Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Jill Barnett part deux

Jill, tell us, how has your writing evolved since you wrote your first novel?

Well, I know what I’m doing now. First books are first books and there is nothing better to teach you how to write a book than actually writing a book. I have been doing this a long time and I have always strived to learn and challenge myself as a writer with every book. Sometimes after I had written a book, if there was something I thought I didn’t do well, I would put it in the next book and force myself to learn how to write it. Just a Kiss Away, an adventure book came right from that. I felt I didn’t write action well so I set out to write an action adventure, JB style.

First books are first books and there is nothing better to teach you how to write a book than actually writing a book. I have been doing this a long time and I have always strived to learn and challenge myself as a writer with every book.

I am a huge believer in writing to your own vision and truth. I write Jill Barnett books. I write commercial fiction books, which are stories about people and about honest emotion and life and love.

I have younger characters in these books, women in their 20’s who would probably appeal to a younger, different generation.

The books are stylistically and in maturity and technique light years apart now from where I began. If you don’t learn craft, how can you tackle bigger and more complex stories? How can you write books people have to read? How can you say well what it is you have to say?

Where do you see it going now that romance novels are delving into more erotic grounds or into the “chic lit” genre?

It had better go backwards soon. Back to good books and good stories and books set somewhere other than Regency England.

These two facets you mentioned, chic lit and erotica, now attached wrongly to romance, and the dull uninspired limits placed on the historical romance genre by publishing houses is the reason we have lost 75% of our romance readers. Romance has always sold strongly before, so a new genre attaching itself to romance only helps the new genre. But it is the brilliant writers within a genre who make it more than merely genre, who elevate the content and a story and character and who rise to bestsellerdom.

Even for top sellers now inside the genre, the print runs are 70% less than they used to be. Readers buy an author’s voice, her way of storytelling, not a type of book. There is little room for voice inside erotica and erotica gets old fast. Chic lit is its own genre. However, paranormal series books are very popular, selling better than chic lit and erotica, and are written by authors whose vision is and always was to the paranormal, authors like Christine Feehan and Laurel K Hamilton and Sherrilyn Kenyon. Their visions and voices are successful. Readers recognize honesty.

I noticed there’s always an insufferable pet included in your novels. *g* There’s Beezle, Gus, Pitt, Jack, Medusa, to name a few. And then, there are the secondary characters. Thud and Thwack (Wonderful, Wild and Wicked), oh LOL, I love them! And Old Gladdys too—she is sooo hilarious! Did you model any of them from someone you know in real life?

Never. I have a sick mind. Plus animals, pets, say a lot about who we, their owners, are. Look back and you’ll see the pets just told us more about the characters.

How about the situations they’ve been in? Something wacky and funny you’ve experienced personally and just have to write about it?

The scene in Just a Kiss Away, where Lollie is running for her life to get away from the tarantula happened to me. (My friends made me put it in a book when I told them the story at lunch one day.) Otherwise, I pretty much make everything up. They pay me to lie for living.

That really happened to you? LOL

Speaking of Lollie, (sorry, I can’t help it *shame*) are we going to see any of these previous characters again in your future books? (Pretty please... *shamelessly begging*)

I might write a historical romance again at some point, but I need to get back to writing a book a year. There’s been a lot for me to handle in the past few years and when the time is right, I will probably write a historical romance every so often. I have a great idea for a trilogy. I might write them on the side in a few years.

Someday I would love to write two books I always wanted to write that were tied to
Bewitching and Dreaming. But right now I need to write the books I’m writing, the family dramas.

I’m pretty sure every fans of Alec and Scottish, Richard and Letty will be delighted to hear that. Hmm, maybe their kids could marry? :P

Is there a favorite amongst your stories? Favorite story, favorite hero, heroine, etc?


What is the story that you had the most fun with?


The most difficult time?

Sentimental Journey

How about derived the most satisfaction from?

The Days of Summer

Tell us about your new book, The Days of Summer.

It’s the story of two families whose lives are changed, turned into what becomes a family of men and a family of women, and how they eventually find love and peace and happiness.

It’s a complex story about all the different kinds of love we experience: first love, lasting love, lost love, and love that time a long time to find its right time. Each character has their own different definition of love and we see how their love and experience with love (and mistakes) are often shaped by how their lives evolved up to the point when love becomes important.

It’s set in the California I knew and loved, an idyllic California, the real California, not the one Hollywood and the news shows us. The California coast towns are lovely. This book is set in Newport Beach and Catalina Island, 1957, 1970-71 and 2002. It is NOT a saga. I believe it is the most beautiful and honest story I have ever written. I can guarantee you won’t forget these people.

Okay, now for our silly questions. Which do you prefer: boxers, briefs, or going commando? *g*

I don’t know, bikini briefs or those boxer briefs, I guess. You’re asking the wrong person this. You see, I really don’t care what a man wears under his clothes. But I melt for a man in tux or a suit. (Be still my heart.)

Oh my, I do LOVE a man in suit. *sigh*

Why do you think men become smarter during sex?

They don’t. They are forced to become smarter in order to GET sex.

LOL, true. :P Jill, thank you so much for your time. One question you would like to ask your fans?

No question. I just want them to know I will always try to make a Jill Barnett something unique and special. I hope they will always one to read them.



25 comment(s):

Blogger Lorelei said...

Jill, love your answers. I'm so glad you're back. Please don't stop writing because your fans will never get tired of your wonderful stories.

7/04/2006 10:01:00 AM  

Blogger Jolie said...

I too love a man in suit. Sigh. So sexy! :P

Great interview, Ms. Barnett, BBs.

7/04/2006 11:12:00 AM  

Blogger Rod Biscoe said...


Why didn't you ask Jill Barnett about book burning? It's a hot topic right now. Maybe next time?

Best Regards,
Rod Biscoe

P.S. Rod Biscoe's Blogspot “It’s Delicious.”

7/04/2006 11:31:00 AM  

Blogger C Bradshaw said...

I love paranormal books. I read Sherrilyn Kenyon, specifically follow her Dark Hunter series. I agree, readers recognize honesty.

Love the interview, Harlot. :)

7/04/2006 11:33:00 AM  

Anonymous Ollenska said...

Ms. Barnett, I'm so sorry about your husband. Thank you very much for sharing your experiences and your courage. I will admit I was one of the fans who did not expect the sudden change in your books. But I read your essay on your site when Sentimental Journey was released and I realized how hard it must be to write funny, joyful stories when at the time you don't have any joy in your heart.

God bless you and your loved ones. And as Lorelei said, please know your fans will always be here eagerly awaiting for your new novels.


7/04/2006 12:35:00 PM  

Anonymous Ollenska said...

Love the interview BBs. May I suggest inviting Emily Giffin too for an interview? :D


7/04/2006 12:36:00 PM  

Anonymous Linka said...

Great interview!

I totally agree with you about chick lit and erotica. I like the classic style romances, but I also agree with you about the paranormal and I've enjoyed reading all three of the authors you've mentioned in that category. They bring in the love story into their own alternate universes and it's just so fun to see the way their imagination works.

About California, yippee the book setting is located close by me! Although I live in Huntington Beach and you picked our (somewhat snooty) neighbors, sigh, oh well, lol. I love the cover! And the California coast is beautiful! I'm so going to enjoy reading this!

7/04/2006 02:51:00 PM  

Blogger C Bradshaw said...

Linka, you live in Huntington Beach? I stayed there for three weeks last year. I too love the California coast.

Happy 4th of July! The boyfriend and I are going to see fireworks later. :D

7/04/2006 04:01:00 PM  

Blogger Petra said...

I'm so glad to hear there's going to be a book tying Dreaming and Bewitching. I've been waiting for that eversince. :P I think Harlot's right, maybe their kids could marry. Maybe Alec and Joy's oldest son and one of Richard and Hellion's daughter. LOL! That would be a hoot! :D

Love the interview, Jill. Thanks BBs!

7/04/2006 04:04:00 PM  

Anonymous Linka said...

Yup, C Bradshaw, although I'm currently in Norcal for the summer. Happy 4th everyone! I'm going down to the docks and maybe take a sailboat ride (see if I don't get seasick). Later, I'm going to watch fireworks from my rooftop with my friend, Irena.

7/04/2006 04:34:00 PM  

Blogger Danielle De Barbarac said...

Romance novels set in Regency era are all over the place. So are paranormal ones and erotica. I read all these sub-genres and you're right- no matter what type of book it is, it’s still all about the story.

About the animals, I too love them. I remember laughing out loud with the way Gus tormented Richard on that boat! LOL. Dreaming was my first Barnett book and I was hooked even before I finished it.

May I just say again how much I love the W series. :P (For those who want to try Jill's older novels, I highly recommend them).

Great interview, ladies!

7/04/2006 06:01:00 PM  

Blogger Danielle De Barbarac said...

My dad used to get ready for Independece Day by covering our garden patio with flags. And then every year, it's great celebrating with him almost burning down the house with a roaring fire. The memories still make me smile. :)

CB, I too love the fireworks. Linka, I hope you have fun with that boat ride. :D Happy 4th of July to everyone!

7/04/2006 06:15:00 PM  

Anonymous Gina said...

Jill, I read The Days of Summer last month and loved it. I'm glad you're writing again.


7/04/2006 06:56:00 PM  

Blogger Aggie said...

Happy 4th July over there to you.

7/04/2006 08:42:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

Happy 4th of July to all our friends in the US! Hope you guys are all having fun. :D

Trollop hates fireworks (i know! what a FREAK *shaking head*) but, *sigh* I LOVE them... This reminds me of last December when they held the World Pyro Olympics here (it's a fireworks competition participated by different countries). For five consecutive nights before New Year, all BF and i did was watch the world's most beautiful display of fireworks. OMG, it was AMAZING. *sigh* All that fireworks we saw probably cost millions and to think we saw them for free. I will never forget that week. :)

7/04/2006 10:13:00 PM  

Blogger Isabella said...

Jill, I'm looking forward to reading Days of Summer. Thank you for being here and sharing with us. :)

Wonderful interview, BBs. Now, I better win that autographed book! LOL

(Happy 4th of July to everyone!)

7/04/2006 10:47:00 PM  

Blogger Vanessa said...

Hey guys, I'm back! I've been on vacation, now stealing some time using my brother's computer, LOL. Got back home for the holidays.

Happy 4th of July everyone!!!

7/05/2006 12:01:00 AM  

Blogger Vanessa said...

Jill, I love your books especially Bewitching. I too adore Scottish. :) I'm so glad to hear you're finally back and writing again.

Love the interview, Harlot!

7/05/2006 12:04:00 AM  

Blogger Lollie Rose said...

I am so glad I discovered this blog. Great interview! I love Ms. Barnett's books and Bewitching is my favorite amongst them. I have already finished The Days of Summer and liked it better than Sentimental Journey. For those who are getting it, you'll be in for a treat. I laughed and I cried and was drawn in the story of two brothers and the woman they both love.

Jill, I am so glad you're back. You have been missed.

7/05/2006 02:53:00 AM  

Anonymous april said...

I just wanted to invite everyone over to Jill Barnett's website - www.jillbarnett.com - because she does constantly answer questions from us. Plus, who doesn't like visitors who love the same things as we do?

Once a few of us get motivated enough to do a reread and organize our thoughts, we want to do a discussion on The Days of Summer. There are also book discussion questions on her website, but they're kind of deep and I haven't figured my views on all of them yet.

I've been gushing about Cale, but I find that I'll have to reread Dreaming just to give Richard some attention. I gush about Cale so much people ask me if I still like my Richard. *gasp* As if he could be replaced so easily.

I also found that I loved The Days of Summer, but I like it even more as time goes by.

Thanks for the interview!

7/05/2006 10:01:00 AM  

Blogger Jordis said...

I already ordered Bewitching because everyone seems to love it, so I'm starting with that one. :)

Great interview, BBs.

7/05/2006 02:23:00 PM  

Blogger Chief Scientist said...

The site says there are only two bitches but there are four pics at the top. How can you read if you can't even count?

7/05/2006 10:19:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

Moderator, what do you mean? Like add or something? Oh, I do love Math! I even took up Engineering because of it. :D

Anyway, we love our header! :D That's why even after making some changes around here, it stayed. We can't help it if some people are jealous or if they have problems understanding because they forgot to take their medication. :/ Besides, it's really funny how they make a fool of themselves by saying something about which they have no clue. Poor bastards, trying too hard to get some readers from our blog. It never works anyway LOL.

7/05/2006 11:09:00 PM  

Blogger Serendipity said...

Gosh darn it....should I turn into a musical instrument now because I have *gasp* musical notes on my header?

Get real moderator.

7/06/2006 10:00:00 AM  

Blogger Jill Barnett said...

Wow! I'm so sorry I didn't check in here. My times hasn't been mine since the book came out.

I left right after the 4th for book events in Southern California.

Thanks to all for your wonderful comments and the support about my loss and comeback.

You are all great. A few notes:

I lived in Huntington Beach in 1979-86. In DAYS Jud lived in Huntington Harbor. I chose my settings by the character suitability and my own memory, for these California settings.

The book I'm working on now for 2007 is set in San Francsico, South Lake Tahoe and Nevada. Again areas I know.

I did so love the W books. Thanks. Sometimes all the others get overshadowed by Bewitching, which I honestly doubt holds up as well after 13 years. It really was the first of its kind when it came out.

But I really bond with certain characters. I really wonder if I can think like I did in those days, too much aluminum in my cookware....

You all have me feel welcome and remembered.

My sincerest thanks to each of you.

Regarding father's and holidays. My dad got up on the roof and stomped around on Christmas Eve, pretending to be Santa's reindeer. He used to throw firecrackers uner our lawn chairs by the pool over the 4th. He was an imp. (Udsed to always say "You can't kid and kidder.") Red in SJ was loosely based on my dad, the younger, serious side of Guy Barnett.

In friendship to all,


7/31/2006 09:35:00 PM