Jane Graves began writing stories at the age of five, and she hasn't stopped since. She's a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, where she earned a B.A. in Journalism in the Professional Writing program. The author of fifteen novels, Jane is a six-time finalist for Romance Writers of America's Rita Award, the industry's highest honor, and is the recipient of two National Readers' Choice Awards, the Booksellers' BestAward, and the Golden Quill. She lives in Texas with her daughter and her husband of twenty-five years.
1.Welcome to the Romance Bandits blog, Jane. We’re very happy to have you visit us! Your newest release, “Hot Wheels and High Heels”, from Grand Central Publishing, debuted on July 1st. Can you give us a sneak peek at it?
Hot Wheels and High Heels is the story of a spoiled trophy wife who gets her life jerked out from under her when her husband sends her on a vacation with a friend, cashes in their assets, sells their house, embezzles $300,000 from his employer, and skips the country. She's left with nothing but the clothes in her luggage, her neurotic Chihuahua, and her beloved Mercedes Roadster. Of course she wants to marry rich all over again, but who does she find herself falling for? The sexy ex-cop turned repossession agent who comes after her Mercedes.
I love creating heroes and heroines who are polar opposites, then tossing them together and watching the fireworks. She hates blue-collar men, and he hates high-maintenance women. Instant conflict, instant fun.
2. How did you come up with the idea for this book?
Believe it or not, this story began as an idea for a romantic adventure series about a team of highly-specialized repossession agents who go after high ticket items like Lear jets and oil tankers. Before it was all over with, the story had evolved to a smaller scale comedy with a heroine who is a fish out of water: a former trophy wife who wants to become an auto repossession agent. My mind works that way sometimes. Scary, isn't it? I still have the original story idea, though, and someday I may write that one, too!
3. Trophy wives usually aren’t sympathetic. What about Darcy should make your readers root for her?
Ah. Good question. You're right, of course. Who gives a flip about a woman who has everything and doesn't have to lift a finger for it? But in fiction, it isn't about who a character is. It's about who you can watch them become. Personally, I don't believe a character has to be sympathetic from page one. She does, however, have to be interesting. Sympathy can be built as the story progresses. Remember, too, that the more flawed a hero or heroine is in the beginning, the more powerful their character arc can be. As Darcy is making that journey from spoiled trophy wife to self-sufficient woman, I think you'll be cheering for her to find love and happiness, particularly when that love and happiness centers around a really great hero instead of her platinum AmEx and her Mercedes Roadster.
But you know, that's still an interesting question. As authors, we constantly hear that we have to make our characters "sympathetic." As a reader, if you encounter a character you think is unsympathetic in the opening pages of a story, would you keep reading? If so, what about that character would keep you from putting the book down?
4. On your website, http://www.janegraves.com/ , you have a flash movie with one hunky hero. Is this your vision of John? And who made this movie for you?
I made the movie myself. I love playing with Macromedia Flash, so it's all kinds of fun to do these trailers. As far as the guy in the video being my vision of John, yeah. He is. Sort of. What you have to understand when you see these Flash trailers is that most of them draw images from the same few online sources that are cheap and royalty-free, which limits your choices. When I see book trailers and even e-book covers, I recognize a lot of the photos on them just because I've been through those royalty-free photo sites so often.
Also, since my hero is 42 years old, I couldn't have a guy who looked too young, which limited my choices. But all in all, he's got the right attitude--an alpha guy who's the boss, and don't you ever forget it!
Here's a sneak peek at an interactive Flash presentation I created for this book. It's not officially up yet--it'll be on the new website I have coming soon. But you can play with it now if you go to http://www.janegraves.com/hotwheelsbonus.htm and start clicking. You'll find all kinds of fun things!
5. This book is less suspenseful than your previous single title books. What made you decide to go this direction?
The original proposal for Hot Wheels and High Heels had a mystery thread in it, but it also had a lot of other elements, too. I had offers from two publishing houses. One wanted me to write it as a straight mystery, and the other wanted me to take the mystery element out and write it as a straight romantic comedy. Since the mystery stuff is just kind of a sideline for me and I'm not all that enamoured with dead bodies, I decided to go with writing it as a romantic comedy for Grand Central Publishing (formerly Warner Books).
6. This is your first book for Grand Central Publishing. Do you have any others coming out for them? If so, when can we look for that book, too?
Tall Tales and Wedding Veils will be out in June 2008. The hero is a sexy charmer who wakes up in Vegas--oops--married to an ultra-serious plain-Jane. But instead of getting the annulment they intended to, an unexpected series of events forces them to spend the next month pretending to be happy newlyweds. They're two people who couldn't be any more wrong for each other, or so they think...
7. You’ve written books for Harlequin/Silouhette under the name Jane Sullivan. Are there plans for more of those books, too?
Not right now. I absolutely adored writing for Temptation. When that died, I stayed in mourning for a while, then wrote a book for Next, and I did an novella for a Harlequin anthology. But to tell you the truth, right now there's not a line at Harlequin where I can really let the funny stuff rip the way I could at Temptation (and write hot at the same time!) so for the time being, I probably won't be writing for Harlequin. But I never say never!
So is there something you'd like to talk about? The effectiveness of video trailers as promo tools? The need for sympathetic characters? The upcoming RWA conference in my hometown of Dallas? Let's chat!
P.S. Jane is giving away a copy of her new release, "HOT WHEELS & HIGH HEELS" to one lucky visitor/commentor on the blog!