Hello and welcome to my first official Wizards with Words (formally Author Spotlight). Today, I’m welcoming Jennifer Lowery to my blog. Jennifer is a sister author at Lyrical Press and, like me, has a debut novel releasing on October 8th. If you like hot military hunks, action, and romance, you’re going to love Jennifer’s first novel, HARD CORE, book 1 of her Onyx Group Series. Let’s see if we can’t get her to share a few details . . .
Thanks for visiting my blog, Jennifer. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what prompted you to begin writing?
Jennifer: Hi Mae and my wonderful readers *waves* Thank you so much for having me today! This is only my second interview so I’m a little nervous, but very happy to be here!
I’m a wife of twenty years to a wonderful man and we have three children, two of our own, and one adopted. We’re from Michigan and love it! My kids are all teenagers; 19, 18, 13 so my writing schedule is a little more free than it was 10 years ago when I began. Although writing has been my dream for as long as I can remember. Life detoured me from my writing dream and I became a Respiratory Therapist and worked in a hospital for 13 years before I decided to pursue writing full-time. Three years later I signed my first contract for Hard Core! Squee!
Jennifer: Hard Core was actually a book I never planned on finishing. Yikes! I know! If it weren’t for a ten-page critique I received at my local RWA meeting from a wonderful lady named Margo Hoornstra I don’t think I would have picked the story back up and finished it. She encouraged me to finish it as my paper bled blue ink that day, lol!
Hard Core came to me in character. As Slade. I knew him before I began writing. Although I didn’t know where the story was going or where it would end, I knew I had to write his story and I knew Alana was the woman who would break down his walls and melt his hardened heart. This story is set on a remote island off the coast of Nicaragua which was the perfect setting for the opening scenes where Slade is hunting his target and things go very wrong. Let’s just say Alana earns her stripes, lol!
From the tidbits and excerpts I’ve seen, I’m already in love with Slade. I also admire the way you portray your heroine, Alana O’Grady, and can’t wait to read the entire novel. Given Cristian Slade is a mercenary and Alana a surgeon, did you have to do a lot of research while writing HARD CORE and how did you balance that?
Jennifer: Much of the medical research was easy for me with my medical background. The scene where Alana puts in a chest tube in less than perfect conditions was fun because I have seen many put in and taken care of many in the hospital so I knew how a chest tube worked and how to make a homemade system. The French Foreign Legion background for Cristian was a bit harder. I was fortunate enough to find a military contact who helped me with the details (thanks, Marion!) and suggested an awesome book with much of the information I needed.
I know characters get in our heads and wrap us up in their lives. Given the little I know about Cristian and Alana, I would guess these are two strong characters who left an indelible mark upon you when their tale was told. Fair statement?
Jennifer: Absolutely, yes! I didn’t want their story to end and I think that’s why I’m working on Book #2 just so I can visit Cristian and Alana again 🙂 Not that Mark (Mercer) and Natalie aren’t proving to be fun to write too!
Is there anything specific that made you choose your present genre, including your sub-genre of romance?
Jennifer: I love it! Love military heroes, love the action, adventure and romance.
What are you presently reading on your Kindle, Nook or in print?
Jennifer: Afterglow by Cherry Adair, Wild Horses by D’Ann Lindun.
Do you have any favorite authors and/or book titles you’d like to share?
Jennifer: There are so many! I love Cherry Adair, Suzanne Brockmann, Stephanie Tyler, Maya Banks, Cindy Gerard and so many more I can’t name them all, lol.
When I begin writing a new manuscript, my favorite part is naming my characters and developing their backstories. I have a good friend who says her favorite part is building a fictional town or location for them to cavort in (okay, that’s my word :)). What is your favorite part of starting a new novel/writing project?
Jennifer: I’m finding that researching a new setting is becoming one of my favorite parts, but my most favorite is writing the first meeting between hero and heroine. Oooh, I just love writing that scene!
Speaking of new novels, I believe you have another book under contract with Lyrical Press. Is it too early to ask for details?
Jennifer: *smiling* Ah, Murphy’s Law. The story of my heart. Yes, I signed a contract with Lyrical on my birthday, July 17. What a fabulous birthday that was! Murphy is my lost soul, wounded warrior, who has lost his way and can’t go home. Sara is on the run to protect her daughter from her former husband’s family, haunted by a lifetime of mistakes and bad choices. This one will be available in June, 2013 and was a 2006 Golden Heart finalist. I can’t wait to share Murphy with you 🙂
That’s wonderful news! You’re certainly an extremely busy writer, Jennifer. Any secrets on how you squeeze everything in and still manage to stay sane?
Jennifer: Chocolate! LOL! And, budget your time. Dedicate a certain amount of time every day to writing. Sprints work very well for me. Whatever you find works for you, do it. But, WRITE EVERY DAY.
Jennifer, thank you again for visiting my blog and taking the time to do an interview with me. I wish you much success with your upcoming releases and will definitely be in line to buy HARD CORE for my Kindle Fire. Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share before we close:
Jennifer: I would like to thank you, Mae, for having me on your blog today! Your questions were wonderful!
