Thursday, January 27, 2011

She Built Ships During WWII!

Your new book, She Built Ships During WWII is about women welders. It sounds like it could be boring!

My novel doesn’t really have that much welding in it at all.
It is really about three diverse women on the home front during the forties.
The main character, Lolly experiences what it is like to work  and place her children in the first day care center in Richmond California.
The second woman, Sumi a Japanese American storekeeper, gets taken away to the Tanforan horse stable in San Bruno.
 Hattie, the third woman, is a Negro welder whose brother is in the Port Chicago explosion (Contra Costa county) and her husband joins the Tuskegee Airmen.

Well now, your novel is beginning to sound interesting!
I see this is your second historical fiction. Why do you write historical fiction?

I like to write about little known parts of history.
  The beginning of my novel says, “let us not forget the good parts of history in order to enjoy them. Let us not forget the bad parts of history in order to not repeat them.”
Finding little known pieces of the past and blending them together with factious characters is challenging for me as well as gratifying. It is like putting a puzzle together.

How long have you been writing?

I have only been writing for about six years.
Unlike most authors I never wrote when I was younger.
 In my previous life,  (before retirement), I bought a Mac laptop for my business. I owned a large daycare center.
I didn’t have much time to write a novel  between working fulltime and raising a family, but I enjoyed the magic of my Mac after only having a typewriter.
 I was so amazed at the “delete” button and the “cut and paste.”
I started fooling around with it and thought I would write about my mother.

Is She Flew Bombers about your mother?

No, my mother was in the Army during World War II but all she did was type for the Colonel. This was a  necessary job but boring to write about!
How I discovered information about the Women Airforce Service Pilots was after reading a huge scrapbook my mother had left me, which even included ration coupons!
I read a two-inch column in one of her Army base newsletters titled, WASPS Fly into WAAC’s barracks. 
 I was quite surprised to read there were women pilots during WWII.
 Asking everyone I knew, I found very few people heard about the adventures of the women pilots during WWII.
This tiny article began my three-year research.

Why do you always write about war?

Many people would be surprised to hear that I actually was a peace activist and marched against the Vietnam War in 1970 in Washington, D.C. (I almost got tear gassed!)
I have a wonderful chapter in  She Built Ships where the heroine says, “How could so much death and destruction motivate people to accomplish such feats of cooperation and productivity? I was able to help build an entire ship in four days. Why can’t peace become the motivating force to bring this country together instead of war?”
 The last chapter tells the true story of  Sadako Sasaki, who was hospitalized with leukemia after the bombing of Hisroshima.
She died at age 12 and  followed a Japanese legend trying to fold 1,000 paper cranes so she could be granted one wish.
After folding 644 paper cranes she passed away. There is a statue of her in Japan. Engraved upon the stone it says:
This is our cry
This is our prayer
Peace on earth

Then why do you write about war?

I am totally fascinated by the forties era.
My parents brought me up with forties values; waste not want not, a stitch in time saves nine, etc.!
  I enjoy writing and researching about a very short period of time when women were allowed to become strong individuals, because most of the men left and went to war.
Women became pilots, riveters, welders, policewomen, bus drivers, etc . Then the men came home and the women were told to go back into the kitchen, enjoy their modern appliances and MULTIPLY!
Even the women pilots were turned down for commercial pilot jobs and were offered to become stewardesses.

Will men like your new book, She Built Ships During WWII?

I was pleasantly surprised how much men enjoyed She Flew Bombers, but then there are a lot of pilots today!
 I’m sure men will like my new book, She Built Ships because of the mutiny  after the Port Chicago explosion and Freeman Field Mutiny of the Tuskeege Airmen.

I see you have two blogs.

Yes, the first blog is: It has been very rewarding to interview other author's. I love helping authors succeed in selling their book after so much hard work! Any author can email me if they wish to be interviewed on my blog.
My second blog is: it is about females during WWII.

Why did you self-publish this book, I thought you were going to get an agent this time?

 As VP of Redwood Writers Club, I   attended Agent’s day.
 I thought I would  traditionally publish She Built Ships, even though it was completely finished and I had already paid for the cover design.
I promised myself that I would send out 100 query letters.
  At agent’s day, I discovered that agent’s would not look at the already self-published, She Flew Bomber’s. 
Self-published books are not picked up by agents unless they have sold thousands. I have sold 650 so far.
I had my editor’s: Stefanie Freele, (content editor)  and Karen Batchelor, (grammar editor) help me make  my query letter  top notch.
At a Redwood Writer's  meeting Donna Levin, X-agent turned editor, read many query letters from the members and said mine was the best!
After over 100 query letters to many types of agents and categories, I self-published, She Built Ships.

What type of rejection letters did you get?

Typical answers from my queries were:

  • While your project sounds interesting, I don’t think it is right fit for our agency.
  • Promises to be thoughtful and compelling BUT…..I’m not the right agent for your work, see what others think
  • The story concept may not be of interest to the publishers
  • Due to volumes of submissions we received from unpublished authors this past year, we regret to inform you that we are NOT currently accepting ANY first time fiction authors at this time
  • Our agency receives 300 queries a day and are not able to read yours at this time, good luck
  • We are currently looking only for historical fiction set in the 16th century, in Europe with Royalty ties

I saw on your web site that you speak to many clubs about your book.

Yes, that is how I sell most of the copies of my novel, by being a guest presenter.
 For my new book I have developed a beautiful power point presentation with super photographs from the forties. Readers may email me to arranged guest presentations or book clubs.

Where can I buy She Built Ships During WWII?

You can buy an autographed copy of my book on my website: through pay pal or email me at  and I will mail it to you.
I love selling my books at the three local coffee shops: The Bean Affair and Geyserville Mud and SOCO Coffee because they take a low percentage.
Limited copies of my book are available at Copperfield’s in California

Why are there limited copies in Copperfield’s.?

 I only receive $2.00 a copy after a long period of time when sold at all bookstores.

Can I buy it on line on Amazon?

Yes, it is available on Amazon but again I only receive $1-2 after many months.


It is available on all electronic devices but again I get very little money for all the work I have done. There are also 25 historical photographs in it and they don’t always come out well electronically. Also you cannot autograph electronic books!

Do you have any advice for writers?

Writing is all about Rewriting!
Writing is fun, rewriting can be tedious. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline.
It is best to pick the time of day or night that you have the most mental energy and write everyday.
When I am done with my first draft, I start reading it aloud. I find more mistakes this way.
Another piece of advice is to pay for an editor or editors. I really liked having a content editor and a grammar editor this time.
Editors who write get an editor for their books because you become critically blind to their own work.
All editors are not good. Take the time and look at all previous books they have edited.
I think it is worth it to pay for a cover designer. A good cover is everything and even the spine is important. I have tiny ships on my spine! I have a great, well qualified cover designer:

What books do you read?

I mostly read books from author’s I have met and have a huge shelf of autographed books. That’s one disadvantage of electronic books, you can’t get them autographed. Autographed books make very special copies. When I read them I like to picture and think about the author.

Are you writing a third historical fiction?

Yes, I am researching women spy's during WWII. It is intriguing but also hard to find information.

That book sound like it will be quite a winner! Good luck and thank you for the interview! Everyone please post a comment to be in the drawing to win a copy of Jeane Slone's new historical fiction, She Built Ships During WWII.

Last time winners of Carolyn Jewel's My Immortal Assassin are Sharon, Lisa and Arletta, congratulations!
To Post a Comment: Go to bottom of interview, press blue comment button. Go to the end of everyone's comments, under post a comment, write a comment, select Name/Url, type your name and email address on ONE line, NO url necessary, the press POST comment.
Thank you.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Immortal Assassin by Carolyn Jewel

Hi Carolyn! Welcome to my author-interviews blog. You are the first historical romance writer I have interviewed. Let's talk about your latest book: My Immortal Assassin, great title!
Please give us a brief synopsis.
Thanks, Jeane, for asking me! I should mention that I write historical romance for Berkeley Books and paranormal romance for Grand Central Publishing.
My current release is My Immortal Assassin, Book 3 of a paranormal romance series I write for Grand Central. My Dangerous Pleasure, Book 4, will be out this June. My next two historicals will be out in 2012.
My paranormal series is set in an everyday world where there are demons and magic using humans called the magekind. They don't quite get along, and both sides have legitimate complaints about the other.
Here's the back cover blurb for My Immortal Assassin:

Revenge. It's all Grayson Spencer wants. Christophe dit Menart, a human with dark magical powers, destroyed the life she loved. She wants the pleasure of killing him, no matter what the cost to her. If not for Durian, a dangerously sexy demon fiend charged with keeping Christophe alive, she would have succeeded, too. Now, she's certain all hope is gone. But he has a plan and an offer she can't resist...

