Jan Schliesman first sold to Harlequin in 2014. Her debut, Protecting His Brother’s Bride, is a May 2015 release. What she loves most about writing for Harlequin is the loyal readership each series has, which allows you to immediately recognize the style of book you like to read.
1. What book first got you hooked on Harlequin?
That is too many years ago for me to remember. Mid 1980’s and a Super Romance. I used to buy every one the bookstore had on the shelf.
2. How did you celebrate selling your first manuscript?
Franks and beans on the good China. Check out my FB author page for the full story.
3. What’s top of your TBR pile?
Atonement by BJ Daniels
4. What book do you wish you’d written and why?
I don’t wish I’d written any other books. Each author has a particular voice and style that lends itself to the story they are telling. I think a pre-published author’s biggest mistake is trying too hard to imitate their favourite author. Your voice is what ultimately sells a book.
5. What’s harder – first or last lines?
Last lines. I always have a great first line but have trouble saying good-bye to my story.
6. How do you choose your characters names?
I like unusual names and am always on the lookout for names that haven’t been used a gazillion times. There are several baby name sites online that are fun to scroll through. I’ve even pulled out my (adult) kids yearbooks from grade school to see what unusual names were popular twenty years ago.
7. How do you push through writer’s block?
Ugh. My issue with writer’s block is that something in the story is hanging me up. Since I’m not a plotter, I have the freedom to envision a scene and write it. I don’t write every page in order, and I’ve even written scenes that ultimately ended up in other stories. If I’m really stuck, I’ll grab a notebook and write down six things that could happen next in the story…then choose the seventh!
8. What’s the best career advice you’ve ever had?
You don’t need an agent to sell to Harlequin. Stop chasing someone to represent you and spend that time writing a better book and entering contests where the final round is judged by an editor you’d love to sell your book to.
9. Your preferred writing snack?
A three pound bag of Haribo Gummi Bears and Dasani
10. Who is your favourite fictional couple?
Seely Booth and Temperence Brennan from the TV show Bones.
11. If you could rewrite your life, what would you change?
I used to spend a lot of time wishing things could be different, or easier. But I think I needed to balance work, family and college so that I’d appreciate finally selling a book. It’s easier to write a story if you have some real world experience. I have lots of that now so I probably wouldn’t change anything.
12. What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
I was a police dispatcher for many years and I have a never-ending supply of stories about the crazy things people do in the middle of the night.
13. What is your most overused word?
14. If I wasn’t a romance author, I would have liked to be…
English Professor. I actually returned to college with that goal in mind but the literary world has a definite bias against romantic fiction.
15. When was the last time you said ‘I love you’?
This morning to Mr. Wonderful!
16. What does love feel like?
In the beginning, I think it’s the moment when you can’t stop thinking about another person. Replaying interactions in your head and wishing you’d said or done more to capture their attention. Love involves a lot of angst and eventually throwing caution to the wind and going after what you want. Love is also wanting the best for someone else, even when it means a sacrifice on your part. Love is based on more than physical attraction. Love is sticking around when it would be easier to run. Love is admitting you’ve made a mistake and asking for forgiveness.
17. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Getting my nails done every two weeks.
18. What’s your most romantic song?
I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston
19.Every hero needs a…
sense of humor, moral compass, a well-worn pair of blue jeans, a few friends who are always in his corner, and a heroine who pushes every one of his buttons.
There you have it! Another fabulous Interview with…! Don’t forget to check in on Sold! later today for a special writing challenge to get those creative sparks flying!