WELCOME, M.J. TO THE ONE VINTAGE HEART BLOG TOUR!
I am so pleased to have our special guest, Author M.J. Kane with us today. Her debut novel, A Heart Not Easily Broken, Book One of the Butterfly Memoirs, was recently published September 20th, as an eBook, and look for it October 4th, in paperback.
Jaded, Book Two of the Butterfly Memoirs will be available March 2013. Look for an excerpt at the end of A Heart Not Easily Broken!
M.J. Kane stumbled into writing. An avid reader, this stay at home mom never lost the overactive imagination of an only child. As an adult she made up stories, though never shared them, to keep herself entertained. It wasn’t until surviving a traumatic medical incident in 2006, that she found a reason to let the characters inhabiting her imagination free. Upon the suggestion of her husband, she commandeered his laptop and allowed the characters to take life. It was that, or look over her shoulder for men caring a purple strait jacket. And the rest, as they say, is history.
No longer a television addict, if M.J. isn’t reading a book by one of her favorite authors, she’s battling with her creative muse to balance writing and being a wife and mother. She resides in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia with her high school sweetheart, four wonderful children, and two pit bulls. MJ can often be found hanging out at the local library where she is director of a local writer’s group, or online connecting with readers and other authors. Other activities she enjoys include: creating custom floral arrangements, assisting her children in their creative pursuits of music and art, and supporting her husband’s music production business, 3D Sounds.
You can find MJ on social networking sites, sharing writing tips, talking about music, life, and family. She’s always excited to meet new people. Connect with her via the websites below.
NEW RELEASE BOOK BLURB!
Ebony is a smart, sexy, career-oriented black woman who wants nothing more than a summer fling with a man who challenges her mind and body. What she doesn’t expect is a blond haired, blue-eyed bass player—who won’t take “no” for an answer—to accept the challenge.
When Ebony’s attempt at a brief fling turns into more, despite negative reactions from friends and family, she finds juggling love, family, and career are nothing compared to the ultimate betrayal she endures. Now her dreams spiral into lies and secrets that threaten her future and her best friend’s trust.
Available now from 5 Prince Publishing! Buy Now!
A Heart Not Easily Broken: Excerpt:
The song ended, and I opened my eyes to cheer with the rest of the crowd. I was noticed all right. Various men in my immediate vicinity threw out catcalls and whistles, which were flattering, but the drummer paid me no attention. In fact, no one in the band seemed to notice me, except for one man.
One of the guitar players watched me intently. Astonished, I nearly stumbled in my heels. He was attractive but… he was white, not what I was aiming for. My lips tilted in a small smile before I moved out of his line of sight, placing myself in front of dancers who’d moved closer to the stage blocking my view of the drummer.
The next song played, and again, I tried to get lost in the music. My eyes closed, it was impossible to find my groove again without feeling stalked. The hair on the back of my neck stood up, drawing my attention down the length of the stage and to the guitar player, who once again, watched me with a predatory gleam in his eye. When the song ended, I worked my way back to the bar.
Neither Yasmine nor Kaitlyn were there. They must have gone to the bathroom.
“What can I get you, miss?” the bartender asked, interrupting my thoughts.
Music from the loud speakers blasted again, after the MC announced the band was taking a brief intermission.
“Margarita, extra shot of tequila, please.” The bartender nodded and went to fill my order.
“Did you get a load of the blond guitar player? He’s hot!”
My attention turned to a busty brunette who’d taken up temporary residence in the empty seat next to me. I recognized her as being one of the women who’d been dancing next to me. She adjusted her boobs, primping while talking to her friend.
“He doesn’t know it yet, but I’m going home with him tonight,” she continued. Her friend giggled.
Good luck. She had a better chance than I did of finding a man tonight.
“Here you go.” The bartender placed a napkin in front of me with my drink.
“I’ve got this,” a deep voice said close to my ear, making me jump. It was incredibly sexy despite the fact it scared me. It also sent a warm tingle down my spine. Intrigued, I turned and found myself face-to-face with the guitar player. The same one my barstool neighbor wanted to go home with.
Any sort of coherent words failed me.
JULIETTE: What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
MJ: Being able to get the people that inhabit my mind out on paper! For years I’ve gone to bed at night with scenes (well, I didn’t think of them as scenes at the time) replaying over and over in my head while I waited to go to sleep. I had no idea that the stories I made up would ever become something to write about!
JULIETTE: In what genre(s) do you write?
MJ: Interracial Romance, Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction
My book will be found in Women’s Fiction and Contemporary Romance as does that genre suits my writing best. I can’t say that I would compare my writing to any one author in particular. I’ve strived to create my own style, something new to me and hopefully my readers.
JULIETTE: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
MJ: Perfecting the minor details…punctuation, monitoring the use of dialogue tags, and staying in the same tense throughout without switching between past and present. Those things take time, patience, and lots of practice! My original manuscript has had at least ten sets of revisions to get it where it is today, and that was before it even saw an editor! After that would be learning when it’s time to put my baby down and entrust it to my beta readers and editor, praying they see my story the way I want it to come across.
JULIETTE: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
MJ: I am proud to say I am a reformed panster! LOL! My stories didn’t reach the level of writing I wanted them too until I sat down and plotted! Don’t get me wrong, I have been known to change my plot when my characters tap me on the shoulder, but I have to have a detailed road map to point me in the ‘write’ direction!
JULIETTE: Why do you think people should choose your books over another author’s?
MJ: I don’t want anyone to choose me over any other author, but I do want to be an author that a reader chooses. There are so many stories to be told, and so many different ways to tell them…as a new author I want someone to give me a chance and not push my book away because they prefer another author. Before I stared writing, I was one of those who read the same authors faithful without giving anyone else a chance. The minute I dropped that mindset, I found myself exposed to a wider variety or stories, unique and different writing styles and voices. Expanding my reading expanded my mind. I wish for my readers to do the same.
JULIETTE: What do you hope readers take with them after reading one of your stories?
MJ: I want my readers to understand that no matter what our backgrounds are, or where we are from, someone somewhere is experiencing the same thing that you are, good and bad. What matters most is how we deal with those experiences. Everyone may not have the love and support they need to help them make the decisions best for them. Reading how my characters endure, overcome, and evolve into stronger individuals due to the obstacles I put in their path is what I wish all my readers will learn. The ability to evolve into more is something that is possible in all of us.
JULIETTE: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
MJ: Never give up going for your dream, despite what anyone says. Dig deep within yourself to find the courage you need to push through the negativity. Somewhere out there, there is someone else who is going through the same thing.
JULIETTE: How long have you been a writer?
MJ: I’ve wrote my first short story, a fan fic of the show, LOST, in 2005, as a prompt for a fan site. It eventually turned into a 30 page story. But it wasn’t until 2009, that I hijacked my hubby’s laptop, raided my local library for books on writing, and began writing as a hobby. It took a year for the hobby to turn into a way of finding myself again.
JULIETTE: How much time did it take from writing your first book to having it published?
MJ: Four years! During that time it went from a hobby to a career. I’ve given up, gotten frustrated, and then reinvigorated. Thank god I didn’t give up!
JULIETTE: What other careers have you had?
MJ: Let’s see, I’ve been a cashier, customer service rep at K-Mart, Dispatcher for UPS and Safelight Auto Glass, Floral Designer for Hobby Lobby. I’ve worked as a 10-key Operator for several major banks in their Operations centers. And of course, I am also a wife and mother of 4 kids!
JULIETTE: Do you write under more than one name? Why?
MJ: No, my pen name is all I can handle. I spend too much time in my character’s heads to give myself yet another name! LOL!
JULIETTE: Are any of your characters based on real people or events?
MJ: Yes. Most of the men in my stories are loosely based on a facet of my husband’s many different careers and skill sets. The women in my stories are different pieces of women I know. They are also loosely based on the different aspects of my own personality, whether pronounced or hidden.
JULIETTE: How would you describe yourself if you were “speed dating” your readers?
MJ: I love reading stories about strong women living lives and working careers that I can relate too. My goal is to bring what I feel is missing in storytelling to my readers through a fresh voice and different style of writing. My books will not only entertain you, they will offer encouragement, comfort, and support to those in need.
JULIETTE: What’s something fans would find fascinating about you?
MJ: I survived a series of strokes in 2006, that nearly killed me. I was in ICU for two weeks, and paralyzed on one side of my body for several days. Every time I meet someone and say that, they think I’m lying. Believe me, I lived through it, it’s not an experience I would make up or wish on anyone! The fact that I have been able to recover and discover a talent for writing and to have gotten published is a blessing. There are many authors out there who have strived to get to this level for years and are still trying. Since surviving the stroke, I’ve learned a lot about me and what I can overcome. That is why I focus on the ability to overcome life’s adversities in my stories.
JULIETTE: What else would you like readers to know about you or your work?
MJ: When I write, I try my best to tell stories I feel my readers can relate too. I like real characters, real situations, real everything. I literally cry with my characters when I put them through the wringer. It was a struggle to learn that hurting my characters and watching them grow stronger is the only way to tell a good story.
JULIETTE: What books or authors have most influenced your life?
MJ: There are so many!! I will say that as of late, I have studied the writing styles of three very different authors: J.R. Ward (Erotic Paranormal Romance), Suzanne Brockmann, whom I’ve had the privilege of meeting and getting a book about my favorite characters autographed! (Military Romance), and Janet Evanovich (Comedy, Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance). All three tell very different stories using unique and intriguing voices. I have read and studied every book in their series and have learned so much. I don’t think my series would exist if it wasn’t from learning from them!
JULIETTE: How do your family and/or friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?
MJ: For the longest my family thought of it as just something I did to keep busy, then again, so did I. It wasn’t until I reached a very changing point in my life when I put writing to the side for a month to focus on my personal growth that I realized the newly developed people in my head wouldn’t leave me alone. From there I made moves to learn as much as I could about writing. It was then not only me, but my family began to see this as something I cared about. Since then, they’ve had my back, and continue to do so. Outside of my house, not very many people know about my writing. I prefer to keep outside negative influences away and concentrate on those who are either supportive or interested in my work.
JULIETTE: Where are you from?
MJ: Atlanta, Georgia, yes I am indeed a Georgia Peach!
JULIETTE: How do you come up with the titles?
MJ: I think about the story and what theme flows throughout. I love symbolism. So if there is something symbolic about my characters life, or relationships, I try to tie that into the title. The original title to my debut novel was The Healing Heart. Since the heroine is a Veterinarian, her job entails taking care of animals, healing them when they are sick. But the story doesn’t focus on her job. It focuses on her experiences outside of work, events that test her as a woman, lover, and friend. Thus, A Heart Not Easily Broken. It suggests strength, endurance, and the desire to never give up. The title of the second novel in the series is called Jaded, and fits the hero and heroine perfectly!
JULIETTE: Has your life changed significantly since becoming a published writer?
MJ: Uh, no, other than being a lot more tired by the end of the day! I still get up and drop people off at school and work. Still have to make sure the bills get paid, homework done…lol, the wife/mother duties never change. If anything, I’ve made myself busier! Every day is a struggle to remain on task and find a schedule that works. Since I am not the best at scheduling or staying on task, it’s always a challenge. I’ll get it down eventually!
JULIETTE: Do you work on one project at a time? Or do you multi-task?
MJ: I little of both. Whatever deadlines my publisher has for me takes precedence. I still have times where no matter what I am working on, characters from one of the next five books pop in and demand my attention. After a week of being bombarded by their voices, I will pull out my voice recorder and dictate the scenes playing in my mind, then put it away. Many a scene has been dictated while I’m driving or sitting in the parking lot of the high school waiting for my kids! If I have time, I grab pen and paper and write it down. Each novel already has bits and pieces of the stories outlined, scenes written, character charts worked on. But nothing is set in stone until it’s time to focus on that book.
JULIETTE: When not writing, how do you relax?
MJ: Relax? What’s that? My characters won’t shut up! When I do force myself to take a mental break, I read books by my favorite authors, or new authors I have met. I also watch TV, but have found television boring and lacking, so I pick back up another book. I play The Sims sometimes, talk to my kids, and play with my two pit bulls.
JULIETTE: Please tell us 5 miscellaneous facts about yourself.
I am an only child.
I am hard headed…lol.
When I was younger, I wanted to be a mermaid.
I am a Star Wars Fan! But you will never catch me in the Princess Leia Slave Girl outfit
I don’t like spending a lot of time in the kitchen.
Contact Points for Author, M.J. Kane: