Monday, April 27, 2009

Author Interview ~ Jane Kent

It's Monday, and it's time for another author interview. Today on the couch we have Whispers Publishing author Jane Kent. Pull up a cushion on the leopard print couch and get comfortable.

Welcome, Jane! It's so great to have you here today. Why don't you tell us your latest news?

The latest and most exciting news in my life all has to do with writing. My novella, Getting It Right, was published by Whispers Publishing at the end of February and my work-in-progress romantic suspense novel, Don’t Stop Running, won first place in the romantic suspense category (first 30 pages) in the Toronto Romance Writers Original Golden Opportunity Contest, as well as an honorable mention overall. The synopsis for Don’t Stop Running also won third place in the Maine Romance Writers Synopsis Contest.

And I got to take the dream vacation of a lifetime—Greece, Egypt and one day in Rome—all because I wrote a letter!

It’s a long story so sit back with that cup of tea or coffee and get comfy and I’ll tell you the short version—which isn’t all that short—of how it all happened. In 2005 I was involved in an internet scam while trying to buy a computer on ebay (my own fault—my very first transaction on ebay and I did everything wrong that could be done wrong! I could give lessons now on what not to do!). The money went to Athens, Greece (and, no, I wasn’t buying a computer from Greece, I thought it was in Ohio) and I ended up losing the money and never receiving the computer that never existed in the first place! I was so furious, mostly at myself, for getting caught in the scam, I reported this guy to everybody I could think of—including RCMP and FBI cyber crimes units and I wrote a letter to the Athens Police—then chalked it up to experience (and stupidity) and forgot about it. Last July a bench warrant arrived from the Court of Athens—by way of the Greek Consulate in Toronto who, thankfully, did an English translation—summoning me to appear in court as a witness in a criminal case against the jerk who ripped me off (hereafter referred to as JWRMO) in Athens, Greece on Dec. 2/08…and they would reimburse return air fare, two days per diem, two days in an hotel and days missed from work (yeah, well, we’ll get back to that part)! Yes, the squeaky wheel does get Greece! A free trip to Greece, I thought, I am so there…and not for any two days!

A friend, K, decided to go with me and we planned this fabulous trip including a 12 hour layover in Rome to do the hop on, hop off one day sightseeing double decker bus tour of Rome, the last 1 week cruise of the season out of Athens that went to Santorini, Rhodes, 2 days in Turkey & 2 days in Egypt and a week in Athens during which time I’d go to court. Yeah, well, the best laid plans and all that…about 3 weeks before we were due to leave, the cruise company cancelled the cruise, so we were left scrambling with our new best friend—super travel agent S—to fill that first week, and finally found a package tour of Egypt that included Cairo, the pyramids and a 4 day cruise on the Nile (wow, that still sounds so exotic to me!)

The trip was incredible and the things I crossed off my bucket list! I saw things I’ve dreamed of seeing since the first time I saw pictures of them in Grade 4 history and geography—the Acropolis, the Coliseum, the pyramids, the Nile, the valleys of the kings and queens, temples full of hieroglyphs and ancient Greek, Greek theatres and the Sistine Chapel!

And court in Greece? Well, it’s nothing like court in North America! Well, okay, to be fair, I can only assume that, since my only point of reference is movies and TV—hmmm, now that I say that, maybe there is some similarity to Judge Judy! And then it turned into a French farce! I was supposed to be there for 9am so, of course, not wanting to be late and thinking that the lawyer for the prosecution might want to speak to me, I arrived at 8am. Nope, nobody wanted to see me, there was no one there who spoke English except the court clerk/security guard and all anyone would say when I showed them my summons was “here”. At 9, five judges came out (all women in this case) and lawyers started sitting inside the gate on the right and left. Then the cases started but it was more like small claims court than criminal court with one case after another being called. Neither K nor I could figure out which side was the prosecution and which was the defense; lawyers kept switching sides with each case and, of course it was all Greek to us. (Ah, come on! I heard that groan but, really, how could I resist? How many times does a person get to say that and it really is Greek?). And the noise level was incredible—lawyers and others coming and going, the door to the hall wide open and people whispering and talking despite being shushed. And, apparently, nothing in the Greek court system is computerized or even in government forms in triplicate—everything is written on a little scratch pad and stapled to the existing bundle of paper!

My case was called at 2 pm and there I was, just me—no JWRMO, no defense attorney, no prosecution! Then we had to wait half an hour while they found a translator, who showed up with her coat on, told my story to the judges, told me they had ruled in my favor (JWRMO would get eight months in jail…if they ever caught him! What!? They’d paid to bring me all the way to Greece and they didn’t have the guy?!) and then the translator disappeared! But, but…what about being reimbursed??!!! The court clerk told me the judge on the far right had to sign my summons but she wanted nothing to do with me and sent me off to another building with the clerk (there were at least 16 different court buildings in the compound), where they sent me off to another building to see a very crabby man (probably on his way home too) who spoke no English – eventually, with the clerk translating, he told me I had to get a letter from the Canadian Embassy about why I’d left Canada, why I was in Greece (hello, he had the summons in his hand!), that I had a job waiting.

So, the next morning off we went to the Embassy, which, I might add, was more difficult to get into than any of the countries I was in! The woman who helped me finally called the crabby man (who’d written his name on a scratch pad sheet for me!) and told me that I didn’t need anything from the Embassy!!! Grrr #@%^&! Back to the court compound and two more buildings to get my summons signed by…yup, you guessed it, the judge who’d sat on the right in court the day—she couldn’t have done that the previous day?! And then off to the accountant who wanted my banking information—which I would take 6000 miles from home with me, why? End result? I may see the money in six months, after all the paperwork has been approved by the Greek Justice Ministry! Oh, well, at least the Visa people will be happy! I don’t know if I’ll ever see the money but I almost don’t care—the trip was worth every penny!

And that’s what happened from one little letter of complaint!

WOW, that is quite the story! It will be interesting to see how much of your experiences make it into future books. As we all know, our life is fodder for our art! That being said, how much of your new book is realistic?

Why, all of it, of course! Well, except for the characters and the plot! Actually, if I’ve done my job right, both, hopefully, are realistic…they’re just not real! Except to me, which brings me to the next question.

*snicker* Isn't that how we all look at it? My characters are certainly real to me! What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

My characters talk to me! My sister once told me I was too weird for normal people and too normal for truly weird people—guess that proves it!

Before I started writing seriously, I did a lot of research about the craft and one of the things that almost all writers talked about was how, if they knew their characters well, the characters talked to them, let them know if the writer was making them do or say things that were wrong for that character.

I thought, yeah, right, the characters talk. Hah!

But I wasn’t very far into the planning stage of Getting It Right and suddenly PJ was telling me she wouldn’t say something I’d just written or Bastian was telling me he’d never do anything as “girlie” as I’d just made him do! It was spooky at first but, once I started to listen, it became a big help. I tend to write from what author Suz Brockmann calls deep POV; that is, from way inside a character’s head. And I am a “pantster” as opposed to a plotter—I write by the seat of my pants! I have only the bare bones of the plot in my head when I start a story so it’s very important for me to have characters that I know well and who let me know when I’m completely off track with them!

LOL, that's a bit of a wake up call... and see... we're not as crazy as people think we are. Wait, maybe we are. That being said, can you share a little of your current work with us?

Sure. The characters are talking! Two of the secondary characters from Getting It Right, Skye and Rome, started nagging for their story to be told before I’d even finished Getting It Right! So I’m working on their story right now. It doesn’t have a title yet because I’m terrible at finding the right title; my brilliant editor came up with Getting It Right. Hopefully, for Skye and Rome, I’ll “get it right” and come up with my own title!

Here’s a little excerpt from Skye and Rome’s story: (warning – adult language)

Skye had had enough of his crap. Her skin was starting to shrivel up from the water and she just wanted him gone. And she didn’t mean just from the bathroom. At the moment though, that was the best she could hope for. He was deliberately messing with her—right, like that was anything new—and, as usual, she was giving him exactly the response he wanted. Well, screw that, she was calling his bluff.

She shot up out of the tub, water and bubbles sluicing off her body and sloshing everywhere. Grabbing the nearest towel, she wrapped it around herself as she glared at him. “Happy? Is that what you wanted?” she demanded, taking immense pleasure in the shock on his face. “Now you can leave!”

It only took a second for him to regain his composure and he gave her an approving smile. “Well played, Skye.” Then he spoiled her small victory by drawling, “But I think this skirmish was a draw.” To emphasize his point, he gave her “the look”, that practiced, assessing head to toe, hot once-over men always gave her, the one that didn’t even register her face, the one she hated, his gaze lingering on the split where the tiny towel didn’t quite meet before he turned and beat a hasty retreat. Oh, okay, fine, before he lazily swaggered away. The hasty retreat was just wishful thinking.

Ohhhh... that looks like... well, heck, it looks like fun to me! I'm looking forward to reading it. Speaking of which, what book are you reading now?

I just finished reading the books of my co-winners of the Resolutions Contest at Whispers Publishing, The Last Stallion by Christine DePetrillo, Meldown by Pepper Goodrich and Miss Taken by Kerri Nelson. All are fabulous and I’m amazed how we all took the same starting idea and came up with such different stories!

I am a voracious reader and, luckily, a very fast reader. I read from 2 to 9 books a week, both print and ebook, depending on my schedule.

I just started Tempted All Night by Liz Carlyle, which I know I’m going to love because she’s one of my favorite authors, and I have all three of Deborah Cooke’s books from her “Kiss” series waiting in the wings.

And my TBR (to be read) pile? Well, let’s not talk about that—but I might need a bigger house soon!

Oh, believe me, I know all about HUGE TBR piles. Mine is in danger of toppling over and crushing innocent passersby. Good thing I read fast too! Okay, now for our "Absolutely Nothing To Do With Writing" questions: What animal do you think makes the best pet and why?

Okay, so I don’t think my cats have learned to read yet but just in case, I’d better say cats. I have two; one is a Maine Coon whose personality is distinctly dog-like. He greets me at the door and has to be in whatever room in the house I’m in. In fact, Atticus in Getting It Right is loosely based on him. The other one is definitely a cat. Never mind greeting me at the door, I’m lucky if she even noticed I was gone!

I would love to have a dog but the schedule in my “real” job (real being a nebulous term here since I build costumes for film and theatre!) is pretty erratic and dogs need more than food, a litter box and a little love now and then!

Don't worry, I won't tell them you might have said something else. They sound like quite the characters! My mother always had a cat growing up, but I have a dog. They each have their own distinct pros and cons, but I love animals. Do you have any strange handwriting habits, like capitalizing all your “r”s or dotting you “I”s with a heart (or anything like that)?

Sigh. Okay, you caught me—I put little circles over my “I”s. I think I thought it was cute when I started but now I’d just like to stop; however, it’s not that easy. It takes concentration and I’m usually in too big a hurry to pay attention. Thankfully, the computer doesn’t pick up those habits!

LOL, well, we each have to have our own quirks, it's a universal law... be glad your quirk is relatively mild. Have you ever cried during a movie? If yes, which one and why?

Where do I start? I cry over cartoons! And re-runs of Little House on the Prairie? Forget it! If Pa cries, I cry!

But movies? There are too many to name! I happy cry and I sad cry…and sometimes I sob. Whoever invented VHS and DVD has my undying gratitude; now I can watch at home and it doesn’t matter it I end up with mascara raccoon eyes!

LOL, and the fantastic thing about DVDs is that you can pause it to go get more kleenex! Are you a morning person or a night person?

Oh, most definitely a night person! It takes me a good hour and two cups of coffee to function in the morning!

Boy, that sounds familiar. I don't drink coffee, but I'm rather nasty in the morning. My kids tend to steer clear of me for at least an hour. Can you taste the difference between Pepsi and Coke? If so, which do you prefer?

Coke tastes sweeter to me than Pepsi and Pepsi has a bit more bite. Okay, I know this is a fence-sitting answer, but I like both—it just depends on whether I want the bite or the sweet.

Ha, you can be a fence sitter if you want. It's your damned taste buds! What stereotype would you label yourself as?

Laurie Schenbly has a book called Believable Characters, Creating with Enneagrams that is a fabulous resource for writers when creating characters. She breaks it down into 9 types with each type’s strengths and fatal flaw and then she adds sub-types, wings and connections. It’s a great way to get to know everything about the characters you’re creating (and real people!).

The nine types are: Perfectionist, Nurturer, Achiever, Romantic, Observer, Skeptic, Adventurer, Leader and Peacemaker.

I think I’d probably classify myself as a Type Five: An Observer with wings in Romantic and Skeptic and sub-types of Adventurer and Peacemaker.

Hmmm, guess my sister is right…I am too weird for normal people!

LOL, well, you don't have to worry about that here. We're not normal by any stretch of the imagination! Thanks so much Jane for being here with us, and allowing me to torture you... ahem, I mean interview you today. It was great fun getting to know you better!

Getting It Right by Jane Kent

PJ James’ New Year's resolution is to make no resolutions, especially of the romantic kind. She's always failed at her resolutions in the past, and this year she's going to save herself from the pressure to succeed and the guilt of failure. But as the New Year approaches, she begins to wonder if she's completely jinxed herself by bucking tradition when she meets the perfect man...and he turns out to be gay. Or is he? And just exactly what else is he hiding from her?

St. John is beginning to question his failure to listen to his instincts. He should have told PJ his real reason for hanging around her small town, but his dedication to her brother along with a promise of confidentiality kept him silent. The only problem was his undercover assignment wasn’t turning out exactly as he intended.

First, the idea of being a bouncer in a gay club would have worked out well had PJ James not been so damned sexy. And second, the closer he got to her, the more he wanted to tell her the truth…that her life was in danger, and it was his job to protect her. And damn duty, ethics, and promises. He wanted her, and he usually got what he wanted.

***edited to add*** Jane Kent has been telling stories most of her life; when she isn't writing them, she's moonlighting at her day job in professional theatre and film. "Getting It Right" is her first published work.

She lives near Toronto, Canada and is allowed to share a home - as long as she caters to every whim - with two very spoiled cats. Jane would love to hear from readers at and promises to respond to each and every one...though not necessarily speedily!


Jane said...

Hello all,
Just wanted to say thanks for the invite to do an interview and the opportunity to say hi to readers.
I'm off to that darn, pesky day job now but hope to stop by around 7pm EST to chat and answer any questions anyone might have.
I also love to hear from readers any time at:
My website is a work in progress but I hope to have it up and running soon!
Have a great day all! Catch you later!

Whispers Publishing said...

Just dropping by to say "Hi" Jane!!!!! I didn't know you are doing Rome and Skye's story, I can't wait to read it!!


Kealie Shay said...

Hi, Jane! It was so much fun doing your interview. I'm hoping we'll have some questions for ya when you get back later. Try not to kill anyone at the Dreaded Day Job.

Beth Caudill said...


Great interview. It sounds like you had a blast...well except for the court thing but even that sounded kinda good.

I just finished Tempted All Night. We're reading it for my Book Club in May. Great story.

Both your stories sound intriguing. Can't wait to get a copy.

Jane said...

Hi again,
Thanks, Lil, Kealie and Beth!
Sorry to be late getting back…crazy day at work!

Surprise, Lil! The only way I could get Skye and Rome out of my head was to write their story. Except…now they’re nagging for me to finish! Sigh.

Kealie, I was thrilled to be asked to do this interview and I, too, really enjoyed getting to know you. It was fun!

And, Beth, many thanks for your enthusiasm! I hope you will enjoy “Getting It Right”. I’d love to hear your thoughts after you’ve read it!
Didn’t you just love Tristan from Tempted All Night? Mmmmm. I must admit, though, Bentley is still my favorite hero of Liz Carlyle’s…so deserving of a HEA! What else have you read in your book club?

I’m hoping to have my website up in the next couple of weeks so hope you’ll all watch for it. If all goes well, Googling my name should bring it up. I can’t believe how much I’ve learned in the last few months about publishing, book trailers and websites!

I’ll be hanging around for the next hour or so. If there are any more questions I can answer for anyone, ask away!


Beth Caudill said...

Here's the list for this year so far:

We try to pick a different genre but also do a lot of local authors so they can come visit. I think we have a nice balance.

Jane said...

Great list, Beth! I'm a Christy Ridgeway fan too. Do you have a favorite book from that list? Which authors have you had in for visits? Did you learn tons?
I belong to the Toronto chapter of RWA and we've had so many amazing lectures and workshops. Laurie Schenbly ( I mentioned her book about creating believable characters in the interview) is doing the June workshop and I can hardly wait!

Jane said...

Thanks again for letting me hang with you. I'm off now to get my minimum two paragraphs a day written in Skye and Rome's story (hopefully, more!) but I'm happy to answer any other questions that may come up - just drop me an email.
Wishing you all love and laughter.