many ideas and lots of jargon take time and effort to read,” I said. “Yes, your readers are smart and committed. They’ll be able to drag your meaning out of your sentences through their torn and bleeding brains. But they won’t love you for it.”
They were startled, I think. But I made my point.
Do you have any side kicks or a new superhero team member? What are their superpowers?
I’d dearly love a side kick. The days are too short! But I deeply appreciate being part of a team of superheroes, the Bluestocking Belles. The eight of us join together to defeat invisibility in the bazillion-book marketplace. We all write historical fiction, and we have a range of styles (and heat levels). Something for everyone.
Have your superpowers grown and changed since your last adventure?
Absolutely. I believe this latest book is the best I’ve done. My goal is to be able to look back in ten years and be full of ideas for improving it.
What new supervillian have you faced on your latest project and how did you vanquish it?
This time round, I faced the evil ‘Bite-off-more-than-You-can Chew’. I left myself wide open to the villain when I set out to write a novella with novel-sized characters and plot. And, as I tried to do justice to the story and it got longer and longer, the deadline I’d already announced looked less and less likely.
A weekend with hardly any sleep brought Chew and his minions, Self Doubt, Utter Panic, and Empty Brain almost under control, but I have vowed and declared never to do this again.
I still have a full page to-do list as I write this blog post, but by the time you read this, I’ll be basking in the afterglow. In part thanks to wonderful friends, I’ve got this.
What new lessons have you learned during this new adventure?
Never announce the release date until the novel has been through at least its first beta edit. No. I mean this. Just don’t do it.
That’s why the three novels for 2016 are now all just dated ‘coming 2016’.
What have been the best/most memorable experiences along the way?
I’ve had a few ‘did I really write that?’ moments. I live for those. And the support I mentioned earlier from friends, one in particular. She would be cross if I named her, but she knows who I mean.
The most memorable thing, perhaps, is the way the story came out of a game with friends, then took on a life of its own. It’s the first (and so far only) book I haven’t meticulously planned before I started. None of the second half was in my mind when I began writing, and the end came very late in the writing process.
I thought I was a planner. I’m beginning to wonder if planning is a security blanket I may let go of as I gain confidence. We’ll see.
If you did this again what would you do differently and what would you not change?
Other than give myself more time? The process worked. I’m pleased with the story. I would like to have had six months rather than three start to finish.
Tell us about you new book and why we need to drop everything and get it now.
A Baron for Becky is the story of a fallen woman, and the two men who want to help her land on her feet. If you like stories with a different take on common tropes, you might enjoy my version of the mistress to wife theme. It was my goal to give you some complex and interesting characters (the cast includes Becky’s daughter and the mother of one of the men), a story with some unpredictable twists and turns, and a few heart-touching moments. Let me know if you think I’ve succeeded.
What’s in store for you in the future? Do you have any other big projects on the horizon?
This week, I expect comment back from the Bluestocking Belles who are beta reading my contribution to our Christmas anthology, Mistletoe, Marriage, and Mayhem. Mine is a novella called Gingerbread Bride. I’m continuing to work on the novel that got shoved sideways by A Baron to Becky. And I’m also hoping to get out a book of short stories between now and Christmas, as a sampler of my style.
You can find Jude at: