FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Could you provide a list of your titles?
The “Nice Girls” Series (in order)
“Nice Girls” Spin-Off Titles (in order)
THE DANGERS OF DATING A REBOUND VAMPIRE (coming in 2015)
The “Naked Werewolf” Series (in order)
The “Bluegrass” Series (in order)
Stand Alone Titles
Q. Are your books available as e-books?
A. Yes, each of my books are available for e-readers and are released on the day that the print version is released.
Q. Are your books available on audiobook?
A. Yes, each of my books is available as an audiobook from Audible.com. They are usually released on the same day as the print versions. They are narrated by the fabulous Amanda Ronconi.
Q. Have any of your books been optioned for TV or film?
A. No. None of my titles have been optioned for TV/film. Interested parties should contact Jacqueline Murphy at Fine Print Literary Management, 115 West 29th Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10001,
Q. Are your books available in other languages?
A. Yes. The Nice Girls books are available in French and German. The Naked Werewolf books are being translated into Thai and Bahasa.
Q. Do you have any advice for writers?
A. It sounds over-simplified, but my advice is usually, “Writers write.” But I think some new writers get caught in the trap of taking classes, joining writing groups, reading books on technique, and thinking, “Well, I’m a writer now.” Personally, I labored under this false sense of security while trying to get my first book published. I’d read all of these books on finding an agent and writing query letters, so naturally, I should be published! (That’s so not how it works.) Writers have to sit down every day and put words on paper. Taking classes and reading books are a valid use of your time, but you have to keep your focus on writing.
Q. When did you first become interested in writing?
A. When I was 8, I wrote a short story about taking a trip around the world with my class. We lost a kid in every city by some tragic means. (Falling in a canal in Venice, plummeting from the Tower of London) I sat down and typed it out on my mom’s old manual typewriter. Mom was concerned, but impressed.
Writing books was my dream, but I didn’t think I had a chance of making a living as a novelist. My freshman English teacher, Mr. Werner, asked us to write an introductory essay and I wrote a humorous rant about awkward dinner conversations with my dad. Mr. Werner compared my writing voice to Erma Bombeck and read my essay out loud to the class. That was my first clue that I had some talent for making people laugh. I started working for the high school newspaper when I was 15. That was my first taste of writing humor columns, which was what I preferred to news stories. My humor column voice eventually became Jane’s voice.
Q. How did you got about getting published?
A. After I finally finished a draft of the book I thought was acceptable, I went to a web site called AgentQuery.com. I narrowed down a list 75 or so agents that might be willing to represent my work and started sending query letters. I sent out ten at a time, and usually got ten rejections back pretty quickly, then sent ten more. Eventually, Stephany Evans of Fine Print Literary Management offered me representation. Just a few weeks later, she sold the book as a three-book series at auction to Pocket Books. This is not at all typical. It can take a writer years to sell a book, even with an agent. I am very grateful.
Q. Do you have any advice for writers regarding the query process?
A. Yes. Writing a good query letter is a science and almost more difficult than writing the book. I have written a blog post about the process here.
- Treat query letters as business correspondence, because that’s what they are. Have someone else review it for mistakes. No textspeak or slang or cutesy language. Include all of your contact information. If emailing, be sure to mark your e-mail something along the lines of “Query for Agent X” in the subject line.
- Follow the agency’s submission guidelines to the letter.
- Do not contact the agent by phone unless he or she has called you first. Don’t call to ask about their submission requirements. That information is usually provided on the agency’s web site.Don’t call to follow up on whether they got your query. Don’t call just because you want to see if he or she is the type of person you want to work with. Just don’t.
- When you get a rejection, do not respond to the rejection by asking if that agent can suggest another agency that might be interested in your work. They’ve said no. That’s their final word on the matter. If they wanted to recommend another agent to you, they would have included that in their response. (I was guilty of doing this a few times before a rejecting agent kindly informed me that one does not do that if one wants to be respected.)
- Sometimes a non-response is your response. If it has been months since you’ve queried an agent and they haven’t responded, that means they’ve said no. It’s better to move on an query another agent.
- It should be noted that I got dozens of rejections before I received any interest from an agent. In fact, I was still getting rejections from agents after my new agent, Stephany, sold the books to Pocket Books. You have to have a thick skin as a writer. Remember, rejection is not personal. It’s just business.
- When I speak at schools and book clubs about “Advice for Writers,” I do a whole subsection entitled, “Don’t Act Like A Lunatic.” That means no angry responses to rejections, no stalking the agents, no sending the rejecting agent a decapitated stuff animal. Publishing is a remarkably small world and word travels quickly. If you get a reputation for behaving badly, the people you want to work with will hear about it.
