|Jean Hovey and Stephanie Jones: Alicia Hunter Pace|
Hi Everyone! Today I am super excited to introduce you to two of my favorite people at the Heart of Dixie's Romance Writing Chapter. Jean Hovey and Stephanie Jones writing as Alicia Hunter Pace just got their first contract with Crimson Romance for their sweet romance SWEET GONE SOUTH. I'm thrilled for them. They aren't just great writers, they're wonderful friends and generous volunteers in our organization. So it is with great pleasure that I welcome Jean and Stephanie to the Veranda to celebrate their debut! *Pop*Pour*Sip*Nibble on Chocolate!
Welcome to the Veranda Jean and Stephanie. Tell me how did you both end up being writers and working together?
Jean and I have both always wanted to write and had stories in our heads. We started writing a journal and emailing it back and forth. After a while we realized, “Hey this is really a book” and our first book was born.
Wow, what a fantastic way to start on this journey. What is your favorite genre to write?
Currently, contemporary, but we also love our romantic comedy fantasy. Who knows? We might one day merge the two.
I can see you merging the genres and doing it very well. How do you work together. Are you both plotters, or do you follow the muse?
I am 100 % plotter but Jean is 100 % muse follower. It keeps life interesting!
That is amazing. Yet keeping it interesting is what makes the storytelling fun! How do you both relax after a writing day?
Stephanie--I love to read and usually do that or spend time hanging out with friends.
Jean—I read and watch television. In the fall, I work very hard to earn enough time to watch a football game.
Jean, this year your team is winning a lot. I bet you don't want to miss a single play. When you are reading, Stephanie and Jean, what do you read? What are your favorite genres? Who are your favorite authors?
Stephiane-I read all kinds of different things. I read lots of romance in lots of genres. I would hate to have to choose just one. I read contemporary, historical, suspense, paranormal, erotica. I also read military fiction, mysteries, biographies, and westerns. See what I mean about being all over the place with my reading? My favorite romantic genres are probably contemporary and paranormal. I read so much that is hard to choose a favorite but Linda Howard and W.E.B. Web never let me down!
Jean—Wow. Obviously, romance--contemporary and regency historical, being my favorites. I am also a great lover of southern literature but I rule nothing out. As a librarian, I believed that to do a good job, I should read all genres. As a writer I believe that even more strongly. Every good writher is a reader. A writer who is not reediting needs to reevaluate. As for my favorite authors—I am going say right now I am not going to name anyone I have ever eaten a meal or texted with, because the list is long and I cherish them and their work. Outside of them: Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Pat Conroy. Deborah Smith, Rick Bragg, Eloisa James. Without fail, they make me laugh, cry, and wish there was just one more page.
I love all the writers you mentioned, Jean. And there are many we have broken bread with over the years. It would be hard to choose a favorite. And reading all genres is vital to enriching a writer's life and writing world, Stephanie. I love them all, too. What is your current project?
A contemporary romantic comedy with a high school football coach hero and a debutante turned attorney heroine, who has had her fill of football. It's been a lot of fun to write during football season.
Oh, that sounds really good. I'll be ordering it for sure!! Any new releases?
Sweet Gone South that is being released by Crimson Romance this week. We are so excited! We have contracted with Crimson for the next two books in this series. Scrimmage Gone South should be released next May and Simple Gone South next November.
Your titles are great. Where do you get your ideas for your stories?
We get them from everywhere! Sometimes it is a snippet of conversation; other times it might be an image that sparks a desire to create the back story. Most of the time, the characters come first and the story follows.
Character driven stories always hook me. Now you've hooked an editor and a contract with your stories. How long were you trying to get published before you got the “call?”
We had been actively seeking to sell for about five years.
That's fantastic. How did you celebrate the new book contract?
|A gorgeous cover!!|
We went to out to lunch with Jean’s husband and a dear friend of ours. They have both cheered us on and encouraged us through the entire process, reading every word we've written—probably the only romances they have ever read. It was great to celebrate with them.
Oh, how wonderful. How did you celebrate the “call?”
By squealing into the phone at each other.
I can imagine the entire state hearing that squeal! Was the “call” an actual phone conversation or an email or a snail mail?
It was an email that Jean opened and then she called me.
Wow. A double call really. Do you have an agent?
I love your story toward publication. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
I know this sounds trite but be true to yourself and what you know your story needs. There was this scene that I wanted to delete, but Jean felt it was important to keep it so we did. This ended up being one of the pivotal scenes in the book. We had to learn to trust our instincts.
Trusting one's instincts is the key. What encouragement can you give writers who face rejection?
Be willing to think of different things. There once was a time when only Bram Stoker wrote about vampires and now, look where we are. But someone had to be the first to be willing to write the story that inspired them.
Fantastic advice. What is the most difficult part about writing for you?
Stephanie--For me it is time. I work a full time job and a part time one so time is always a factor for me.
Jean—It isn't the writing that is hard for me. It's balancing everything else. I work best when the house is clean, the laundry is done, and the pantry is stocked. That isn't always possible. At first, I had to get past the mentality that I had to do those things to "earn" the privilege of writing.
I can't imagine how hard it is to juggle two jobs and a household while finding time to write. Making it a priority has paid off for sure! What is the most surprising thing you discovered after you received the call?
That no matter how prepared you think you are there is a TON of things that you have to do in a relatively quick time span, and you have to do them all on a firm deadline.
Oh that is good to know. Establishing deadlines before one gets published is a great idea, too. Lots of new changes on the horizon for both of you. I can't wait to see how your career as published writers unfolds. And we will celebrate again and again and again! Thanks so much for visiting the Veranda and sharing your story!
Here's a blurb. I know you'll want to read it!
In addition to their release with Crimson Romance, you can purchase their self-published series of fantasy story Elven Brides of Lochmoor Saga at Amazon.com