Friday, May 29, 2009

Interview with Jillayne Clements author of Deadly Treasure by Michele Ashman Bell


None of these things are on Lexi's mind when she returns home to Park City, Utah, for her grandfather's funeral. That is, until she stumbles across an old diary while cleaning out his attic. Soon Lexi's head is filled with tales of hidden treasure buried deep in the mines of the Uintah Mountains.

When the diary is stolen and Lexi realizes her life is in danger, she decides to find out if the stories are true. She heads to the Uintahs in search of the secret mine, with her handsome friend Brad by her side. What they don't know is that someone is following them, someone who will stop at nothing to get the treasure. Soon Lexi and Brad are in a fight for their lives, just as they are starting to realize that there may be more to their relationship than they originally thought.

With surprising twists around every corner, expect the unexpected in this thrilling tale of adventure, romance, and mystery.

From Jillayne's Unofficial Author Bio I took the following information about her:

While growing up, I learned very quickly that the two halves of my brain were both right. This is great if you like to create things and daydream about plots while your teachers are talking, not so great if you ever need to know math or be logical.

Creating characters and story lines (especially love stories) isn't my only passion. I also enjoy creating divine-tasting recipes that are actually healthy.

Though I graduated from USU years ago, I still daydream about plots and now recipes while doing my daily activities. It's a great way for me put life's stresses in perspective as long as I don't confuse the two and come up with some bizarre recipe like Hunk a Muffins.

Jillayne is an author with a fresh voice and a riveting story. Her passion for her characters and plot pull the reader in immediately.

Here is my interview with Jillayne:

M.B.: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

Jillayne: I have always enjoyed writing, but the dream to become an author didn’t come until the idea for my very first novel came to me.

M.B.: What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?

Jillayne: It was a great learning experience. It started several years ago when I decided to write my personal family history novel style. It was so fun. The next thing I knew, the idea of a novel came to my mind. I quickly wrote it, submitted it for publishing, and it’s still collecting dust on my shelf in its manuscript form. After those rejections I thought, “Well, writing a novel was a complete waste of time. I’m never doing that again.” (But I learned a lot about what not to do when writing from that experience so it wasn’t a waste at all.) About a year later, another story idea came to me. I was hesitant to write another novel, but I started it anyway. I just had fun with the plot, scenes, and characters. After about four years of working on it off and on I was ready to submit it to publishers. (It took four years because I took time out while I was ill, and because I also devoted a lot of time to creating recipes for and writing a whole foods cookbook.) But this time I believed in my story. I believed in my characters and felt others would enjoy it as well. With that frame of mind I sent it in. I received a quick, positive response and 8 months later was holding it in my hands for the first time.

M.B.: Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?

Jillayne: Yes! Mainly because it took so much longer than I ever expected it would. Then there were all the self-doubts. Sometimes I would read over chapters and think, “That’s pretty good.” Other times I’d read over them and think, “This is just so cheesy. It’s never going to get published.” But I just kept plugging away, setting goals, and having fun. Then one day, it was completely done and accepted for publication.

M.B.: What is your writing schedule like?

Jillayne: Writing schedule? Am I supposed to have one? Ideally, when my mind is on target, I contemplate plots and character details while doing my daily activities. I jot down ideas on a pad of paper. Then I like to type it out between the hours of 8-10 p.m. This is when I’m most alert and feel the best. Then when my juices really get flowing it’s time for bed. Hmmm. Maybe that’s why Deadly Treasure took 4 years to finish.

M.B.: Where do your ideas come from? How do you know the idea is
good enough to write a book about it?

Jillayne: For Deadly Treasure the characters and a rough plot popped into my mind one day. I worked on it for a few weeks knowing that they would have an occasion to tell ghost stories around a campfire, but I was still looking for a main plot for everything to revolve around. So I went to the library to check out books about ghost stories and right there on the shelf next to them were all these books about the Lost Rhoades Mines. I literally froze. I knew it was it. I was so excited because my husband is a direct descendant of the man who originally attained gold from the mines, Thomas Rhoades. The whole story drew me in on a very personal level.

M.B.: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to
have their manuscripts become books in print?

Jillayne: 1. Characterization is huge. My most favorite books are ones where I can relate well with the character, or get so pulled into their life that I can’t put the book down. 2. Having others read and critique my work along the way was essential. I also bounced ideas off others. 3. I think taking the time to write a good cover letter and synopsis before submitting a manuscript is really important. 4. Keep going and think positively.

M.B.: What is your process of brainstorming a story? Do you just sit
down and write, waiting to see what happens next? Or do you outline

Jillayne: Usually, I just let my imagination take over for a while. I keep notes of how the plot and characters develop. I do like to have a rough outline to work from, but most of the story just develops as I go.

M.B.: Do you ever experience a snag in a story, a form of writer's
block? If so, how do you deal with it?

Jillayne: Absolutely! Usually I get stuck because something just isn’t right. After pondering and even praying about it for a while, an alternate solution comes to mind, and everything else flows after that. Until I get to the next snag.

M.B.: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when
you are writing?

Jillayne: Sometimes I’ll listen to music while I think of the scenes, but not when I write. I prefer quiet for that, but it’s hard since the only times my house is quiet is when everyone is asleep including me.

M.B.: What kinds of inspiration do you use during your story creation periods?

Jillayne: I like to do research. That usually gets my mind spinning with plot and sub plot ideas.

M.B.: Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?

Jillayne: I would have to say my sister. She never gets tired of reading and critiquing my work over and over, and she’s great to for bouncing around ideas. My husband and children are great for this too. They are all a great source of support.

M.B.: Do you use a critique group during the writing process? Why or why not?

Jillayne: If having everyone I know read it and critique it counts as a critique group, then yes. Had I not done this with my novel that’s published, I don’t believe it would be published because a lot of my writing weaknesses were brought out in the process.

M.B.: Which of your books is your favorite, and why?

Jillayne: Everything I’ve written is a part of me, in a way. But my favorite so far is one I’m currently writing. It’s a novel intended for a national audience. I’ve really seen my writing skills improve with this one, and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

M.B.: Any final words you would like to share

Jillayne: I’m just happy to be an author. It’s one of the most rewarding and creative outlets I can imagine.

M.B.: Where can our readers go to find your books and order them?

Jillayne: Links to my book (and updates on when my cookbook will be available) can be found on my website, I’m hoping it will be in Deseret Book and Seagull soon.
And at Amazon . . .


Terresa said...

I just had lunch with Ann Maskell today. When I told her I'm an aspiring writer, she reminded me of you -- I think you are related somehow! I told her I'd been to your blog quite a few times and now had to revisit it and make that connection.

Ann gave me one of your books, the Christmas candle one, a few years ago. I read it to my extended family and we all loved it.

Wow, small world!!

Mandi said...

Hey whenever you want to give away a onesie let me know! I have them ready to go..and those pics of Halle that Megan posted are so cute!

JoAnn Arnold said...

I thoroughly enjoyed your review with Jullayne. I think I'm going to add this book to my reading list.

It's almost a education reading the different reviews. I find myself agreeing with some answers and learning from the others. Thank you for sharing.

Personage said...

My sister says that that looks really intresting!!!

jenheadjen said...

How fun! So glad you shared this interview! Fun to find a new author! How did you find/come across her?