Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Meet Rising Best Selling Author Jordan Dane



Hi Jordan,
I'm so delighted you decided to stop at Printed Words on your blog tour. I am extremely excited about your up coming book No One Heard Her Scream The title alone is enough to send shivers up my spine.

Let's pretend you are in my living room enjoying a cup of tea. We'll get cozy in front of the fire place and chat like old friends if you don't mind.



Billie: Can you tell us what you think is the one mental characteristic necessary to craft a believable suspenseful tale like No One Heard Her Scream?

Jordan - Good question. And my first response is that the author has to be willing to look into the deviant mind and convey that criminal element to the reader with the right amount of finesse not to turn them off. It’s sometimes a fine line we tread. When I get to those moments of portraying the victim’s story, I put myself into every moment as if it’s real time, not skimping a thing. I’ve heard it said that writers should write what they know. But recently, I read an email from author Lee Child that advised—write what you fear. I love that.

Billie: What will I like about your heroine?

Jordan - I particularly admire law enforcement types. Can you imagine what courage it takes to hear a gunshot and race toward it instead of cowering away in fear? I wanted to portray a courageous heroine haunted by the violent death of her sister while still trying to carry on with her homicide job and dealing with other victims’ families. Becca Montgomery is intelligent, strong and funny with plenty of street smarts—my “girl next door” with a gun. She’s got savvy instincts when it comes to men and great taste in Mexican food and single-malt scotch.

Billie:If you could have written any of the books out there by other authors, which one would you pick?

Jordan – The way this question is phrased, it implies that I might be envious of someone else’s work. I never see a brilliant piece of work and wish I’d written it. I take great pleasure in reading it and celebrate the author’s talent. And being an avid reader, I spread the word. My biggest competition is not other authors. It’s within me.

Billie: Thank you for that answer Jordan. I didn't really mean that you would wish to have written that person's book, just what author has a style that you really would like to emulate or that has helped you in your writing, but what they have written. So I guess the question should be--what author do you admire - or who do you see yourself as writing like?

To answer the question on a top pick, however, I’d say there are too many good books out there to pick only one. But if pressed, I’d have to say that Robert Crais’ Forgotten Man and LA Requiem rank high on my list. I had never seen my style in other author’s work until I read Crais. And it’s not that I see me comparable to him, but that I see where I’d like to be. He pours his soul into his Elvis Cole PI series based in Los Angeles and he does it with humor. I like that. And whenever he adds a little romance to the mix, I’m in heaven.

Billie: How do you refill your energy well? What do you do besides writing that brings you joy?

Jordan- Right now, I’m very focused on my work and busy writing my next romantic thriller series – Sweet Justice. I do enjoy writing full time and get jazzed by the worlds I build on paper. Getting this much attention for my work as a debut author has been a dream come true. Outside of my writing, I love my home and my life with my dear sweet husband. And I love traveling. When I worked with the energy industry, I lived in Texas, California, Alaska (for 10 years), Wisconsin, and now Oklahoma. And I also can be considered a fish wrangler. We’re raising baby Koi and have a beautiful pond in my backyard. Who knew baby fish faces could be so cute? And being home writing these days, I am rediscovering the idiosyncrasies of our two cats and our sweet old dog.


Billie: I'm thrilled to hear you lived in Wisconsin because that is where I have spent most of my life. I always like to hear about the “behind the scenes” of a title and I am sure my readers would like to hear this too. Tell us a bit about the “behind the scenes” of No One Heard Her Scream. For instance, what was the catalyst that prompted you to write this book? Is the book loosely based upon any happenings in your own life, or anyone you know?

Jordan - The title NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM actually came from a dialogue line, an exchange between my homicide detective Becca and her CSI tech when she examines the skeletal remains of a young girl. She realizes from the evidence that the girl was buried alive. I never had to change that title. And all the houses involved in the auction when I sold loved it too. Once I had that title, however, the other books needed to be tweaked to fit the “No One” series. Those titles now reflect actual lines of dialogue from the individual stories. I read an Elizabeth Lowell book – The Color of Death – where she did that and I liked the idea.

And elements of real crime usually influence my writing. I’ve got a Q&A on my site that gives more on this, but aspects of the Natalee Holloway abduction case in Aruba and a personal story (told to me by a friend whose sister was murdered) also became the emotional underpinnings to my debut story.

Billie: How would you describe your creative process while writing this novel? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline? How long did it take you to write it?

Jordan- I’m not a plotter. I’ve tried to be better organized, but I’m impatient and prefer to start any book by thinking about the major plot points, like those mentioned in the 9-Act Structure for Screenplays under my FOR WRITERS page on my website. I let my mind dwell and work the plot points, get them set in my head, and then I dive in writing. I don’t fret about how to connect the dots. I work out my transitions as I go, exploring the best way to tell the story. No outline. My ideas have all been instigated from real crime stories—my take on them—and sometimes more than one crime will be meshed together. I love a challenge.

I see books unfold in my head like watching a movie. Sometimes characters get me up in the middle of the night. I have pens and paper all over the house and I use them when this happens. I’ve got more of my process and craft on my website under the For Writers page – check out my Start with a BANG article. And my FIRST SALE story is there too. (Author Sharon Sala played a big part in how I sold. You’ll want to read about it. She’s an amazing woman.)

I like to say that I sacrificed a body part for my first novel. And I wrote most of it in six weeks while I was home on medical leave from major surgery. Once my brain worked out this complex plot, it poured from me. I was writing three chapters a week, fully edited. But when I was done, I knew I had something special. My characters had shared their story, allowing me to be their scribe.

Billie: How was your experience in looking for a publisher? What words of advice would you offer those novice authors who are in search of one?

Jordan – To get noticed and network, I did a number of things. I’m a recovering contest diva and I went to various conferences from nationals to locals. I pitched to agents/editors, was a finalist in the Golden Heart in 2005 and sent out many proposals. I’ve received countless rejections too, including a couple from my current agent, the amazing Meredith Bernstein. I think it’s important to find a good agent to get an author exposed to a broader range of publishing houses that might best fit their future career. (It’s a harder goal to achieve than landing a contract with a publishing house since an agent is looking for a client with career prospects and future books in them. But it’s a goal worth pursuing.)

I had five full manuscripts out from RWA contests, a pending contract with one publisher for virtually no advance (on my second book in the series), and I had turned down the first agent who offered representation. In hindsight, there were so many roads I could have taken, but I’m very thankful I stayed the course—believing in my work and where I wanted to be. I often tell people that landing a contract with Avon HarperCollins in auction was equivalent to being struck by lightening.

When it came time to stir up an auction, my agent got me into 6-7 new houses that had not seen my work before. And this all happened over a ten-day period via email and phone calls—a real whirlwind that I’ll never forget. Looking back, it all seemed like I knew what I was doing, but that definitely wasn’t true. Luck and opportunity played a part.

And now that I’m on the greener side of the pasture, I’ve learned so much about print runs, marketing campaigns, author promotion, etc. But in the end, the author’s main goal is to write the best book they know how to do. And that’s good advice for all of us.

Billie: Jordan thank you so much for taking the time from your busy schedule to chat with us today - I can't tell you what a pleasure it has been to visit with you. Please come back when your next two books are released. We'll invite everyone to come join us. We can visit your website in the mean time and keep an eye on what you are doing at http://www.Jordandane.com

37 comments:

unwriter said...

This is interesting how you did this. You asked about who she would emulate and she said no one. Then in the next question you explained what you meant. It was as if you and she were sitting side by side.

Another great interview!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your answers Jordan. I really enjoyed them.

Sandy

Anonymous said...

Hey There Everyone---Good Morning.

I just posted an announcement of this gues blog on a few loops I have (way too many). And I am giving away FIVE $20.00 B&N gift certs in a random drawing at the end of The Writers Chatroom's Virtual Book Tour. Details can be found on my blog on Myspace at www.myspace.com/jordandanebooks

I'm grabbing some coffee but will be back in a few minutes for questions or just gabbing. Thanks for taking time from your busy day to join me and Billie.

Jordan Dane

Tina M. Russo said...

Thank God you are not a plotter. There is hope for me.

So as the movie unfolds do you see anyone starring in your movie?

Serious here. Lately, Sandra Bullock is starring in mine and so every nuance is her as the heroine.

LOL, again, I am serious.

Anonymous said...

Hey Tina Girl--I love Sandra Bullock and I can soooo see her in your books. I do have actors in my head when I write my characters and you should see my Diego Galvan from SCREAM. His name is Eduardo Verastegui, an actor from Mexico. Hot tamale!! And I think my Becca characters was the actress who played the prison doctor in the TV show Prison Break. She had a nice face and was tall and athletic enough to be Becca.

I'm getting another cup of jo.

Jordan

Jordan Dane said...

Let's see if I can get my face on here...

Ahhh feel better already.

Gena Showalter said...

Fabulous interview!!!

I can't wait to read these books!

Jordan Dane said...

Hey Tina--I am trying to storyboard this week. My latest work in progress (book#5) for my sweet justice series. But I am such an impatient writer that I hate to take the time. I started writing the beginning, which I always have an idea in my head, then I decided to try sticky notes on a white board to plot out the rest. Surprisingly, it's working a little. I'm doing this with my weapons expert guy---a great writer himself who is hoping to get pubbed. I love his voice. So when I made the suggestion to him about storyboarding (not to be confused with water boarding...I don't think), I decided I'd join him. Glad I did.