Durian has spent his life as a trained and sanctioned assassin. His duty: to enforce the laws against demons harming humans. He's always prided himself on staying out of the fray, carrying out his orders and honoring his fealty to his warlord, but never getting attached. Never until Grayson, a spunky and determined woman clearly gifted with magic herself. He convinces her to swear fealty to him so he can protect her and teach her to use her magic to taste the revenge she so desperately wants.

They're soon bound together in a forbidden desire--a dangerous passion that calls into question Durian's oath of loyalty to his warlord. When he refuses to return her to Christophe, his disobedience threatens to inflame the tumultuous war between demons and the magekind. Can they--and their love—survive?
And here's a little bit about what people are saying:
Romantic Times, 4 1/2 stars
"The lines in the war between Magekind and Fiends continue to blur in the next installment of Jewel's exhilarating My Immortal series. The protagonists in this drama have both suffered terribly, giving them a common ground and enemy. Jewel provides her fans with a terrific tale that has action aplenty and drama to spare. Great stuff!"
Jill M. Smith
Alternative Worlds
"Fast-paced from the moment Gray and Durian meet on the streets of San Francisco."
Publisher's Weekly
"Jewel's third paranormal (after 2009's My Forbidden Desire) is an exciting return to a world of demons and mages."
BookPage - Romance of the Month - Top Pick!
"Dark, edgy and laced with thrilling desire, My Immortal Assassin will set readers' hearts racing."
Christie Ridgway
How did you come up with all these great ideas?

Typically, I start with an extremely vague idea, for example, gee, what if there really were demons? I spend some time deciding what that world would be like so I have a basic framework for a more specific idea. Then I think about what kind of people would live in that world and what situations would challenge them. Ideas and inspiration can come from anywhere. Overheard conversations, a movie, a picture, and, of course, what other writers are doing. I'm a very character driven writer, in that, for me, plot arises from writing about my characters. I literally do not know what will happen in a story until I sit down and write it.

How much research do you do?

For my historicals, quite a lot. They tend to be set in the English Regency period (1811 to 1820) though there is some fluidity with that date range. By now, I have a great reference library that I've acquired over the years regarding politics, furniture, fashion and the like. I don't usually have to research the basic events of the time period, but there's always some detail that needs targeted research and there's always new information and documents about the period, too. My historical novel, Indiscreet ended up being set primarily in the Ottoman Empire.
I needed to do a lot of research about Turkey and Syria, and I had to do it very quickly, because my deadline was approaching and the book had not been going well while I was trying to keep it set in England. As soon as I moved the first half of the book to Turkey, the story came together.
Thank goodness for Google Books, because I was able to get my hands on quite a number of primary resources about the Ottoman Empire during this time period.
I also found a couple of guidebooks at some antiquarian booksellers that weren't very expensive. And, of course, I researched what modern scholars have to say about the area and the period.
Right now I'm working on a historical where I have this idea involving a doorknob malfunction.
 I realized, though, that I did not know for sure if during the Regency era there were doorknobs as we know them today, and in fact, there weren't. There were doorknobs, but they did not turn. I started with a Google search, found some websites for doorknob collectors and ended up emailing one of the organizations. The gentleman replied with a reference to a newsletter they had done that contained virtually all the specific information I needed, with pictures, and links to additional resources. I also posed my doorknob question around the web and got back some other good information. Whether my malfunctioning door hardware will stay in the story, I can't say. It's so early on in the work on this book that it might not. But now I know all this interesting information about Regency era door hardware!

That is so interesting about all you went through over the subject of doorknobs!

My paranormals don't require as much research. I don't have to worry about anachronisms in language or confirm the actual date of an invention or historical event. And, I get to make up most of the details about my paranormal world. But, there's not no research.
I know nothing about guns, for example, and in book 4 (My Dangerous Pleasure) the heroine is an expert shot. For those details, I turned to Twitter. My question about weapons went out on Twitter, and within moments I was in contact with one of my fellow Twitterers who is an Iraq war vet with all the knowledge I did not have myself. He emailed me amazing details. Oh, my goodness!

Goes to show you how valuable internet is for writers!
How many books have you published so far?

I've published 12 books and novellas and a short story that appeared in an anthology that I need to add to the book page of my website.
That number includes the forthcoming June book. I'm under contract for two more historicals which will bring the total to 14.
I'm about to go back to contract on my paranormal series so I hope to soon add to that total. In addition, my books have been translated into French, Dutch, Thai, Norwegian, Turkish and German, among other languages.

That must have been a thrilling experience to have your books translated into so many languages!
 I know you have an interesting story about how you broke into publishing your first novel that our readers would love to hear. Carolyn was on the Library panel series that Redwood Writer's put on and told this story.

The full story is here: but the short version is I am one of those very rare people who sold the first book I wrote.
About two weeks after I sent out my two queries (I had determined that I would be too depressed if I got more than two rejections at once!) I got a phone call from an agent with an offer on my book. My story is instructive because it illustrates the importance of luck. A writer for St. Martin's Press had missed her deadline and they had a hole in their line that needed to be filled. My book came across this agent's desk at the exact time they were looking for a book to fill that slot.  Now, my book was also (presumably) good, because they called me, not any of the other writers who had surely also queried at the same time. So, long story short, I made some adjustments to fit their requirements and, presto, my book was published by St. Martin's Press nine months later.  Which also illustrates the importance of being open to revisions and easy to work with. Not to mention the bad things that can happen if you miss your deadlines. By the way, I had misaddressed my other query (I am somewhat dyslexic and had transposed two digits of the numerical address) and it came back in the mail about six months later.  So, yeah, first book and one query. It's really, really, really rare for that to happen. My experience with rejection came between my second and third books. And many times since. Rejection is part of the business.

What is the hardest part of writing, besides the fact you work at a day job full time?

For me, it's starting out, when I don't know my characters very well and have only the vaguest notion of what the story will be about. Once I've nailed my protagonists the writing becomes (somewhat) easier. Although it's never really easy. All of it's hard.

What is the most pleasurable part of writing?

Being done. Heh!
Other than that, it's those times when I hit the zone and get lost in my story and the words are coming to you.  Of course the next day I realize most of it is crap that needs to be fixed...

What is your background that has enabled you to become an author?

I was a voracious reader from the time I learned to read early in the first grade up to the present. I'm fortunate that my dyslexia is mild enough that I didn't struggle to learn to read or write.  I have siblings who were not so lucky. When I was young, every week I checked out the maximum number of books the library allowed (20) and read them all. I would have checked out more if they allowed it. On the due date, if not before, I went back for more. There were also many, many books at home and I read them, too.
All that reading taught me (without me knowing it was happening) about story and the rhythm and beauty of words on the page. I knew what kind of stories I enjoyed reading and which kind of characters spoke to me the most. I read, and still do, across all genres.
As an adult, I also had the habit of going to the bookstore and always buying at least one book on a subject or by an author I knew nothing about. Usually that book was used and quite old.
Later, and probably not surprisingly, when I went to graduate school to get my MA in English, I had already read about three quarters of the required reading list for the degree.

Do you have a blog?

Yes, I do! My writing blog is called, Writer’s Diary, you can read it here:  and this April I will have been blogging for 10 years.
 Every Wednesday, I blog over at the Risky Regencies  which is a group blog devoted to all things Regency and historical.
I also blog once a month at / The Girlfriend's Book Club which is a fairly large group blog made up of all sorts of writers.

What do you think of the covers the publisher picks for your novels?

I have been uniformly lucky with the covers both my publishers have done for my books. Grand Central has done a really fantastic job branding the look for my paranormal series, and my historical covers from Berkley have also been just gorgeous.

Do you choose your own titles?

Sometimes. I've had several titles that ended up being the final title. I always have a working title, of course, but just because I like a title doesn't mean my publisher will or that there won't be some unforeseen issue. The publisher typically has the last say, and I think that makes sense. The marketing department has a lot of input, too. One of my historicals had a title everyone was happy with until someone realized they had recently published a book with that same title. So, we tried a few others until we found another one that worked. It just depends. There was only one time when I wasn't happy with a title one of my publishers wanted to use. I spoke with my agent, told her how I felt and why, and she intervened. We ended up submitting over 270 alternate titles until someone came up with one that we all could be happy with.

Where can your latest book be purchased?

Pretty much anywhere books are sold. Most of them are also available in digital formats, too.
My website has more
Information about my current release and the series, including links to several vendors so you can choose your favorite bookseller if you want to buy the book (Please!!) as well as links to the full reviews. You can read chapter 1 here:

Readers, please post a comment to win a copy of Carolyn Jewel's latest novel, My Immortal Assassin.
At the bottom of this interview, press blue comments.
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Winners of Arlene Miller's The Best Little Grammar Book! are Charley and Jane, Congratulations!