Please give a warm welcome to today’s guest, Jane Toombs, and her new book, THE TURQUOISE DRAGON
On the dragon planet of Cozz, a female blue dragon stares in consternation at the third and last egg she’s laid–it’s not blue like as she is, but turquoise, which will male her an outcast. She would never destroy one of her eggs, so she’s doomed. Unless…
On Earth, pre-teen girl searching for wild strawberries started to find a turquoise egg so large she can’t imagine what could have laid it. Maybe she’ll find out if she takes it home, keeps it warm and it hatches. What happens changes her entire life and that of her older best girl friend in ways they never dreamed were possible…
Jane was kind enough to answer some questions:
Annabel Aidan: As someone who grew up reading and loving gothic novels, I was excited to see them in your bio. What draws you to the genre? Do you think “gothic” is the foundation for the urban fantasy novels that are so popular now?
Jane Toombs: The first book I sold was Tule Witch, a contemporary gothic romance to Avon in 1973. This was the heyday of the sweet gothics, which could be
very sensual as long as there was no consummated sex. Since I’ve always loved paranormal the book was full of it, but Avon didn’t seem to mind. They bought my second gothic, Point Of Lost Souls, as well, also loaded with paranormal elements. In fact I every one of the sweet gothics I or, rather, my agent sold in the early days to NY pubs were all paranormal.
I also preferred to read gothics with some type of paranormal, if only a
suggestion. So I believe it’s the paranormal element that drew me to gothics.
Oddly enough, I don’t care much for urban fantasy because , while paranormal, it’s
not ”gothic” enough. But that’s not to say it doesn’t derive from old gothics. Of
course, neither gothics nor urban fantasy are “sweet” anymore, but that’s not a
problem for me because when historicals came along, kicking and screaming . I
was dragged into learning how to write sexy books.
AA: How did you develop your pseudonyms?
JT: I never developed any because I always wanted to write under my own name. A Berkley editor decided my name was “too depressing”’ to be on a historical romance, so she named me Diana Stuart. Since Ann Stuart (which wasn’t her real name either) and I had the same agent, and both live in NY state. you have no idea what problems that caused. We got so we’d simply ship the wrong box of books or forward letters to the right person.. Harlequin /Silhouette picked up that pseudonym when I started to sell to them. Only when their Shadows line debuted did they let me use my own because “it fits the line.” They let me keep using my own name even after the line cratered .and I began writing for Special Edition. Kensington was another publisher who decided I should change my name when I wrote in different genres, so I briefly became Jane Anderson and Ellen Jamison for them. I hated doing that, but at least they let me choose the name. Once I switched to writing for epubs, no one ever asked me to change my name.
AA: What was the spark of inspiration for THE TURQUOISE DRAGON?
JT: Every year Devine Destinies puts out a series of Christmas books with a zodiac or birthstone theme related to that holiday. My birthday is in late December, so I chose turquoise as the gem,. But when I began writing the synopsis, it refused to take on a Christmas theme and instead of an adult romance, became a YA book. I’m a plotter, so I write with a synopsis, though I don’t stick strictly to it. Anyway, I realized that I wasn’t going to be including a Christmas theme at all. The publisher wanted the book anyway , even if it couldn’t be included in the series. But as far as an inspiration for the book, I have no idea why what I was writing suddenly decided it was an YA. .
AA: Do you have a regular writing routine? Will you share it?
JT: I don’t have any regular routine. I write when I have time. Sometimes it’s mornings, sometimes afternoons, sometimes evenings. . Often it’s bits and pieces of writing at al of those times.
AA: Do you ever have days when you’re stuck? If so, how do you get past it?
JT: I have days when I don’t feel like writing, but after I pull up the story and type in a sentence or two, I’m off and running. Often I have to go back and delete those first sentences, but they do get me started., My feeling about this is that if I gave into all the times I don’t feel like writing, I’d never finish a story. Which has something to do with why I made a New Year’s Resolution in 2009 that I would not allow myself to plan out any more series until after I finished the first story in all the series I already have waiting to be written. Surprise! Once I sold the first one in the first series I began, the epub waited the other two stories right away. (Darkness Of Dragons from Devine Destinies) Luckily it was only a trilogy. Once those were done, I finished the first book in another series that was picked up right away, so I had to write the second. Both those are out now–Dangerous Darkness with Shadow On The Floor and Watcher At The Door from Red Rose Publishing and I’m writing the third, Terror From Before now. One more book after that–Stranger On The Shore. I also finished the first book in a third series, Dagon House Ghosts– Taken In at Champagne Books,. It’s now being edited, so that means I’ll have to begin the second, Where There’s Smoke, as soon as I finish the third in the other series. So in the number of books sold, that resolution is paying off, but also keeping me busier than I like. I haven’t had time to start any other first book in my other five planned series. Never realized publishers were so crazy about series.
The truth is I simply don’t allow myself to become stuck because I try not to procrastinate. I’d far rather have to delete a number of written pages than dither because I didn’t know what came next. Sure, forcing my self to sit down and write does often result in those deletions, but it does get me past “stuck.” I’ve decided it does this because the process of writing something that may be wrong, triggers my mind into the realization of what would be right.
Jane Toombs, born in California, raised in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, has
returned “home” to live in the beautiful Upper Peninsula on the shore of Lake Superior– with the Viking from her past and their calico grandcat Kinko. Jane has five
children, two stepchildren, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
She’s the author of over eighty published books, both in paper and electronic. These include the various romance genres–gothic, suspense, contemporary, historical, Regency and paranormal–as well as other genres such as mystery, fantasy and horror. Her awards include a 1995 Bookrak Award for best-selling series book (The Abandoned Bride), a 1998 Prism Award for best dark paranormal (Lover’s Moon) and a 2003 EPIC Award for best non-fiction.(Becoming Your Own Critique Partner, co-authored with Janet Lane Walters). Other EPIC awards include a 2003 award for Best Anthology: Shifters (With three other authors. My story was “Return to Deville’s Crossing”.)
Jane is a member of a closed twelve author group of authors designed to promote each each called Jewels Of The Quill, where she’s Dame Turquoise and has her own page at the site: http://www.jewelsofthequill.com . This group has won many awards: In 2006, Best Anthology: Tales From the Treasure Trove Vol. I, a Jewels of The Quill anthology with multiple authors. (My story, “The Turquoise Mask”.) And again in 2008 the JOTQ won Best Anthology with Tales From The Treasure Trove Vol.III (My story, “The Turquoise Talisman”) and we won Best Anthology once more in 2010 with A Valentine’s Day Anthology, Magical Kisses. (My story, “The Third Kiss”).
Because Jane wrote for Harlequin for many years and they sell foreign rights, she has books published in many foreign countries in their languages.Besides Harlequin, she wrote for many other New York publishers in the past, but now is concentrating on writing only for electronic publishing companies, She thinks she may retire once she reaches one hundred published books–then again, maybe not…