Welcome to Couch Convos with Lisa W. Tetting, where we delve into the world of Author Interviews. Lisa’s convos with all types of authors will feel like you’re sitting on the couch chatting along. Find out about up and coming authors, their books and the business of writing all in one place. So grab some tea and a snack & get ready for a good time. Today we welcome Best- selling, award-winning interracial romance author JJ Murray!
LL: Welcome to Couch Convos! Let’s get started. The Date is amazing! What inspired you to write it?
JJ: THE DATE is a departure for me because it’s not a typical HEA romance. I believe it is a more realistic view of what passes for romance in the new millennium.
LL: Why do you choose to write about interracial couples?
JJ: I have been writing interracial romance (BWWM) since I began courting my future wife in 1989. She inspired many of the heroines in my 38 novels.
LL: Your main character in The Date, William makes such a transition from push over to standing firm in his convictions. How did you come up with his personality and everything that came with it?
JJ: Like most of my heroes, William is not an alpha male. Though readers seem to prefer alphas in their romance novels, I believe they have a much better chance of meeting and snuggling up to a beta male in real life.
LL: How did you determine the places William would take Brittany to on their date?
JJ: I chose the “events” in their date based on what I thought would create the most fun and romance. Like all dates, some of what they do doesn’t quite work out.
LL: Who designs your book covers and how did you come up with the concept for them?
JJ: Zaji from Creative Ankh Designs; I provide the idea and the graphics, and she assembles the cover.
LL: Which social media platforms do you find most beneficial in getting the word out for your books?
JJ: Facebook and Instagram seem best for promoting my work.
LL: Tell us about your writing process. Do you need complete silence or do you work with music? Do you have a little drink while writing or is smoking your thing? Give us the skinny.
JJ: I keep a little spiral notebook with me at all times and write whenever and wherever I can—at work, while driving, at home. I transfer much of what I scratch down later to files in my laptop. I drink gallons of hot Irish tea and eat bags of pretzels mainly. (I don’t drink or smoke). Each of my novels has a soundtrack, and I include music (and food!) in every one.
LL: What does your writing nook look like? If you could make it into anything you wanted, what would that look like?
JJ: I write on an 1898 Campaign desk that has slots and shelves and a slide-out board for my laptop. I surround myself with pictures of my sons and have natural oils, watercolors, and lithographs on my walls. My dog, Lovie the Wonder Mutt (a 10-year-old boxer/Labrador), is usually at my feet.
LL: What was your editing process like?
JJ: When I was with Kensington Publishing, my agent, editor, and a copy editor hacked at my work. Now, only I edit my work, but I have a great deal of experience in editing after 33 years teaching college and high school English and editing 100+ novels, mostly from first-time authors.
LL: Please give other indie writers 3 tips/tricks that you learned and used during your writing career.
JJ: 1) Get it down on the page, and don’t expect perfection until much later. Spew. Vomit. Fill the page. Only then will you have anything to work with.
2) Make time to write and stick to a schedule.
3) Use pen and paper often. Writing is more visceral and real that way.
LL: Share one unique thing you’ve done to market your book?
JJ: I used to make ten dozen chocolate chip cookies for my signings. Folks like to eat and talk literature.
LL: Tell the readers the one resource you can’t live without as a writer?
JJ: In the old days, it was an old Roget’s thesaurus and a 1950 edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. Now, it’s the Internet, this generation electronic Library of Alexandria. I enjoy reading Yelp reviews!
LL: Do you use an outline when writing and do you stick to it?
JJ: I outline the entire novel first so I know how my book is going to end. It is general enough that I can deviate at will and go off on tangents.
LL: Will you be participating in any conferences this year? If so, which ones and when?
JJ: I will not be traveling any time soon. I exhausted myself last year with seven different events.
LL: What are you currently working on?
JJ: SOMEBODY TO LOVE. (I’d give you more information, but it’s a work-in-progress)
Well, that brings us to the close of another episode of Couch Convos. Be sure to check out The Date and the rest of JJ’s catalog. For more information about JJ Murray hit him up on his social media accounts.
Amazon Author Page: JJ Murray