We're trying something different with Jayne Ann Krentz today. Instead of having her sit at the computer and improvise a blog post, we sent her the following questions at the end of last week and she took a few days to answer. Much easier, she said, than the under-the-gun need to be creative. We'll try this with future authors when we can. Our questinos in blue, Jayne's in black:
--> How many rejection slips did you get before your first novel was published?
ANSWER: I stopped counting after the first couple of hundred. I regret to say that it took me six long years to get published. When I started out virtually no U.S. publishers published romantic-suspense. But when the U.S. market finally opened up I was there, standing on the right corner when the bus arrived.
--> Have you ever thrown away a book that you just couldn't make work?
ANSWER: Never had to throw away an entire book, thank goodness. If a book/plot/character isn't going to work it becomes obvious fast.
--> Is it still exciting to publish a new book even after all this time?
ANSWER: Are you kidding? It's always a thrill. There is something just so dang cool about publishing a new book. I love the feeling.
--> Do you get ideas for new books all the time and you keep them written down, or does one come to mind when you need one?
ANSWER: Boy, howdy, I sure wish a new plot would show up automatically whenever I need one. That would be very handy. Sadly, new ideas require thinking -- lots and lots of thinking.
--> Do you have entire story arcs mapped out when you begin a trilogy or a series of related books?
ANSWER: Yes, but only in an extremely vague way. My problem is that I get my best ideas after I start writing -- not at the early plotting stage when they would be most useful for advance planning.
--> Do you know how a book/series is going to end when you begin it?
ANSWER: I know it will end happily and with an element of redemption but that's because I'm fundamentally an optimist. That worldview informs all of my books.
--> Would life be easier if you published under just one name?
ANSWER: Oh, yeah. I never set out to have three careers, trust me. I always figured I'd stick with the one that worked. I didn't have a backup plan in the event that all three names worked, which is what happened. But there has been one big advantage: This way readers know which of my three fictional landscapes -- past, present, or future -- they'll be getting when they pick up one of my books.
--> Do you have to enter a different mind-set to write different stories for different names?
ANSWER: Nope. The only thing that changes is the fictional landscape. That allows me to do different kinds of plots, of course, but my core archetypes, sense of humor, worldviews, values, etc. do not change between books.
--> Is there any kind of book you would like to write but haven't?
ANSWER: No. One of the many things I love about romantic-suspense is that the genre has plenty of room for my stories.
--> If you could change anything about your writing career, what would it be?
ANSWER: I would have stuck with one name -- my birth name, as it happens, Jayne Castle. But things got complicated somewhere along the line.