Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Bluebonnet Time in Texas

Photograph copyrighted 2013 by Dale Lewis
and used by permission

The wildflowers are popping out everywhere, and they are gorgeous with thick, vibrant colors.  Mixed in with the blues are the reds, yellows and purples.  The traveler takes in extensive vistas on the highways, but the real joy comes when one leaves the thoroughfare to wind through country lanes.  You’ll find windmills, barns, fences, and a cow or two.  These treasures are a photographer’s dream.

I’m featuring Texas author, Jayna Morrow Aspromonte.  This beautiful and talented lady writes under the name Jayna Morrow and is an author under contract for Prism Book Group.  She lives in East Texas, where at this time of the year, the Azalea’s make a splendid show. 
Jayna Morrow
Jayna and Gay at a  book signing.

I recently interviewed Jayna. 

Were you born in Texas?

Yes, born and raised in the East Texas Piney Woods. I’ve also done a stint in West Texas, where my father is from. East meets west for this gal. All of my novels are set in the Lone Star State.

Have you lived elsewhere?

I’ve never lived anywhere but Texas, but it’s been a privilege to visit Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Illinois, New Mexico, Colorado, Mississippi, and Tennessee. I’ve also stood in 4 states at the same time (Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona) at the Four Corners Monument.

What is your favorite season in Texas?

Hello flip flops! Summer for sure is my favorite season. Hot sun, warm lake water…not to mention a two month vacation. I teach elementary school.

How do your characters come to mind for your books?

It usually starts with a quirk or gesture and grows from there. People watching can be fun, too. There have been a few times I worked in reverse, starting with a unique plot and thinking about what kind of person would fit in that scenario. I’ll admit that characterization is the most fun part for me.

How do you plot your books?

I’m a heavy plotter, and over the years I’ve developed a multi-layer plan for plotting. I use three valuable resources: “First Draft in 30 Days” by Karen Weisner (my timeline), “Story Structure Architect” by Victoria Lynn Schmidt (my plot arches), and “45 Master Characters” by Victoria Lynn Schmidt (my character arches). I’ve got it down to a science.

How long does it take to write one?

Right now, I’m logging 6 months. My goal is 4 books a year, so I’ve got some room for improvement.

What is the hardest part of writing?

The hardest part of writing is finding time….er, making time. I have two daughters, a husband, a teaching career, and hobbies. It’s a balancing act for sure.

When did you start your writing career?

My writing career began in 6th grade when I asked for an electric typewriter for Christmas….and got one! Up to that point, I use an old-fashioned sticky key typewriter with a manual return. I sent copies of my manuscript (a collection of short stories titles Tall Stories and Short Tales) to the publishers of all my favorite books. Then, I promptly collected my first round of rejection letters. I will say that several attached handwritten words of encouragement, including Knopf.

Out of the books you’ve written, which one is your favorite?

In the Sweet Home series, HOLDEN is my favorite because it features a nerdy hero. I am such a nerd. He’s also ADHD with a tinkering habit. And he’s annoying. What’s not to love? As funny as this book is, it’s also has the most emotional depth.
(Holden is to be released in April, 2014)
Is there a new genre would you like to try next?

Definitely interested in romantic suspense. I already have a project in the works. I can’t wait. I love reading novels in this genre, so I’ve known for a while that I’d be writing it, too.

If you could speak another language what would it be?

Spanish. I love all the Hispanic culture we have in Texas. Overall, I’ve taken 8 years of Spanish classes and I still can’t speak it well at all. I read it almost fluently. I can understand a good bit – in context – if it’s spoken slowly. Rosetta Stone is on my bucket list. With it, I hope to completely learn Spanish. And now that I have an Italian husband, I plan on learning Italian as well.

If you had all the time and money in the world, what would you be doing?

I’d be traveling around the USA in an RV – visiting National parks, strange museums, all the restaurants featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and writing a book in every state.
I've read Garrett and Gabriel, they are excellent books, set in Sweet Home, Texas. Handsome brothers find romance with beautiful women.
The third book in the series will be released in April.


Follow me on Twitter @JaynaMorrow



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