Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Interview and Give-away with Jan Elder!

She wanted to teach him humility—instead, he taught her about love and faith.

Hello visitors! Today on The Diamond Mine, we're welcoming debut author Jan Elder. Her book is Manila Marriage App, and if you leave a comment for Jan, you'll be entered in a drawing for a free copy! Now, for the interview!

Hi Jan! Welcome to The Diamond Mine! Your story is set in Manila. Have you ever been there, or did you have to do a lot of research?

I was privileged to visit The Philippines in 2009. My brother’s lived there since 1985. He’s a missionary, seminary professor, preacher, and church planter (he’s a busy guy!) When I finally had a chance to go, I jumped on it! I did some research, of course, and I had my brother read over some of the passages to make sure they sounded authentic, but a great deal of the book mirrors my own experiences in that delightful tropical land halfway around the world.

Wow, how interesting! Where did you get your inspiration for Shay’s character?

Shay is very unlike me and it was a blast to get into her head. Perhaps, she is a woman I would like to be in many ways. Whereas I am an introvert, she’s an extrovert. Whereas I tend to be circumspect, she is brash and direct. I’m too quiet. She’s too loud. She says things I wish I could say.
A couple of years ago a writer friend told me Pelican Book Group was looking for authors and taking open submissions, a wonderful thing for a debut author. Their guidelines were very clear -
Let’s take a trip and fall in love! Passport to Romance™ titles are contemporary romances that are set in specific locales and feature a special set of objects. Passport to Romance™ feature chic heroines who are sparkling, confident, open for adventure—and who are a perfect match for a contemporary alpha male who has a zest for life, a thirst for God, and who likes an intelligent woman who can hold her own.
Set in exotic locations around the world, these stories offer the contemporary Christian reader adventure, vivacity, romance, and faith.
Manila Marriage App was so much fun to write and having to incorporate three objects into the story in a cohesive fashion really did get my “authorly” juices flowing (what PBG requires is different for each country). Plus, I’d never written a novella before and I was up for a challenge!
So…Shay? I guess you could say that she inspired me to write about my alter ego.

That’s a pretty creative way to help authors get inspired. How about your inspiration for Timothy?

My brother had always talked about how difficult it was for a busy missionary man to find a good woman. It would be a great deal easier to just send out an application and choose a mate without all that fuss, muss, and emotion. He was kidding of course, but hey, what if he wasn’t? What if there was a man out there who would have the audacity to advertise for a wife in this day and age?
What started out as a joke made for a good book premise. Timothy Flynn is very much like my brother in many ways…except he’s taller—grin.

What do you find most romantic about the relationship of these two characters?

Shay and Timothy are two very different people. Sure, they’re both smart, educated, and good-looking, but they come into the story with totally different outlooks on life. The romance starts when sparks fly, but true love continues when they realize they are both after the same thing—a relationship that is real and based on both attraction and a mutual purpose in life. 

While you were writing this story, did you ever struggle with how to get these two characters to make a strong connection?

Absolutely. How do I make opposites attract and what will keep them together? The answer to both questions was their relationship with God. I like to think that in the book they both grow as people…and as Christians.

What qualities attract these characters to each other?

Okay, well to be honest, Timothy is all male and Shay is an attractive woman. That’s where it starts but what’s more important is that Shay’s sassiness makes Timothy laugh and brings him out of his shell. Now Timothy, he’s the real deal and he impresses Shay with his compassion for the friendly Filipino people. And it doesn’t hurt one bit that he’s tall, dark, and handsome.   

Good point, Jan! What do you want the reader to take away from this story?

Listen up and be open to what God thinks is best for your life. You might be surprised at the wonderful surprises He has in store.

Great message! Is this the first romance you’ve ever written?

This is the second book I’ve written but the first book to be published.

You have another book coming out soon. Can you tell us a little about that?

The next book up is called Love, Lies, and Fireflies and it’s being published by Prism Book Group. It’s another love story with elements of suspense and the setting is in central Maryland, where I live. And instead of being a novella, it’s 109,000 words (400 pages or so). A longer book is a different kind of challenge and what makes me laugh is that the length makes it a “plus-sized” novel. LLF took five years to write and it should be out in the fall of 2015. The premise? What do you do when you find out your fiancĂ© is cheating on you?

Wow! Sounds like a great read. What are you working on now?

Another novella for Pelican Book Group for their Christmas Extravaganza series. It’s titled A Semi-Precious Christmas and the story revolves around a jewelry store heist. Hopefully, PBG will accept it, and if they do, it should be out before Christmas 2015.

Thanks Jan! It’s been a fun interview. Readers, don't forget to leave a comment for Jan and be entered for a chance to win a free copy of her book!

 Now, here’s a tidbit about Jan’s book:
It all began as a lark. Shay Callahan’s life was just fine, thank you, but when the seemingly misogynistic missionary, Timothy Flynn, places an advertisement for a wife in a Christian magazine, she decides to give it a whirl and sends in the five-page application. Why not? After all, she’s not currently seeing anyone, and this man truly needs to be taught a lesson.  
Finding out she’s Dr. Flynn’s pick of the litter, Shay hops on a plane and flies to The Philippines. The strategy is to jet in, enjoy an exciting two-week vacation, and jet out again, all at his expense. Instead, her plan backfires. The handsome missionary man is not what he seems, and the foreign land has far more to offer than she could imagine.
Embark on a tropical adventure with Shay that challenges everything she believes.
Sounds pretty exciting! Now, here's a little more about Jan:
Jan Elder is a Christian romance writer with a zeal for telling stories other women can relate to. She strives to write the kind of book that will strengthen the reader's faith, while also providing an entertaining and engrossing love story. Pelican Book Group/White Rose is publishing her first novella, Manila Marriage App, one of many in their successful Passport to Romance series.

Besides writing romance, she enjoys the occasional hazelnut cappuccino while watching Turner Classic Movies. Always an avid reader, she devours books voraciously, both Christian and secular. She was born a cat-lover and all future books will, no doubt, feature a feline in some way or another.

Happily married for twelve years to loving (and supportive) husband, Steve, the two live in central Maryland along with Jamie (a tuxedo cat), and Shu-Shu (a tortoiseshell cat). On the weekends, Jan and Steve comb the nearby countryside in search of the perfect ice cream flavor.

Connect with Jan Elder:

Buy her book on Amazon:


Jan Elder said...

Thanks, Nancy, for the opportunity to be on your blog. I enjoyed sharing about Shay and Timothy's journey. They're two of my favorite people!

nancy bolton said...

It's fun having you on the Mine and learning more about you and your characters!

Peggy Trotter said...

Howdy in, Jan! So glad you could be our guest here on the Mine!!! Love the setting for your novella! Very exotic. The premise is not too shabby, either! LOL Sounds like a great read.

Natalie Monk said...

Great interview! Oh, I love the premise of this book! Sounds like so much fun! Would love to be entered for the book. nataliedmonk (at) gmail (dot) com Thanks!!!

Jan Elder said...

Thanks, Peggy and Natalie. The book was a great deal of fun to write since I could envision the setting and the wonderful people.

Renee Blare said...

Welcome to the Diamond Mine, Jan. Great interview! :)

Jan Elder said...

What woman would turn her nose up at diamonds? Grin. Thanks for the compliment. Glad to be here.

Carlene Havel said...

How interesting - a modern-day mail order bride story! Sounds like a great read, especially considering the exotic setting.

Jan Elder said...

Thanks, Carlene. I like to give the "commonplace" a twist. BTW, The Scarlet Cord has one of my all-time favorite covers!

Janice Bittner said...

Jan, if you ever want to write a book that either takes place or visits Alaska, come see me! :-) I've got lots of background you can share. Here's to the success of your first published work!!!

Jan Elder said...

Great idea! I have a title for my next book but no location! We'll talk. Grin.