Interview with author Jea Hawkins

Jea Hawkins-Lucy True headshot

Who or what inspired your latest novel As Long As Love Lasts?

My own home renovations! We were ripping out walls and I started muttering, “Wouldn’t it be so cool if something fell out of the walls, like old letters?” And it snowballed from there.

 

Who or what inspired you to start writing?

Definitely my love of Nancy Drew. I wanted to make people feel the same excitement I felt reading her adventures.

 

Who is your favorite character from your books and why?

Vera Morton from As Long As Love Lasts. She knows who she is and what she wants, and even though she presents a tough exterior, is vulnerable underneath it all.

 

How do you approach writing a new storyline?

With excitement, and I’m all about getting everything I can written down before the plot bunny hops away on me. That’s why my stories tend to be big on dialogue and action – that’s what I envision most clearly as it plays like a movie in my head.

 

Where do your inspirations for characters and their lives come from?

A variety of things. I’m an avid genealogist in my Very Responsible Non-Writing Life, so I find quite a bit of inspiration from ancestors! But friends and acquaintances, or characters on TV shows also give me plenty of ideas.

 

Where is your favorite place to write?

The small diner downtown. They have delicious food, a great atmosphere, and the waitress knows me well enough to always ask, “Is it a coffee or cappuccino day?” I just feel very welcomed and relaxed there. The library is my other favorite place.

 

What is your writing process?

I like to write down everything that comes to mind, first, even if it’s the end of the story. After that, I ask myself how I’ll get from point A to Z. For my romances, I create a linear outline of beats and chapters. For my urban fantasies, I plot backwards from the final scene until I get to a reasonable starting point that puts the reader in media res.

 

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

I used to discover write (aka pantsing) and maybe have a loose outline. The first several books I published under another name were okay, but over the years, I learned what I needed to make them better. When I decided to write romance about women who love women, I took everything I’d learned and found a way to blend my excitement about a story idea with plotting it out. Plotting wasn’t nearly as painful as I’d spent 20 years thinking it would be and, as a result, I think what I write now is stronger than my previous attempts when I was younger.

 

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Editing from Em Stevens Edits at https://howtonovel.wordpress.comfor As Long As Love Lasts.The story wouldn’t be half as good without her expertise!

 

What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

One of my wonderful fans (I’d like to think of her as much more than a fan, though!) told me her wife is dyslexic. Her wife likes to read books while listening to the audiobook version. It helps her enjoy the story. I’ll never forget that and ever since then, I’ve always made sure they get a free audiobook from me whenever I have a new one.

 

What book that you have read has most influenced your life?

Dragonsongby Anne McCaffrey. It’s the story of a girl, Menolly, who lives in a fishing community, but doesn’t fit in there. She dreams of being a Harper, something her parents discourage. They have very strict ideas about a woman’s “place.” Menolly is frustrated and finally runs away from home, which is when she accidentally impresses a clutch of fire lizards, tries to outrun Thread (never a good idea on the planet of Pern), is rescued, and then revealed to be an incredibly talented musician and composer. I love absolutely everything about this story and have since I was a teenager, also keenly aware that I didn’t fit in with my peers at the time.

 

Do you have any new books coming out? If so, what are they about?

At this time, I am working on the final book in my Burgundy Hart series. Burgundy is a small-town librarian and witch… until she discovers she’s actually a warlock. This isn’t considered a good thing in the supernatural community, thanks to all the fear-mongering from the Witches Council. In book 3, Burgundy stands up to the Council once and for all.

 

How do you take your coffee?

I use Dunkies lingo, since I’m from Massachusetts (but I live in the Midwest, so this confuses people!) – extra sweet, extra light aka two creams, two sugars. But watch out – coffee turns me into a motor-mouth all day long!

Zip Line Jea

Review of As Long As Love Lasts by Jea Hawkins

As Long As Love Lasts

As most of you know I love historical fiction novels. When I saw that As Long As Love Lasts by Jea Hawkins was a mixture of a contemporary and a historical romance I was intrigued and this book did not disappoint.

 

Here is a short blurb about the book:

2018 – She doesn’t know if a marriage is worth fighting for.

 

Peyton Kennedy quantifies everything in terms of numbers and risk. She looks at a problem and solves it, leaving no piece of the puzzle out. When her young, too-whimsical wife inherits a derelict farmhouse from a distant aunt, Peyton can only see the bottom line. Too much work. Too much money. Time. Energy. Definitely not worth saving.

 

But her wife knows how to get her way and Peyton finds herself roped into renovations. This… this may be the straw that breaks her marriage’s back, and Peyton’s worried about how not worried that makes her.

 

That is, until a seventy-year-old bundle of letters and a time-worn diary fall on her head.

 

Before she knows it, Peyton is drawn into the story of her wife’s great aunt, Marty, a woman who dared defy social conventions for the love of another woman.

 

1939 – She doesn’t know what love is.

 

Marty Bell thinks life will fall neatly into place. Her mother has expectations: A husband, wealthy enough to give Marty security for the rest of her days. When she meets a beautiful circus worker who shovels dung and pounds stakes for a living, it’s the first time Marty sees that she can stray from the path.

 

Soon, her life is dictated by not just her mother, but the upheaval of war and the one thing she never expected to find: love.

 

And Marty will risk anything and everything to hold onto it.

 

This is the bittersweet tale of a diary, an elephant, and four women who know that few things matter more than finding someone who loves them just the way they are.

 

I really enjoyed the concept of the contemporary characters, Payton and Brooke, learning about their Aunt Marty’s life through the diary and letters they found. It really helped to develop their relationship to something that was falling apart, just like Marty’s old house, to something with a solid foundation. While their relationship was sweet, Marty and Vera’s relationship sucked me in and wouldn’t let go.

 

The sections of the book focusing on Marty and Vera’s relationship were my favorite parts. There was something about their chemistry that was deeply intoxicating, and I wanted to know more. In a time where their love wasn’t accepted, they found a way to be together until war pulled them apart. Vera was my favorite character even though you never hear things through her point of view. She was just so interesting. You could tell there was so much more to her story than was told in the book. Her secrets kept me wanting more. Also, who wouldn’t love a woman who comes with her own elephant.

 

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction.

 

As Long As Love Lasts is available on Kindle Unlimited by clicking here.