Interview with J. Gilbert:
Hi Judith. Thank you for doing this interview. I would like to welcome you to the Romance at Heart Interview and Author Grilling session. *bg* We are interested to find out as much about you as we possibly can, so lets get started...
- Please tell us about your latest book.
My latest e-book with Triskelion is a fast-paced, vampire/witch paranormal romance, Blood Hunt: The Legend under J Gilbert. This is the first of a four book Blood Hunt series.
- How do we find out about you and your books?
By visiting either website: Judith Gilbert or J. Gilbert and double clicking on the white door, Judith Gilbert, to enter my sweeter romance world or double clicking on the black door, J Gilbert, to enter my hotter paranormal world. Readers have two contests they can enter each month and they can contact me on the websites also.
- Do you have a favorite comment or question from a reader?
Several readers wrote me that they couldnít read Blood Hunt: The Legend at night because it scared them. Iím with them, the rogue vampire scared me, too, and I created him.
- Why did you decide to write romance novels?
I always dreamed of writing, but knew the chances of making a living at it would be slim so I pursued accounting, obtaining a BS in accounting and an MBA. I worked for a major oil company in Houston as a SR. Financial Analyst, until I decided to walk away from that career and go after my dreamówriting.
- Where do your ideas come from?
Ideas for me come from anything, simply by hearing, seeing something and asking, "What if?" With Blood Hunt: The Legend, I kept asking my self, "What would it take for someone who had hidden the fact she was part vampire/part witch from the outside world to reveal that fact?"
I kept picturing a little boy in danger, but not just any boy, her best friendís son. I kept imagining that best friendís desperation, imploring her friend to save her son and finally saying, "Iíve seen things. I want you to donate blood."
- Do you feel humour is important in women's fiction and why?
Yes. I have yet to write a book that doesnít have some humor in it. In Blood Hunt: The Legend itís almost a release valve from the intense emotions bombarding us in other scenes. Humor not only lets us laugh with the characters but also at ourselves at times, which I think is a good thing.
- What kind of research do you do?
It varies from book to book. In Blood Hunt: The Legend, I did a lot of research. I researched everything I could find on vampires and witches, the Army, including rank, uniforms, military weapons and vehicles, combat action. I contacted Vietnam vets to aid me with the tactical actions I employed in the book so they would be accurate and the terminology would be correct.
I searched for quite a while for just the right homes for the main vampires to live in and the furnishings they would have. I researched blood and its properties under a microscope. The setting is a hospital and the heroine is a nurse, so I took two classes, one from a nurse and one from a trauma doctor to get everything right, including the injuries and procedures I used. I felt very proud when one reader, who was a nurse, wrote me and said she was pleasantly shocked when she read the book because I got the hospital stuff correct.
- Would you like to write a different genre than you do now, or sub-genre?
I think by using the two names with readers: Judith Gilbert for the sweet romances and romantic comedies and J Gilbert for the paranormals, this should allow me to fit any genre or sub-genre I want to write under one of those names and not disappoint my readers. If you pick up a Judith Gilbert book, itís an entire different book from a J Gilbert book.
- What do you think of critique groups in general?
I think they are essential to writers/authors. You can brainstorm ideas with each other, which often will spark other scenes. When youíre writing the book, youíre too close to it. You know everything about the book and arenít reading it with fresh eyes, like the reader would, so you might miss plot holes, also areas where the reader might be confused and the scenes need clarification or rewriting.
- What book for you has been the easiest to write? The hardest? The most fun?
My laugh-out-loud romantic comedy, His Farm, Her Circus, which received rave reviews and a recommended read, was the easiest and most fun to write. I loved the characters and actually went through a mourning period when I finished the book. I missed spending time with them, but thatís okay, Iím working on the second book in that series, Operation Sex Kitten, which is a riot.
The hardest to write was Blood Hunt: The Legend. This book has every emotion and facing the viciousness this rogue vampire was capable of, actually living in that world with him while I wrote the book was very hard. It was like walking on the edge of danger and feeling it all around you day after day as the emotions in the book intensified.
- Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting?
The story. In my mind, I see vivid, almost like flash photos being taken of scenes, but they arenít in order. Thatís where the hard part begins, getting the jumble of scenes playing like a movie in my head to fit together, like a puzzle that shows me the story and it fits into a map of where the story should go. This is the basic roadmap I plot out, chapter and scene, but as I write the book, other characters or scenes occur and I go with the additions because as I write Iím delving deeper into the characters and their emotions.
- What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
When your readers write and tell you they canít put your book down until they finish it or tell you theyíve read your book five times. Knowing that those readers who write you from all over the world, love your characters and the world you created as much as you do. Your stories, characters have found a home in their hearts, just like they did your heart.
- If you weren't writing, what would you be doing?
Exercising more. I love high impact step aerobics, kickboxing and running. Iím addicted to running. Iím a firm believer that if you want more energy, you have to expend more energy. You wonít get energy from sitting on a couch. You get it from moving your body.
- Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?
I once read that the difference between published authors and unpublished writers is perseverance. If your dream is to write, go after your dream. Remember that learning to write well is a process, never stop being willing to learn and writers write, thatí how we perfect our skills as a writer.
Thank you very much for taking the time with us and answering our questions. I really appreciate this interruption to your busy schedule. Good Luck, and we will be looking forward to the next delightful creation from your talented imagination!
Yours in good reading,