I'm still not converted to a plotter, mind you--but I can see the potential. :)

Jordan Dane said...

Gena--How are you feeling girl? Did you get over your terrible case of gnome-monia?

I was bragging about your full page ad in Publishers Weekly for your amazing new series - Lords of the Underworld. Those books look really great. And the covers --- Wow!

Thanks for coming, sweets.

JanetElaineSmith said...

Great interview, ladies! It is nice to know things like your auction can happen to somebody from Wisconsin (well, at one time anyway) as well as J.K. Rowling.

I also like the fact that you feel like you are just writing down what you see your characters doing. I often feel more like a stenographer (boy, does that date me!) instead of the Creator.
I would wish you good luck, but it sounds like you have that area already covered.
Janet Elaine Smith
http://janetesmithstarbooks.tripod.com

Jordan Dane said...

Hey Janet---Thanks for joining us. You know, it's funny you mention about being the stenographer or whatever, I feel like my characters are telling me their story and I have to be still enough to hear them. I've become much more of an observer and listener in life since I've started writing. You'd never know that with some of my speaking gigs, because I am NOT a shy person. But I really prefer to talk to other people about their writing journey. It's an amazing ride, isn't it? And how many people truly understand it like we do?

Jordan Dane said...

Hey Billie--Where are you in Wisconsin? I lived in Madison for 4years and loved it. What a beautiful town! It's no wonder it gets voted top five best midwest cities to live by Money Magazine every year.

Margay said...

This was an interesting article - a new name to keep on the look-out for! Thanks for introducing us to her.

Jordan Dane said...

I'll be here during today so feel free to ask questions and I'll reply as I stop in and out.

It's a writing day for me, so I am busy on my latest project - THE WRONG SIDE OF DEAD, part of my Sweet Justice thriller series with Avon.

And thanks, Billie and The Writers Chatroom for hosting this virtual book tour for me. You're the best!!

Word Crafter said...

Jordan,
This has been so much fun having you visit my blog and answer questions for everyone. I hope everyone will run out and buy your book. It is excellent you are such a powerful writer and seeing how you work is an inspiration.
Thanks again for you input and visit.
Billie

Word Crafter said...

Oh I forgot to answer about the place in Wisconsin - we are way up north by the Michigan border - Amberg a tiny town where the winters are long and brutal but the people are warm and friendly.

When we get started with our writer's retreat you'll have to plan on stopping by and doing a book signing and perhaps a workshop. It would be great! A friend and I are planning on the first one in July about middle of the month. Keep us in mind {smile}

Tina M. Russo said...

I just started the sticky notes thing with my last msc. I am so visual, it really is much more effective for me than a spreadsheet. I can see where things are plot heavy, plot light. POV imbalances (pink and blue sticky notes).

I love the method.

Jordan Dane said...

Hey Billie--I had my WI map out this morning looking for Amherg and didn't get to the upper yupper. N. WI is just beautiful, like Michigan's.

I normally would love to visit and do a workshop but this year is brutal for juggling writing deadlines and promo. July I'll be in NYC for Thrillerfest (my first time) and at the end of that month, I'll be in San Francisco for the Romance Writers of America's annual shindig. They have a HUGE conference and SF should be fun.

I'm supposed to do a book tour of MI with Levy Entertainment, hitting all the Meijer shopping centers - 9 stores in 5 cities in 4 days. I've heard these are fun, but that's as close as I'm getting to WI this year.

I still have dear friends in WI and have promised a trip. I'm sure I'll be there soon.

Jordan Dane said...

HA!! Tina---you ARE a closet plotter then. I knew it.

I like arranging my white board into squares of chapters, then tossing in those extra sticky notes into the appropriate place in my story. And you can move it around.

Like you, I'm a visual learner too and like seeing it at a distance. I'm thinking this will pay off more when I have to travel for promo and get torn away from my book. It will help ground me into the story once I get back.

The details of a mystery with all the police procedural clues is not easy to slip in and out of.

Jordan Dane said...

Hey Billie--The next time we blog together, we should compliment each other on what we are wearing. That would really mess people up.

In cyberspace, I can afford designer duds instead of my usual jeans and sweatshirt--my new writers uniform. :)

Word Crafter said...

There you go again Jordan - designer duds hmmm let me see - oh are those Calvin Klein's you're wearing? and that hand bag is that Gucci?
Well, You'll have to settle for my working clothes today - I'm on my way to my "day" job - *sigh* - for that its jeans and sweatshirt - today a wolf is front and center - a gray wolf.
Next time we'll do a fashion show - maybe by then I'll be touring New York with you = ) Dreams do come true.
Billie

Jordan Dane said...

Personally, your gray wolf sounds more interesting. I'm a bit of a country girl at heart and I love animals. I lived in Alaska for 10 years and got a real taste for the outdoors. Designer duds are only for my characters, not me. :)

Word Crafter said...

That made me smile - Alaska you lucky girl - I have friends that moved from here up there -- they love it!
Oh, you could get designer jeans -- that would work. Yea I'm country too. But I do love to *dress up* occasionally. I can't wait to see you setting New York on it's ear when your books get to the shelves. I'm so excited for you and your books. Are you doing a tour for the other two - and can I invite you back if you do?
Thanks so much for your time and wonderful words to my readers.
Billie

Marilyn Brant said...

Billie and Jordan--I really enjoyed the interview and hearing about the upcoming novels. Plus, as a former Wisconsinite myself (I grew up near Madison), it's so nice to meet a couple of others online :). Best wishes to you both!

Jordan Dane said...

With my next two coming out back to back (May & Jun), I won't have much time to promo them individually.

My wonderful publisher is doing a lost of promo for me. I am living a very unusual and rare dream life for a writer right now. But Avon is not spending money on book tours unless they get a request, which they did for the Levy Tour I'm doing in MI in Sept. That should be fun.

Instead, they are focusing on co-op dollars for store displays and placement and ARCs and national ads and online promo. It's been a real eye-opener to learn what they do to bundle up this first series of mine.

But you'll see my appearance page is filled with speaking gigs and workshops from last year thru 2008, so I'm not just sitting around writing--even though I should be. I've got two more contracts to complete and my editor already has a twinkle in her cute eye for more books.

I love writing the best, but it comes at a slim lead to meeting other writers and readers. I love talking about writing. It's been an amazing second career for me--a lifelong dream come true. :)

Jordan Dane said...

Hey Marilyn---Thanks for stopping by. Madison is an amazing place. That downtown square, the Farmers Market, Symphony on the Square, the University, and the live music. And the beautiful setting with the downtown area sitting between two large lakes. They have Bouchercon in Madison in 2006 but I couldn't go. Readers and authors got a real treat with that conference.

And there's nothing like Midwest friendly, huh? I had to kind of clean up my act so people wouldn't think I was too strange. :D

Patricia said...

I really enjoyed No One Heard Her Scream and am looking forward to your next book. Hopefully, at some time in the future you will make an appearance in Kansas City. I am sure your books will be a great success.

Pat Reid
Kansas City

T.C. said...

Lovely interview ladies. Jordan, wonderful how you explained how you write - as if you are watching a movie. So I'm not alone :)

T.C. McMullen

Jordan Dane said...

Hey there Pat--I noticed you added your wonderful review to the TWC mix. I appreciate that. And I'd love to make it to KC. That used to be old stomping grounds for me when I was in the energy industry. I sold natural gas to your utilities up there. Nice folks.

If I get to KC, I'll be sure and let you know. I'd love to meet you. I love KC.

Jordan Dane said...

Hey there TC--

No you are not alone. I think visualizing it in your head like a movie is a great way to NOT write a linear plot. For pace, you need to tell the story in a concise manner that flavors the plot with scenes that draw the reader in, but not club them to death with detail. (Is that too graphic? I creeped myself out.)

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Had to stop by and say Hi. Just because I adore how this blog supports authors with their tours. And, of course, I adore Billie. Keep up the great work. And good job, Dr. Joe, with your tour!

Best,
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
www.howtodoitfrugally.com

Jordan Dane said...

Hey there Carolyn--Helping each other out is the name of the game. Someone helped me sell. Sharon Sala got me her agent (Meredith Bernstein) and started the auction off at her publisher. More detail on that story is on my website but Sharon is an amazing woman. And such a talented writer.

Jordan Dane said...

Billie--It's been fun spending time with you and your blog readers. Invite me back anytime. You're the BEST!

Joyce Anthony said...

Wow--smart, sense of humor and you don't write mushy--I think I'm going to be following your career closely Miss Jordan!! If you are looking for another interview opportunity, ask Billie for my email and I'll be happy to have you--now to go write your book down on my need to read list!!
Joyce

Jordan Dane said...

HA!

I've never been accused of mushy, but I do cry during Hallmark movies. I'm a real sap.

And I'm always up for more networking, Joyce. You can reach me through my website on the contact page if you want to chat. And thanks for playing today.

Word Crafter said...

This has been such a fun day. I finally got home from work and read all the additional comments here. Thank you to every one who participated and Jordan thank you for being such a wonderful guest! You bet you will get an invite back. Don't forget to take time to smell the flowers on your whirlwind take off to stardom! Best of luck!
Billie

Linda J. Hutchinson said...

Wonderful interview, Billie!

Jordan always gives more than she promises. She's one we'll all cheer on.