Monday, September 27, 2010

Author Interview ~ Janice Seagraves

Hey, y'all, you know what today is... it's chew gum til your jaw hurts day! Woo Hoo! No? Oh, then it's INTERVIEW DAY! Yes, yes, I have been watching too many children's cartoons during the day. So bear with me. I had an insanely busy weekend this weekend, so I may just let Megan do most of the talking today. Hope y'all don't mind.

Our special guest today is author Janice Seagraves. Let us all give her a really hot Menagerie welcome. Let's get started, Janice. Why don't you introduce yourself?

Hi, my name is Janice Seagraves. I want to thank Kealie and Megan for having me today.

Oh, you're very welcome, we enjoy having you here today... and not in the dirty Menagerie way. So, where are you from?

I'm from Sunny California.

Ooh, does it really never rain there? I’m nosy and would love to go to CA. Tell us your latest news?

As of June 3rd I'm a first time published writer. Windswept Shores is a contemporary romance.

First time pubbed author! Cool. Since this is your first one, when and why did you begin writing?

Because the voice in my head wouldn't leave me alone. No, I'm not crazy, they are.

Oh we know all about the voices in our heads. Even crazier when the voices talk to each other. When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I started my main blog in 2004 and hit publish on the editing window. It was a good feeling.

Nice, you work quick. What inspired you to write your first book?

I've always had a thing for survivors' stories. When I was a kid it was Gilligan's island and Swiss Family Robinson. In Jr. High I read Robinson Crusoe. When I got older it was Castaway, Survivor, and Lost.
I've just always been in love with the idea of people being trapped on a deserted island and using their wits to survive.

Interesting concept. Do you have a specific writing style?

I'm more a minimalist. I add just enough description to paint a word picture in my reader's head. I don't want to bore anyone with too much sensory detail. I try say just enough so you know what's going on and where they're at, then I try to step back and let my characters take over.

Sometimes there is beauty in the details. How did you come up with the title?

I was doing research on the Bahamas and found out how much weather and wind they have there. I thought, “Wow, they have a lot of windswept shores over there.” Windswept Shores? Hey, I like that.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes, never give up. My heroine, Megan, never does give up the thought that they will be rescued, she doesn't sit around wringing her hands when things go wrong. Neither of my characters do. What they do, do is try to survive anyway they can.

That’s a good life lesson—to just survive and thrive the best you can. How much of the book is realistic?

It based on what I know about surviving in the great outdoors. And considering that I'm a fisherman's daughter who loved to camp, there's a lot of it that is credible, like cooking clams over an open fire. But the rest is pure fiction, and to be honest I may have taken some poetic license here and there. But my book is supposed to be a fun read. That's my goal to entertain.

We like fun reads. What is the hardest scene you have had to write (published or not)? Why?

I'd have to say when Megan goes back to her side of the island. She had to walk away from the hero, Seth, because of her own emotions getting the best of her. I had to have the emotions believable and have her reasons make sense.

That sounds like it would be very emotional and difficult to write without making it sound cheesy. What is your favorite character you've written (published or not)? Why?

Seth, his Aussie accent was fun to write and he says some pretty outrageous things.

Gotta love that accent. Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I'd have to say a lot has to do with my camping experience as I grew up. Megan and Seth are basically camping out on their little island.

Ack, you camp. Wish I had your drive, because camping is just not my forte. What books have most influenced your life most?

That is a hard question. I love to read, so there are many that have influenced me. A long time favorite is Touch Not the Cat by Mary Stewart, I read her in HS and she left an impression on my writing style.

HUH, never heard of them, but I'm someone who loves to read as well. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Oh, that's an easy one--Faith Bricknell-Brown. I joined avoid writer's hell yahoo group three years ago and she's made such an improvement in my writing that I finally got my first contract. Avoid Writer's Hell is no longer a yahoo group, but AWH chatter's group is still going strong and so is the blog, where lessons are still being posted.

Good to know. What book are you reading now?

I just started Dracula, yesterday. It's so interesting to me for a book to last in popularity for over a hundred years. The author, Bram Stoker must have done something right!

LOL, that's true. What are your current projects?

I'm working on a short novel. It's a Sci-Fi Rom with space aliens and a human abductee who finds herself very far from earth.

Aliens are always fun. Do you see writing as a career?

Yes, very much so. I also know this will take time, years in fact. But I'm a very patient person, so we'll see where my writing career will take me.

Patience is good. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I would stay away from the gross stuff. I was trying for gritty and a lot of it got cut during the final edit, as not appropriate for a romance. So lessoned learned! For now on when one of my characters goes into the bathroom it's only to shower, lol.

Um...nice to know. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

In jr. high my English teacher had a writing assignment and I wrote a story about a horse. Yes, I will admit to being a horse nut when I was younger. But my teacher Miss O'Kane loved it! She thought I showed great promise as a writer and told my parents that.

Excerpt time!!! Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Okay, love to.

Available from Pink Petal Books: Windswept Shores by Janice Seagraves.
Price: $4.95
Windswept Shores Blurb:

The sole survivor of a plane crash, Megan is alone on a deserted island in the Bahamas until she finds a nearly-drowned man washed up on shore. Another survivor, this time from a boat wreck. With only meager survival skills between them, will they survive and can they find love?

Windswept Shores: available from Pink Petal Books ****** Windswept Shores
My book trailer:
my main blog Web log Book Blog Art and Cartoon Blog Find me on myspace

If she had to spend one more day on this godforsaken island, she'd go stark raving mad. The thought spurred Megan into rolling a large log with one foot then the other, until it was near the bonfire. "God, this thing is heavy." With a grunt, she lifted one end until it teetered upright then gave it a shove. It landed in the fire, embers swirling in the air.

