Saturday, 23 November 2013

Indie Tour ~ Author Interview with J.M. Madden

Hi J.M,

Welcome and thank you for taking part in this interview. We are excited to be able to talk to you!

For those who don’t know much about you can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Absolutely! I’m a wife and mom, which I think are two of the most important jobs ever. I was a deputy sheriff for nine years until hubby relocated us to Kentucky (I’m a Buckeye at heart). I’ve written since junior high, but once I moved down here I started to seriously pursue it. I’ve been published for three years, have 13 books out, and can’t imagine doing anything else now.

How did you choose which genre to write in? Well, I was always a Harlequin and Desire reader, so I thought that was what I wanted to write, but when I put pen to paper my material ended up being very different. More emotional, less driven by standard rules. I wrote about what I wanted to know about. Because of my law enforcement experience, veering into writing military seemed natural to me. All but a couple of my books have law enforcement or former military in them.

What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy doing your research? I love doing research although I can definitely get lost in it. Writing military especially you have to be super careful with your details. Readers will ding you if you get something wrong.
But, on the flip side of that coin, I value the stroy enough that if I get something wrong trying to convey my message, I should get dinged. I should have the knowledge to treat the military, and my former servicemen, with the respect they deserve.
If I absolutely can’t find an answer or it’s one of those things that only personal experience would explain, I call a buddy of mine. He’s the husband of a writer friend and a former Marine, and I’m truly appreciative of all the help he gives me. (Hey, Bruce!)

Do you draw on personal experiences for your writing? Definitely. I grew up a tomboy- driving motor bikes, collecting animals and shooting guns. My dad was an armorer in the Army, so guns have always been in my life. Then, when I became a cop, my life depended on them.
To a certain extent, I can understand the military lifestyle, even without being part of it. I had some of the same comaraderie and regulation in the sheriff’s department.
Writing fight and action scenes have always come easier to me because I know the mechanics of what needs to happen in a fight. I pride myself on being able to articulate those well.

Are the names of the characters in your books special to you? Sometimes. It took me a long time to write my Lost and Found series. I knew I wanted to write it but didn’t know if I could do it justice or not when I first started writing. Anyway, I’ve had John Palmer’s name for about four years, even though the book just came out at the beginning of this year. It popped into my head one day and just wouldn’t leave. Same with Duncan’s name. I’ve had Duncan forever, although the Wilde is new. His last name used to be Clark, until I changed it to something more interesting.
So, if you ever spot “Duncan Clark” in a book, let me know about it. It’s an unintentional typo. ;-)

Did you enjoy writing the Uniform Desires books? Do you like collaborating with other authors? I did, and I do. We have a military blog ( For the Love of Military Romance) and we started talking about an anthology. I loved the group of women I ended up contributing with, even though I had to work my ass off! Her Forever Hero was a brand new book I decided to write when we were putting the anthology together. It was a time crunch, but it all worked out.

Do you have any projects you’re working on now? My gosh, yes. My LNF readers are demanding Chad’s book so I’m working on it now. I have Preston’s book in my mind waiting to be put down, and another book (with a Navy SEAL K9 ) teasing my brain. I have a contemporary western so close to being done it’s not funny. I just have to find the time to tie it up. Then I have the follow up book to A Needful Heart waiting in my head as well. I have no lack of material.

What do you use to write your book? Physically? A MacBook Pro. I’m a recent Apple convert and I have to say I love the machine. Then I use a regular old Word program. I write by the seat of my pants, so I don’t use planning boards or anything like that. Butt In Chair Hands On Keyboard.

Do you listen to music while you write or read? I use music sometimes. If the kids are at school, I use the silence of the house. But if they’re home, I put my headphones on and listen to Pandora very quietly. If I’m in an active scene, I pump it up with something with a heavier beat. I think subliminally I try to make my fingers keep pace with the rhythm.
A lot of times I just put my headphones on to let the family know I’m in work mode. They leave me alone then. For the most part...

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer? One of the biggest things is having other writer friends. You need to know you aren’t crazy, (dazing off into space, yelling at imaginary people in the car). I started out with a local RWA chapter for the first few years and absolutely loved the camaraderie. Things changed with the organization, though, and we had to create our own indie group, and it was one of the best things I’ve ever been a part of. I love the women in my group because we have SO much in common.

How do you get your ideas for books? Heck, I have too many ideas! For the Uniform Desires book, I had a flash of this stunningly beautiful woman puking her guts out in a boardroom because she’s pregnant (don’t ask me why) and wondering how my hero could save her right off the bat. That turned into the opening scene for Her Forever Hero. No, she doesn’t puke right there, but it is a threat and he has to hustle her out of the room to privacy.
My ideas come from conversations, real or imagined. Something I might see on TV. The entire Lost and Found series idea came from a relative of mine cheating on her husband while he was deployed to Iraq. Sad, but true.

How often do you write and whats the hardest/easiest part of writing a book? I write every day, literally. I don’t have a set word count, but I at least get a scene in. Weekends are hardest because the family likes to do stuff, but I make time with my keyboard every day. The easiest part? The ideas and putting my appreciation into my words for the men who serve our country.

Describe in 5 words, your writing: emotional, steamy, satisfying, heartening, and uplifting.

Who designed your covers? I have a lovely cover artist by the name of Viola Estrella that does my LNF covers. I give her an idea of what I like and she comes up with the rest. I’ve loved every cover she’s done for me and plan on using her for a long time.

What are you currently reading? I just finished a story called Cold Rage by Jacob Quarterman. I downloaded it free. Totally NOT what I normally read but it was interesting and kept me hooked the entire read. I think because the hero was so conflicted, yet you rooted him on. (Just a warning if anybody goes looking for it- it’s gory and rough.)

Do you have a nickname? Ha! Yes. Tumbleweed. I can walk across a room and twist my ankle. I’ve fallen up stairs more times than I can tell you. Who falls into an empty six foot swimming pool and gets a concussion? Yep, me. I’ve never been able to live that name down.

What do you do to relax? I have horses. I don’t ride much anymore because I really don’t bounce the way I used to ( see answer above) but I love just being with them. I love to read, obviously, and Candy Crush Saga is kicking my butt right now...

Series or standalone? Series

ebooks or hard/paperback books? Ebooks and paperbacks. Some I need in print.

Favorite Author? Wow. I can’t name just one. Marjorie M. Liu’s Dirk and Steele guys, Nalini Singh’s Archangel series, Robyn Peterman’s anything, Donna McDonald’s Cougars. The list goes on. Thea Harrison, Susan Mallery, JR Ward...

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Find other writers! Even if you have to create your own group, do it, because the exchange of ideas and knowledge is invaluable. Write like crazy. Don’t be afraid to try new things! And check out my website. I have some author helps listed that I wish I had had a couple years ago. And read!!!

How can readers get in touch with you or find out more about your work? I love getting emails from readers. I really do. I put my email on everything.
I try to keep my website up to date, but the blog is suffering with my workload. And I love answering questions for other writers. I’m pretty transparent with anything.

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