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An Interview With Jill Marie Landis, Author of Heart of Stone

I would very much like to welcome Jill Marie Landis, author of the historical romance Heart of Stone - Book 1 of The Irish Angel Series - to Emeraldfire's Bookmark. About three weeks ago, I received an email from Ms. Landis' publisher, including a request to review her latest historical romance novel, Heart of Stone. The publisher also asked if I wanted to do an interview with her. Ms. Landis was nice enough to answer some questions for me about all of her books, as well as her latest release, Heart of Stone.

If you want to learn more about Ms. Landis, please visit her website www.jillmarielandis.com. I'd like to thank her for her time and candid answers. Heart of Stone is coming up on my list after I finish Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier. I love 'Hoarders' too, on a side note.

Thank you so much for stopping by Emeraldfire's Bookmark, Ms. Landis, and I wish you all the best now and in the future!

Meet Jill Marie Landis

Jill Marie Landis is the bestselling author of nearly thirty novels which have appeared on the NYT bestseller list, USA Today and other national bestseller lists. She has won numerous awards for her heartfelt characters and sweeping emotional historical romances that include Summer Moon and Magnolia Creek and the Irish Angels Series; Heart of Stone, Heart of Lies, and Heart of Glass. All of her Historical Romances are available in eBook format.

She is currently writing The Tiki Goddess Mysteries Series which includes Mai Tai One On, Two to Mango, Three to Get Lei'd, Too Hot Four Hula and Hawaii Five Uh-Oh! from Bell Bridge Books.

Toes in the sand and head in the clouds, she is living the dream in Hawaii with her husband, Steve. Jill Marie loves to spend hours at the beach reading or writing and she also loves dancing the hula.


Synopsis of Heart of Stone:

She had the darkest of pasts. And he had everything to lose by loving her. Laura Foster, free from the bondage of an unspeakable childhood, has struggled to make a new life for herself. Now the owner of an elegant boardinghouse in Glory, Texas, she is known as a wealthy, respectable widow. 

But Laura never forgets that she is always just one step ahead of her past. When Reverend Brand McCormick comes calling, Laura does all she can to discourage him as a suitor. She knows that if her past were discovered, Brand's reputation would be ruined. But it's not only Laura's past that threatens to bring Brand down - it's also his own. 

When a stranger in town threatens to reveal too many secrets, Laura is faced with a heartbreaking choice: Should she leave Glory forever and save Brand's future? Or is it worth risking his name - and her heart - by telling him the truth?

Coming to Amazon on 22 February 2010!

Emeraldfire's Bookmark: My first question is because I don't speak Hawaiian: What does Wala'au mean?

Jill Marie Landis: Wala'au  means to  "talk story."  Hawaiians take time to stop by, sit and chat or "talk story." I guess you could say it means gossip, but that's not really it either. It's more like just sitting and telling stories and catching up. (My neighbor just stopped by just to drop off a package and talked for 45 minutes!)

Emeraldfire's Bookmark: Describe a typical day when you write?

Jill Marie Landis: When I'm in the writing zone (producing 10 pages a day is my goal) my hubby brings me coffee in bed to get me going. Then I get up, check emails and get to work. I work from around 8:30-9:00 a.m. until around 12:30 p.m. Then I take a lunch break and watch something I've DVR'd while I eat. (Hoarders is my favorite reality show right now.) 

Then I'm back at the computer around 1:30 or 2 until around 3:30 or 4 p.m.. Then I try to get down to the beach for a swim, weather and surf permitting, and sit there until it's time to make dinner. Love being there for the sunset, too.

Emeraldfire's Bookmark: Which is easier to write, plot or character development?

Jill Marie Landis: I think characters. For me the plot comes from the characters, their goals and their conflicts and their motivations both internal and external pretty much sets up the plot. There is always a point near the middle when I think I don't have enough plot and then about 3/4 of the way through I start thinking that the book will be waaaay to long. 

The more you problems you pile on your characters, the more flaws and back story you give them, the more you have to work with. Try to make the hero and heroine opposites in every way and that sets up lots of conflict. Without enough conflict, you don't have enough plot.

Emeraldfire's Bookmark: For those of us who have just started reading your books (that would be me) which book, in your opinion, would be a good one to start with? How about someone starting to read the romance genre?

Jill Marie Landis: That depends on what kind of book you enjoy. My previous books were for
the secular market and now I'm writing inspirational fiction. The bottom line is that I try to give 
readers a book with lots of emotion, characters they care about, a page turning plot and a story they will remember. 

Twenty of my books have love scenes in them. My new books for Steeple Hill and Zondervan do not. So what I would recommend depends on what kind of book the reader wants. For the secular market, I'd say Summer Moon and Magnolia Creek, which are historicals. Contemporary readers might try Lovers Lane or Heartbreak Hotel

For the readers who prefer stories without love scenes in the "inspirational" catagory, I would suggest Heart of Stone, which I'm really excited about as it's book 1 of my new Irish Angels series. They might also try Homecoming and The Accidental LawmanFor someone just starting to read in the romance genre the authors I would recommend (after me, of course!) are Kathleen Woodiwiss, Lavyrle Spencer, and in the inspirational marketplace, Francine Rivers, Deanne Gist, and Karen Kingsbury. At least those are just some of my favorites.

Emeraldfire's Bookmark: How did the plot of Heart of Stone come about?

Jill Marie Landis: The heroine was a secondary character in The Accidental Lawman. She was so intriguing to me that she had to have her own book. I had set her up as the owner of a boarding house in Glory, Texas, a fictional town. She was a beautiful wealthy widow who refused all proposals of marriage. 

She seemed demure but her strong will and courage were apparent. As it turns out, I made her a former prostitute (thus the secret past) who falls in love with the town preacher and he with her. Now there's conflict! I threw in a few secrets for the hero, too, and I was off and running.

When I added an opening chapter that shows Laura as a child and how she got into a life of prostitution and was separated from her three sisters, a series was born. (The long lost sisters will be reunited, each with her own book.) It's the first time I've intentionally set out to write an historical series on purpose. I've written books that were connected before, but there was usually other titles between them.

Emeraldfire's Bookmark: Will you ever write that full-length novel set in Hawaii that you wanted?

Jill Marie Landis: Actually, I did. I wrote an historical romance (not inspirational) entitled Glass Beach. It was set on Kauai in the 1800's and includes paniolo, or Hawaiian cowboys. I've also recently written a comic mystery series set on in the Islands. The title is Mai Tai One On and I'm still looking for a publisher for that one.

May you read well and often

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