Monday, 1 August 2011

Author Spotlight -Q&A with Author BJ Robinson

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.


  1. Thanks for the wonderful interview, Steph. Blessings, BJ

  2. Wonderful interview! It was interesting to learn that you actually went to a hydroponic berry farm. I've read Last Resort and loved it! Blessings!!

  3. Thanks so much for stopping by, Rita. Yes, I really picked hydroponic berries twice, and hubby even bought a couple of the planters so we can really try some next year :) Blessings, BJ

  4. I learn something more about you each time I read an interview. Neat! I love that you camped on the gun theme. What a great idea! That intrigues me. It sure is something how much longer it takes to "complete" a novel after you've finished the story, isn't it? Blessings, BJ!

  5. Great interview. I can't wait to read Last Resort.

    I am also a huge animal lover and try to put an animal in the story if I possibly can.

  6. Naomi,
    Thanks for visiting, and I'm so glad you like the gun theme. Yes, you're not done by a long shot when you've finished writing the story :) Blessings, BJ

  7. Nike,
    I'm an animal lover, dogs and cats especially. I love reading novels with pets included. They're like part of our families and give us unconditional love. Thanks for visiting. I knew I could count on you. Blessings, BJ

  8. Great interview.

    I am almost finished reading Last Resort and it is a great story. I hope many more people read it.

    I am glad to see you would choose to cast Nicholas Cage as the ex. He is one of my favorite actors and I can see him fitting the role perfectly.

  9. Nicholas Cage is my least favorite actor of all time. It's cool you'd cast him as the bad guy. :) Toby Keith, hmmm? :)

  10. Very nice interview!

    I especially liked your comments about writing by the seat of your pants, and letting the topic cool a bit. That is how I write as well.

  11. Wendy,
    Thanks for stopping by. I happen to love Nicholas Cage as an actor, and he does have the prettiest blue eyes. I do think he would make a cool bad guy actor though in most shows he's cast as the good guy. He looks like one of those bad guys girls sometimes fall for :) So glad to hear you like Last Resort and thank you for buying it and being a paying customer for my first novel. I hope you'll get the one coming out in January as well. Blessings, BJ

  12. Michelle,
    I guess we have different tastes. I love movies with Nicholas. I couldn't think of any brown-eyed handsome men, actors, to use, so I put Toby Keith only because he had a cowboy image and wore a white cowboy hat at times :), but I think Alan Jackson is better. He has blue eyes, too, though. Thanks for taking the time to enter a comment. Blessings, BJ

  13. Just a Philomath,
    Yes, I started out writing my Natalie Goldberg's descriptions in her books and by the seat of my pants, but I can see the need to plan and plot to a certain extent. I like to use my timed writings to go deep though, and they serve to take me there. Thanks so much for visiting. Blessings, BJ

  14. Barb, I finally got to read your interview after being sick this week. This is awesome! I am so proud of you. I'm about half-way through Last Resort and I am loving it. I have to make myself put it down at night because I want to know what will happen next. I think we should dub you, "Queen of the page-turners"!

  15. Nan, thanks so much. That's one of the best compliments I've had. I'm so glad you love it and want to keep reading. Thank God you're better. Blessings, BJ