My name is Cherokee, and I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to Coffee Time Romance. So if you have some time, the readers would love to hear something about Marjorie Jones and her terrific books. You have some great new releases coming out, so let us begin now with our interview.
Hello Marjorie, why not begin by discussing your historical, My Lady’s Will. Where did you come up with the premise for this book?
Hi Cherokee. First, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to visit with me. Coffee Time Romance has always been one of my favorite places to hang out on the ‘net. I remember visiting the first time on the list before “Coffee Time Romance” was born, and it was Karen’s Find Out About New Books. I could always count on doing just that and discovered some great reads in the process.
The premise for My Lady’s Will came about while I was writing my first novel, The Jewel and the Sword. Will is a secondary character in that book, and during a 5-day writing marathon to finish the novel, Will started bugging me about writing a book for him. It just so happened that Devlin, the hero in The Jewel and the Sword, had just been betrothed to a woman he’d never met. This was a huge inconvenience for him, since he’d fallen in love with his heroine, of course. The woman, Prudence, had a reputation for being quite the trouble-maker. Since Will was bothering me about his book, creating quite the distraction, I thought they would be well suited for each other. I took a short break from writing the ending of The Jewel and the Sword to write the first few chapters of Will’s story, and that shut him up long enough for me to finish that first project. So, I guess, Will came up with the premise on his own. He wanted a heroine for himself, and he got one.
Lady Prudence is a strong determined character. I could almost picture her every action. Did you have anyone in mind when you fashioned her character?
Thank you so much. I tried to make her strong-willed. While I didn’t have any one particular person in mind, bits and pieces of my daughters show up here and there. Her kind heart, deeply buried though it is in the beginning, reminds me of Staci, my older daughter. Prudence’s practicality, when it came down to doing what needed to be done, shadows Heather, my youngest. Hopefully, I’ve raised my girls to be determined and capable of taking care of themselves, while not forgetting that love is a truly liberating thing.
I have read your works and you are an incredible author that made this reader, go Wow, this stuff is great! I believe you have some more interesting upbeat news about some more releases. Why not tell the readers about this exciting news.
I’m so happy you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, Cherokee. As for my exciting news, I’d be more than happy to share! The Lighthorseman (Medallion Press, March 2006, set in early 20th Century Australia) has been nominated for the Romantic Times BOOKreviews Magazine Reviewers Choice Award for Best Romance from a Small Press! After I finished shaking, and screaming, and reading and re-reading the email I’d received, my darling husband asked me a question. He asked, “Do you realize that the words you write make people happy?” The best part of receiving this news is knowing that someone, somewhere, was a little happier for having read one of my stories. It still amazes me, thrills me to no end, that such is the case. And more news… The Flyer, also set in early 20th Century Australia and a companion title to The Lighthorseman, will be released this fall, in September 2007.
Marjorie, you also craft some terrific books under the name of Starla Childs. Would you like to share any new developments with the readers under that name, too?
Starla Childs is my pen name for paranormal romance. Dawn of Love (Champagne Books, August 2006) is the first book in a slated three-book series from Champagne. Dawn of Redemption, the second book, will be released in February 2007, followed by Dawn of the Fire Moon in September. All proceeds from the first in this ebook series will be donated to a local charity, Spencer’s Wishes, here in Utah. Spencer was a lovely and kind-hearted little boy who died of cancer when he was still so very, very young. Before he died, he wrote out his Christmas list for his parents, as all young children will do. This was very touching, because even he knew he wasn’t going to live to see Christmas that year. His list included a wish that all children should be happy and get their own wishes, so in his memory, his parents set up a foundation that provides Christmas gifts to underpriviledged children, and since Spencer loved baseball, they’ve worked with our local farm team, the Salt Lake Bees, to have a week long baseball camp that’s free for the kids. It’s a really good cause where nearly 100% of the income goes right back out to help those in need. I’ll step off my soap box now, but hurry! Everyone run out and get your copy of Dawn of Love so Spencer’s folks can sent even more kids to baseball camp!
Dawn of Love stars Alasdair and Fiona, and is a paranormal historical, set in Medieval Scotland. I adored writing these characters, including the villain, Dimitri. In fact, I loved Dim so much, he became the hero of Dawn of Redemption, which is a time-travel from modern day Oregon, back to the same location in Scotland, and back. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will mention that the heroine in Dawn of Redemption is a witch, and I’m hoping that my readers will get a kick out of her familiar, who is based on my own furry little friend.
What is the last book you read that left a big impression on you?
That’s a tough one! I’m often taken aback by the talent and incredible story-telling hitting the shelves these days. Every time I read a new author, or a new-to-me author, I think to myself that I should put away my keyboard and leave the writing to those who really know what they’re doing. I will say that “Whisper To Me Of Love” by Shirlee Busbee had a profound effect on my desire to write novels. I own it in paperback and hardback, in fact, and it’s firmly in place on my keeper-shelf.
Do you consider yourself to be an organized person, or do you like to have a healthy amount of chaos around you?
