Jamie Brazil is visiting me today and answering some questions about herself and her new debut, Prince Charming Inc.
Thank you Jamie for joining me today. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I have so many sides to my personality that I sometimes feel like two people (maybe three or four). I immigrated to the United States in 1993 and still have a few quirks from my country of origin. If gravy on French fries sounds good to you and you wear a touque, you know where I was born!
As for jobs, I’ve had a lot. One of my very first jobs waitressing. It lasted for several milliseconds. After I dropped a chocolate sundae on a customer’s white suit I was fired.
What is the most romantic thing your significant other or anyone has done for you?
A half dozen times a year my husband will climb behind the wheel and be my driver at certain neighborhood-wide yard sales. While it doesn’t sound romantic, my favorite hobby is a torture to him. Traffic snarls, crowds and frenetic energy make him edgy. But he knows I love garage-sale shopping.
Now that certainly takes a special kind of man. I love going to yard sales and trying to get and out of traffic is sometimes worse than rush hour traffic.
Do you ever write in your PJ’s?
Who doesn’t? We’re writers.
What are your pet peeves?
Interruptions when I’m on a roll, and dirty dishes in the sink. I swear the dishes are taunting me with their little dirty dish voices. “I’m covered in day-old lasagna! Help me!”
Cats or dogs?
Hound dogs. My bloodhound, Frankie, is my pride and joy. When my husband is off on a job Frankie spends most of her time editing my work. Thank god she’s willing to work for kibble.
White wine or red?
Champagne for celebrating. For non-celebratory drinking I’d have a basil-orange mojito at my favorite Thai restaurant. Pair that with their crispy duck and I’m over the moon.
Coffee or tea?
Coffee, strong, and keep it coming. Functioning without coffee in the morning is like trying to start a car without gas. I’m also a bit feral before my third cup. Has anyone else used a Chemex carafe? I’m hooked. There is no bitterness at all.
Vanilla or chocolate ice cream?
Chocolate anything. I’d move into my Godiva store if they’d let me.
What are 4 things you never leave home without?
A pen, paper, purse and wedding ring. Could I mention one thing I should carry, but don’t? GPS. I have a terrible sense of direction.
Laptop or desktop for writing?
I have a desktop in my office (can you call a room smaller than a walk-in closet an office?). It’s cozy, especially when the dog’s here.
Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
For day-to-day slogging through the pages, afternoons seem to be my more productive and lucid time. Then there’s Ernesto.
Ernesto is the house muse (it’s a long story). When Ernesto is with me, I write. That’s the rule. Sometimes he comes at 3 a.m. Sometimes in the middle of breakfast or dinner. It is simply understood in our house that if Ernesto decides to inspire the writing, we write. Ernesto knows best.
If you were deserted on an island, who are 3 famous people you would want with you?
How about desserted on an island? That’s easy. New York cheesecake, fudge brownies and Godiva chocolates.
Okay, no dodging the question. People. Edith Wharton, Jacqueline Susann and Pee Wee Herman. Now there’s a party.
An actor you have a crush on?
Pee Wee Herman.
What is a movie or TV show that you watched recently and really enjoyed?
“Downton Abbey”, “Mama Mia”, and “Paris Je T’aime” are all in my DVD collection.
What made you decide to be an author?
Graveyard shift. During my years as a dispatcher there were many slow nights spent reading. Two category romances or one mainstream novel per shift, but not when the moon was full. Those shifts were often crazy. The book that flipped a switch in my brain, that made me utter those words that almost every author has said at one point or another, I could write that, was Olivia Goldsmith’s “Marrying Mom.”
How did you choose the genre you write in?
Love. I love romance. I read romance. If I’m not writing romance I’m curled up with a romantic novel.
Are you a panster or a plotter and why?
You’ve opened a can of worms here. My husband, who is a screenwriter, swears I’m a panster. I howl and vehemently deny that accusation. I’m totally a plotter. I need a map to get from the opening to the end and that means a poster board, stacks of sticky notes and colored marking pens to plan scenes, flesh out characters and build subplots. Unfortunately, I suck at directions.
Is there a particular author who may have influenced you?
My husband. Just the other week I got stuck. My poster board roadmap had failed and my usual arsenal of tricks for writing my way out weren’t working. In walks my husband. I unload on him and he thinks about it for a few moments before giving me the answer (and then telling me dinner’s ready). So that’s my hubby. He walks into my office, solves my structure problem, knocks up my secondary character and leaves – all in under two minutes.
What is your all time favorite book?
“House of Mirth” has a permanent home in my heart, but not in the way that my first Jackie Collins novel also resides there. I stole it after the librarian refused to let me check it out. I was 13 and, arguably, too young for the content. I smuggled “The Stud” back to its place on the shelf days later.
What is your favorite sentence or quote in your new release?
There’s a passage describing Elyse’s Hermes bag (purchased at a church basement tag sale, of course). Her new client thinks the bag is a knock off and there’s this wordless power struggle as she proves its authenticity.
Opening a Hermes bag was one of life’s simple, yet deeply satisfying pleasures. Like sex, only better. A woman could surrender herself dozens of times a day, taking full gratification that the petal-soft inner folds were actually the foundation of something much greater than a purse. Men may come and go, but a Hermes was a guaranteed lifetime commitment.
Elyse opened her bag conspicuously wide, dispelling Saban’s thoughts of a well-made forgery. The interior, as posh as the exterior, was revealed. But it was more than that that set the real thing apart from the fakes. Hermes bags held a heady, intoxicating scent. While cheap leather always smelled of leather, the subtle fragrance of a Hermes bore the unmistakable aroma of handmade French quality.
Saban listed toward Elyse, her nostrils flared accordingly.
Love the nostril flaring part!
How much trouble did your characters give you while writing your new release? Which one?
One of the heroine’s best friends, Madeline, was a tough write. Maddy was born old along with her money and is the author of self-help books. She has the attention span of a ferret on a triple espresso. Getting her comedic voice right took many, many drafts.
Where do you get your ideas from?
China. They make everything.
How did you choose your title?
Earlier this year, I was polishing pitches for my RWA chapter’s spring conference and I decided I needed a way to tie my two books together, like the start of a series. With a couple tweaks and minor rewrite, Prince Charming, Inc. was born. The new sibling, Trophy Wife, Inc., should be finished soon.
How do you cure writer’s block?
Buddhism. Kind of. One thing I like about Buddhism is that everything is temporary. If writing really well is temporary, so is writer’s block. When writer’s block hits, knowing that it’s temporary, that it will change, gives me the freedom to go fill the creative well.
Do you have any advice for an aspiring writer?
Don’t get me started! In one of my dubious past lives I was a writing conference coordinator. If I haven’t made the mistake myself, I’ve seen it all. Honest, once I carried my manuscript through the hallways of a conference in the hope I’d bump into the right agent or editor. I actually did bump into one and the manuscript exploded out of my hands creating a blizzard of pages. It was an embarrassing low point. Not that I gave up. At that same conference, the next day I dressed way too sexy. Was I overcompensating for the previous day’s disaster? I don’t know. While no offers of representation came my way, I did get a lot of attention from a certain man who later became my husband.
So advice… Read. Write. Celebrate often. Grieve when you must. Then get back to work. And before you strut out into a conference with hundreds of attendees, agents and editors, carefully consider why you’re wearing the body-hugging, black spandex skirt with the dragon graphic up one side and a thigh-high slit up the other.
That’s a great story in itself!
What sacred advice have you been given by another writer?
“I can fix a bad page, I can’t fix a blank page.” ~ Nora Roberts.
Where can your readers stalk you?
Tell us about your new release:
Prince Charming, Inc. was a hoot to write, and then later, rewrite. Elyse Tobin rebuilds average guys and sells them off as “perfect husbands” to socialites. But when her final man remodel goes south and the I.R.S. audits her, she’s forced to confront Nick Salvatore, the man she’s spent years avoiding, the very man she’s modeled all her grooms on.
That sounds like an awesome read. Thank you so much for coming today, Jamie.
You can check out Jamie Brazil and Prince Charming Inc here and go to Soul Mate Publishing to check out all the other great debuts!
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