Please help me welcome friend and fellow author MJ Schiller to the blog today! She agreed to take the hot seat and answer a few questions so we can all get to know her a little better and she’s also sharing some info on her latest release BLACKOUT! I love the cover…and of course her teasers are incredible. I think you’ll enjoy our chat and checking out her latest release :)
Let’s get started…
Describe yourself in 3 sentences.
I am a mother to a twenty-year-old, and eighteen-year-old triplets who just started as freshman at the University of Missouri-Columbia, my alma mater. I enjoy writing romance and romantic suspense. Make-believe rocks! I like to read, karaoke, and attend concerts.
Make believe does rock! And congrats on the kids starting freshman year…what an achievement! When it comes to peanut butter, do you prefer creamy or crunchy?
Ahh…depends. Smooth for a sandwich (doesn’t tear up the bread), crunchy for everything else.
I wish I liked crunchy, but I’m a smooth girl all the way :) What’s the one thing you eat that makes your family cringe?
Chicken quesadillas and protein cakes. Quesadillas because it is my go-to meal when we are out to eat and it drives my kids crazy that I always order the same thing. Protein cakes for a similar reason. I eat one every day.
lol…Love it! Tell us your favorite part of the writing process.
I actually enjoy almost all of the parts of being a writer, but my favorite would have to be getting that rough draft down on paper, because that’s when the creativity is at its height.
Very true! I love choosing character names. Tell us how you came up with your character’s names in BLACKOUT.
The three main characters are Faith Roberson, Eli Batonis, and Max Theobald III. A long time ago I made a list of girls’ names I liked and Faith was on it. Roberson is actually the last name of my daughter’s friend. Several years ago my lunch lady friends and I drew up a list of “sexy guy names.” You know, the ones that almost always seem to be attached to a sexy guy. Eli was on there. Max just seemed to fit the character’s personality. He’s a charmer, funny, sexy, from a wealthy family, but pretty down-to-earth. Couldn’t picture them with any other names!
Thanks for sharing. I love behind the scenes stories like that! Tell us about your book in a tweet…that’s right, you have 140 characters!
Max-the consummate ladies man. Eli-haunted by his past. Hope-the woman who loves them both. Eli vs. Max. Wish it were a title fight.
Nicely done. Describe your writing space.
Right now my writing space is the corner of the couch closest to the outlet. But my husband and I recently became empty-nesters and before the boys even left I had Recycling for Families come and pick up their bed frames because their room is going to be MY OFFICE! That’s right, no more mail littering the coffee table, no books stacked on the floor. Instead of a box full of wires and plugs, we’ll have them stowed away in a drawer. It will have soothing gray walls and a big, black, L-shaped desk. Already have the paint chips! ;)
Fun times! Congrats on your new office. Do you prefer to write in the morning, afternoon, night, or are you one of those lucky authors who can write whenever and wherever?
When I had newborn triplets and a two-year-old, I learned pretty quickly that I had to seize those little 5-15 minutes of the day not assigned to some chore. I used those niches in the day to do something for me, which was write!
What’s the one scene from BLACKOUT that stands out in your mind as being your favorite to write?
There is a scene when Max and Eli get into fisticuffs and then are found bruised, bloody, and laughing on the floor by an irate Faith. Love that scene!
When did you first know that you wanted to go the extra distance and become an author?
When I turned forty I decided “that book I was going to write someday” needed to be written! I sat down and wrote twelve books. (Not in one sitting!) Then I decided I needed to do something with them and started pursuing publishing.
Great story. Love it! Why should we read BLACKOUT?
Because it is a story about love, making mistakes, pain, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice. It’s sexy and it’s funny—it has some dark spots, too. And the ending really felt right.
Out of all your books, which one character resonates with you the most?
Well this is kind of hysterical, because he is as unlike me as he can be, but Chad Evans from TRAPPED UNDER ICE, the first book in my ROCKING ROMANCE COLLECTION. Chad has issues. He carries around a lot of pain and anger from his childhood. But he’s also the sweetest guy. He needed just the right woman to unlock that wonderful side of him.
Care to give us a sneak peek into what you’re working on next?
Due out any day is the final installment in my scifi romance series the ROMANTIC KNIGHTS TRILOGY. It’s titled A KNIGHT TO REMEMBER. The series contains two storylines. The romance between Darius and Maggie, and how Orion’s feels about it. And then there’s the suspense element. Someone is killing off the members of the Grand Council—and a few of our favorite peeps are on their hit list!
RANDOM FUN: FINISH THIS SENTENCE…
When I was a kid I wanted to grow up to be _I didn’t want to grow up. Still don’t. WAAAAY overrated!
My eyes are _one is blue, one is green.
When I write I always have funny expressions on my face. That is, according to my kids.
I prefer to not work, and yet I’m forced to.
Thanks for having me! It’s been fun!
LOL…I loved your answers to the random questions. Thank you so much for visiting me on the blog MJ. I enjoyed getting to know you better and learning about your latest release :)
Max. The consummate ladies’ man.
He’s good looking, but not an absolute knockout. With Max’s charm though, he could have any woman he wants. Once he meets Faith, he doesn’t want anyone else.
Eli. He is a knockout.
But a dark past shadows him and holds him captive. Drinking dulls the pain, but meeting Faith makes him want to change all that.
Faith. She loves them both.
When a blackout brings her together with Eli, she’s happier than she’s ever been before. When another blackout tears them apart, Max is there to pick up the pieces. But can she forget the man who first made her whole?
He was there. I remember it all—the crowded street, Max holding the car door open, a bus passing by—and then he was just there, looking…as good as ever somehow, but not looking the same. I froze and everything faded away—the honking, Max’s laughter, the tires on the road, the sounds of construction. As if God pressed His giant mute button. And Eli stood there, peering at me from across the street, and I couldn’t breathe.
Instead of his khaki green flak jacket he wore a navy, cotton jacket, unzipped. The wind tugged on the ends of it as he glanced around. His hair was shorter, but it was definitely him, hands shoved into the pockets of tan Dockers, (Eli, in Dockers?). He leaned a little against a light post, his feet crossed in front of him. When his gaze landed on me, he straightened. A bicyclist passed in front of him, a bullet of color. My mouth froze in mid-smile and my throat suddenly ached.
And then, like some cosmic explosion, everything came speeding back into place.
“Babe?” Max turned and glanced across the street, but he didn’t seem to see Eli. How, I don’t know. “What’s wrong?”
“N-nothing. Nothing,” I finally spat out, looking up into his warm, brown eyes.
“Well, are you going to get in?” He gave me a teasing smile, his handsome face serene. Max’s sandy, red-brown hair was not as long as Eli’s had been, but long enough to show a hint of sexy curl. He wore his beard closely-cropped and carried himself with a confidence and style which was inherited from his successful parents.
“In the car, you nut.”
He bent and kissed me on the lips, a sweet, simple kiss, but I pulled away; suddenly it was all wrong. He didn’t notice. He was too happy. Too happy I finally said yes. I gazed back across the street and, even though he wasn’t near enough for me to see his eyes, I knew what they looked like. I knew by the way he turned and hurried away. And Eli’s pain was mirrored in my own.
MJ is a lunch lady in the heart of Central Illinois. My gosh! Can you get more folksy than that? She met her husband at the University of Missouri-Columbia and now she has a twenty year old (how did that happen?) and eighteen year old triplets! She loves to read, karaoke (where she can pretend she is a rock star) and spends WAY too much time on Facebook. She grew up in St. Louis and still has family there.