Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fall In Love With Jan Bowles!!!!

Well, top of the morning, TLN'ers!

Hope you're in fine spirits today! If not, let the lovely Jan Bowles chase away your blues with a witty round of writing tips and a tasty teaser of her new release!

With Valentine's Day just a breath away, we all could use some LESSONS IN LOVE! Put the 'Do Not Disturb' sign up and grab a sweet treat. You deserve a little break from the daily grind, so tip your cups up and let's get to it!

1) If you were a book, what would your blurb be?

English romantic author Jan Bowles, journeys into the unknown on a daily basis. It is her determination to seek dashing heroes, and assertive heroines, which keeps her on her schedule.

Ultimately, she finds emotional turmoil, love, forgiveness, and of course the happy ever after.

Can she keep up this pace?

Will she ever be able to cook her husband’s dinner, clean the house and finish her latest manuscript?

Oh, yeah, there’s nothing like a husband to keep you grounded in reality, lol.

2) Using three words, describe your voice.

Emotional, sincere, and deep

3) How do you structure your characters? Do you use charts or spreadsheets? Is there a certain character trait you favor in your Heroes and Heroines?

First of all I make a list of my characters physical attributes. How tall they are, the colour of their eyes, their hair. How old they are. Then I give them an education—I know it sounds strange, but even if I don’t use it in the story, it gives me a clear indication of how they’d react in certain situations. I also designate mannerisms to them. Such as biting a bottom lip, or rubbing a hand across their jawline (heroes only for this one, ha, ha). Then I give them an accent. All these layers add up to the character as a whole. So, when you put the hero and heroine together, hopefully the sparks will fly. Sometimes their conversations will lead me in a direction that I hadn’t really thought about.

When plotting the book, I choose something similar to a spreadsheet. Rather like a storyboard, each chapter is blocked off.

My hero always has to be tall, strong, and in control. Though he does have a softer more gentle side, that only the heroine gets to see.

The heroine has to be a woman for today. She is able to look after herself. Strong-willed she knows exactly what she wants from life.

4) What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome in your writing?

Finding the time. Ha, ha, there never seems to be enough of it.
5) When it comes to your writing: Are you a pantzer or a plotter? Tell us a little but about your routine.

Well, there you have me. I’m both really. I have a plot, but I generally find it very hard to stick to it. My characters sometimes have a life of their own, and will often take me in a different direction. Perhaps, one I hadn’t even thought about. They’re very choosy about their scenes, and they do like the last word.

At the moment I have a WIP – a mystery suspense. The female lead is telling me she just doesn’t like her name, and wants another one. I’m afraid I will have to relent. The one I’d chosen just doesn’t suit her personality.

Usually, I spend the first part of the day looking through emails. You know, sorting through the promotional material. After that is done, I start writing. I’m a person, who finds it awkward to write straight into the computer, so I will make a rough draft with pen and paper, and then transfer that to the laptop. I find it easier that way, and I write a lot quicker.

Once I have the rough draft in the computer, I then layer in the actions and descriptions. I find this works best for me, but I’m sure other authors have their ways too.
6) What is it about writing that calls to you? What element of your voice do you hope calls to readers?

I love being creative. There’s nothing more challenging than writing a novel, but there’s also nothing more satisfying than receiving that cover. To me the book finally comes alive.

I hope I can bring deep emotional stories with believable characters. Stories that will make you think long after it’s finished.

7) What's up next for Jan Bowles?

‘Lessons in Love’ is due for release February 16th. I’ve just received a fabulous cover for it by artist Jinger Heaston. It’s very romantic, and portrays the heroine, Eva St. John, and the hero, Jack McClaine exactly as I’d imagined. He has a very special place in my heart, and I’m sure readers will identify with him.

Eva St. John is assigned to write an article about Texas oilman Jack McClaine. The wealthy Texan has a reputation, and Eva is not happy about the assignment. She lets him know exactly what she thinks.


"Mr. McClaine, are you going to answer my question?"

"Hold on now, darlin’, I thought we were on first-name terms already." He smiled at her in amusement.

"No, we’re not." She slumped into her chair and glared up at him.

"Andrew Jameson could shadow you for a month. Why do you want me? I won’t be a pushover, you know. I’ll certainly write exactly what I think."

He smiled easily and twisted around to meet her frosty gaze. "Now, why would I want Andrew Jameson to shadow me for a whole month? Live in my home. Share my food. Share my life. Why would I want him when I’d be much happier with you?"

Eva picked up a pen and pointed it at him. "You, Mr. McClaine, have a reputation. If you are expecting anything but a working relationship, then you are mistaken."

"Well, that’s settled then, honey."

She looked up watching the amusement play around his eyes. The creases channelled down to his mouth. "Don’t look so smug, Mr. McClaine. You may regret your decision to invite New Dawn magazine into your home. You may not like what I write. Be careful what you wish for, Mr. McClaine."

"Darlin’, I’ve never regretted anything in my life."

"I told you once before, Mr. McClaine, I’m not your honey, and I’m telling you now, I’m not your darling either."

He laughed. "Eva, it’s just a figure of speech. It don’t mean anything."

That afternoon a huge row developed with her boss, Simon Jessop, but he wouldn’t back down. If she pulled this off, he’d give her a raise. Even more than that, he’d give her a promotion. She wanted to know why he thought Jack McClaine specifically asked for her to do the article. His thoughts exactly mirrored her own. He had lifted his hands in the air, an expression of helplessness on his face, and said, "You’re a big girl, Eva. I’m sure you can handle yourself, and Jack McClaine."

Well, thanks!

Eva felt like a dish served up specifically for Jack McClaine’s pleasure. What’s more, her boss had handed her over on a solid silver platter.

Thanks for having me today, Sarah. I’ve really enjoyed it. If your readers would like to know more about me they can visit
I’m running a competition, so if they sign up to my newsletter they will be placed into a draw for a free ebook download of ‘Lessons in Love’ at the end of the month. Or they can go to my author page at Siren-Bookstrand

Anytime, Jan! Thank you for sharing such a fun excerpt! Eva sounds like she's going to have her hands full. There's nothing quite as sexy as a man with a drawl!

THANK YOU, TLN'ers! Your clicking on over is much appreciated! Here's hoping your weekend is a blast. What better way to close out the week than with a little
Shania Twain and HONEY, I'M HOME! See you all back next week!


Micole Black said...

Hi Sarah. Hi Jan. I love your idea Jan about how you give your character's mannerisms and send them to school what a great way to grow your characters! I think I will adapt that into my writing process as well.

As usual Sarah another great blog. Thanks for bringing this wonderful information as well as such talented author.

Hugs to you both.

Micole Black

Micole Black said...

Almost forgot Sarah... love your festive Valentine's background for your site! Very cute!

Sarah Simas said...

Hi Micole!!

Thanks! You're such a sweetie! Thanks for the chat yesterday. :)It did wonders for my wits! Ah, nothing like a little adult talk to get the brainwaves firing. LOL

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Jan,
Interesting and sound advice. You're like me (I think we might be a dying breed though) who write their first draft in long hand and then transfers it to the computer. Love your cover, and a great esceprt. Best of luck with it.


Jan Bowles said...

Hi Micole

It works for me. It may seem a waste writing something that you don't ever use, but it really gives a full rounded personality to the characters.


Jan Bowles said...

Thank you Margaret

I have tried to write straight into the computer, but it takes me twice as long to finish the scene!

I guess it's all those years spent writing essays at school. and getting covered in ink.


Unknown said...

JAN--you're right--that cover is gorgeous. I like your plot line with the Texan! And like you--and most of us--we never find enough time to write. Celia

Jan Bowles said...

Thanks for stopping by Celia

I've rather a soft spot for Jack McClaine.


Rebecca J Vickery said...

HI Jan and Sarah,
I'm late to the party as always but wanted to say I really enjoyed the interview. Lessons in Love sounds really interesting. Best wishes for a great release.

Jan Bowles said...

Thanks Rebecca

I'm really looking forward to it


Cari Quinn said...

Jan, Lessons in Love sounds great! I loved the excerpt!

And Sarah, good choice on the music! Shania's one of my all-time favorites. :)

Jan Bowles said...

Thanks for stopping by Cari

I really enjoyed writing 'Lessons in Love' and I guess it shows.

All the best