Please welcome my guest, Author Jean M. Grant.
Tell us something about yourself both writing and not writing related.
I love sharks and originally I wanted to be an ichthyologist. But even as a girl, I loved art and writing. Ultimately, I chose the science path and I got multiple degrees in Marine Science, Biology, and Microbiology and Immunology (wow, that’s a few -ologies, huh?). Writing was a hobby pursuit for many years. I needed something creative on the side to stay sane in graduate school. Over time it became a career-goal. A Hundred Kisses is my fourth manuscript but the first to be published. Perseverance is essential if you want to succeed as a writer. I began this journey almost 20 years ago.
Do you have a writing routine? Where do you usually do your writing?
My routine is to write when I can in nooks and crannies but also in intentional blocks of time! I do enjoy morning writing, even before the sun rises. Coffee. Must have coffee. I gather ideas in the usual places – while driving, exercising, or showering – so those ideas get quickly jotted down for later. My kids keep me on my toes so finding quiet time alone is also imperative to keep the words flowing.
Why do you write in the genre/sub-genre that you do? Any plans in the future to write in a different one?
I love happy endings so I adore romance. Diana Gabaldon’s books baptized me into this fulfilling genre. My latest manuscript (in submission process) veers off the romance road toward mainstream Women’s Fiction and I’ve drawn from my personal experiences for that book. I also have a few children’s picture books that I hope to acquire literary representation for. Tucked away in my brain is another mainstream idea, and of course the prequel to A Hundred Kisses (I am going to tackle that one next). Plus a few more romances hang out in the processing queue of my daydreaming mind…
How do you stay motivated when writer’s block hits or your muse won’t cooperate?
I am solar-powered. Rainy, gloomy, cold days make it harder to write! Sunshine is my muse! And I live in New England. We have long winters. Music helps inspire. Switching up projects also helps. I can get sidetracked with research, too. Although I am an organized kind of writer, I do like to jump around and follow inspiration when it strikes. I don’t have a set number of words or pages per day. I write what I can, when I can. Editing is what usually takes the most discipline.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?
I’ve learned to take extroverted leaps of courage. I did email a Norwegian crew master who had recently sailed a replica Viking ship across the Atlantic Ocean to the U.S.A. (my prequel to A Hundred Kisses will focus more on Vikings). He actually wrote back! I hope to visit the vessel this summer. My trip to Scotland was a fun way of research after years of just dreaming about it.
What’s the best writing advice you were ever given?
Never give up. It’s as simple as that. I had contemplated giving up on my dream a few years ago. I changed my mindset. I told myself, that “this is the one.” I even renamed my computer folder file, “This one is going to make it.” No joke. And it did.
What do you like to do in your leisure time?
I enjoy tending my flower gardens, hiking, traveling, and playing with my kids. Baking and decorating cakes encourages the artist in me. I love the outdoors. It’s also one of my muses. I love nature’s beauty, be it a magnificent granite monolith, a bubbling brook in the nearby woods, or a field of wild lupine. Although by no means an expert, I do like a good photograph or two.
Tell us about your current release in a couple of sentences.
Deirdre is a woman living in a country (13th century Scotland) filled with strife, fears, and superstitions. She has a power (to sense the auras, or lifebloods, of those around her) that could cast her out as a witch, and she yearns to travel to Uist to understand her ability, which she believes kills her husbands. Alasdair is a man of secrets with a haunted past. He must travel to Uist on a political mission. Their paths cross and sparks fly. Perhaps Alasdair is the key to breaking Deirdre’s curse, for he is the man from the wood, the man she saw in her visions…
Can you tell us a little about your next project?
The next book takes place 30 years prior to A Hundred Kisses, during the turning point of war between the Norse Vikings and the Scots of the isles. The story revolves around Deirdre’s parents, Gwyn and Simon. The penumbra between reality and the unknown is rich in Gwyn’s family, and she, too, has a special ability. Formidable as he may be, Gwyn’s father tries to capture this mystical power and exploit it. Little does he know that no amount of manmade force could break through the silver veil. Only true love can do that.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Thanks for hosting me!!
Two wedding nights. Two dead husbands.
Deirdre MacCoinneach wishes to understand her unusual ability to sense others’ lifeblood energies…and vows to discover if her gift killed the men she married. Her father’s search for a new and unsuspecting suitor for Deirdre becomes complicated when rumors of witchcraft abound.
Under the façade of a trader, Alasdair Montgomerie travels to Uist with pivotal information for a Claimant seeking the Scottish throne. A ruthless baron hunts him and a dark past haunts him, leaving little room for alliances with a Highland laird or his tempting daughter.
Awestruck when she realizes that her unlikely travel companion is the man from her visions, a man whose thickly veiled emotions are buried beneath his burning lifeblood, Deirdre wonders if he, too, will die in her bed if she follows her father’s orders. Amidst magic, superstition, and ghosts of the past, Alasdair and Deirdre find themselves falling together in a web of secrets and the curse of a hundred kisses…
She sensed no colors in the murky, lifeless water, and it was freeing. All breath escaped her. Muted visions passed before her eyes—her mother, her father, Gordon, and Cortland. Just a moment longer, she thought…
Suddenly, a burst of warm light invaded her thoughts as air filled her lungs. Red-hot hands burned her shoulders and ripped her from her icy grave. She breathed life into her body. She coughed, gagging on the change.
Muffled words yelled at her.
. His fingers were like hot pokers. Her head pounded as she slowly returned to the present. Heat radiated from her rescuer. Somebody had pulled her from the water.
“Hush, lass. You nearly drowned.”
His voice was as soothing as a warm cup of goat’s milk on a winter’s day. A red-hot glow emanated from his body. Never before had she felt such a strong lifeblood, and it nearly burned her. She struggled in his arms to get free. She blinked, only seeing a blurry form before her. “Release me!”
She splashed and wriggled, and he did as told. She clambered to the shoreline. Numb and shaken, she began to dress. It wasn’t easy as she fumbled with slick fingers to put dry clothes over wet skin. She instantly regretted her naked swim. She pulled on her long-sleeved white chemise first.
She faced the forest, away from her rescuer. He quietly splashed to shore. His lifeblood burned into her back. He wasn’t far behind, but he stopped. She refused to look at him until she was fully clothed, not out of embarrassment of her nudity, but for what had just happened. He released a groan and mumbled under his breath about wet boots. His voice was not one of her father’s soldiers.
When she put the last garment on, her brown wool work kirtle, she squeezed out her sopping hair and swept her hands through the knotty mess. She fastened her belt and tied the lacings up the front of the kirtle. Blood returned to her fingertips, and she regained her composure. Belated awareness struck her, and she leaned down and searched through her bag for her dagger. She spun around.
She gasped as she saw the man sitting on the stone-covered shoreline, his wet boots off. Confusion and the hint of a scowl filled his strong-featured face. She staggered back, caught her heel on a stone, and fell, dropping the dagger. Dirt and pebbles stuck to her wet hands and feet, and she instinctively scrambled away from him.
His glower, iridescent dark blue eyes, and disheveled black hair were not unfamiliar. Staring at her was the man she had seen in her dream—it was the man from the wood.
You can find/contact Jean at the following: