What made you choose Red Adept Editing?
Early on in my publishing career, a number of writers on Kboards.com spoke highly of Red Adept Editing (RAE), so when my editor closed up shop, I came to Red Adept.
You’ve worked with several RAE editors and proofreaders. What did you enjoy most about working with them?
I’ve worked with quite a few RAE editors and proofreaders on several books. I’m always impressed by the consistently high quality of the work. Moreover, they’re always pleasant and easy to work with. From a business perspective, I appreciate knowing that any project I bring to RAE will be completed in a timely manner. Finally, I like to have at least three sets of professional eyes on my work before I publish (an editor and two proofreaders). Red Adept offers one-stop shopping, which is very convenient.
Are your books standalones, or do they need to be read in order?
The Highland Soldiers series is better if read in order. The Highland Passage novels are linked by the same time-travel premise, but are otherwise standalone books. The American novels are standalone novels linked by their American settings. I’m beginning a new series I’m very excited about. My first contemporary holiday romance, The Christmas Cabin, is coming out this holiday season. I’ve enjoyed working on it so much that I’m planning to follow it up with at least two more holiday romances, one for spring and one for summer. These books will be standalones linked by a common holiday or vacation theme.
My grandfather was very proud of his Scottish heritage, so I’ve always been fascinated by all things Scottish. I was surprised to discover via Ancestry DNA that I’ve got even more Scottish ancestry on the other parental branch of my family. But what sealed the deal for me was visiting Scotland. It’s a spectacularly beautiful place, and the people are wonderful. I visit as often as I can. It’s my favorite way to research.
Did you have to do any special research to get into the characters’ heads?
I have a tendency to be overly analytical, which can get in the way of my creativity. To counteract that, I find it works better to resist the urge to define, outline, and box everything up in advance. Instead, I begin with an overall story arc. (I use Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method.) Next I gather some roughly sketched players in the wings, as it were, erect some basic story scaffolding, and then send them on their way. The characters and ideas tend to come to me more organically that way, resulting in a more richly character-driven final product.
Of course, this sometimes takes me to unfamiliar places. When I find myself out of my depth, where the Internet and books aren’t enough, I ask people who know. I belong to a couple of writers’ groups with people from diverse backgrounds who write in different genres. They’ve helped me many times. For my latest book, The Christmas Cabin, my forest ranger hero found himself in a dangerous situation that called for him to behave as he would have been trained. I had no clue what that was, so I contacted the New York State Forest Rangers via their website and received a gracious reply that helped me to portray forest rangers with the accuracy and respect they deserve.
What part of self-publishing do you enjoy the most?
I love the freedom of making my own creative decisions from story inception to cover design. In addition, being able to self-publish soon after completing a project is instantly gratifying.
You have some great covers. Who does your cover work?
My Scottish book covers were all done by Ravven at http://www.ravven.com. She is not only wonderfully talented, but incredibly nice to work with. I happened upon the cover for The Christmas Cabin while looking at premade covers. I’d been wanting to write a Christmas romance, and I fell in love with the cover at http://www.premadeebookcovershop.com. I’ve got some new projects lined up with Elizabeth Mackey, whose work I’ve admired for some time. I’m looking forward to finally working with her.
I teach elementary music during the year and travel during the summer. I often travel alone, which I highly recommend. I also love going to the theater, opera, and museums. My daughter drags me away from the computer every now and then for some outdoorsy activity. I do it for her out of guilt, since my hatred of shopping has been a deep disappointment for her.
What advice would you give to a new author?
Read and write. A lot. Although I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, law school was a fantastic training ground for me. In fact, it’s where I discovered my love of writing. I’d been so heavily involved in music as a professional musical theater and opera singer and actress that I’d never thought about writing as a career. When I decided (God knows why) to go to law school, I entered a foreign land that completely rewired my thinking. It was intense, forcing me to work faster and produce stronger work than I’d thought myself capable of. (Which is not to say it was staggeringly profound, or anything. We’re just talking personal growth here.) My takeaway: There’s something to be said for sitting down and writing, again and again, whether you feel particularly inspired or not.
Where can readers find you?
Amazon profile page: https://www.amazon.com/J.L.-Jarvis