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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Interview With Autumn Jordon

Please welcome the talented Autumn Jordon, here to talk about her Golden Heart finalist book just released by The Wild Rose Press.

Autumn, tell us about Evil's Witness. Where did the idea come from?


First, Kaylea, thank you for inviting me here today. I’m thrilled.

The idea for Evil’s Witness came about because of an incident that occurred at my family’s trucking company. Tractor trailers are high-jacked more often than you might imagine, and we’d hauled loads of currency for the U.S. Treasury. I simply put the two together and then thought what would happen if the robbery was witnessed by a small town woman. If the heists were conducted by the mafia, how would she get away from them, save her children? Where would she hide?

Excerpt of Evil’s Witness:
Rapid gunfire and cries pelted the air, coming closer. Stephanie didn’t look back. She had to escape. She had to live for Bobby’s and Em’s sake.


What sort of research did you have to do for the book?

I already knew about the trucking industry so the basis of the plot was a no-brainer. I’m also from a small town, so it was the setting and many other elements was at hand. I did however interview local and state police concerning their parts in working with other law enforcement agencies. I also interviewed an FBI agent concerning his job and the witness protection program. He also confirmed a plot point of the story to actually have had happened within his own agency. To make contacts, all you need to do is pick up the phone and say I’m a writer. Would you mind answering a few questions? You’ll be surprised how easy it is.

A bit of advice however, have your questions written down with the most important ones first. You are taking up the interviewees time and you don’t how much of it you will have.

Excerpt of Evil’s Witness:
Bean counter. Morse’s words haunted Randall, along with the memory of the dead Sheriff’s stare.
The phone he held rang relentlessly.
No answer. Randall hit the off button and slammed the phone down. Like a wild beast, he paced his office, waiting to be executed.


How did you find out about TWRP?

One of my critique partners is also published by TWRP. In fact, while brainstorming for another Wayback story for her to write, Sylvie suggested I write one. I did in two months. Obsessed By Wildfire. The story has done very well for me.

Excerpt of Evil’s Witness:
…she scanned the cars. Had he been in the backseat of one of them? Had one of the local girls already run him down and claimed him?
“So what do you have in mind with that whip?” He broke her musing.
“Whip?” She’d forgotten she still had it in her grasp, and the reason why.


When did you start writing novels and how many books had you completed before EW?

I’m by no means an over-night success. In fact, I had a long road to publication. I started to seriously study the craft in 1997 while going through a divorce. I decided it was time to work on my dream. I finished my first novel two years later. Before EW, I wrote three other novels. I recently had a request to revise and resubmit my first novel. I’ll be working on doing so this summer.

What was it like when you were notified that you were a Golden Heart finalist?

Totally unexpected and totally awesome. Would you like to hear the whole story? I’ll never forget the moment. Here’s how it went down:

March 25, 2009 9:02 A.M I’m late for work. Well, not really. I work for my family’s business. I don’t punch a time clock. I’m on call 24/7/365, but I’m usually in the office by 8:55 A.M. However, the night before my Irish Setter’s stomach decided it didn’t like what he ate and took its revenge out on the living room carpet. It was March. We’re in the Northeast, heating oil was still high, so opening windows was not a option.
The phone rings.
With my curling iron tangled in my hair, I scrabbled for the phone. “Yes.”
“Good morning. I’m calling for, Autumn Jordon.”
Oh, God. Just what I need. A telemarketer. Deep breath. She’s only doing her job. Be nice. I conjured up my own customer service voice and said, “I’m she. How can I help you?”
“This is so and so…”
I’m really not listening anymore because, one, I’m just waiting for the opportunity to respond, “Oh gosh, you should’ve called me last week. My husband just bought me one. Or I already gave to this organization. A Horace Grainger called. Do you know Horace?” And two, I’m trying to get my curling iron out of my hair. And three, I’m giving my dog the evil eye because he’s now lying on our bed.
“... from Romance Writers of America.”
Okay. This is where she got my attention. The date. It’s March 25th. The Golden Heart calls go out. Holy sh*#! “No, way!”
Laughter from Ms. RWA representative. (To this day, I don’t recall the name of the woman who called me. I wish she’d identify herself to me so I could thank her in non-babble gibberish) “You are a 2009 Golden Heart Finalist. Are you planning to come to Washington D.C.?”
“Are you kidding? I’m packing tonight.”
And so it began…

I love that story! And now that you're an acclaimed author, what advice would you give aspiring romantic suspense authors in terms of plotting and pacing in that genre?

I’m not much of a plotter. I write by the seat of my pants. But I will caution writers to watch for plot holes. What are plot holes? Questions that are raised and never answered. Or, characters who disappear without an exit.

As far as pacing, most of a RS novel needs to be fast paced. I say most because you do need those sequels that let your reader’s heart rest.

You can speed up the pace in a number of ways; by using only small amounts of internal dialogue, very trim dialogue, active nouns and verbs that show without explanation and short, choppy sentences.

Excerpt of Evil’s Witness:
“I have to make arrangements to get Ms. Boyd and her children to a safe house.”
“You think they’ll come after her and the kids?”
“Wouldn’t you?”
Ben pulled the cigar from his mouth. “If my life depended on it.”
“Theirs does.”
“Sweet.”
“Yeah. Let’s see if you still feel the same way when you come face to face with them.”
“Then I’m on your team?”
“Is there a way I can stop you?”
“Hell no.”


What things can an author do to accurately/vividly write their hero's POV?

I actually ask them to lunch or coffee and interview them. Listening to their voices, I make note of their unique speech patterns and what type of words they use. Then when I write I use first person POV. Really get into the character’s frame of mind. After a scene is complete, I’ll go back and tweak it in third person and add layers of the characters’ traits and mannerisms.

How do you create your characters?

Before I write a word of a new book, I’ll scan my character picture file. I’m always on the lookout for interesting faces. I’ve bought magazines just for the pictures of certain models. This was the case with the hero in my first novel. I’ll never forget the moment I found Clay. We were in an ice cream parlor in State College, PA. I was in love at first sight. I might tweak the picture with a scar, a mole, or even a disability. So, before I start, I have a great visual of my characters. Then, as I stated above, I interview them and learn their GMC, voice, etc.

What advice can you give us about dialogue?

Read only your dialogue out loud when reviewing. Does it sound natural or stilted? Make each character’s voice unique. Listen to them.

That's a great tip. What advice would you give new authors about writing or the publishing industry?

Read. Study. Write every day. Remember you can learn something from everyone.

What's next for you and what are you working on now?

I’ve just finished my next romantic suspense. Readers are reviewing it. And I have two others started.

Where can readers find you?

You can each me through my website I also have a blog And, I’m on Facebook, Myspace and Twitter.

Once again thank you for hosting me today.

You're welcome, Autumn! You're a great interview :)

(No part of this interview may be used without the express permission of the author Autumn Jordon.)

18 comments:

Judy said...

Hi,

I really enjoyed the interview. I love finding out about the author and how they write, among many other things. Evil's Witness looks like a great read. I have not read anything by Autumn Jordan, but I love finding authors also that I have not read. I try to read at least one or two books to find out if I want to follow.

Autumn Jordon said...

Judy, Thanks for stopping by. I love finding new voices too. And when I do, I snatch up everything they've wriiten. I hope you enjoy Evil's Witness.

Kaylea Cross said...

Hi Judy and Autumn. I do the same thing, and once I find an author I like, usually I buy their backlist.

Jill James said...

Loved the interview and the GH story. Congratulations on all your success.

Autumn Jordon said...

Thanks, Jill and Kaylea for hosting me here today.

It seems the first day of summer has everyone outside away from their computers. Can't say I blame them.

Lilly Gayle said...

Autumn,
Evil's Witness sounds like a great read. I'm going to put this on my must read list!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Autumn,
Evil Witness, what an evocative title for a book? I am already intriqued before I even read the blurb.
Best of luck.

Margaret

Kaylea Cross said...

Hi Lily and Margaret :) I forgot it was the first day of summer...sun just came out here in Vancouver about an hour ago, so now I guess it's official!

Autumn Jordon said...

Thanks, Lilly. It's great to see you here. I hope you enjoy.

Autumn Jordon said...

Thanks, Margaret.

Autumn Jordon said...

Kaylea, I have a contest up on my blog for a $50.00 gift certificate. I hope you or your friends will enter.

It's easy and you'll be helping me get the word out on Evil's Witness. Check it out.

www.autumnjordonsnotes.blogspot.com

Mary Ricksen said...

Plot Holes, now the story with the most plot holes ever is- - -
LOST.
I hate plot holes, fill me in, pt me there, just like you do Autumn!!
Good luck with sales, I know I'm gonna love his one!! You go girl! I feel so proud of you!! And happy for your success!!!!!

Autumn Jordon said...

LOL. I hear your jolly voice. Thanks, Mary.

P.L. Parker said...

Great interview - I found myself in so many of your comments about writing - I do many of the same things - which I'm sure all of us do. Congratulations and many sales.

Autumn Jordon said...

PL, It's always nice to see you. I know, when I read your interviews, I thnk the same thing. As writers, we're kindred spirits.

Brandlwyne said...

Hi this was very good. Thanks for the interview!!!

Autumn Jordon said...

Thanks, Brandlywne. I hope you enjoy.

Autumn Jordon said...

Hey, sorry I'm late. I have our winner of the sign copy of Evil's Witness.

Margaret Tanner.

Yeah, Margaret!

Please contact me at autumnjordon@yahoo.com

Thanks everyone for stopping by this past week. And thanks again, Kaylea for inviting me. WINK