Jaime I am so excited to kick off the GRL Author Tour with you.
And I’m excited to be here! 😀 THANK YOU so much for having me here today and ‘thank you’ to all the readers taking time out of their busy day to sit with me during this interview.
I’m going to start off with a history question. How many GRL conferences have you attended and do you have a favorite?
2016 will be my 5th GRL retreat. This will be my 4th as an Organizer and my 2nd as a registered author.
No, I don’t have a favorite. They all have different memories and significance to me. But I will say attending GRL as an author last year was very special and allowed me to experience the retreat from a different perspective.
What made that conference so special that it became your favorite?
The people and the environment. There’s nothing more exciting at the retreat for me than finally meeting someone in person who you’ve been friends with online for a while. Or meeting a reader and getting a hug. It’s exciting and emotional. GRL is a casual setting. I like casual. 🙂 You can easily spot people sitting on a couch or on the floor in the hallway, tapping away on a laptop or chatting about a book. It feels like a family reunion with tons of smiles and familiar faces.
As a Featured Author representing GRL 2016, what do you hope to offer the attendees and what do you hope to gain from the conference?
I want to see those familiar faces again and finally meet the people I’ve known online but haven’t had a chance to meet in person. There’s something special about establishing that personal connection with someone.
Let’s switch over to your books, you are the author of “The Men of Halfway House” series. What was your inspiration to start this amazing series?
Julian, the character from A Better Man, is the inspiration for the series. He came to me with the idea of second chances that involved recently released inmates. He appeared to me quite some time before the first word was written, but patiently waited. When I finally decided to accept the challenge and write the story, he stepped forward and commanded my attention.
With 4 books currently included in the series are there plans to continue the series with a 5th or 6th book?
At this time, I’m working on book 5. It will be Drayton and Vann’s story. As far as plans for a book 6, I don’t know yet. I can honestly see this series going on for quite some time. So it all depends how long the guys keep talking to me and demanding their story be told.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
How pushy some characters can be. My goodness. Aidan is a PITA. Before I wrote the first book, I’d often hear authors mention how characters talked to them. I couldn’t imagine that. Now, not only do they talk to me, they will argue, yell at me and demand I tell the story the way they want.
A Mended Man is not an easy story and each time I tried to lessen the darkness of some of the scenes, the writing stalled. And there was Aidan, rolling his eyes, cursing up a storm, reprimanding me, and telling me to just write it the way it was supposed to be written. After three re-writes that just didn’t work, I finally caved and wrote it the way it came to me. I fought Aidan along the way…repeatedly. But in the end, I caved. Hence, the dedication of the book.
If we could set up a crystal ball and look forward 5 years, where do you find yourself as an author?
I’m a planner, but with the ever-changing nature of the industry, it’s always tough to gauge a year—let alone five—in advance. But I hope to have a backlist of several books available, including at least one stand alone.
Do you have a day job other than being a writer? And how do you like it?
For those who may not know – I pen gay romance as Jaime Reese. But I also design book covers as my alter ego, Reese Dante.
I’m a creative person. I left my stable, office job of 15½ years to design cover art full-time when the management tasks overpowered the creative aspects of the job. It was a tough decision to make, but I finally feel as if I can breathe. I hadn’t realized how critical creating something was to the core of who I am. Being able to design art and write? I’m incredibly thankful each and every day I’m blessed to have two creative outlets I enjoy and truly love doing. I don’t take it for granted.
What is the most important aspect of a book in your opinion?
The journey. When I read a story (or write one) I think the journey the character(s) take from beginning to end is important. I want to be that fly on the wall, watching, knowing, and feeling everything the character experiences as the events unfold. I want to see how the events change them. I want to share in that experience—good and bad—and I want to cheer for them and enjoy that happy ending as much as they do.
Finally, do you have any suggestions or recommendations for attendees that will be going to Kansas City for GRL 2016?
Oh, I can go on and on about this one forever. But here are a few quickies.
If this is your first GRL, I suggest you make a list of those authors you want to meet and note which events you absolutely don’t want to miss. GRL offers ample opportunity to meet with authors outside of the book signings. Take advantage of those events. If you wait until the signing, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and miss out on meeting the authors on your list. We publish a list of events on our site and we will also use the Guidebook App for the retreat this year. Take advantage of those tools to help you plan.
Wear comfortable shoes. I can’t stress this enough.
Pair up with someone. This just makes the retreat more fun. If this is your first time, touch base with other attendees (we have a FB group where you can chat and plan). And if you don’t do that before the retreat, always remember there’s a secret weapon combination that always works: a smile and a “hi” works wonders at breaking the ice.
I want to thank Scott and the GGR team for hosting me today during the GRL tour stop and to all the readers who took the time to visit with me. THANK YOU! And if you will be attending GRL in October, please say “hi”. 🙂
Jaime Reese is the alter ego of an artist who loves the creative process of writing, just not about herself. Fiction is far more interesting. She has a weakness for broken, misunderstood heroes and feels everyone deserves a chance at love and life. An avid fan of a happy ending, she believes those endings acquired with a little difficulty are more cherished.
Go to the Author Page for Jaime Reese for Book Listing and Social Media links
Go to Pinterest – Books We Talk AboutJaime’s Latest Release
- Book Title: A Mended Man
- Book Series: The Men of Halfway House #4
- Publisher: Romandeavor, Inc. (April 26, 2016)
- Book Length: 445 pages