Jannifer is a multi-pubbed author. Her latest novel, “Blood Crystal,” was released in e-book format by Resplendence Publishing in January, and will be available in print in April. (It is wonderful!) The fourth and last book of her current series is “Random Fire.” It will be released in June 2010.
Jannifer is cruising to Brazil right now (lucky her!), but she will be checking in to answer your questions.
Thanks for being here, Jannifer!
1. You have now three books in your Douglas family series. “Secrets of the Heart,” “Secret Sacrifices,” and now “Blood Crystal.” What traits do the Douglas family members have in common? What links them together?
While they do have their individual issues they all have a loving family background. Plus they have a wonderful camaraderie amongst themselves. I am now working on Random Fire, the fourth and final book in the Douglas family series. I love doing that family but it’s time to move on. By the way, Random Fire brings in the sister, Katie, from Rough Edges. That’s due out June 1st. Providing I meet my ,ugh, deadline.
2. “Blood Crystal’s” hero, Stephan, was wounded in Afghanistan; at the outset, his life is in shambles. The war experience is not one a civilian can truly understand, according to my husband, a Vietnam vet. Did you research with someone who served in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan? If so, what surprised you about his or her accounting of war?
I didn’t talk to anyone in particular, but I’ve read so many of the stories of men and women who’ve come back. I hope I captured at least some of the trauma they suffer.
As an added note, this was my favorite story to write. The character Stephen is molded from my brother, Patrick Quaschnick, who died in a plane crash in 1991. A lot of the skydiving and flying events came from him and many of them actually happened. Stephen’s enthusiasm and zest for life are carbon copied from Pat
3. Your first paragraphs, first pages and first chapters could (should) be used as teaching examples. You set the setting, introduce the plot, show the characters and their backstory without any superfluous words. Have you perfected this to the point where you can just do it, or do you pare away until you “get it right?” How do you know when you get it right?
I know its right when my editor says it is LOL But before she ever sees it, yes, I continually write and rewrite. I’m a pantser, I often let my characters take the lead- -to a point. Also my favorite part of writing is the first pages. I love to have an eventful first meeting of the hero and heroine. Incidentally, I look for that in books I read too.
4. Your website is fantastic. You post entire first chapters (something I think is a great idea.) Why do you do this? Have you experienced any downsides?
No downsides, my fans love it. I imagine those that don’t, don’t read them. It gives them the choice, however. I guess since they get the first “eventful” meeting of my main characters it could be a good invite to read more. Personally I’m not crazy about reading first chapters, I’d rather just read a two or three page excerpt.
5. What can you tell us about working with Resplendence Publishing? Was it hard to get “Secrets of the Heart” accepted?
No, not hard at all. They took both SOTH and Secret Sacrifices at the same time. They wanted the rest before they even read them.
RP is wonderful to work with. When I get stressed about a deadline, they are soooo nice.
And what can I say – they love my books. That makes them okay in my book. Oops, sorry for the pun.
6. Do you have a new series planned? How far ahead do you stockpile story ideas?
As far as a new series, I am going to start with the first book and see where it leads. And no, I do not stockpile stories in my head. I don’t sleep when I’m writing as it is with only one story milling around in my head. I do plan to start my next project while I’m on the cruise. I have to submit Random Fire the day before I leave.
Thanks for being here, Jannifer. I can’t wait to read Random Fire.
Thanks for inviting me. It was fun.
Jannifer’s books may be ordered through her website, janniferhoffman.com or from Resplendence Publishing.
An excerpt from "Blood Crystal":
She wasn’t looking forward to scorching her hand again, but it was the only way to find out. Sitting on the toilet seat with the towel in her lap, she cautiously pressed her index finger against it. Nothing happened. Then she squeezed it between her index finger and her thumb. Still nothing.
Thinking maybe it had lost its ability to get hot, she picked it up and wrapped her fingers around it prepared to release it quickly if it heated up.
It turned to molten fire almost instantly.
Stifling a screech, she dropped it back in the towel but not before it had done its number on her hand. Her palm was bright red and burned like the fires of hell. Worse than she remembered it before. She ran cold water in the sink and held her hand under it. As she did she stared in mixed wonder at the translucent pale crystal nesting so innocuously in the towel on her lap.
She gritted her teeth against the pain in her hand and wondered how she was going to explain it to Stephen if the magic balm trick didn’t work. Using the fingertips on her good hand, she quickly slipped the crystal back into its bag, put that back in the paper bag and returned it to the zippered pouch, all the while groaning that the whole thing had been a stupid fantasy idea. This was the twenty-first century after all, and she was a grown woman with an adult brain. None of that, however, explained the crystal getting hot in the first place though. Well, there was only one way to find out.
She stood up, glancing in the mirror as she unlocked the door. The bruise on her cheek had darkened and was still sore when she touched it. She stared at her image for a moment then reached up and pressed her enflamed palm against the bruise.
She held it there for a good minute, rubbing it as she had with Stephen’s leg. She could feel the heat from her hand, but the palm continued to burn, her face was still bruised with no change whatsoever. There was only one thing left to try.
Knowing she had to do it while he slept, she walked quietly to the bed carrying her backpack. She left the backpack on the floor and crawled into bed beside Stephen. He was on his side facing away from her and still naked with his injured leg exposed. She took a moment to
admire his beautiful muscular body. If she hadn’t handled the crystal she could have lain down against him and gone to sleep, but sleeping was out of the question the way her hand throbbed.
Remembering that first night when she’d wakened him and he all but attacked her, she was amazed at how relaxed he’d become.
Moving slowly, she placed her hand on his thigh holding her breath when he moaned and shifted his weight a couple of inches. She remained still for a moment, letting her hand rest on him. His skin felt cool to her hot touch as it had the first time she’d ministered to his leg. Slowly she started rubbing. Her hand felt better, but she attributed that to the coolness of his leg. His breathing suddenly increased and his fist on the pillow clenched and unclenched several times. Finally he sighed, mumbled something in his sleep, then laid still while she rubbed her magic balm over the rough surface of his wounded thigh.
Her last thought before she fell asleep was maybe she could tell him she scalded her hand in the shower when the water got too hot.
Jannifer grew up in on a farm in North Dakota where she attended a one-room country school. She’s always been a fervent reader and the books didn’t always turn out the way she wanted them to. So she started creating her own stories.
She started writing on an ancient black Remington upright where she created Ceremony of Deception by rewriting it at least thirty times. After about the tenth rewrite she realized she really didn’t know how to write so she took every writing course she could possibly find, including script writing. In one of the classes, she met a woman who invited her to join her writers group. She highly recommends that to anyone wanting to write. She can’t count the number of times those faithful people read, and reread, Ceremony of Deception.
After writing two historicals (one remains unfinished), she decided to go to contemporary – less research, or so she thought. HAH! The Douglas family name came from a favorite cousin who is no longer with us. She admits that writing a family series came from reading both Elizabeth Lowell and Johanna Lindsey. Two of her favorites. She remembers thinking they didn’t write fast enough. When she hears that now from her own fans she still shakes her head in awe.