THE NICE GIRLS SERIES
Q. Will there be more Jane books after NICE GIRLS DON’T BITE THEIR NEIGHBORS?
A. There will be at least two spin-off books set in Jane’s hometown of Half-Moon Hollow. Jane and her friends will make appearances, but will not be the main characters. The first, THE CARE AND FEEDING OF STRAY VAMPIRES was released in 2012. A WITCH’S HANDBOOK TO KISSES AND CURSES will be released in June 2013.
Q. What is the order of the Half-Moon Hollow Spin-Offs?
A. The Half-Moon Hollow Spin-Off titles run in the following order:
1.5 Driving Mr. Dead
2.5 Undead Sublet (part of the Anthology) The Undead in My Bed
Q. Is Half-Moon Hollow based on your hometown of Paducah, Ky?
A. Yes and no. Half-Moon Hollow would be Paducah if you took all of the reasonable people out of town. If you are from western Kentucky or southern Illinois you will recognize several landmarks in the books.
Q. Is Jane’s mama based on your own mother?
A. No, I’m actually very close to my mom. She’s the source of my dry, quirky sense of humor and the reason that I write romance novels. Mom has always been an avid romance reader and when I was growing up, she had an enormous collection of romance books. I borrowed a lot of them and got hooked on the stories. My parents are a little baffled by my choice in careers, but incredibly proud and supportive. If you stand still long enough, my mom will eventually pitch my books to you.
Q. Will Dick and Andrea get their own full-length novel?
A . I hope to make an announcement about that soon.
Q. Will the identity of the mystery man who kissed Gigi in I’M DREAMING OF AN UNDEAD CHRISTMAS ever be revealed?
A . Yes, Gigi and her mystery guy will be featured in their own full-length novel, THE DANGERS OF DATING A REBOUND VAMPIRE. It will be available in print, ebook and audio in 2015.
THE NAKED WEREWOLF SERIES
Q. Will there be more Naked Werewolf books?
A. I do not know. It’s always possible that there will be spin-off titles to the series, similar to the Half-Moon Hollow novels.
Q. Are the Naked Werewolf covers designed by the same artist who drew the cover for AND ONE LAST THING?
A. Yes, they were drawn by incredibly talented Renata DiBiase.
THE BLUEGRASS SERIES
Q. What is the title of the second title in the Bluegrass series?
A. The second installment in the series will be called RHYTHM AND BLUEGRASS. My agent and editor and I arrived on that title so quickly that it actually frightened us. Usually it takes several steps and ab0ut a dozen emails. The book will feature Bonnie, the KTC’s resident historian as she tries to salvage a rundown music hall in fictional Mud Creek, Kentucky. She runs afoul of locals, including Mud Creek Mayor Will McBride, who planned to selling the music hall site to a manufacturer offering economy-saving jobs. As Will and Bonnie try to find a compromise they can both live with, an epic flirtation involving library books, long-lost love, and taxidermically preserved possums ensues. There is no official release date, but I will announce it soon.
Q. What is the title of the third Bluegrass book?
A. The third Bluegrass book is called SNOW FALLING ON BLUEGRASS. I can tell you that it will focus on Kelsey and Charlie. The whole KTC staff is sent to a lakeside lodge for a team-building retreat, only to be trapped there -without power -by one of the worst ice storms in the state’s history. Kelsey, who has nursed a wicked crush on Charlie for years, has been avoiding him and his steadily worsening attitude lately. Without escape or distractions, they’re forced to confront Kelsey’s feelings and Charlie’s issues – all while their coworkers slowly descend into madness Shining-style.
AND ONE LAST THING
Q: So what did your husband do to make you write a story about a woman who gets revenge against her cheating husband?
A: Actually, my husband, David, is pretty great. In fact, his general awesomeness and background as a police officer was the inspiration for Monroe, the sexy romantic lead. And he doesn’t even have a secretary.
If I was going to get revenge on a cheating partner, my plan would probably involve a tire iron, Super Glue and a bag of chicken feathers.
Q. Will you write a witty, hurtful newsletter about my ex?
A. No, because I would be sued. A lot.
Q. Will you help me come up with an insulting nickname for my ex?
A. Send me an e-mail, I’ll see what I can do.
Q: Will there be more books about Lacey and Monroe?
A: I am not entirely sure. Lacey and Monroe’s story is told, but maybe there could be more to say about Maya or Lacey’s lawyer, Samantha.