Monday, 1 August 2011
STEPH: I don't know much about Last Resort. What's it about?
BJ: LAST RESORT is set in Bridal Wreath, a fictional town, and Key West, Florida. A woman vows to hide her heart so deeply in Christ that to find her, a man will have to find Him first, but will the true hidden treasures in God's Word be enough when she collides with Matt Allen? Faith is stalked and forced to search her conflicted heart. Will she be forced to use The Pink Lady? In a battle of love, loss, and jealousy, she strives to build a new life with peace and contentment, but Matt Allen has eyes like magnets she could get as lost in as unknown woods. Will he prove to be a helpmate or just another strawberry cull? She's pursued by an ex-fiancé, shattered dreams, an awesome God, and a cowboy farmer. There's only one place she can turn . . . .There's only one last resort.
Faith left the city to return to the country home where she grew up, but someone wants her to pack bags, not berries. A series of incidents take place to try to force her to leave. When she doesn't budge, arson, attempted murder, and murder kept the reader turning pages.
StepH: Where did you find the inspiration for it?
BJ: It started off as a sweet romance and turned into a book with several themes. There was a lot of controversy about guns in the news and gun control. At the same time, there were many incidents of private citizens who owned guns coming to the rescue. I thought about how I could show growth and change for my main character and thought I'd have her not wanting to own a gun and show her become stronger as she changed her attitude and learned to use one for all the right reasons, of course. Many women are stalked by former spouses and/or boyfriends, so I thought it'd make a good story. I was inspired to include Sunflower, my golden cocker spaniel, because I'm a dog lover and thought it'd appeal to pet lovers. I love reading books with pets included.
STEPH: How long did it take you to write?
BJ: It took me three years to complete, but not to write. I had the basic story the first eight months, but I kept going back and changing it, layering. I took my time on it since I was also taking writing courses at the same time and tried to apply some of the lessons to my novel as I worked on the WIP. The last year was spent with rewrites, editing, and layering. I could have written it sooner, but I spent time completing writing lessons during this time, and the first year I started it, I was still completing my Masters in Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction, and writing devotionals and shorter pieces of work. I had a Thanksgiving story I wrote published in the local newspaper during this time and a short story. I also have a number of devotionals published in one year's time.
STEPH: How important is setting to the novel?
BJ: The setting of a strawberry farm is important because the main characters earn their living as honest farmers. Key West, Florida, is important to the climax of the story.
STEPH: Did you have to do a lot of research for the novel?
BJ: Some for the hydroponic strawberries, but I went to a hydroponic berry farm and actually picked some. They were delicious. Some of the research came from watching the local news. Ideas came from it as well. I actually traveled to Key West several times while writing the novel, and I picked hydroponic strawberries twice.
STEPH: Hollywood just told you they want to make a movie of your novel. Cast the leads!
BJ: Nicholas Cage-ex
Faith- Jennifer Aniston
Matt- Toby Keith, but he has blue eyes. I can't think of a brown-eyed guy at the moment. Alan Jackson would make a great hero, too, but again, he has blue eyes, and my hero has brown ones.
STEPH: What do you want people to take away from the novel?
BJ: There are so many things I hope and pray readers glean from the reading of my novel: The importance of family and friends, love, faith, prayer and God, survival, gun safety, swimming safety, especially during the summer months, waiting for the right one and not settling, God's perfect timing, abuse, eating disorders, and nature, are apparent throughout the novel. The unconditional love a pet provides. The faith element is very important, since I hope my readers turn the last page knowing Jesus is their best friend and the simple things in life, family and friends are life's true hidden treasures. I also want them to know that they'll see their loved ones again in heaven, and Jesus shouldn't be a LAST RESORT, as He is Fred's. The faith element is strong and important, but the novel weaves a story with twists and turns, and the romantic suspense makes it a page-turner. It has the elements of romance, suspense, arson, attempted murder, murder, shattered dreams, fear, hope, faith, prayer, and love woven together to create a story I hope and pray will touch your heart in more ways than one. I hope my readers realize how short time really is and how a choice made in a few minutes can alter a life forever. The one main thing I want my readers to take away is that they are never alone. There is always someone to turn to, God, and Jesus can be their best friend. I want them to close the book and remember my characters, and I hope they find it thought-provoking, but an enjoyable read. Also, I placed a number of red herrings throughout the novel in hopes of keeping readers guessing and turning the pages, so I want them to feel the novel was a worthy read and not so easy to figure out by the end of the story.
STEPH: Are you a plotter or a panster?
BJ: Both. I started out as a panster, but I have spurts of both. I like to take a pen and paper and write for ten minutes in a notebook by the seat of my pants. It helps with deep thoughts and emotions. I can also sit down at the keyboard and know what I'm going to write about, a certain topic, and just start keying a rough draft. I let it cool and go back later and plan how I can improve it and rewrite, layer, and edit. In the beginning stages of a novel, I plan, but I'm not into elaborate outlines, and I like to be creative.
STEPH: What's your writing space like?
BJ: I have an L-shaped oak desk that overlooks a large backyard. An oak tree is right outside the window, and I can hear birds sing without even cracking my window. I also have a beautiful view of flowers, trees, and birds. I have a golden cocker spaniel and a golden retriever who are beside my feet on the floor by my desk. I love looking at water while I write, and I enjoy writing outdoors at times while I listen to birds and nature.
STEPH: Tell us a little about the state you live in.
BJ: I live in the Sunshine State and Lightening Capital of the World, Florida, and it's a contradiction. We usually get evening showers that quickly blow over with T-storms that suddenly arise in the summer. It's a tourist attraction due to all the theme parks. There are parts with beautiful beaches and water. One favorite place is Cedar Key and another is Key West. I love small town St. Cloud. I'm a small-town girl in my heart and always will be. I don't like fighting traffic. I love the country parts that are left to enjoy. I've visited all the theme parks and ridden all the roller coasters. We used to purchase season tickets. There's Disney, SeaWorld, and Busch Gardens, and so many other places to visit and things to do.