I was fortunate to review Judith James's debut novel Broken Wing through Bostick Communications. If you'd read my review, you know by now that I loved it and had been looking forward to Judith's second book, Highland Rebel. There was already a long line of potential hosts, so when I heard that Danielle at Sourcebooks could add me to the blog tour, I was ecstatic!
Without further ado, please welcome Judith James with her guest post on life as a full time author!
My Life as a full time Author
I’ve been asked to talk a bit about my life as a full time author, and what I like to read on my own. As this is the last stop on the Highland Rebel blog tour, it certainly seems like the fitting time and place. I’ll start with the easiest question first. What I read in my spare time? Well right now I have none so my reading is pretty much research oriented. Right now I’m reading a book on the history of Whitehall Palace, Mary Evelyn’s Fop’s Dictionary, and a biography of John Wilmot. When I can read for pleasure I love historical novels, historical romances, biography, true life adventure and fantasy, but I will read the back of a cereal box if nothing else is handy.
My life as a reader is a little confined right now, but my life as a writer would best be described as a neat circle of yin and yang, opposite energies that balance and attract each other, both essential to the process and the whole.
The more difficult aspects of living as a full time author for me at this point in my career include looming deadlines for everything. Synopsis, proposals, revisions, web page updates, promotional activities, art sheets and edits; you name it I’ve got a date it’s due by. All these compete with story writing time along with all the social responsibilities and household chores. My cat hates me. Working on contract and waiting on royalties means uncertain and uneven finances. Add to the mix banks that don’t want to give out a mortgage when you’re self employed, and no dental or medication plan to replace the one left behind at the day job. To complete the yin you need to add rhinoceros hide, a necessary accessory to help deal with the inevitable rejection and the occasional less than positive review of your beloved baby that you just poured your heart and soul into.
To balance that, I get to work in my pyjamas sipping coffee in the winter as I cluck sympathetically at the poor folks outside scraping ice and snow off their cars and shovelling out their driveways to get to work. In the summer I might work on my balcony sipping spritzers, on an out door patio somewhere, or even at the beach. I’ve even been know to take a corner table in a local bar and people watch and write late at night. I get to travel places for research and I’ve had the opportunity to meet and make friends with some wonderful writers, bloggers, and readers. Writing is solitary work, at least until you reach the editing phase, but somehow I seem to have met more new people and made more new friends than I did in the job I had before.
So far the yin and yang seem pretty well balanced, But then you add in the excitement of seeing word and page count rise, the thrill of seeing your cover for the first time, your book on the shelf, the delight when someone writes to tell you your story moved them in some way, the fun of spending hours in end in a world you build with characters you love. It killed me to leave Gabriel and Jacques, Ross and Davey behind in Broken Wing, and I felt shallow and fickle when I started developing feelings for Jamie Sinclair in Highland Rebel, but I couldn’t help but fall totally in love with him. Falling in love with your characters, getting to know them, and spending your time with them, is definitely one of the perks for me. Life as a full time author, for me at least, is risky, uncertain, and in a lot of ways you’re on your own, but when it comes down to it, instead of sitting in my office dreaming the life I’m living the dream, and I don’t think it can get much better than that. I don’t think that’s true just for writing of course. If you always wanted to be a doctor or a veterinarian, run your own business or be a ski bum, and you get to do it, then you are living your own dream, and it’s a great way to go through life if you can.
So thanks very much to Gaby for hosting me here today. It’s been a great pleasure. Thanks also to everyone who took the time to stop by and leave a comment and I do hope you find Highland Rebel and thoroughly enjoy it. If you like history romance and adventure, I’m sure you will. My last question on this tour is this. What is your dream job?
Thanks so much for taking the time to share your experiences with us. The drawbacks of being self-employed, especially as you start out, are daunting. It's a huge jump and brave move. But I believe that it might just be a question of time and getting your name out. I'm not an expert and am basing my opinion on how much I love your writing. I think that other readers will respond to you the way I have. Once they get a chance to read one of your books, they'll pre-order the next one. I'm among the many that are rooting for you!
But back to Judith's new book, Highland Rebel...
A teaser (from the author)
Amidst the upheaval of Cromwell's Britain, Jamie Sinclair's wit and military prowess have served him well. Leading a troop in Scotland, he impetuously marries a captured maiden, saving her from a grim fate.
A Highlands heiress to title and fortune, Catherine Drummond is not the woman that Jamie Sinclair believes her to be. When her people effect her rescue, and he cannot annul the marriage, Jamie goes to recapture his hellcat of a new wife...
In a world where family and creed cannot be trusted, where faith fuels intolerance and war, Catherine and Jamie test the bounds of loyalty and friendship, and trust...
The story opens on the battle field, seen through the eyes of Jamie Sinclair. Jamie is the sort of romantic hero that is fun to read about. "He'd shifted allegiance and religion so many times he sometimes forgot which side he was on. What with these mad Stuart kings - Protestant one day, Catholic the next - a fellow needed to be quick. Fortunately, he was: quick witted, quick with a sword, and more importantly, quick to recognize which way the wind was blowing. Possessed of a cynic's keen perception and willingness to shift with the political tide, he switched masters, mistresses religions whenever the need arose."
Even with his political astuteness and cynicism, you can sense that Jamie has a deep sense of honor. He is careful when and how to display it. When he chooses to risk his person to protect Catherine Drummond, you can't help but root for him. Fortunately, Judith James isn't one to write a simple love story. There are twists, upsets and adventures - enough to make Highland Rebel much more than the usual historical romance. Many highland romances feature a strong highland warrior protecting his beguiling English wife and Judith James gives us something different yet again.
Though set in a completely different place and time, Jamie Sinclair reminded me of Rafael Sabatini's Scaramouche, "He was born with a gift of laughter, and a sense that the world was mad."
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (September 1, 2009), 480 pages.
Courtesy of SourceBooks and Judith James.
About the Author:
Judith James has worked as a legal assistant, trail guide, and counselor. Living in Nova Scotia, her personal journey has taken her to the Arctic and the West Coast. Her writing combines her love of history and adventure with her keen interest in the complexities of human nature and the heart's capacity to heal. To learn more, visit her website at www.judithjamesauthor.com You can follower her on twitter as well judith_james
I'd like to thank Danielle, SourceBooks and Judith James for generously sponsoring a giveaway of 2 copies of Highland Rebel and for this opportunity to participate in the Highland Rebel Blog Tour!
To enter, please answer Judith's question, "What is your dream job?" Don't forget to leave your email address so I can notify you if you win. No email address or answer, no entry. Contest is limited to U.S. and Canada only. No P.O. boxes. Contest ends at 6 pm on October 2, 2009.