Wednesday, January 15, 2014

INTERVIEW WITH BABETTE JAMES

Please welcome Babette James to the blog. Babette, tell readers something about yourself.

Babette: I was born in New Jersey and raised in Southern California. I have one brother and he still lives in California with his family. I was the shy, nose-in-a-book kid, and even got in trouble for refusing to go to recess in Kindergarten because I wanted to read instead. We lived in a rural, hilly area outside of Malibu which was wonderful for hiking and playing and dreaming up adventures, and I loved going on camping trips to the mountains and to the Colorado River with my family. I moved back to New Jersey after college. I have a wonderfully patient husband who supports my writing and while, sadly, we were not blessed with children, we are owned by two extremely spoiled cats.

Caroline: We have children, but our two cats and dog believe they rule the house. Wait, they do. ☺ And you live in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

Babette: I have many favorite authors, but among my favorites are: J.R.R. Tolkien, Inez Kelley, Toni Blake, and Eloisa James. I love them all for their story-telling and vivid description. My favorite genres to read are romance and fantasy.

Caroline: When you’re not writing, what’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?

Babette: When not dreaming up stories, I enjoy reading stories with a satisfying happily ever after, playing with new bread recipes, dabbling with paints, and I try to keep up with the weeds in the garden beds.  I like to travel and I enjoy visiting my mom every summer in Florida. I hope to someday go to Ireland.

Caroline: Our favorite trips have been to Ireland and Scotland. I hope you can go soon. Describe yourself in three or four words.

Babette: Creative, quiet, curious.

Caroline: Would you like to share any guilty pleasures that feed your muse?

Babette: A spa day. I love getting a massage and pedicure and just totally relaxing.

Caroline: I’d love a massage right now! How long have you been writing?

Babette: I’ve been writing all my life and romance has played a part in all my stories, even in those childhood days, when I used to act out epic fantasy tales with my dolls (my Barbies had swords and knew how to use them) and scribble out bits of those stories, but it wasn’t until 2004 that I wrote my first full draft of romance novel.

Caroline: Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?

Babette: I write on laptops and occasionally on my phone. I’m lucky to have a room to myself for my office, with shelves for all my books, a big desk, and an old, soft upholstered chair that belonged to my grandmother in the corner, originally meant for me to curl up in and read, but that my cat Pookie keeps warm instead while I write at the desk. I arranged the desk so I face the bay window with a view of our maple tree and the sky, and in the summer, when the tree is green, I can imagine I’m in some retreat in the woods. I like to write with music playing and I make playlists for my different books.

Caroline: Your view sounds lovely. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Babette: I’m definitely a pantser, writing as the story hits me. I start with a scene and a character and the story grows like Topsy in every direction until I discover how it all works out. I do create an outline as I go deeper into the story to keep track of scenes and start to build the synopsis, but the story came first and outline second. I am trying to become more of a planner, marking out where I need story points to occur and building the outline as I go. I’m working on several novellas, and planning is coming in very handy as I learn to work in this shorter story form. I’m using Scrivener now and I really like how it works for organizing my story and helps me work more efficiently, while still letting me be fluid in my writing process.

Caroline: I’ve heard a lot about Scrivner but haven’t tried it. Do you do your research before you begin a new project, or as you go along?

Babette: Being a pantser, I have no idea where I’m going before I begin, so I do most of my research as I go along, and then at the end to clean up any last questions.

Caroline: Tell us about your writing schedule. Do you set goals? Do you write daily?

Babette: I don’t have a strict schedule, but I like to write daily, early in the morning before work and in the evening. I usually write while in an online chat with my critique group and other writing friends. We’ll often do timed challenges to work on writing or editing and share snips of our work. This year I’m working on keeping to a daily word count goal. I’m finding it’s trickier than targeting a weekly or monthly goal amount, but I’ve met the goal more often than not so far.

Caroline: Goals keep us grounded and hold us accountable. Do you write full time or do you have a day job. If you have a day job, what is it?

Babette: I still have the day job. I’m a teacher. I love encouraging new readers and writers as they discover their growing abilities. My class cheers when it’s time for their spelling test!

Caroline: Tell us something about yourself that might surprise readers.

Babette: I’ve played with a tiger in my front yard. A friend of my dad’s had owned one, and he brought it over for us to see. It was not full grown yet, but it was very large, very soft, and bounded around the yard with us like a happy dog. (I have a feeling it considered my brother and I to be interesting new kitty toys)

Caroline: Interesting. A friend researched tigers for her novel and learned there are more tigers in captivity in Texas than free. What is something unusual you learned while researching and writing this book?

Babette: I needed to look up the history of baseball and was surprised to learn just how old of a game it was. The first known American reference to baseball appears in a 1791 Pittsfield, Massachusetts, town by law prohibiting the playing of the game near the town's new meeting house.

Caroline: Hmm, do you suppose a broken window caused that law to be written? What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Babette: I want my readers to have enjoyed the story. That to me is the most important part of storytelling. I loved writing and discovering my characters and I hope readers enjoy my hero and heroine’s journey to love as much as I do.

Caroline: What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

Babette: My favorite tip is "Just write." Pour that story out and let your characters talk. Also, most importantly, never give up on your dreams.

Caroline: Tell us about your latest release.

Babette: SUMMERTIME DREAM is my new spicy contemporary romance novel from The Wild Rose Press, which is currently available on Kindle. This is the second novel in my River series, which began with CLEAR AS DAY. I had enjoyed writing Christopher and Margie as friends of my hero and heroine in CLEAR AS DAY, but they were already married and happily in love and I was busy working on the sequel to CLEAR AS DAY, where again they were only minor characters. I never intended to give them their own story or write a prequel. Best laid plans… I made the mistake of asking my characters how they met. My sweet happy couple had shadows in their pasts and problems to resolve before they reached their happily ever after. I absolutely loved writing their novel and watching the two learn what they needed in their lives as they dealt with the house, Margie’s family, the mystery of Christopher’s grandmother, and fell headlong into love.

Blurb for SUMMERTIME DREAM:

The Fourth of July is over, but for these summer lovers the fireworks have just begun.

An unexpected inheritance brings business consultant Christopher Gordon from Los Angeles to quaint Falk’s Bend. He’s carved a week from his demanding schedule to list his great-grandparents’ house for sale and explore his roots. However, disturbing family secrets and the sweet temptation of writer Margie Olsson derail his plans, challenging him to seize the elusive dream missing from his hectic life— love.

A recent brush with death shook Margie’s life, but not her dreams and she’s ready to move forward. Only, standing up to her loving, over-protective family isn’t easy. Helping Christopher explore the derelict mansion and unravel his grandmother’s mysterious past should be a harmless fun taste of independence. But when her experimental summer fling ignites into unexpected love, how can her small town dreams work with his big city life?


Excerpt from SUMMERTIME DREAM:

Margie touched his shoulder and had him turn away from the mess to focus on the view toward the river.

Here the picturesque natural beauty of the property began: the land sloped gently down past the ancient summer house and purple martin houses to the reedy pond where a duck flew in and landed with a quack, and stretched on through weedy tangles of wild blackberry and rogue saplings to the ancient apple and plum trees sagging with unripe fruit, and beyond to the river invisible in the distance, marking where the Engberg’s farm began on the far bank.

Appreciation softened his tense face.

“Beautiful, isn’t it? I fell so in love with this place when I was little and dreamed I’d live in a house like this someday.” Margie laughed. “Of course, in my dreams it was a bit less rundown.”

“I’d imagine so. Interested in buying?”

“Oh, if only I could, I would in an instant. I’m sure the property alone is worth far more than I can afford. It’s a huge piece of land. And the repairs and restoration...” Longing swelled. She sighed. Someone else would buy and live in her dream home.

Quiet fell between them for a while. Bees buzzed in the clover. Birds sang, chirped, and flitted. A hummingbird whizzed past. Two more ducks joined the first amid quiet bickering quacks. Dandelion fluff drifted by on an unfelt breeze.

A truck rattled down the lane, breaking the moment.

“Suppose we ought to head back...” Christopher turned, so close their arms brushed, but instead of retreating, he hesitated. Their eyes locked. Where dismay and frustration had filled his green eyes, want simmered. The heavy air electrified.

You need a change.

On a surge of bewildering crazy courage, she stretched up and kissed him. The brief brush of lips to lips left her shaken and her heart pounding, like she had just come up for air.

His eyes widened in his serious, craggy face.

No, oh, no. Blowing out an unsteady breath, she pressed a hand to her stomach. She’d carried her day’s adventure one impetuous step too far. Her heroines were the daring part of her. She’d never even kissed on a first date before, and this wasn’t even a date.

Before the apology fluttering in her mind could break free, he cupped her cheek and touched his mouth down on hers.

Thinking faded as feeling soared. His gentle touch sweet and fascinating, his lips warm and firm played over hers, unhurried in his caresses and enticing brushes. He laced his fingers into her hair, cradling her head in his hand. He tenderly nipped her lip and licked at her mouth, inviting her rather than taking.

She sighed, delighting in this lovely, reckless rush. Yes. Yes. Yes. Forget that they had just met. She could want again.

Gripping his shoulder, she accepted the heady invitation, and the kiss deepened into perfect.

Come fall in love at the river:

Summertime Dream is available on Amazon: http://viewBook.at/SummertimeDream

“Summertime Dream is a perfect glass of Lemonade on a hot day. Simple, elegant and beautifully written. I enjoyed each scene. Loved the chemistry between the characters and the house. Great story!” ~ Deborah Diez

Clear As Day, (★★★★½ RT Book Reviews, ★★★★★ Top Pick The Romance Reviews) is available at:



And at all other eBook retailers

Babette James, Author


You can find Babette at:






Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.com/e/B007KDJWV8



Thanks for stopping by!


8 comments:

Susan Macatee said...

Hi, Caroline and Babette! I enjoyed the interview and saw myself as the shy kid with her nose in a book. Recess was my least favorite school activity. I also made up elaborate scenarios for my Barbie's, but none included swords. lol

I don't read a lot of contemporary, but this sounds like a fun read! Best of luck with it!

Laura Strickland said...

I, too, am a pantser, and my daughter and I used to play Barbies and act out stories. Amazing how those times come back on the page. Great interview!

babettejames.com said...

Hi, Susan, thanks for stopping by!

babettejames.com said...

Thanks, Laura. I'm now considering how I can use that tiger in a story someday. lol

Caroline Clemmons said...

Babette, thanks for sharing with us. Your book sounds intriguing. I look forward to reading it.

babettejames.com said...

Hi, Caroline. Hope you enjoy it! I love your photo of Sebastian. :)

Ashantay said...

I enjoyed your interview and totally related with the "rather read a book" observation. Good luck with your release!

babettejames.com said...

Thanks, Ashantay!