Friday, November 20, 2009
FEATURED: Jewel Amethyst
Jewel Amethyst was born and raised on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. She has a passion for writing and has authored several collections of short stories and poems. Her debut novel, “A Marriage of Convenience” received a 4 star rating from Romantic Times. Since then, Jewel Amethyst has authored “From SKB with Love”, a novella in the romance anthology “Holiday Brides”. Jewel currently resides in Maryland with her husband and three kids.
What would you like readers to take away from your book?
As with most romance, I would love readers to be caught up in the feeling of happiness as the heroine walks that rocky road to her happily ever after. The heroine is not your typical overly beautiful female. She is a short plus sized woman who finds love in a man she marries as part of a business deal. So what I would really like readers to take away is that you don’t have to be the physically beautiful, rich or without struggles to find your true love and romance can come in the strangest of situations.
Why did you choose to write this book?
I’m not sure if I chose this book or this book chose me. As an immigrant, I’ve often heard stories of people marrying for their green cards. A few years back an acquaintance married for his green card and stuck around for love. I thought: what a great romance story that would make. So I wrote A Marriage of Convenience.
What did you learn while writing this book?
Good editing is what makes a good book. Even the most experienced writer has to go back and edit the book to make it as interesting and easy to read as possible.
What was your favorite scene/chapter from the book?
I have so many favorite scenes it’s hard to say. But if I really think about it, it would have to be Thanksgiving dinner where a snow storm forces Tamara to share her bedroom with her husband for the first time. She finally agrees to consummate the marriage and spent so much time in the shower preparing herself for him just to find that he’d fallen asleep.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
That it’s not as easy as we think. I constantly hear non-writers say, “Anyone can write a book”. Well, that may be true but not every one can tell a really interesting tale. It takes time, dedication and yes, talent. Most of all it is a process that must be developed.
What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?
I tend to write by inspiration rather than by discipline; meaning, I write when I’m in the mood or can find time to write. That can be tough when you have young kids. One of the best bits of advice I got from another author is that we shouldn’t find time to write, we should make time to write.
What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?
Getting my book published was tough. I have learned that a rejection of your manuscript from a publishing house or agent is not a rejection of you or a reflection of your ability to write. But when those rejection letters come, it is difficult not to be discouraged.
What was the best advice you’d ever gotten about the publishing industry? The worst?
The best advice: No matter how great your publisher, you are your best promoter for your book.
The worst: submit manuscripts only to literary agents. They can get you the best deals. I’ve learned to explore all options and forms of publications including, submitting directly to publishers, considering e-publishing or self publishing.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
Do stick to it. Sometimes it’s discouraging when we spend years writing just to be rejected by a publisher, but we should keep writing in spite of it. The more you write, the better your writing becomes.
Don’t ever give up your dreams of being published. There are many more avenues for publication available today than there were a decade or two ago. If conventional publishing houses aren’t working for you, explore some of the other options, but whatever you do, don’t give up.
I borrowed this question from Author Carleene Brice, What is your author fantasy?
Just a few weeks ago on the blog Novel Spaces, one author spoke about first time authors who fantasized about their debut books becoming bestsellers and went on to outline some of her more realistic fantasies. Well I still have that little fantasy that my book would be featured on Oprah’s book club and would rocket to the number one spot on the New York Times bestseller list. Of course I also fantasize about getting it made into a movie. My more realistic fantasy though, is that I can be prolific enough to get two or three publications per year.
What is something readers would be surprised you do?
I think they would be surprised to learn that I am a scientist and spend quite a bit of time in a lab running experiments.
Five questions about books:
One book that you have read more than once.
The Color Purple
One book you would want on a desert island.
One book that made you laugh.
Bill Cosby’s “Cosbyology”
One book that made you cry.
Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple”
One book you wish you'd written.
That’s a toughie. I can’t think of a book that I wish I’d written.
Our theme for this month is Time Management. Do you have any tips on making time for writing?
Having a full time job and a family with young kids, it is really hard to find time to write. I tend to do a lot of my writing sometime between my kids bedtime and mine. But I do write a lot of my scenes mentally while going about my daily chores. My only tip is to write when you can and when you are relaxed enough to focus on the writing. Fifteen minutes of quality writing beats three hours of staring at the computer blankly hoping that something would come to you.
The other thing I would suggest is visualize some of your scenes in your mind while you go about your daily routine. That way when you get the time to write it, you would spend less time dealing with writer’s block.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
My second book, the novella “From SKB with Love” is part of the “Holiday Brides” anthology which also includes novellas by Farrah Rochon and Stefanie Worth. That was released last month and is in most bookstores as well as Amazon.com and other online book retailers. “From SKB with Love” is about a grieving young widow whose friend wins a trip to the Caribbean island paradise of St. Kitts (my home country) and drags her along. There she meets and falls in love with a handsome Kittitian, but her loyalties to the memory of her dead husband gets in the way of their love.
I currently have a WIP but it is still in its infancy so I’m afraid that sneak peek would have to wait.
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
I can be reached by email: email@example.com. I am also on facebook. I blog twice a month on http://novelspaces.blogspot.com/ along with 10 other authors and quite a few guest bloggers. I am also on http://gather.com/
A Marriage of Convenience
The Perfect Bride Tamara Fontaine has planned every detail of her fairy-tale wedding, from her elegant satin-and-lace gown to the rose-strewn bed where she and her husband-to-be will consummate their vows. There’s only one catch… No Groom.
Humiliated and financially devastated by the con artist who left her waiting at the altar, Tamara has no use for men. But she does need someone to share the beautiful new home she can’t afford on her own. Enter Kwabena Opoku, a gorgeous Ghanaian scientist in search of a green card. This time the rules are all laid out ahead of time, and they don’t include romance. But sometimes, against all odds, love comes after…A MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE
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