Monday, September 14, 2009

Make-Believe Mondays with Jeanmarie Hamilton

Today on Make-Believe Mondays I'm pleased to introduce my AT2 Sister, Jeanmarie Hamilton.

Jeanmarie, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.

Jeanmarie: Debra, thank you for having me here today. I just finished working on back cover blurbs for MOONLIGHT DESPERADO. I received a contract last week from Siren-Bookstrand for the novella.

Moonlight Desperado takes place in central Texas after the Civil War has ended. The story was inspired by a family story about my great great grandmother who was told by raiders one night to bring out all her bedding for them to sleep on in her yard. She was alone at the time, her husband away on business. The next day they came back and demanded the money from the safe while threatening her at gunpoint. I changed the story, a little, and the characters. My hero is a werewolf, as are all the raiders in this story. I had fun writing it.

Debra: It's a joy to have you here! I get excited every time one of our sisters sells a book and is able to come do an interview. (Jeanmarie and I were the only ones in the contest with western historical romances which at the time people were saying were hard to sell. So I'm especially excited for her.)

How exciting to be able to bring your great great grandmothers story into your fiction in a way that a part of her can live on!

Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Jeanmarie: My characters help in that regard. After I've finished a story and sent it to a publisher, I think about the stories I have waiting to be written, and the characters let me know which one I want to write next. The characters with the strongest pull usually lure me to finish their story, unless an editor has asked for a different story. I also find my decision on which story to work on next is often made according to an editor's or publisher's story needs. Whichever, the characters and the story take over from there.

Debra: Things change once you have an editor. There's a bit more direction as to where to go with the next story. But ultimately the story must take over in order to come alive.

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?

Jeanmarie: My characters usually come to my mind already formed. The hero or heroine always has a problem to take care of, and they're emotionally involved in finding a solution. They voice their emotions in no uncertain words, and then their story evolves.

Debra: Sometimes quite loudly I'll bet.

Some very famous authors have played with language, creating words for people or places that no one has ever heard of. Have you ever played with words in that way and if so how?

Jeanmarie: I write western historical and contemporary stories. So my words center around the language of the times. Although I haven't come up with new words, I have spent hours researching for words the people in my stories would use. It takes hours for me to decide on the right names for my characters. I can't imagine how many hours it would take to come up with new words. Could be fun though.

Debra: Names are so important. Yes, creating new words can be fun. Even just a pet name for someone.

For some writers, dreams play a role in creating fiction. Has this been true for you? Have you ever dreamed a scene or an image that later wound up in one of your books?

Jeanmarie: I once dreamed an entire western story. It was quite a sweeping story. Then one day I was watching an afternoon movie, and it turned out to be the dream I'd had. I believe the old movie was the Jubilee Trail, which was originally a book! So I don't trust my dreams for new stories. Sometimes my characters will appear in my dreams and tell me the answer to a problem I'm having with some part of the story. That's always helpful.

Debra: I'll bet you were surprised. lol The movies we watch and the books we read can influence our writing so it's good to be careful.

As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?

Jeanmarie: My mom read us kids the Raggedy Ann books, and some fairy tale books. She also read the Oz books to us. When I started reading for myself, I started with the Oz stories, then the Little Women books, and finally fell in love with The Black Stallion and all the stories by Walter Farley. I have to say that I loved his stories the best.

Debra: Your mother made good choices of reading material. Bless all those mothers who read to their children every night. Who knows what budding authors are out there?

If there were no categories for books, no reader expectations to meet, and you could create the wildest work of imagination that you could think of what kind of story would that be?

Jeanmarie: I have to say that I'd probably write the historicals and shapeshifter stories I'm writing now. They incorporate things I love, horses, places I love, strong men and women, and mythical beings, shapeshifters.

Debra: Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction? Any other message for our readers?

Jeanmarie: I once heard Ray Bradbury speak at a writers conference. He talked about writing down his dreams immediately after rising from his bed. I have to be quick to do that because my dreams disappear fast when I'm awake. Another thing he said that still inspires me, is to write, and write what you enjoy writing. I've always been a bit of a rebel. What I enjoy about writing shapeshifters is the freedom it gives me to develop my characters and to break some genre rules, if needed, to define my alpha characters.

Debra: What a great experience to hear Ray speak. (Well you know I think he's awesome both as a writer and writing mentor to others.) Thank you for sharing his wisdom with us and for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

Jeanmarie: I've had a great time. Thanks for inviting me. If you'd like to visit my web site, here's the address:

Readers please visit Jeanmarie's website to learn more. Also, Jeanmarie is giving away a copy the anthology Northern Roses and Southern Belles which has one of her stories in it. There are 6 authors in the anthology from The Wild Rose Press and they are all members of the Scandalous Victorians.

Leave a comment to win a copy of the ebook!

I'll contact the winner next Monday.
Debra's News/Debra is watching:

My website has been added to and updated with a Twitter feed on the home page (I Twittered from Heather Grahams Writers for New Orleans on Labor Day weekend) as well as a section on the home page of my book signings and appearances.
I also have a section where you can sign up for my newsletter and I'm giving away a copy of the ebook version of A Desperate Journey to one lucky subscriber who signs up in the month of Sept.

I'm also writing as fast as my fingers can type in a write-a-thon called Unleash Your Story which raises funds for Cystic Fibrosis.

And this coming Saturday I'll be in Little Rock, AR at Words Worth Books signing A Desperate Journey from 3:00 to 5:00 pm. You can find a map on my website.

Till next time, have a beautiful week and keep reading!


Jeanmarie Hamilton said...

Thanks so much for having me on your Make Believe Mondays blog. It was lots of fun.

Isabel Roman said...

Great interview, Jeanmaire! I knew your family inspires your stories a lot, but it's always great to read more about them. Best of luck with your newest, Moonlight Desperado!

Oh, and no. I don't need to be entered into the contest. ;)

Kaitey Benoit said...


Great interview - I've learned so much more about you! I like the combo of family-inspired historicals mixed with the paranormal. It's a nice niche. :)

Susan Macatee said...

What a great interview, Jeanmarie! Every time I read my friends' interviews, I learn something new about them.

Best of luck with Moonlight Desparato!

And of course, you know not to enter me in the contest. LOL.

Jeanmarie Hamilton said...

Hi Isabel!
Thanks so much for coming by and for the good wishes for Moonlight Desperado. That's a fun story. :-)

Since you're one of the authors of the anthology Northern Roses and Southern Belles, I'll ask Debra not to add you to the drawing.

Have a great day!

Jeanmarie Hamilton said...

Hi Kaitey!
Great to see you here. Yes, I took some liberties with my great great grandmother's story. :-) The location of the story was also inspired by the area where she lived near the Medina River. As a writer you know that even locations can inspire a story. Thanks for dropping by.

Jeanmarie Hamilton said...

Hi Susan!
Thanks so much for coming by today. I'm glad you discovered something new about me you didn't already know. :-)
And since you too are a fellow author of the anthology, Northern Roses and Southern Belles, we'll leave you out of the drawing as you requested.
Great to see you. :-)

Laurel Bradley said...

I love the story behind the story. I can hardly wait to read this one.
Laurel Bradley

Diane M. Wylie said...

Hi, Jeanmarie,

I'm coming late to the blog, but I am seriously impressed that you got to hear Ray Bradberry speak! Wow! I loved some of his books as a kid. I am so glad that you kept writing Westerns no matter what anyone said. Your stories sound wonderful, and I love the covers.

Debra Parmley said...

Jeanmarie, thank you for the lovely interview and giveaway.

The lucky winner is Kaitey Benoit!
Email me at and we'll get your prize out to you.

Thank you to everyone for commenting! All comments are welcome early or late. The interviews always stay up and some people enjoy surfing the archives looking for their favorite author.



Jeanmarie Hamilton said...

Hi Laurel!
It's great to see you here. Yes, the story that inspired the story is gripping. One of these days maybe I'll write the family stories down. For now, they're great inspiration. :-)
Thanks for coming by!

Jeanmarie Hamilton said...

Hey Diane!
Hearing Ray Bradbury speak at a writers' conference in Tucson was a wonderfully inspiring experience. My daughter read lots of his stories and talked me into going with her. I had watched some of his stories filmed for TV. He was so friendly, my daughter has a prized photo of him with her standing beside him at the conference dinner. Maybe there are recordings out there of his talks. Thanks for your good words about my romance stories too! :-)