And to all my readers out there, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Without you I wouldn’t be here today. My wish is to one day meet each and every one of you so I can personally thank you for your support and generosity. I truly appreciate you.
Have a wonderful day everyone!
He takes lives. She saves them.
A supposedly hassle-free job for mercenary Cristian Slade becomes a mission of mercy when he saves a life instead of taking one. Slade’s new mission might be his most dangerous yet, because the danger is to his heart.
Tragedy has sent esteemed surgeon Alana O’Grady to a remote a remote Nicaraguan island where she immerses herself in the lives of a native American tribe, using her talents for goodwill instead of wealth and prestige. But life turns upside down when her work requires she protect a rugged mercenary who commands her attention when she’s awake and dominates her dreams while she sleeps.
Doctoring Christian puts her entire tribe in danger from the man who’s hunting him. Is it her professional oath or her unprofessional attraction to him keeping her from sending him away to heal on his own? Alana’s fire warms Christian’s heart, but he’s a hardened assassin and has no business falling for someone like her. Can they fight hard enough to keep what they might have together?
Content Warning: Sexual content.
Prepared to start an IV, she picked up a needle. She had it in position when his other arm shot out and he clamped her wrist in a bone-crushing grip. Startled, she met his panicked gaze.
“I said no needles.”
Her heart banged against her ribcage as she let the needle slip out of her hand. It hit the floor with a small ting. Alana opened her hands in surrender, her patient’s fingers digging into her flesh. For a man half-dead, he had amazing strength.
“Okay,” she said to placate him. “Relax, I don’t have it anymore. It’s your choice, but I recommend you let me start an IV for meds.”
“No. Just fix me.”
Alana pinned him with a no nonsense stare. “I’m not impressed with Superman heroics.”
Face pale and drawn, he said gruffly, “I’m not Superman. Learned not to trust people with needles.”
Her fingers were going numb. “If I remove the bullet without pain medication or anesthetic, you’re going to be sorry.”
He studied her. “You’re really a doctor?”
Alana bristled. “Technically, yes.”
She didn’t have time to explain herself with the amount of blood seeping from his gunshot wound. “I went to med school. You can let go of my arm now. I won’t use any needles.”
He looked down and immediately released his grip. She rubbed her wrist to soothe away the ache. “Can I get to work now, or do you want to question me more about my credentials while you bleed to death? I don’t have a blood bank, so you’re screwed if you lose too much.”
Her blunt statement received a curt nod. She normally didn’t talk to her patients like that. Her patients didn’t normally countermand her either.
“Do it,” he said.
“I don’t need them. Just get it over with.”
Stubborn, stupid, or both? Insane, yes, but there wasn’t time to argue with him.
“Okay. The offer stands if you change your mind.”
She doubted that, but didn’t comment. Instead, wiped her forehead with her forearm, and picked up gauze pads to clean the wound.
“Here goes,” she warned and dabbed his skin.
Her patient didn’t move or even wince as she cleaned the angry wound. Either he had a will of steel or he’d passed out again. Hopefully, the latter. Sweat rolled down her back as she finished cleansing the area around the bullet entry. Red flesh puckered with the first signs of infection. In this environment infection was guaranteed.
With a steady hand that would have made her father proud, she picked up her instruments and took a deep breath.
“You still with me?”
He murmured a response, turning his head slightly so he could see her. The stark beauty of his profile, despite the bruises, struck her again. The lines of his face were chiseled, unforgiving. The kind of man she’d glance at twice if she passed him on the street.
A man associated with a criminal.
“Still here, Doc. What are you waiting for?” Husky with pain, his deep voice brought her out of her thoughts.
She gave herself a mental shake. “Want something to bite down on?”
A small, wry smile touched his lips and his lids closed. “You won’t hear a peep out of me. Just fix me, Doc.”
“I can hit you so you’ll sleep through it,” she muttered.
That drew a low chuckle from him. She didn’t expect him to have a sense of humor. He seemed too…hard. His chuckle turned into a grunt of pain. “You probably hit like a girl.”
Alana grinned. “Yes, I do. Rest assured it won’t feel like it.”
“Appreciate the offer, but, no.” His words slurred together, his muscles tense as he fought his body’s demands.
“You got a name, Superman?”
His head rolled to the side, his chest rose and fell slowly. She thought he was out but he murmured, “Cristian.”
“Nice to meet you, Cristian.”
Then she dug into the wound for the bullet.
Jennifer Lowery grew up reading romance novels in the back of her math book and on the bus to school, and never wanted to be anything but a writer. Her summers were spent sitting at the kitchen table with her sisters spinning tales of romance and intrigue and always with a tall glass of ice tea at their side.
Today, Jennifer is living that dream and she couldn’t be happier to share her passion with her readers. She loves everything there is about romance. Her stories feature alpha heroes who meet their match with strong, independent heroines. She believes that happily ever after is only the beginning of her stories. And the road to that happy ending is paved with action, adventure, and romance. As her characters find out when they face danger, overcome fears, and are forced to look deep within themselves to discover love.
Jennifer lives in Michigan with her husband and three children. When she isn’t writing she enjoys reading and spending time with her family.
To find out more about Jennifer, HARD CORE and her upcoming novels, look for her at the following haunts: