My guest today has a very similar background to my own. Please help me welcome romance author Kris Jayne! Let’s take a glimpse at her bio and meet her pups, and then we’ll hop into the interview.
Kris Jayne is a devoted writer, reader, and traveler. She spends her days blissfully sweating out the writing process in the Dallas area with her dogs, Otis the Shih Tzu, Rocco the Terrier, and Red the Foxy Mutt.
Her passion for writing is matched only by her passion for the adventures of travel. In 2008, she let a friend talk her into sleeping outside for the first time in her life when she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.
P.S. If you’re buying her a gift, she has a penchant for single-malt Scotch and scarves.
Betty: When did you become a writer?
Kris: I didn’t publish my first book until 2016, but I’ve been a writer my entire life. I wrote my first complete story in the fifth grade about how the old Chicago Bear Refrigerator Perry got so fat. That was circa 1985.
Betty: How long did you work on your writing skills before you became published?
Kris: Since I’ve written since I was a child, I’ve been working on my writing just as long. I took creative writing classes in elementary school and high school. I majored in journalism and English in college and then earned a Master’s degree in American literature. I’ve always studied reading and writing as a discipline.
In 2014, I decided to get serious about fiction writing and joined some local writing groups. I worked on my first novel for over a year and then took a year off from working a day job to write full time, finishing my first four novels.
Betty: What authors or stories do you feel influenced your writing style?
Kris: That’s a hard question because I read all kinds of stories that aren’t necessarily in my genre, which is steamy, contemporary romance. My favorite contemporary romance authors of all time are people like Jennifer Crusie, Rachel Gibson, and Carly Phillips, but I love historical romance as well and read Elizabeth Hoyt and Courtney Milan. The House of Mirth is my favorite classic.
I would say I love emotional stories with humor and adventure and that I try to infuse a mix of those elements into my stories.
Betty: What prompted you to start writing?
Kris: In 2014, I decided I was done with corporate life and wanted a more flexible, creative existence. At first, I thought I’d write on the side and keep my regular day job, but my regular day job turned into a six-day a week time suck (only because I refused to work seven). I knew I needed to escape that if I were going to have the energy to write, so I quit my job.
I didn’t work on anything but my fiction for a year, and that was incredibly motivating. I now do other freelance writing and editing while working on my fiction.
Betty: What type of writing did you start with?
Kris: My jobs have always involved writing, so I’ve written academic work and published non-fiction books, articles, and blogs on technology and business. As I mentioned, I’ve written fiction since I was a kid, and I started writing romance when I was in high school.
Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?
Kris: I love writing spicy contemporary romance because I enjoy telling stories about modern, independent women who have passionate adventures and creating sexy book boyfriends for readers. Flirty, witty banter is my jam.
Betty: How did you learn to write? A mentor, classes, conferences, craft books, or something else?
Kris: Craft books and workshops are great for getting tips and new ideas, but I learn best by practicing and getting feedback from critique partners and my editor. I also think a good writer has to be a good reader. It’s as a reader where you find out what does and doesn’t work in a story. The more I read, the more objective I can be about my own writing.
Betty: What do you wish you knew before you started writing/publishing?
Kris: Only I can know what the right writing process is for me. I can read a craft book that everyone loves and try to put it into practice, and it may not work for me because my brain works differently. I’ve learned to filter every piece of advice through the lens of my own working and thinking style. That also means that I’m never going to be the writer who puts out twelve books a year. With nothing else to do and no day job, the most I’ve written is four books in a year, and that’s okay. Authors, especially indie authors, face a lot of pressure to publish more books than is humanly possible for most people.
Betty: What other authors inspired you (either directly or through their writing) to try your hand at writing?
Kris: In addition to those I’ve already mentioned, I’d say Edith Wharton, Henry James, Toni Morrison, and Beverly Jenkins.
Betty: What inspired you to write the book you’re sharing with us today?
Kris: Two to Tangle started as a Christmas story. I wrote a novella called Christmas for Two for an anthology. I wanted to write about a 40-plus-year-old woman who has left her job and is starting over. Her old boss calls her, and she gets drawn back to working with him on a new project—only this time there’s an attraction between them. She invites him over for Christmas because he’s alone and sexual hijinks (my favorite kind) ensue.
It was going to be a simple, sexy holiday story, but I realized I wasn’t done with the characters. I liked their chemistry together and the dynamics of my heroine, Delilah, dating a guy who is ten years younger but who used to be her boss. I’d also given the hero, Griffin, way too much back story that needed to play out. I won’t give all the details, but Griffin’s college sweetheart ended up marrying his father. Once I’d written that detail, I knew there was more drama to mine, so I started plotting the new book.
Family betrayal haunts new love…
Delilah Johnston and Griffin Kelso ring in the New Year with revels and romance. But once the champagne runs dry, the differences between them crash the party.
With a divorce, raising her daughter, and a corporate job in the rearview mirror, forty-something Delilah is ready to indulge herself with passion and a new life. Yes, she agreed to help her ex-boss Griffin launch his new business, but that’s temporary. The tantalizing heat between them, however, isn’t—or so she hopes.
Nearly ten years her junior, Griffin jettisons his playboy ways and sets his sights on Delilah. He aims to build a personal legacy with her by his side. But when his father’s health problems—and the older man’s scheming wife—call him home, he can no longer ignore the betrayal and pain of the past.
He finds refuge in the always willing and wise Delilah. But the more he leans on her, the more she wonders: when is it her turn?
Family drama knocks the couple off course into a tangle of secrets. Can Delilah and Griffin find a path forward together? Or will a disconcerting revelation divide them forever?
Two to Tangle is a sexy, seasoned BWWM romance with family drama and a May-December surprise. It continues the love story of Delilah and Griffin that began in the holiday novella, Christmas for Two, but can be read as a stand-alone.
“I like talking dirty,” Griffin growled. “Especially since I won’t see you for a few more days, and I miss you. But if you don’t, that’s okay, too. It’s too soon, maybe. We’re just changing our relationship.”
He missed me. My skin felt warm from head to toe. Reconnecting with him even over the phone titillated, but I didn’t want him to think… My mind blanked. What was it he’d think? That I was a tramp? There’s nothing I could say that would be any trampier than what I’d done with him on Christmas night.
On Jesus’ birthday! I snickered to myself.
I was already a tramp, and he didn’t care. I should let myself have fun.
“Okay,” I said. “I’m not reading my novel to you, but I’ll tell you what happens.”
“I don’t want you to do something you don’t want to. We can talk about anything you want. We can compare Texas and Carolina barbecue. I called because I wanted to hear your voice.”
“No. I want to.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. I miss you too.”
I swallowed and took a deep breath, ready to lean in and let go.
Buy links: Books2Read
Can you see the similarities between our education and experience? Kris and I both started writing as children, worked in fields/jobs focused on language and writing, and now write fiction full time while doing some editing on the side. I think it would be fun to sit down with her over a glass of wine and compare notes! Thanks, Kris, for stopping in today!
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