Monday, March 4, 2019

Interview with historical romance author Jean M. Grant

Novelist Jean M. Grant is here today and we’re chatting about her new historical romance with a paranormal twist, A Hundred Breaths.

During her virtual book tour, Jean will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Jean’s background is in science and she draws from her interests in history, nature, and her family for inspiration. She writes historical and contemporary romances and women’s fiction. She also writes articles for family-oriented travel magazines. When she’s not writing or chasing children, she enjoys tending to her flower gardens, hiking, and doing just about anything in the outdoors.

Please share a little bit about your current release.
After finishing my first book (A Hundred Kisses), I was compelled to write the story of Deirdre’s parents, Simon and Gwyn, and thus the prequel came to life (never fear, the sequel, and third book in the trilogy is being written). This story came forth in a rush…apparently, my hero and heroine really wanted their story told, too! After setting up the 13th century Scottish world in the first book, it was relatively easy to start putting the pieces together of the isles’ Ancients, a mystical culture from which Gwyn hailed. Gwyn is a Healer with great abilities to save lives, at the detriment of her own. Enter in a Norse culture intent on exploiting the Ancients’ powers and dominating the Scots. Simon is a Scotsman with deep emotional wounds and is hellbent on revenge against the Norse. This brings us to the Simon and Gwyn’s journey: can she heal his heart…with her last breath? Can they outwit her madman father and Norse betrothed? Will Simon die on the battlefield as Gwyn’s Seer sister has foreseen?

What inspired you to write this book?
My first book inspired this one. Originally set to be a standalone, that now published book will be the middle of this trilogy. If we go back to how I got the ball rolling on that book…well, I love Scotland. Everything about it. I’ve also been drawn to historical romances, especially medieval. When I first started writing years ago, I wrote a few (non-published, and as I like to call “practice”) novels in the 12th century. When it came to this “hundred” series, I decided to jump ahead a century. Lo and behold, I found myself entrenched in a rich part of Scottish-English-Norse history. A vacation to Scotland for research several years ago sealed the deal for me. I was in love. During the critiquing phase of those practice novels, I was advised to add some twists, and from there came the idea of this culture of Ancients with mystical powers. Loosely based on Scottish lore, I took the reins and have been happy with the series that has unfolded!

Excerpt from A Hundred Breaths:
She breathed two deep life-giving breaths.

Pull breath from my body.
Heal this man with my own breath.

A thermal life filled her fingertips as she clasped the Healer’s stone in her pocket. For something small, water was not necessary. However, if left unattended, it
could and would kill.

The man faltered but didn’t move from her light grasp. Wind rustled her hair as Eir surrounded her. Unlike her mother, she never plaited it for healing. She liked to feel Eir’s fingers upon her and the fiery rush of healing as it flowed through her arms to the injured person, as the wind lifted her hair, announcing its presence.

“What the—?” He drew in a sharp breath.

She mouthed the rest of the chant, invoking the goddess’s power. She moved closer to him, their bodies an intimate—and stirring—distance apart. His nearness captured her breath, and not just from the healing.

“What are you doing?” His words said one thing while his body said another. He didn’t step away. His breathing hitched and then steadied.

“It’s not the devil’s works,” she clipped.

“Then what in the devil are you saying? That’s not Norse.”

She ignored him. He placed a gentle, nearly sedated hand on her free arm in protest, but he did nothing. Her healing had a way of stunning and spellbinding her charges. It was working.

A long moment passed. She opened her eyes and stepped back, releasing her hold. He let go of her other arm and immediately reached to touch the wound. Her stomach twisted as she broke from the enchantment. This was her father’s enemy, a murderer. Finished with her prayer, she stepped away, hit with coldness.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m writing the third book in the “hundred” trilogy! Also, I have two other books set to release this spring. One is a contemporary romance novella, part of the Deerbourne Inn series put out by The Wild Rose Press, and the other is a contemporary women’s fiction novel. On the backburner, because I always have ideas churning, is another contemporary romance and an edgy, dark mainstream novel.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Good question. As I was pursuing publication, I decided to also “write what I know” and submit work to travel magazines. When that first article came out three years ago, and subsequently that year when I signed my first book contract, I felt I could finally call myself an author/writer. However, I’ve been honing the craft and learning the industry for over two decades now. And if I go farther back, I enjoyed writing poetry in my teens, and even wrote a mini-novel that is lost in a box in my basement somewhere.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
My background is in science (specifically, Marine Science and Biology in undergrad, and Microbiology and Immunology in grad). After several years in the science field as researcher and contractor, I stayed home for a few years while my children were younger. When they got more independent and school-aged, I worked part time as a church education director. During those years I wrote in all the nooks and crannies I could find. I like to incorporate my love of science, nature, travel, history, and parenting into my fiction and non-fiction work. Last year I took the leap to pursue my writing profession full-time. It’s been quite the journey! I tend to write throughout the day while managing other life tasks, and I enjoy chatting with the #5amwritersclub on Twitter. Morning and day are my peak productivity times.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My obsession with red pens and pink Post-its. Followed closely by my “word purges.” I have a love-hate relationship with them but I feel so much better after whittling down my word purge list in polishing the manuscript.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
My first love was art. My mother was an artist and my inspiration. I would also help my elementary school art teacher with organizing the classroom or hanging up art for the art shows. My mother also loved poetry. I got my creative side from her. Then in my teens I showed an interest in science, especially sharks, and even though words and art remained on my mind, I ultimately took that career route. During college, I wrote my first (practice) novel and fell in love with microbes, and that was a good thing, because I get seasick! Twenty years later, I am now a full-time author with an arsenal of scientific knowledge and writing practice. Though, do we ever feel equipped enough? Even now, I am still learning more about the craft and publication world, especially the marketing/promotion front.

Social Media links:

Buy links:
Amazon | The Wild Rose Press | Barnes and Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play

Thank you for being a guest on my blog!
Thanks for hosting me!


zahid said...

Great!! keep up the good work!! lets stay in touch! We present to you the best marketing blogs.
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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Jean M. Grant said...

Thanks for hosting me today! I'll stop back to answer any questions. :)

Rita Wray said...

Sounds like a good book.

Cali W. said...

Thanks for the giveaway; I like the excerpt and the cover. :)

Jean M. Grant said...

Thank you for stopping by!

Bernie Wallace said...

How many hours do you spend working a week? I hope your book is a success. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

Bernie Wallace said...

Have you been formally trained as a writer? Congrats on the release. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

Angela Saver said...

This sounds like a great historical fiction!