Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thursday Talk-Time - The Best of Friends and Books

A big welcome to Shirley Jump, who joins us to talk about the joys of mixing business AND pleasure.....

They say you should never mix friends and business. It’s supposed to be bad on all ends. So many things can go wrong, etc. Yeah, well, I’m not one of those people who listens to those dire warnings, especially when I have a cool book idea and want to share it with someone.
That’s how the idea for the Wedding Planners came about (Myrna Mackenzie’s book, #2, The Heir’s Convenient Wife, is out now, Melissa McClone’s, SOS, Marry Me!, #3, is due out next month, and you can still order mine, Sweetheart Lost and Found, book #1, on Amazon, etc. Keep visiting our blog to keep up with characters and release dates!). I had a cool book idea, a cool group of friends I wanted to work with, we decided to mix the two together…and voila! We had a six-book series about friends working together in the wedding planning business. It would have been even more fun if we all lived nearby (or heck, even on the same continent!), but communicating and brainstorming via e-mail worked out fine, too, and when a bunch of us met up at RWA last year, we had a fabulous time (okay, the margaritas made it a real party, LOL).

Seriously, though. This business is hard enough. Publishing is a business that batters your ego, slams it against the ropes like a really angry WWE wrestler, then stomps on you some more just to make sure you got the message. Then, just as you’re getting up again, hey, one more time against the ropes. It’s a tough industry, not for the faint of heart (and apparently, for a lot of the “greats,” it wasn’t for the sober, either, but that’s a column for another day, LOL. Me, I have kids to drive to school in the morning. None of that Hemingway lifestyle for me).

Having friends in the industry makes a huge difference. Friends who understand, who speak writer. And even better, friends who can write with you, brainstorm a book with you…it’s as invaluable as one of those MasterCard commercials. I’ve had a long time critique partner (Janet Dean, whose first book with Love Inspired Historicals, Courting Miss Adelaide, is out this September), and she’s been a huge source of support and help.

But when I embarked on this six-woman project for the Wedding Planners, I had no idea that bonding and brainstorming with Myrna, Melissa, Linda, Susan and Melissa would be such an enriching and rewarding experience. Not just for the books themselves, because I think having six minds created really rich books, but for me. Those ladies were, and still are, some of my best writing friends.

And if we’re ever in the same continent--and the same state--I’ll treat them to some margaritas and tell them so. With the words I can’t always seem to get on the page. ;-)

Shirley's contribution to the Wedding Planners series got four stars from Romantic Times, which called it ", funny and quite moving".

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