I first met Jeannie Watt in person shortly after selling my first book to Harlequin back in 2005. (We met online before that as we were aspiring authors together. :)) She’s one of my favorite people, and she’s talented on multiple fronts—writing, sewing, teaching (middle schoolers!!!!), mosaic, painting, and other artful endeavors. But instead of me raving more about her, I’ll let you get to know her in her own words. Welcome, Jeannie, and thanks for guesting!
What’s your favorite part of being a writer?
JW: Realizing that it’s ten a.m. and I’m still in my pajamas even though I’ve been working for four hours. Of course, this only happens on the weekends. I still have to dress for the day job. Co-workers tend to notice pajamas on the job.
When you start writing a new book, what element usually comes first for you?
JW: Nine times out of ten, it’s a character who pops into my head—usually the hero. Then I build a story around him. Sometimes it’ll be a situation—what if two people who have reason to hate each other end up sharing ownership of a cozy bed and breakfast?—and then go from there.
Why do you write?
JW: Because it appears to be impossible not to write?
Name one author whose books inspire you to become a better writer.
JW: Virginia Kantra. I love her deep characterization and sense of humor.
What was the hardest book for you to write?
JW: The hardest book for me to write was The Baby Truce. I tend to write stoic, self-aware heroes. For the Baby Truce I decide to write a fiery chef who was blissfully unaware that he was causing a lot of his own problems. Unfortunately, he came out very stoic and self aware. My editor suggested that if he was fiery and impatient, then perhaps there should be evidence of that behavior in the story. I rewrote him and with a few more nudges from my editor, he came out with quite an attitude. My hero and I learned a lot over the course of writing that book.
Do you plot your story before beginning to write or do you just come up with a kernel and then dive in?
JW: I’m a diver. I have a general idea and then I start writing. After the first 10K, I decide the rest of the plot. I discover so much during that first 10K. Even then, my synopses are usually nothing like the final product.
What character that you’ve written is most like you? Why?
JW: The hero of Just Desserts—Justin Tremont. He’s irreverent, impulsive and a little left of center, but buried beneath his irreverent surface is a serious, get-it-done side. He knows what he wants and he goes after it.
What practical tip would you give a beginning novelist?
JW: Take the time to learn the craft and really believe in yourself.
What’s the worst part of being a writer?
JW: Hanging yourself out there for all the world to judge…but that is one of the best parts, too.
You’re stranded on a desert island with no electricity and no internet access. What five things would you choose to take with you?
JW: Naked and Afraid version—a fire starter, a pan, a sleeping bag, survival knife, bug repellent.
Writer version—a solar charger, a Kindle loaded with a zillion books, a net book to write on, sunscreen and bug repellent. I should note that in the writer version, there’s a tiki hut with a fully stocked bar and a big supply of food.
What one thing do you have to have on your desk to write?
JW: My computer. That’s it.
Ebook or print?
JW: Both. I love paper, but ebooks are convenient.
If you could choose which animal you would be reincarnated as, what would it be and why?
JW: A cat. I’d like to mess with people’s heads—you know, be all nice and cuddly, then launch a surprise attack from behind the sofa. Things like that.
Mexican food, Italian food, or Chinese food?
JW: Tough choice. I love all three, however, it has to be Italian. To me, Italian cuisine has the best deserts, best cheeses, best preserved meats, best wine. Yes. Italian, it is. I can feel myself gaining weight just saying that.
You’re going on a writing retreat and rooming with a stranger. What two things about yourself do you warn her of in advance?
JW: I go to bed at nine and wake up at five. I’m a cheerful morning person. Beware.
Bungee jumping, sky diving, or deep sea diving?
JW: I’m terrified of heights and not a big fan of deep water. I one worked a mile underground, though, driving a train in a lead-zinc mine. I do believe I hold the world record for reading romance at depth, since it was the deepest mine in North America at the time.
Jeannie’s latest book:
Secrets of Cherry Lake Book 5 – Tule Publishing
She’s not running anymore…
After a decade away, Jacie Rose has returned with her daughter to Cherry Lake to renovate a historic hotel…and to lay some ghosts to rest. She knows she’ll have to confront mistakes she made in the past, but she didn’t expect to be living right next door to the guy she once asked to be her husband.
What one thing do you want to tell people about your book?
JW: That it will be followed by a novella, The Christmas Secret, on November 5.