Breathing hard, she flicked a glance at the teal-colored sea. She'd thought a vacation to the Bahamas would be the perfect getaway, would be a solution to the problems she and Jonathan had faced. She'd been wrong--dead wrong. Tears of grief filled her eyes. The never-ending crash of the waves on the beach and the cries of the seagulls seemed to mock her with the reminder she was utterly alone.

She'd felt like a tiny speck of sand last night when a violent storm had swept across the island. It had made a mess of her meager campsite, which had taken all morning to fix, and had demolished her seaweed SOS sign. She'll have to recreate her SOS. Sighing, Megan trudged toward a pile of kelp. As she got closer, she saw a figure wearing blue jeans and a t-shirt. Her stomach lurched.

Oh, God, it's another body washed up from the plane wreck. That would be number twelve. As always, she couldn't help but wonder if the next one would be Jonathan. He hadn't been wearing jeans on the plane, so she knew she'd been spared seeing his corpse this time. Thank God. She approached the body with dread. Tightening her resolve, she knelt. Suddenly the "dead body" coughed and rolled over. With a scream, Megan jumped back. She clutched her chest and pressed a shaking hand to her mouth.

He's alive!

Biting her lip, she stared down at the still-breathing man. His drenched t-shirt molded against his broad shoulders and well developed upper body. Short, golden brown hair stuck out in all directions.

Megan, get control of yourself. Don't wet your pants the first time you finally see a living person. She got on her knees, plucked the seaweed from him and wiped the sand from his face. His day-old whiskers scratched her palm. Reddened skin stretched across both cheekbones and over the bridge of his nose. Her thumb caressed his parched full bottom lip.

She patted the side of his face. “Hey, are you okay?” That's a dumb question. He isn't okay.

“Hmm?” Gray eyes fluttered open. He stared at her a long moment, frowning slightly. “G'day.”

“Hello there.” She hated the sound of her voice. It sounded rusty, unused.

Abruptly he rolled away from her to heave onto the sand, making a loud, ugly retching noise.

He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, then looked at her. “Sorry, mate, I swallowed too much sea.” His gaze went over her shoulder in the direction of the bonfire which crackled and popped not far from them. “Mite big for a barbie.”

Sitting back on her heels with her hands folded in her lap, Megan followed his gaze, then back to him. “My signal fire.”

“Signal for what?”


His accent intrigued her. Was he English or Australian?

“G'darn,” he looked around, “where the bloody hell am I?”

“Don't know. There's no one here to ask.” Megan shrugged helplessly, but couldn't contain her curiosity. “Are you from England?”

“Naw,” he rubbed his eyes, “I hail from Sidney, but my port of call these days is Fort Lauderdale.” He blinked up at her. “You?”

Ah, he's an Aussie. “I'm Megan Lorry, from Anaheim, California,” she said, barely loud enough to be heard above the sounds of the surf and the roar from the fire. “Are you a survivor of Air Bahamas flight 227, too?”

“G'day, Megz,” he answered, struggling to sit-up. “Sorry, I'm not from your plane.”

Megan slipped an arm around him lifting his back off the sand. Turning his head to her hair, he took in a couple of short breaths. Megan pulled back staring at him. “What the--did you just sniff me?”

"Ya smell too good not to.” He grinned, causing his cheeks to dimple. “Name's Seth Dawson.” Leaning back on one arm, he stretched out his hand to her. She clasped it as if it was just a friendly greeting between strangers back home.

“Me mate's fishing boat hit a reef during the big squall last night. That's when I took a tumble 'T' over 'A' overboard.” He took a deep breath, let it out slow, then glanced up and down the beach. “Somehow I made it here 'out the back of Burke.'”

“Oh dear, that's terrible,” she sympathized. Does he mean the middle of nowhere?

“Blimey, I'm weak as a babe.” Seth managed to get to his knees, before stopping to pant. He licked cracked lips. “Megz, do you have any water on ya?”

“Yes, back at my camp. Don't move. I'll be right back.” Meg hurried off down the beach.

He called after her, “Where the bloody hell would I be going, eh?” ******Windswept Shores


Janice said...

Hi Kealie and Megan,

Thanks for having me today. It was fun!


Lisa Alexander Griffin said...

Very nice interview, Janice. As always, I love learning more about you, your writing endeavors, and Windswept Shores. :)

Brenda J Weaver said...

Great interview Janice! You are doing a really good job. Your witing is great! Can't wait for more reading from you :)

katsrus said...

Hi Janice. Wonderful interview. Love the cover of your book and that was a great excerpt.
Sue B

sarahballance said...

Hey, I'm STILL a horse nut! =cP Congrats on a great interview. Is the sequel to WS in the works?

Lisa Lane said...

Great interview! Getting that first publishing contract is very likely a huge learning experience for all authors. Copy edits can be amazing educational tools. I'm so excited for you; enjoy this journey.

The best of luck with WINDSWEPT SHORES!

Cassie Exline said...

Great interview. By the way, does it ever rain in California? lol The book sounds awesome, gorgeous cover. A definite must have.

Janice said...

Hi Lisa,

Thank you and I like reading your interviews too. :)

Hi Brenda,

Thank you. I do my best. :)

Hi Katsus,

Thank you. How lovely of your to say so.

Hi Sarah,

I stop being a horse nut when I found out how very allergic I was to them. :(

Yes, I am writing on the sequel. Thank you for asking. :)

Hi Lisa,

Yes, going through my first edit was a huge learning curve. But I suppose it is for everyone. :)

Thank you for the good wishes.

Hi Cassie,

How lovely of you to say so.

And yes it does rain in California, but only every now and then. Too bad too, I love the rain.

Thank you everyone for leaving a comment.