Sunday, October 15, 2006

Debut Author - Jill Elizabeth Nelson

Jill and I have been online friends for a long time. Of course, we gravitated toward each other because we share one name. Then we met at ACFW conferences. I'm very excited about her debut novel, a romantic suspense Reluctant Burglar.

You have a chance to win a copy of the novel when we choose two winners from those who leave comments in two weeks. However, if you don't win the free book, you'll want to get a copy. It's an excellent read. You can read my review of the novel in the September 2006 newsletter on my website:

Jill, Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

Only bits and pieces, but I think it’s hard to escape putting something of yourself into the fictional characters you create. In Reluctant Burglar, my main female character, Desiree Jacobs, is one of those people so task-oriented and efficient she intimidates the socks off some folks, but she gets things done. Unfortunately, her drive and organizational gifts tend to make her more self-reliant than God-reliant. I like to think of myself as a “recovering Desiree.”

That could probably be said about many of us. What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

Not sharing that! But this quirky characteristic I have is a Muttley laugh. If anyone out there is from the generation that remembers Dick Dastardly and his dog Muttley from Hanna Barbera cartoons, you might remember that Muttley has this high-pitched, wheezy laugh. My regular laugh is pretty normal, but when I start hooting so hard I can scarcely breathe, I sound just like Dastardly’s dog. When my family hears it coming on, they look at me sideways and say to each other, “Here comes Muttley.” They love it! And I never mind the affectionate teasing because it’s fun to laugh that hard. Good for me, too, the book of Proverbs says.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

Sixth grade. I wrote my first novel—novella-length actually—when I was eleven. It was never published, and the world is grateful. I never quit writing after that. I’ve done everything from journalism to poetry, with quite a bit published. God is good!

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I find novels as thought-provoking, if not more so, than most non-fiction, but that’s just me. I’m an eclectic reader with a particular penchant for mystery, suspense, thriller, fantasy, or romantic adventure. And I don’t turn up my nose at romance, women’s fiction, or more literary ventures either. Get me emotionally involved, my interest piqued, and I won’t put it down.

A woman after my own heart. What other books have you written, whether published or not?

Kingmaker is book one in my fantasy series—not published yet. Sisters of Meribah is contemporary women’s fiction, also not published, but being looked at.

Be sure and let us know when anything happens woith them. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

I’m a writer; my sanity’s long gone! My mom and sisters and brother tease me about “voices in my head” ever since I confessed to them that my characters talk to me. I do run, run, run in the course of a day, but like I said earlier, I tend to be organized. The trick for me is to keep my cool when life discombobulates my best-laid plans. I hate that!

I know what you mean. See how much alike we are. How do you choose your characters’ names?

I have no clue. They just come to me, usually as soon as I start to understand their personalities. I’d probably need a shrink to help me understand why I pair certain names with certain personality types.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

Most recently, meeting my deadline for turning in the manuscript for Reluctant Runaway, the next installment in the To Catch a Thief series. Most far-reaching, raising four kids—but that’s an on-going project that never reaches official “completion.” Kind of maddening for this goal-oriented person, but I cope. Usually.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

A horse. It’s a noble, beautiful beast . . . and useful, too. Horses are social animals with servants’ hearts.

What is your favorite food?

What isn’t? Seriously, that depends on my mood. Something with seafood in it like seafood Alfredo gets my juices flowing. Something Italian or Oriental generally hits the spot. The most zany food I like would probably be dill pickle potato chips.

Wow, I've never had those, but I do like fried dill pickles.

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

Reluctant Burglar is fun! I hope my readers have a blast reading it and are eager for the sequels. I totally enjoy writing Desi and Tony. Des is as smart and sassy as they come. And Tony is an intense hunk with just enough issues to keep him human. I like to think Burglar is a gourmet blend of intrigue, humor, romance, and pathos. You can read more about the series, including an excerpt from Burglar, at my web site: Go to my To Catch a Thief Books page. I’m also running a contest for a signed copy on my Stealth and Wealth page.

Thank you for spending time with us, Jill. Remember, Readers, to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Reluctant Burglar. (Two will be given away here.) And there's still time to leave a comment on Janice Thompson's interview for a chance to win The Wedding Caper.


Anonymous said...

thanks for the great interview. i've been really wanting to read this book.

Jennifer Y. said...

This sounds like a really good book!

Jill said...

I'm thrilled to be featured on Lena's blog. She's a great lady. I can hardly wait to find out who gets the books. Blog readers, please tell your friends to stop by and make a comment in order to be eligible for the drawing. Many thanks to those of you who have already commented.

Ronie Kendig said...

Oh, I just love Jill! she's been so encouraging to me, and it's been great fun getting to knwo her bit by bit through e-mail and interviews. Sign me up, please, Lena!

Anonymous said...

I read about this book online and have been wanting to read it. Please enter me in your contest!


Anonymous said...

The book has interested me from the moment I first heard about it. Hopefully, I can win a copy so that can happen sooner than later.

Anonymous said...

I had never heard of this book before, but it sounds intriguing! I have to add it to my TBR list. Please enter me in your contest!


Sheryl said...

Jill & Lena, that was a great interview. Thank you both! I've heard such wonderful things about Jill's book "Reluctant Burgler." I would love to be entered in the contest to win it.


April Erwin said...

I'm so excited about this book, it looks great! Thanks for sharing the fun interview with us.