Guest Blog: MJ Kane

Today, MJ Kane talks to us about writing, strong women, and living your dreams. Her new novel, A Heart Not Easily Broken is being released today in eBook! When you’re done reading her interview, check it out!
What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

Being able to get the people that inhabit my mind out on paper! For years I’ve gone to bed at night with scenes (well, I didn’t think of them as scenes at the time) replaying over and over in my head while I waited to go to sleep. I had no idea that the stories I made up would ever become something to write about!

In what genre(s) do you write?

Interracial Romance, Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction

What, for you, is the hardest part of writing a book?

Perfecting the minor details…punctuation, monitoring the use of dialogue tags, and staying in the same tense throughout without switching between past and present. Those things take time, patience, and lots of practice! My original manuscript has had at least ten sets of revisions to get it where it is today, and that was before it even saw an editor! After that would be learning when it’s time to put my baby down and entrust it to my beta readers and editor, praying they see my story the way I want it to come across.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I am proud to say I am a reformed panster! LOL! My stories didn’t reach the level of writing I wanted them too until I sat down and plotted! Don’t get me wrong, I have been known to change my plot when my characters tap me on the shoulder, but I have to have a detailed road map to point me in the ