This week I would like to welcome the extremely talented Paty Jager, author of ‘Perfectly Good Nanny’, ‘Spirit of the Mountain’ and the ‘Petticoat’ series.
PJ – Thank you for having me today at Ink Drop. My name is Paty Jager. I’m an author of twelve books, a wife, mother, grandmother, and the one who cleans pens and delivers the hay. My husband and I currently ranch 350 acres after raising four children. We enjoy visiting with our grandchildren, pending time alone. My usual day consists of writing and taking care of daily chores or helping with the irrigating or haying.
I’m a member of RWA, EPIC and COWG national, state and local writing organizations. If you are a writer you need to be in contact with other writers to get the support you need in this career.
My contemporary Western, ‘Perfectly Good Nanny’, won the 2008 Eppie for Best Contemporary Romance and ‘Spirit of the Mountain’, a historical paranormal set among the Nez Perce, garnered 1st place in the paranormal category of the Lories Best Published Book Contest. I have historical and contemporary westerns, historical paranormal and soon contemporary action adventure and mystery books available.
IDI – Tell us, within your writing, what are you the most passionate about? What is it that keeps the fire burning?
PJ – I think I’m the most passionate about making believable characters that work toward finding themselves. Whether because they’ve had a rough life or because they’ve had a good life but haven’t had to push themselves to really truly figure out who they are. It’s not a blatant issue but one that is subtle that I hope the reader realizes by the end of the book. So molding new characters, or in the case of the two new series I’m starting, using the same characters and putting them in situations to make them grow with each book. And, of course a little sprinkling of humor along the way such as in real life shows the lighter side of characters and how they handle situations.
IDI – When did you have your Eureka moment? When did you know that you were born to be a writer?
PJ – At the time, I didn’t realize I was meant to write only that the words I wrote could have an impact. In high school English we were asked to pick a figure in history and write about them. I researched Joan of Arc and wrote a scene when she was being burned at the stake. The teacher read my story to the class. when she finished, there wasn’t a sound in the room. Not even the class clown said a thing. That’s when I realized the power of words and began working harder at learning the craft of writing. but it took many years later for me to have the time to fully pursue a career as a writer.
IDI – What are you working on now? Can we get a peek?
PJ – Right now I’m polishing up the first book of a four book series and will start the second book shortly. The series follows gifted anthropologist, Isabella Mumphrey, on a discovery of her roots and DEA agent, Tino Kosta’s journey from revenge to enlightenment. Here is a blurb for ‘Secrets of a Mayan Moon:
A child prodigy and now Doctor of Anthropology, Isabella Mumphrey, has always been a misfit. Deciphering a stone tablet is her ticket to recognition in anthropology circles and leads her to an undiscovered botched ceremony. BUT drug trafficking, artifact thieves and her infatuation for a guide-who has secrets of his own-play havoc with her scholarly intentions.
Tino Kosta, jaguar tracker and DEA agent, is out to avenge the deaths of his family, but the appearance of a beautiful, brainy anthropologist heats his Latin blood taking him on a detour. One that could make them both casualties of the jungle.
IDI – Are your stories plot or character driven?
PJ – Both. Sometimes I start with characters as is the case with Isabella and Tino above and then come up with the plot and then they both drive the story. Or sometimes I come up with the plot as I did with my EPPIE award-winning contemporary western, ‘Perfectly Good Nanny’. I heard on the radio about a child who ordered items from the internet with his mother’s credit card and she didn’t realize until the items arrived on their door step. Premise of ‘Perfectly Good Nanny’. A twelve-year-old girl tired of taking care of her two-year-old brother, with the help of a neighbor, uses her father’s credit card to order a nanny who arrives at their remote ranch and the father doesn’t have a clue why she’s there.
IDI – Something every writer is asked to the point of exhaustion – where do you get your ideas?
PJ - See answer above…lol. I get ideas from the radio, TV, when I’m researching for one book I may come across something that triggers an idea for another book. People I see conjure up ideas. I was at one of my daughter’s volleyball tournaments and another girl there caught my attention with her widow’s peak, nearly white hair, and heart-shaped face. She became the catalyst for one of my early heroines. Discussions with anyone can trigger a plot or character for a book. Ideas come from the world around me. I guess you figured out I have a very active imagination.
IDI – When people say ‘why do you write’, I reply ‘I’m either creative, or a pathological liar. I haven’t decided yet’, just for shock value. Actually, I think (in part) that writing is almost like being schizophrenic, but without the personalities coming out verbally. Seriously, we ‘become’ the people we write, at least for a time. We have to feel what they feel, think what they think, know what they know… so how can we not ‘be’ them? Agree? Disagree? What are your thoughts?
PJ – I agree, you have to put yourself into your characters in order to make them believable. I’ve had writers say their books play out in their heads like a movie. I’ve had that happen too. I like to listen to specific music when I write. For my historical paranormal spirit trilogy set among the Nes Perce, I listened to Native American music. the beat of the drums, the singing/wailing all pulled me into my characters and the life I was writing about. Same with the above action adventure set in Guatemala. I listened to Mayan music. I need to feel connected whole-heartedly to the characters, the setting, and the feelings I want to convey.
IDI - Who’s your target audience? What aspect of your writing do you feel targets that audience?
PJ – Anyone who likes a fun, fast, entertaining read and believable characters is my audience. I write action, emotion, mystery in every book no matter what the genre so unless the reader is a staid non-fiction or literary only reader, they should find something to like in any of my books. I do tend to put some hot love scenes in my books which make the men blush and the women give me a thumbs up. ;) If a character h as passion about other aspects in their life, when they find the right person for them, that passion is going to come through in their loving. People who live passionately, love passionately.
IDI – I couldn’t agree with you more!
I’ve heard arguments for each side, but when writing, do you outline or sketch the entire book before you feel comfortable enough to begin your draft or do you prefer to fly by the seat of your pants?
PJ – I fly by my Victoria’s Secrets and I’m a firm believer in knowing your character before you send them down a dangerous road. So, I’m a pantser. ;) I start with an idea or character and stew and brew the story and/or character in my head a while. Then, I start researching and writing bios on the characters and gathering information that will help with plot. Once I’ve determined the opening scene, a turning point or two and know the black moment, I start writing. I don’t make an outline or synopsis before I start writing, I just write keeping in mind the turning points and the ending.
IDI – I know I have ideas for stories that cross over the lines of my usual genre. Do you have any such ideas wandering around and if so, what’s your outlook of genre-crossing?
PJ – I’m starting a mystery series this year. To keep it in line with my usual writing, the heroine is half Native American and she’ll have dreams of her recently deceased full blood Native American grandmother who helps her see/solve crimes. I think you can cross genres if you stay universal in your theme, something that your readers come back to see in every one of your books. In my case, I like to see justice served and that’s usually the theme in my books. and, I have either a western or Native American theme to all of my books whether they’re historical, contemporary, romance, mystery, or action/adventure.
IDI – What is the book you have coming out this month?
PJ - Right now I’m sad and exhilarated. ‘Logger in Petticoats’, released this month in eBook, is the last book of the Halsey Series. After five books, this family has become my family and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the secondary characters pop up in some short stories down the road. The five Halsey brothers have found love and wives with unique occupations: ‘Marshal in Petticoats’, ‘Outlaw in Petticoats’, ‘Miner in Petticoats’, ‘Doctor in Petticoats’, ‘and finally, ‘Logger in Petticoats’.
Gil, Zeke, Ethan, Clay, and Hank are heroes that have entered my heart and I hope they captured the hearts of readers as they read about the brothers’ journey’s to love. These books are available at all eBook outlets.
Blurb for ‘Logger in Petticoats’:
Hank Halsey believes he’s found the perfect logging crew-complete with cooks-until he discovers Kelda Nielson would rather swing an axe than flip eggs. As he sets out to prove that women belong in the kitchen, he’s the one in danger of getting burned.
Strong and stubborn, Kelda Nielson grew up falling trees, and resents any man who believes she’s not capable, until Hank. He treats her like a lady and has her questioning what that means.
As Kelda and Hank’s attraction builds, she hires a cook so she can sneak out and work in the woods. but will her deceit ruin her chance at love or will hardheaded hank realize it’s more than his love that puts a sparkle in Kelda’s eye?
Kathy, thank you for having me here, it’s been fun answering your questions and telling everyone about my schizophrenic/genre-hopping books.
IDI – Paty, it was a pleasure having you and I have to say, I am very anxious to read your ‘Petticoat’ series!
You can find covers, blurbs and excerpts for all of Paty’s books at http://www.patyjager.net
You can learn more about Paty and her books at her blog: www.patyjager.blogspot.com
‘Follow’ on Twitter: @kathyreinhart
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‘Visit’ my (still pathetic) website: www.kathyreinhart.com
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Next week: J. F. Jenkins
Okay, as promised, each week I am going to include a link to a blog that I found either informative or just plain fun. This week’s thanks goes to: