Today I’m pleased to welcome Jeanne Arnold, one of my fellow Champagne authors, as my guest!
Jeanne is an author of young adult romance. At a young age she found her creative outlet in art, and for years her fictional characters came to life in drawings and paintings, until they demanded a voice. Now they grace the pages of her stories. Jeanne shares her time with her fictional teenage counterparts and her human family in Central New York. Stubborn will be released by Champagne Books on January 6th, 2014, followed by The Haunt of Thirteen Curves in June, 2014.
SEVEN SPOTLIGHT QUESTIONS:
#1: Why do you write?
Writing gives me an outlet for my creative imagination. For years my characters and stories came out of paintbrushes and colored pencils in the form of illustrations. I was a writer long before I actually typed a story. I wasn’t fully satisfied as an artist, so when I stumbled on writing, I realized it was a perfect fit for me.
#2: What was your earliest writing experience?
I filled notebooks with themes, illustrations and short stories in second grade. I wrote radio shows and newspaper editorials and read them into a tape recorder. I remember the day brainstorming was introduced. I wanted to get down to writing; however, there was a process I was expected to follow. I was frustrated and impatient with the limits put on my creativity. I didn’t want to follow rules. I’ve always fought against creative limitations, even in the art world, and maybe this is why I didn’t find my love for novel writing until later in life.
#3: Describe a day in your writing life:
Everyday, apart from editing or promotion work, consists of me sitting in the kitchen at my laptop from early morning until the Late Show. I’m passionate about writing and it tends to overshadow everything else. I’ve become a full-time writer while taking care of a full-time family. I’m constantly trying to find balance.
#4: What authors influenced you and how?
I’m a fan of the classics, particularly authors who wrote strong female leads. Every author I read influences me with their writing style, imageries, character’s voices, romantic elements. Early on I loved historical fiction, which grew my interest in history and characters from different times. I’ve recently finished a young adult romance set in the depression era and my forthcoming young adult novel, The Haunt of Thirteen Curves, has a historical twist.
#5: What are some things you learned to help with your success?
I’ve learned to move on from rejection, success, frustration…everything. I tend to move on abruptly when I finish a novel. I close off the characters and story. Within a day I begin my next project with a new outlook and a new set of possibilities. As a result I’ve finished ten books in three years. I try not to compare or second guess my past work. I’ve learned that perseverance is everything in this business. Solid research, working with every last free hour I have and pouring my heart into my work, is what gets the contract, the gratification, and the next opportunity.
#6: Describe your writing method:
I’m an unconventional writer. My method evolves and is ever changing. I don’t follow many rules or lay out a plan when I begin a novel. I have a different method for writing and researching from book to book. Sometimes I have a title before I begin and the story develops along the way. Sometimes I have the entire plot mapped out in my head and I’m able to sit down and type without notes or direction. My characters are always alive inside me waiting for their turn. Once I begin their story, they become so real I forget I’m writing them.
#7: Tips for aspiring writers:
Research, ask questions, and most of all, have patience. Investigate every aspect of publishing from querying literary agents and editors to formatting submissions to finding out what the market is looking for. When in doubt, ask questions. Patience is essential. You need to have it, make it, borrow it, buy it, or steal it. If you don’t carry patience, you will struggle.
Check out Jeanne’s Latest book:
Stubborn is a young adult romance novel, set in present day Williston, North Dakota, the epicenter of America’s latest and most explosive oil boom. It will be released by Champagne Books January 6th, 2014.
With a train ticket, a bad attitude, and an unfortunate scribbling of obscenities across her forehead, seventeen-year-old Avery Ross is tossed out of the frying pan and into the fire when she’s sent from New York to the vast oil field region of North Dakota. When a green-eyed boy with a sultry Texan accent comes to her defense, Avery has no clue that his actions will lead her into a passion-charged summer, full of temptation and loss.
Defiant and relegated to work at her aunt’s boarding house, Avery discovers a connection between her aunt and the striking boy. He and his brothers are seeking revenge for the wrongful death of their sibling, and Avery becomes entangled in their battle over oil rights, loyalty, and love. Avery falls for the brooding, younger brother, Gabriel Halden, against her aunt’s forewarnings and creates more tribulations than any of them could anticipate.
I was pretty confident the vulgar obscenities scribbled across my forehead with black indelible marker got me this righteous seat on the Empire Builder heading to the flat, endless, barren nowhere land of the Midwest. But I could have been wrong. I was known to be wrong.
I’d inadvertently kicked my ferocious texting habit cold turkey and wiped out all my summer plans in one unfortunate, random weekend. My parents wouldn’t listen when I swore to China and back that I was sober at my best friend Janie’s end-of-school party when some drunken joker, whose lame advances I probably shot down a gazillion times, decided to use my face as a canvas. I insisted that I simply fell asleep following a demanding cross-country meet.
I failed to see what was so horrible.
I failed to see why I was being punished.
On top of that, it wasn’t my fault I got caught cutting the last week of my junior year of high school after somebody spread a venomous rumor about me that I couldn’t stomach to repeat.
Since my original outburst when I learned I would be spending the summer of my seventeenth year with my Aunt Meggie in North Dakota, I held silent, communicating only with gestures and grunts. I could hardly swallow the truth. They were sending me to help out in the wake of the oil boom. Whatever that meant. Don’t get me wrong, Meggie was my favorite aunt, but who in their right mind would want to spend summer vacation maintaining a boardinghouse for lowly oil field hands?
Those thoughts ran through my mind as I stood on the platform in Syracuse, waiting for my train to nowhere.
“Boom!” My sister’s high-pitched voice squealed. “Boom, boom!”
I held Brianna’s squirmy body in my arms for the last time. She wore her fairy princess dress and talked excitedly with her chubby hands. They flailed like an angry bird, until she found my ponytail and yanked hard.
“Banana, hush,” I whispered sadly. I would disappear out of her life in a matter of minutes. “Will you call me on the phone, Banana? I’ll miss you so much. Give sis a hug and a kissy.”
She angled my face, her tiny fingers splayed over my cheeks. Her lips pecked at mine. Thank goodness she couldn’t read my forehead.
I set her down on the bench and avoided my mother’s evil glare. I’d given up asking for a sibling long ago, perfectly content with my only-child status. Still, I fell in love with my baby sister the second I met her, despite the fifteen-year age difference, thanks to my parent’s carelessness.
The grinding, squealing train came to a halt.
Brianna smacked her palms against my bare knees. “Boom, Avy, boom!”
A burst of resentment shot through me. I sprang off the bench and hurried for the train, catching sight of my father strapping an arm around my mother like a belt.
“Avy! Go boom!”
“Avery! Avery Norah Ross. Get back here, young lady!” my father bellowed.
I streaked up the steps wearing a self-satisfied grin and boarded the train. I wasn’t going to let my parents fold me in a phony hug. God only knows what I would have said. They were making me leave my sister, my YMCA job and my friends, spoiling any chance I had to find a real boyfriend before my senior year.
I didn’t shed a tear when the train took off, although my eyes pooled with anger as I waved to my three-year-old sister from the hazy, rounded window. I scowled spitefully at my parents, irritated by what they’d done to me, for making such a rash decision to send me to the middle of freaking nowhere for two months.
That’s when I began plotting the most outrageous payback in the history of the world. It would take me a little time, but I would give them something to really cry about.
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Fan email address: email@example.com