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Friday, December 17, 2010

Our Guest Author: Jennifer L. Hart

Hi, Jennifer. Thanks for joining us today at Lady Scribes. We’re happy to have you as our guest. Tell us a little about your newest book “Redeeming Characters”.

Animals may bite, but people always suck. It’s the motto thirty-two year old Drue has lived by all his life. He longs for the snow to melt so he can disappear into the wild with nary a nitwit to be seen—to escape the confines of a narrow-minded and cloying society. Yet, when he discovers an old friend has published the book he helped create, a new plan surfaces. Revenge.

Bestselling author Dakota Whitmore is in a slump. Sure, her husband is dead and she's adopted his long-time mistress's child, but she's endured more difficult things. Maybe what she needs is a little help, a beta reader who will tell her that her work hasn't turned into a steaming cow pie. How about uber sexy Drue, the man who helped her pen her first—and only, bestseller? Nothing could possibly go wrong. Right?

ISBN# 978-1-60820-228-7 (print) $14.99
978-1-60820-229-4 (ebook) $7.99

Available wherever ebooks are sold and in print at Amazon.com

Your heroine, Dakota Whitmore, a popular romance author, has good reasons to feel jaded. How is she still able to write stories about love when her marriage went so wrong?

At the start of Redeeming Characters she has not been able to write for quite a while. Others even tout her as a “one hit wonder” because she hasn’t produced. Sure, Dakota is going through the motions, doing what needs to be done with her children and her public appearances but the creative flow has dried up. Her brain is overloaded and while she still believes in the possibility of true love, she’s having a hard time selling a product she’s never test driven.

Dakota and Drue, your hero, have an interesting past. They were high school sweethearts, and they used to write together. Drue thinks Dakota stole his idea and turned it into a bestselling romance novel, a genre he doesn’t respect. What makes Drue the right man to help Dakota believe in love again?

He isn’t, at least not at first. This hero’s journey has been horrific and it isn’t over yet. After one too many beatings, his heart is in hiding. He’s phoning his life in, too. Which is why he’s the perfect match for Dakota because unlike anyone else, Drue can truly understand why she feels the way she does. Just because he can, doesn’t mean he will though! Drue has no problem letting her know just what he thinks of her genre.

You’ve taken on several roles throughout the years (early childhood educator, photographer, Navy wife, mother, multi-published author). Is there anything else you’d like to try that you haven’t yet?

Hold on a second, that’s the first time I’ve been called “multi-published”. It’s true, I have more than one publisher but I’ve never really thought about it before. I need to bask in the snazzy glow for a moment. :)

Honestly, I just do what I have to and writing is one of those have to things. My only goal at this point is to become a better storyteller. Though donning a “best selling author” hat wouldn’t hurt my feelings!

Every author/mother wants to know how to balance taking care of the kids with meeting deadlines. How do you do it?

Waste is a four letter word to me and I do my best not to squander my most precious resource—time. Rule number one; don’t think about the heaping pile of stuff you have to do! I have a tendency to get overwhelmed when I think about all that demands my attention. I’m better off if I roll out of bed and just go for the gold.

We know “Redeeming Characters” was just released, but what are you working on now?

Well, I have two finished manuscripts, one contemporary, the romance for the staring couple in my Laundry Hag series and Stellar Timing, a sci-fi/ fantasy romance novel, both searching for the right homes. Currently I’m in the middle of my NaNoWriMo novel, and I have another short story I need to finish by mid January. After that, I plan to work on the second in my Stellarverse series, and then back to mystery with The Misadventures of the Laundry Hag: All Washed Up, third in my zany mystery series. That should take me through next summer.

Since I write mystery and romance, I’ve read everything I can get my mitts on about what makes a book a keeper, a read again novel. As a reader which do you think is more important, plot or characters and why?

* One of our commenters will receive an autographed copy of "Redeeming Characters" today!


  1. Jennifer,

    Thanks again for visiting Lady Scribes today. Before I answer, I just want to say how much I enjoy the wit and humor in your stories.

    Wow! It's hard to choose between plot and characters, because you can have the most interesting plot but cookie cutter characters are going to bring it down. On the other hand, you can have the most interesting characters, but there's no way I'm going to read about them balancing their checkbook. Honestly, I think you have to have both to be a keeper book. However, if I must choose, I choose plot.

  2. Thanks so much for having me, Samantha! And for the compliment, I really thrive on reader feedback!

  3. LOL, Samantha. For once we disagree. For me it's all about the characters. If there is a character I love, can relate to, can cheer for, can cry over - I'm as happy as I can be. But then, I'm also a character-driven writer, so it makes sense that is what I'm looking for when I sit down to read.

    Right now I'm reading Mockingjay, the last book in The Hunger Games - which is not my usual sort of book at all. And it's not the plot that has me obsessed with the story, but the main characters who've sucked me into their world since the very beginning.

  4. I'll have to cheat here. I choose characters, but I think if you have strong characters, they will move the plot forward on their own. But my characters to me are like whole people who live in my head and I don't feel I have any control over them at all. I'm just a vessel.

    But that's what I look for in what I read. And Jenn has it, hands down.

    Redeeming Characters is a great book and I love Drue. He's a new kind of hero, a modern man who manages to be sensitive, but he's still an alpha.

    What's really telling is that plagiarism is a sensitive topic for writers and to have that accusation between them yet still have the romance bloom in a believable way and for the reader to still be rooting for them both to get their happily ever after is quite something.

  5. I've got to go with Lydia on this one. LOL. Big surprise, I'm sure, to my fellow Lady Scribes.

    But if you've got great, well defined characters, your plot will naturally fall from them. Or at least that's how it has always worked for me. I can't even begin to fathom what my plot will look like until I've got a solid grasp on who my characters are and what makes them tick. After all, the plot ends up being a series of their decisions.

    The only time, IMO, that isn't the case is when you've got a big impending doom sort of story. I think of Jerry Bruckheimer films and the like in that category of story. The story is going to happen, regardless of what your characters do. So then you can pick and choose your characters to plant inside the story, and see what sort of shenanigans they come up with. But the plot keeps moving forward despite their decisions.

    That's not the type of story I write. I write from character, and the plot is just a natural progression from there.

  6. Hi, Saranna! So good to see you.

    Great points of discussion, one and all!

    I disagree that we disagreed. ;)

    Thanks for the intriguing question. I think it's one of the best we've had.

    Plot may develop out of characters' personalities and reactions, but in the same token, characters are a product of backstory - i.e. plot; events that happened to them followed by their interpretation of the events.
    A character with fascinating traits is not so fascinating if we don't know how they came to be, at least in my opinion. (I'm never short of opinions.) LOL.

    I don't think the two can be seperated out. To me, character and plot are like cookies and milk. Both can be okay alone, but together you have a winning combination. Oh, and of course you need a little conflict thrown in for good measure. :)

  7. Jenn,

    i'm almost done with the book so i didnt read this blog yet, im afraid it will give something away LOL
    just wanted to drop in tho and say HI!

  8. So sorry to chime in late on this one. Characters? Plot? I don't think I can separate them out. I like that nebulous thing called 'voice'. It's what holds and keeps me. Yours sounds like a great book, Jennifer. I hope I get a chance to read it.