Tuesday, May 7, 2013

in the hotseat...Janet Chapman!

My guest today is NY Times bestselling author Janet Chapman!

Janet Chapman is the author of twenty contemporary and paranormal romance novels all set in the state of Maine, where she lives with her husband, surrounded by wildlife that she finds both entertaining and inspiring.  Best known for her Highlander Series (a family saga of twelfth century warriors rebuilding their clans in modern-day Maine) and her equally magical Spellbound Falls Series, Janet also has several contemporary novels set on the coast and in the mountains.  With over three million books printed in six languages, her stories regularly appear on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller’s lists.
            When she’s not writing, Janet and her husband are camping, hunting, fishing, and generally rubbing elbows with nature.

and now...I interview Janet!

R:  Meow, welcome to the blog, Janet
J:  Thanks, ROCCO!

R:  Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.
J: I’ve been an insatiable reader all of my life, and only wrote when absolutely forced to in high school and college—that is until age forty, when I suddenly got the urge to write a book!  So I sat down and wrote the story in my head, not having a clue what I was doing.  Then, after I enjoyed reading the book, I stuck it in the closet and wrote another one.  Did it several more times, then decided I might want to see if I could actually get published.  Six years and a few conferences later, I sold CHARMING THE HIGHLANDER—with the promise to write two more highlander books.  Haven’t been able to stop writing since!

R:  OK, your latest Spellbound Falls book, HEART OF A HERO, has a cat almost as gorgeous as myself on the cover! Tell us a bit about that series and that book.
J: After eight Highlanders of Pine Creek, I spun off that series to Midnight Bay, where I met this very magical wizard named Maximilian Oceanus, which I then brought to Spellbound Falls.  Needing to live near saltwater, Mac started rearranging the mountains and created an inland sea up in the northern Maine wilderness.  THE HEART OF A HERO is book four of this series, and Nicholas (no last name) is a mythical warrior from ancient Atlantis.  But being a practical-thinking Mainer myself, and despite the books having magical elements, the series is firmly anchored in modern time with ordinary people anyone can identify with.  The fun for me is watching these powerful magic-makers struggle with the universally human emotions that come with falling in love, having children, and being part of a community.
          As for the cat on the cover, try to picture a six-foot-seven, two-hundred-thirty pound mythical warrior being bossed around by a herd of six cats!
R:  Hey, I can picture that, meow!

R: Which of your many series was your favorite to write?
J:  I love my highlanders so much, apparently, that I’ve brought several of them to Spellbound Falls—because, hey, Maine is only so big and the magic is all connected.  Then again, I’ve enjoyed writing my straight contemporary romances as well.

R: Do you have a favorite character?
J:  Can I just say that I love men in general and all my heroes in particular?   That’s the fun of being a writer; I get to write these men the way I like them!

R:  You’ve also been part of an anthology. Do you prefer novels or short stories?
J: Definitely novels.  My time-travel novella, MAN FROM THE MOON in LADIES PREFER ROGUES felt more like a prologue for an entire series to me.  A twenty thousand word story needs just as much setup and background as an entire book in order for it to work, and I do have a tendency to populate my stories with several strong handsome men.

R:  Do you have an “how I got my agent” story you’d like to share?  How did you feel when you got the call your first novel had sold?
J: Networking at conferences proved quite helpful to me, and I was given my agent’s name from a friend.  The only problem was, this agent didn’t have email and I was told to call her (which is something aspiring authors are told never to do!).  I called, she asked to see the manuscript, and I was blown away when she called me three days later and said she would represent me.  She sold it—and two more highlander books—two weeks after that.  To put it mildly, I was shaking with fear; I didn’t have two more books, because of all the books in my closet, CHARMING THE HIGHLANDER was the only time-traveling, magical story I had ever written.  (I had mistakenly thought I was a contemporary author, yet here I am sitting down to pen my seventeenth magical—but still at its essence contemporary—book.)

R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?
J:  Oh my!  I must have absolute silence when I’m writing.  And I can only write at my desk, on my keyboard, in my space.  I have a studio across the street from my home, and nobody dares come knocking.  It sits right on the lake, but I have all the blinds pulled, because I am very easily distracted.

R: If you had access to a time machine, which historical moment would you travel to and why?
J: The romantic me would travel to any time when life was simpler and the landscape unaltered, but the practical-thinking me wants electricity and indoor plumbing.  And I really love my iPhone and being able to Facetime.

R:  If a movie were to be made of one of your books, which one would you want it to be and who would you pick for the lead roles?
J: They all feel like movies to me already, but I would especially love to see Spellbound Falls made into a movie—likely because I would love to see those mountains move and whales breaching on my inland sea.  For Mac’s role, I wouldn’t mind having … oh, so many great guys to choose from!  But honestly?  I don’t over-describe my characters in my books, because everyone has a different image of their perfect hero and I don’t want to ruin it for them.

R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
J: Hmm…  Well, I’ve never been a rocket scientist or a trauma surgeon, but I do all those things my characters do when it comes to living in Maine.  I hunt, fish (winter and summer), sail, drive a large SUV (we have to share the road with logging trucks), and camp.  And I definitely love my woodstove.

R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done? 
J: Honestly?  Write a book!  Until the age of forty, it wasn’t even on my radar.  Going to a Romance Writers of America conference in New York City to see how one goes about getting published was way outside my comfort zone.  Otherwise, I’m a fairly quiet, boring person.

R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
J: Every author wants to tug on people’s heartstrings and make them laugh at, cry over, and get at least a little angry with their characters.  For me personally, I’m hoping to get my readers to believe that the magic really is happening all around us all the time.
R: What are you working on at the moment / next?
J: I just turned in book five of my Spellbound Falls series: FOR THE LOVE OF MAGIC (September 2013), and am now writing book six.  And then I really must write the third book in my contemporary Sinclair Brothers trilogy, because I have finally found just the right woman for Jesse Sinclair.
R: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
J: Definitely a panster.  I write like a reader; I have no idea what’s going to happen next—sometimes not even in the next scene!  (I tried plotting out a book once, but since I had it all worked out, I had no desire to actually write it.  So I threw away the cards and let the characters tell me their story.)
R: Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
J:  Sit in the chair and write.  Don’t worry that you don’t know what you’re doing; if you have a story in your head, then simply tell it.  I still don’t know an adjective from an adverb (please don’t tell my editor!).  Books cannot be written by committee.  Don’t be tempted to show your first three wonderful chapters to all your friends, because they will make suggestions on how to proceed based on what’s in their heads.  No one ever sees my story until it is a fully completed thought in my head, and before I am happy with it. 

You are a reader first and a writer second, so if you read what you’ve written and like it, then you’ve done it right.  Nobody knows what you’re trying to say better than you do.  I’ve seen so many beginning writers spend endless hours trying to please everyone in their audience that they end up with a big fat mess.  Trust yourself.  Please yourself.  Write a story that you enjoy reading.

Believe me; others will like it, too!   

Just for Fun: Campfires with friends.
Night or Day? Love to get up at 3:00 am and write!
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully) I like cats that love to boss dogs around. J
Beach or Pool? My lakefront beach.  
Steak or salad? Yes.
Favorite Drink? Spring (one we find in the woods) or my well water. 
Favorite Book? If it’s a romance, I love it! I simply refuse to read tear-jerkers.
Favorite TV Series? Big Bang theory.
Favorite Movie? Again, any romance. 
Favorite Actor: Pretty partial to Harrison Ford.
Favorite Actress: Like Wynona Judd. Adored Katherine Hepburn (on or off screen).
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada?  How about Gin and lemonade?
Hawaii or Alaska? Definitely Alaska.  Gotta go there soon!
Finish this sentence:  If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be Leonardo de Vinci.
If I had just one wish, it would be that everyone would celebrate one another’s differences rather than fear them.
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be—pretty happy just being me. J

Folks, here are all the places you can find out about Janet and her books:
Website: JanetChapman.com
On Facebook: Janet Chapman (For Her Readers)
On Twitter: @JanetWrites

Now for our giveaway!

Janet will send a copy of THE HEART OF A HERO to the one lucky winner who promises to read it out loud to her cat. (Or to a dog, if only to make it jealous!)

To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your name and email address (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:

* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link:
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link:
* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)

Winner will be chosen at random using random.org.  Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck! Open to US residents only, contest closes midnight, May 12.
the winner of our Leann Sweeney giveaway is: Barbara Thompson! Watch for an email from Leann to claim your prize!

Coming up:
May 13: Geoff Rodkey
May 17: Fern Michaels
May 21: Maggie Shayne
May 28:  Linda O. Johnston





  1. Great giveaway and Interview ROCCO. I promise to read The Heart of a Hero to Janet's cat lol.

  2. I will definitely read The Heart of a Hero to both of my cats, they love it when I do that. :D

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com
    GFC: Barbara E.

  3. I do LOVE Janet's books. She had me hooked at Charming the Highlander; although Only With a Highlander is my favorite! I also love the Puffin Harbor short series too! I don't have a cat, but I can read The Heart of Hero to my dog. She probably will just look at me with one eye open, then close both eyes and go back to sleep. :)



  4. Absolutely adore Janet's books! Seriously in love with every highlander she has told us about. ;) I do have a cat AND a dog I will promise to read the book to!! I can't promise that they will sit and listen. Silly pets.
    farmygirl at hotmail dot com
    FB follower
    Twitter follower
    Blog follower
    Cat lover, lol

  5. I'm sorry I am late to the party here;I read about Janet before,(here?) and it sounded interesting but I have to admit, 'hearing' her in this interview really makes me want to read this.
    I love the idea of not over-describing and leaving others to fill in their preferred details! And the hero surrounded by cats,of course!
    AND the story of your late and fortunate start,Good for you,Janet![I agree about history...where would I be, what would I do without the Web?(I'd miss Janet and Rocco and the Human]
    Follower, Friend, will share of FB.