Hello everyone, and welcome to the blog tour for Rome by Jay Crownover. First up is an interview with Jay about her writing and her books, then later, I have a review of Rome, the third book in Jay’s immensely popular Marked Men series.
Jay Crownover Interview
1. Tell us a little about yourself 🙂
I live in Colorado. I have 3 dogs. I hate tomatoes. I love music and that’s why it’s in my all of my books. I am terrified about the release of my new series. Every time I end up on the NYTimes best-seller list I really think my editor is kidding and can’t believe this is my life. Picking the guys for the cover of the Marked Men books is like the best time ever!!
2. You initially started out self-publishing your work, but Harper Collins have picked up the first three, and the next three of the Marked Men Series (congratulations!) How have the two different publishing experiences been?
They picked up a new series as well so one of the biggest differences is that I’m so incredibly busy!! I have books coming out back-to-back non-stop all year long. If I was still self-publishing those dates could move and shift and work differently but with a publisher I’m pretty locked into release dates and deadlines.
Honestly to me it’s all work. You still have to get a book done, still have to polish it and make it shine and the pressure is still really in the back of your mind. I think with a traditional publisher I’m always also carrying around the worry that if a book bombs, it’s not just me I’m disappointing or letting down but an entire company and team as well and that can get pretty heavy.
There are pros and cons to both types of publishing and honestly I’ve had success with both. I think it’s just up to an author who wants to write for a living to find what works for them and now a days there can be such a thing as a hybrid-author that publishes both ways… best of both worlds.
3. What’s your writing process like?
I just write. I start with a character or a couple and then I just start throwing words at a page. I don’t plot or plan I just let the people in the book tell their story. Sometimes I’m surprised. I thought I knew who Asa was going to end up with from the beginning but by the end of Nash’s book I knew he was going to end up with someone else.
I’m so busy right now I try and write everyday with a weekend day off but that hasn’t been working as well as I would like so much this year!!
4. How about reading? Who are your favourite authors?
I used to read 2-3 books a week. Now I read about 3 books a month. One I think is, I read more carefully now – I pay closer attention instead of just absently flipping pages like I used to do.
I love Jennifer Armentrout, KA Tucker, Kristen Ashley…Cora Carmack’s new series is awfully funny and sweet. It just depends. I’ve read a bunch of stuff that I never read before because I’ve made friends with the authors or because publishers and agents have asked me to and I’m always pleasantly surprised.
5. Do you have any tips for the aspiring author?
Just to write. You can’t be a writer without writing. It’s a job – one that most of us love and would do without even getting a pay cheque – but you have to put the words on the page. I write when I’m sick. I write when I would rather be having fun. I write when I’m travelling. I write when I’m bored and have writer’s block. I write when I think I hate the book and want to erase every single word and start over. Really you have to do the work.
Editing is also a really important part of the game… believe me I learned that the hard way!
6. Cora is a character with a lot of attitude. Is she inspired by anyone?
Not really. She has shades of my best friend in her. Cora really is a woman of contradictions. I wanted her to be strong and tough – for everyone else. But when it comes to her and her heart she’s a big ole baby… I really think she has to be the type of woman that has attitude in order not to get lost against all those boys she’s constantly around. She really had to be bold in order to stand out.
7. I really enjoyed Rome’s backstory, and loved the contrast in him between his strength and capability, and his vulnerable side. Did you need to do much research into PTSD?
I talked to a group of young men that all had just returned to from the desert and were back at school on the GI bill. I didn’t do technical research; I did human research. I listened to stories about PTSD – heard them tell me about nightmares and flashbacks and got really emotional when they talked about friends or fellow soldiers they had all lost, either because they were afraid to get help or because they refused to admit anything was wrong. It was heartbreaking and real which is why I think Rome’s character is so raw and bleeding before he settles in and finds direction. That’s how I felt after listen to their tales.
8. What do you enjoy most about writing Marked Men?
It’s fun and sexy and just a little twisted. My favourite thing is that it’s my job to spend time with these guys and share them with the world. I’m always surprised how much other ladies love these guys as much as I do.
9. And lastly, the book ends with the suggestion that Nash might be starting something with an attractive young nurse… Can you give us any hints for what’s in store for the other Marked Men?
Nash has a tough time of things in his book. His life just turned upside down and the one person that offers him some solace doesn’t trust him. They have history and he really has some ground to make up if he wants Saint to give him a shot but at the end he’s right where he needs to be and the Marked world just keeps moving forward.
Nash’s book is fun because we meet some new characters that are important moving forward and that’s always cool to write about 🙂
Thank you Jay!