Author Jeanette Watts has graciously agreed to submit to our Q&A before sharing her blurb and an excerpt of her latest release.
What is your greatest temptation:
In men: Shoulders. I love strong-looking shoulders. And brunettes. I have only had crushes on three blondes in my entire life: Michael York, Dirk Benedict, and this guy I knew in college.
[OOH, and I am the exact opposite. I love blonds!] says Linda
In food: Yes. I love food way too much. Donuts, chocolate, strawberries, pasta, mangoes, bread, it’s all a weakness. And my stomach doesn’t have a shut off valve, so if I sit there at a party I will just keep nibbling from the bowl of M&Ms in front of me.
In clothes: Jackets and sailor outfits. I own way, way too many jackets. There’s a cute one at the thrift store, it comes home with me. I get an idea in my head, I have made a winter coat that stops traffic, makes friends, and gets me out of parking tickets. Then my mother-in-law clued into my weakness, and she gets me a new, fun jacket every year for Christmas. As for sailor suits, it’s a summertime thing. I have so many outfits with a nautical theme, I could be my own Japanese anime show. I own a necklace and earrings that are little silver anchors, to go with all my sailor outfits.
And to top it all off, I do own a jacket that has a nautical look to it. Found it at one of those outlet malls. Didn’t need it, but of course when it tied into two fetishes at the same time, there was no way I was leaving without buying it. I even had a hat to match.
What is your greatest weakness (example: buying shoes)? Practical jokes. I will go to insane extremes for a practical joke. I flew to Madison Wisconsin one Christmas for a friend’s caroling party, just so I could casually walk in when I wasn’t expected. When I played Grace O’Malley, the Pirate Queen at the local Renaissance Festival, I played a joke on my “nemesis” the sheriff almost every day. One day I posted Wanted posters with his photo on them and a list of his misdemeanors. Another time I bought him from his wife. The poor guy must have lain awake at night wondering what I was going to do to him next.
My latest practical joke has upped the ante considerably. I convinced eight of my friends to help me construct 4 Swiss Guard uniforms, and one man’s Renaissance doublet and trunk hose and hat. It took about 9 months of sewing, and the men had put together pole arms, and my husband bought these amazing helmets, and we found nun’s costumes for the ladies on Amazon. When we had everything together, we went to the Tennessee Renaissance Festival and paid a visit to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth (played by a close friend of mine). Four guards marched in, guarding the emissary from the Pope, followed by all the nuns, and delivered a message to Queen Elizabeth from the Pope, telling her to repent and return to the true faith!
If you could have any kind of car, what would it be?
A convertible! I may be a redhead so I required a lot of sunscreen, but I love driving a convertible with the top down. My husband has a Mazda Miata, he lets me drive it sometimes. It’s ironic that my husband ended up with my dream car, but sadly I’m a pragmatic person who always owns a hatchback. You can’t haul Christmas trees and sound equipment and furniture in a convertible. I have put more things in the back of my car…I’m always a little astounded when I buy something that won’t fit.
Your dream home – mountains or ocean?
Both! If you haven’t been to Greece, I highly recommend it.
What inspired you to become a writer?
I’m a natural born storyteller. While I’m told most people hate writing, I love it. I get these characters that come into my head, and they just sort of take me over. The story is secondary to the characters. If you stay true to the characters, the story will tell you where to go. I never get writer’s block, I have trouble keeping up with my brain. It tells stories so much faster than my fingers can type, and then there’s that whole process of revising and revising until it’s “ripe.” I never let anyone read my writing until it’s been through several drafts. So many things change in the first several drafts!
Do you have a daily writing routine? If so, please share.
I would love a daily writing routine! Maybe when I finish moving to Charlotte, North Carolina, I can get settled into a daily routine. I’ve never had one before. I will go on week long writing retreats, or a weekend, or an extra day tagged onto the end of a trip when I hide in a pretty place with my laptop. But I’ve never had a regular schedule.
What is your favorite book?
Well, I usually say Gone With the Wind, but that’s becoming a hot button issue right now. I’m thoroughly and passionately a Yankee girl, I admire Margaret Mitchell’s writing immensely. She was a very nuanced writer. A lot of people miss the pro-abortion messages buried in the book…
My other favorite books are Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books, Shelby Foote’s series on the Civil War, and anything written by David McCullough.
What is your favorite movie?
Ouch. I have a Master’s Degree in Cinema-Television. There is no such thing as one favorite movie. I love silent movies, I guess my favorite is Douglas Fairbanks’ Mark of Zorro, 1920. My favorite director is Michael Curtiz, my favorite movie of his is Casablanca. My favorite actors are Errol Flynn and Jimmy Stewart, my favorite movies of theirs are The Adventures of Robin Hood (also directed by Michael Curtiz!) and Shop Around the Corner. My favorite living actor might be Hugh Jackman in Australia. My favorite foreign film is Amelie. My favorite science fiction movie is Star Wars.
Who is your favorite historical figure?
For men, Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman. I mentioned I’m a Yankee girl…? These two men had moxy beyond anyone else in their time. Grant was a guy who had failed a few times. He was fallible. He had a drinking problem. And when things got tough, he had no fear of failure. Other Union generals would lose a battle, and turn around and go home. Grant would win a battle, and press forward. He’d lose a battle, he’d march his men into a new position, and do battle again. He wasn’t there to win a battle. He was there to fight a war. He thought on a different scale. Sherman was his best friend, his second half, and he, too, saw the big picture. Sherman is the man who coined the phrase “War is hell.” He didn’t enjoy it, but he understood it. He was the one who understood that a war is fought by a society, not just by the soldiers holding the guns and carrying out the orders. He would have understood World War II, and in contrast, Vietnam.
My favorite women in history are Alva Vanderbilt and Eleanor Roosevelt. Both of them were amazing women. Alva Vanderbilt would have been a hell of an architect, had she chosen to go to architectural school. But she single-handedly changed the way the world saw America with one blowout party. And Eleanor Roosevelt? Do I have to say any more?
In your books, who is your favorite hero and please introduce him?
Hm… my new book Jane Austen Lied to Me doesn’t have a hero, per se. Or it has several. Depends on how you see it. If we count the book as having multiple heroes, I guess my favorites are Professor Jacobson and Lon.
Professor Jacobson is based on one of my friends from Graduate School. He’s a professor now, just qualified for tenure, I believe! The professor in my book is just like him: kind, gentle, has a nice sense of humor, is the sort of person who would be the first to help out in a crisis. The all-around best word for him is lovable.
Lon the Floor Nerd is smart, dependable, generous, and serious. I think he’s still looking for his sense of humor. We get hints at the end of the book that he’s been finding it over the course of the three years that the book takes place.
If you’re asking about my favorite hero from every book I’ve ever written, I’d go with Thomas from Wealth and Privilege. He’s far more flawed than these other two gentlemen. And the way he loves Regina, I would forgive him any and every fault he’s got.
Who is your favorite heroine and please introduce her?
The heroine of my new book is Lizzie Barrett. She is the all-American college girl. She’s smart, but can be dumb. Or you could say she’s dumb, but she can be smart. She’s generally a kind person. She’s going through all the teenage angst that is part of the stresses of trying to figure out who you really are. She’s boy crazy, but things never seem to go her way. She’s still very innocent, in a worldly sort of way. College is very complicated. I’ve seen plenty of adults smile indulgently at college students’ stress, but they don’t remember what it’s like to be 18. Somehow I’ve never forgotten.
New releases anytime soon?
Yes! Jane Austen Lied to Me is coming out at the end of this month! I’m available through Amazon, CreateSpace, and also through my webpage.
Where can eager fans find you?
My webpage is http://www.JeanetteWatts.com, the Facebook page for the book is https://www.facebook.com/Jane-Austen-Lied-to-Me-342613389485243/
What college girl doesn’t dream of meeting Mr. Darcy? Lizzie was certainly no exception. But when Darcy Fitzwilliam comes into her life, he turns out to be every bit as aggravating as Elizabeth Bennett’s Fitzwilliam Darcy. So what’s a modern girl to do?
Jeanette Watts’ satire pokes loving fun at Jane and all of us who worship the characters who shall forever be our romantic ideals.
This afternoon I got further confirmation that I’ve been seeing an awful lot of Michael. I was wandering back to the apartment, when Lon hailed me from one of the couches inside the lobby doors.
“I have a message for you from your boyfriend,” he said, kind of stiffly.
I looked at him stupidly for a moment. “My what?”
“Your boyfriend was here. He said his phone was dead, so he couldn’t call or text you to tell you that he can’t stick around for dinner tonight. He has a late meeting with a new client and he had to rush back to the office.”
I was still having trouble with the boyfriend thing. “Wait – do you mean Michael?”
“If that’s the guy you’ve been seeing the last couple of months,” Lon said with a shrug. “The one you’re always having dinner with.”
“He’s not my boyfriend,” I protested. “He’s an old friend of the family. We grew up together.”
Lon’s head was back at his computer screen. “Boyfriend, friend. The guy who kisses you goodnight all the time after he takes you out for dinner. He’s not coming tonight. I’ve delivered my message, that’s all I’ve got.”
Right then Allie walked up. “Hey, Lizzie! Waiting for Michael?”
“No, he’s not coming tonight.” I headed to the elevator with her.
“That’s a shame. I know how much you enjoy having dinner with him, even if he does aggravate you a lot.”
“Yeah. It’s kind of a love-hate relationship,” I agreed.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Jeanette Watts had been writing historic fiction when the inspiration for Jane Austen Lied to Me hit her on the drive home from the Jane Austen Festival. The idea was simply irresistible, and she put aside other writing projects in order to focus on writing a satire, thinking it would be a “mental vacation.” It turned out to take every bit as much research to write a modern story as it does to write a historical one.
She has written television commercials, marketing newspapers, stage melodramas, four screenplays, three novels, and a textbook on waltzing. When she isn’t writing, she teaches social ballroom dances, refinishes various parts of her house, and sews historical costumes and dance costumes for her Cancan troupe.
Jeanette Watts will be awarding a doll dressed in Regency clothing, handcrafted by the author (International Giveaway) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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