Chaos. Definitely. I try to be organized. I try to create files, and outlines for my writing. I try to remember to climb Mt. Laundry on occasion. Once in a while, I remember to make dinner before dinnertime. But rarely am I able to stay organized for long. Invariably, my writing veers in directions I hadn’t planned, dinner becomes a dash to our local Taco Bell or KFC, and my husband wears mismatched socks to work. Poor guy. I’m so bad, in fact, that I usually end up running around the house picking things up before my housekeepers come for their weekly visit on Fridays. My husband, Keith, laughs and says, “Aren’t the janitors coming today?” The fact he calls them ‘janitors’ might give you an idea of the chaos that is our home. We have more animals than people, an equal number of teenagers as adults, and I spend most of my time buried in the middle ages somewhere in the depths of my hard drive. It really is amazing no one has starved to death yet.
Rachel Ray has decided to pop over for dinner. What thirty minute meal will you cook for her?
How ironic! I’m laughing because, honestly, I didn’t read ahead. I adore Rachel Ray and wish I had her talent. But I suppose she would be stuck with the same last minute meal that my family gets when KFC is out of the question. Eggs! I make fabulous scrambled eggs. I use very little milk, and I add a tee-niny little splash of vanilla, but that’s not the secret. The secret is to remove the eggs from the heat before they’ve finished cooking all the way. They should be a little moist because they will continue to cook after they’re off the heat. By the time you transfer them from the pan to the plate, they’ve finished that last little bit and they aren’t dry. Two slices of whole-wheat toast with a little grape jelly, a wedge or two of the perfect mandarin orange, and voila… a meal in less than ten minutes. (The other twenty minutes would be needed to clear research books off the kitchen counter to make room for cooking.) Soooo not organized.
If you could learn to play any musical instrument which one would you choose?
Actually, I play the flute. I started in grade school, and I haven’t picked one up in years, but I remember enjoying it very much. If I could learn something new, I’d love to play the guitar. There is a woman who plays guitar at my church, while her husband plays the bass and another gentleman plays guitar, and the three of them sound so heavenly. They play in the old folk-music style of the late sixties, early seventies and make Sunday mornings such a joy! I would love to be able to do that. I’m Catholic, and dancing in the aisles isn’t exactly traditional, but when the Lazlo’s play and sing, that’s exactly what I feel like doing.
What is your favorite late-night snack?
Okay, this is going to sound really weird. At least, that’s what I’ve been told over the years, but … are you ready for this? Peanut Butter and Bologna sandwiches. Usually just a half of one if it’s late. With a small glass of milk. I have no idea how it started, but I can remember snaking on them since early childhood. We may have to ask my mother about that one.
You go out to get into your car one morning, and in its spot is the vehicle of your dreams. What does it look like?
Oh, I’ve had my eye on one of those new T-Birds for a couple of years now. Big enough for a woman with curves, sporty enough for a woman who refuses to grow up, and so very classy. I test drove one back in ’03. A convertible, charcoal grey with a black soft top, tan leather interior, chrome trim. In lieu of the perfect Thunderbird, I’ll take my niece’s car for the day. She drives a 1990 convertible Mazda Miata. Everyone once in a while, we trade, just so I can feel like I’m 19 again.
Where is your favorite place to read?
In bed, snuggled close to my honey while he watches a movie or one of his favorite psychic detective programs. But anywhere will do. I love to get lost in the words, no matter where I am.
What was your favorite television show as a child?
Oh, I can remember spending endless hours every Saturday watching old westerns! The Big Valley, Gunsmoke, Rawhide, Bonanza, Alias Smith and Jones. We’d moved to a new city when I was about eleven or twelve, from Meridian, Mississippi to Virginia Beach, Virginia, and I didn’t know a soul. Since school hadn’t started yet, I had the whole summer to myself, just me and my brother. And Shirley Temple movies. The Shirley Temple Theater came on every Sunday afternoon, and I never missed it. I spent a fair amount of time writing that summer as well, and I wrote my first novella that summer. “ROX” was a spy-story about a diamond. To this day, I wonder why it wasn’t a Western staring a little girl with curly hair.
Name the one food you hated as a child but love now?
Tomatoes and Spinach! Not together, of course. You couldn’t get me near either one as a child. Now, I buy spinach just for me. I like fresh, raw spinach on my salads and sandwiches. And my neighbor grows the best tomatoes! You can bite into them like an apple, they are so sweet. I slice them, dab a little low-fat mayo on top and have them for lunch quite often. Yummy!
What is your favorite spice that you love to cook with?
I don’t cook very much, as you might have guessed, but when the mood strikes, I do love Oregano and other Italian spices. I make a mean Bruchetta. I have no idea if I’m making it correctly, mind you. I dice about a dozen Roma tomatoes, a few white onions and mix them with Oregano, Basil, Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar, then serve it with slices of French Baggette Bread dressed with melted butter and All-Spice. It’s a great summer snack and it’s so easy!
Thanks for taking the time to visit, Cherokee. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed answering your questions. While Starla’s books can be found on my main “Marjorie Jones” website, I do have a separate site just for my paranormal works. http://www.starlachilds.com has information about the Dawn of Love series of books, and profiles of some of the characters in the books. Some of the friends I’ve met over the past few years have graciously agreed to portray the characters on the website, including Mark Johnson as Alasdair, Andrei Claude as Dimitri, and a myspace pal, Apache Vampire, as Ariesal, a god of healing who will hopefully have his own book in the not too distant future. I invite your readers to stop by and check out the guys to learn a little more about Alasdair and his friends anytime. I’ll bring the Bruchetta and wine!
On behalf of Coffee Time Romance, we wish you the absolute best in your writing career and look forward to lots more books from Marjorie Jones.
Thanks again, Cherokee. I’ll try not to let you down!