5Q :: Author goes from children’s books to romanceJean Joachim is a flexible creature. The author switched gears stylistically, going from writing children’s books to steamy romances.
Jean Joachim is a flexible creature. Not only has the author switched gears stylistically, going from writing children’s books to steamy romances, but she crafted the adults-only “Now and Forever” series while living in the city that never sleeps with her two sons, husband, and Homer, the family’s rescued pug.
Curious about this monumental juggling act, we asked a few questions of the New York author:
Budgeteer: What is “Now and Forever” all about? And what kind of readers do you think will react most strongly to its content?
“Now and Forever” is about a beautiful, lonely young woman who has had a life of heartache, losing her parents at 16 and her fiancé in Iraq at 24. But she’s plucky and determined to make a life for herself. So she heads to upstate New York to attend graduate school. There she meets a handsome young dean who was married but is now divorced and only sees his adorable toddler son on weekends. He’s smart and accomplished but lonely.
It’s almost love at first sight. Both feel a strong attraction, but they are afraid. Finally, they get together and become quickly embroiled in a sting operation to uncover a drug ring on campus. While Mac and Callie — our hero and heroine — are devoted to each other, tragedy strikes when Mac’s ex takes his son for good and the drug ring tries to kill Callie.
… It is really a story about love and trust between a man and a woman that I think will appeal mostly to women. It is terribly sad in places, funny at times and highly romantic.
The new book seems like quite a departure from everything else you’ve published — what inspired its story?
Funny you should ask. One day I was minding my own business when Mac and Callie landed in my head. They wouldn’t leave me alone until I told their story. So I sat down at my computer and listened to them tell and show me their lives.
Truly the story just came into my head and I fell so madly in love with my characters that I had to write their story. I was at the computer eight to 10 hours a day for weeks and weeks so that I wouldn’t miss a thing. I have pages and pages of back-story that never made it into the book, just stuff I needed to know so I could understand them.
On a related note, was the process of writing “Now and Forever” similar to your non-fiction and kids’ pieces, or did it take more work and concentration? In other words, were you able to find your groove right away?
Yes, I did find my groove right away. “Now and Forever” is much different than anything else I’ve done. Although it did require some research, especially about guns, it didn’t require as much as my non-fiction works.
Although I’m probably a much better non-fiction writer than fiction, as I have been doing it so much longer. The outlining and organization of non-fiction comes fairly naturally to me at this point.
As for “Now and Forever,” I was completely obsessed with the story and the characters, though, and I spent countless hours writing, reading, re-reading and re-writing until I felt that I had captured the emotion and the characters.
Sometimes I would be sobbing at the computer and sometimes laughing.
The story came alive for me, and I hope it does for my readers.
Now that “Now and Forever” is finished up, do you think you’ll return to your former genres, or do you want to write more love stories?
Yes, to new love stories! I’ve almost finished editing the second book, “Now and Forever Again: The Book of Danny” and am beginning the third book, “Now and Forever After: Blind Love.”
I just couldn’t bear to part with my characters, so I got the call from a minor character from the first book, an Iraq war vet with post-traumatic stress disorder, and wrote the second book about him, his redemption and his search for a better life teaching at Kensington State University. The third book is also about a minor character from the first book, but Mac and Callie are still central figures in both the second and third book.
Then I want to write a traditional romance book and, after that, perhaps a book on dog rescue — going back to my non-fiction roots.
Although, I’m so in love with the romance genre, I doubt I’ll be able to give it up. Who doesn’t love love and a happy ending?
Finally, considering how much you write, do you have much time to read? Who are some of your favorite authors?
Reading is my passion, next to writing. I make time to read. I think the greatest romance novelist of all time is Jane Austen. She has brought me to tears many times reading her realistic but moving stories. I am also a huge mystery fan and have read Sue Grafton, Ed McBain, Harlan Coben, James Patterson and countless other mystery writers. I am now a fan of romances but have not defined my favorite romance authors of modern times yet.
NEWS TO USE
To learn more about Jean Joachim, visit www.nowandforeverbooks.com or www.kidstuffandstories.com.