JM Powers Interview

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with author JM Powers. Thanks for being here today JM!
Thanks for having me. I think it's great there are sites such as yours willing to help authors.

To start, will you please tell us a little bit about your newest release Basket of Hope?
Sure! The setting of Basket of Hope is a medieval fantasy world ruled by witches and warlocks. All Hallows Eve ball is a huge turning point, as it's the weakest night for those who are pure and good, and a night where encroaching evil plans to infiltrate and take over rule of the kingdom. Therefore, on this night, Machias must pick a wife. His power combined with another ensures the kingdom remains in the hands of his family. The ball looms near, and Machias must choose from the many witches his father introduces in the weeks preceding the ball. Sounds simple right? Just follow his duty and all will be well. Nope.

Kara's love developed from their childhood days and throughout the years Machias was gone for training. On the day of the ball, she discovers his feelings match her own. However, it doesn't matter-she is a mere scullery maid.

Now, Machias' father is quite a jerk. He will do anything to ensure his son chooses wisely-lies, beatings and even an attempt to soil Kara's innocence is not past the man.

Machias' marriage announcement promises to burn Kara's hope to cinders...unless something truly magical happens at the All Hallows Eve ball.

How long have you been writing?
As long as I can remember. I can't imagine not writing.

Was there any one person or event in your life that finally inspired you to sit down and write your first book?
For years, I had a recurring dream. I am a maiden, dressed in a beautiful blue gown, a chain girdle swaying at my waist and a hennin on my head. (You've seen them; those pointy hats with the long veil attached.) I don't know why the details of my attire was so vivid in this dream, because I am terrified and fleeing for my life. At one point, I take off my slippers an run down a long corridor of a castle so I'm not heard. I find the lower level and hide. A knight ends up finding me and jabbing a lance through me every single time. The nightmare inspired me to write about it in my journal-and the dreams stopped eventually. However, writing about it didn't. Soon, the journal entry became a story...then a book. (Jewel of Ramstone)

So I suppose nightmares can be a good thing. It inspired me to write. I never stopped.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Let me answer that with another little memory. This one isn't a dream though. I was around twelve when I caught my mom reading a dictionary. Yes-actually reading it. When I laughed and asked if she wanted one of my paperbacks, her answer made me tilt my head, ponder and then nod in agreement.

"This is the best book you can read. You can never have too much knowledge of the meaning behind words."

That struck a chord in me. English was not my mother's first language, and she was always thirsty for knowledge. Years later, I found out she told my younger sister the same thing. I think that is why both of us are authors today. Mom died when we were young, but I think she reads each manuscript over our shoulders.

Other than 'knowledge of words', I couldn't do without a good thesaurus, critique partners and beta readers.

What books have most influenced your life most?
I don't recall the title, probably because the book really wasn't written very well. I figured I could do better. So, I decided to learn all I could about the craft and began writing my own books. I guess you could say a bad book influenced my life. Ha.

What is the one thing you've always wanted to do but never had the courage / opportunity to try?
I would love to live in Italy. I even contacted realty companies there and realized we could actually afford it-well in some villages anyway. Problem is, I can't convince the rest of my family to move there. And-get this-my husband is Italian! I don't get it. :)

Can you tell us a little about your upcoming works?
Jewel of Ramstone, a historical medieval romance, is a full-length novel about a maiden without a past-and love which overcomes guilt, secrets and obstacles. It should be out this fall/winter. No definite date yet, as editing has unpredictable timing. I have book trailer and blurb on my blog. Jewel of Ramstone is my "baby." I rewrote and edited it so many times my sister wanted to rip the manuscript out of my hands and submit it for me. Even my husband, (who only read the battle scenes) saw my obsession for perfection. When he said I would always find something to polish, therefore it would never be submitted for consideration. I admit I still hired an editor to give it a few rounds before sending it out. I wanted it to be polished. Just the same, Jewel of Ramstone required rewrites and edits once a publisher accepted it. It really is a jewel now. (Ha. I couldn't resist the play on words.)

The publisher has asked for a sequel, so I am working on that now.

Other works on the back burner:

Fiction: (Steps and Stones) A contemporary romance, about a woman who must face tragedy, build a new life… and accept what love really is. (The first chapter is on my blog.)

Non-fiction: (Untitled) A journey with my son from the world of Autism… and his steps into ours.

Now for a bit of fun. Please finish the following sentences:

My favorite place in the world is…
a cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains with my sister.

The first thing I do in the morning is…
smile at my husband when he hands me my coffee.

The best present I ever got was…
a coffee maker from my sister. (I know, weird answer, but this was one kick-ass coffee maker!)

I'd love to meet…
Hannah Howell.

The last thing I do at night is…
rub my cold feet against my husband's leg and listen to his chuckle.

Is there anything else you would like to add today?
To those in the process of submitting your work. Don't let rejections get you down. They are par for the course. Learn your craft, persevere and soon you will discover the bliss of an acceptance letter eventually.

Thank you so much JM for spending time with us today!
I enjoyed this! Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share!

Interviewed by: Tammy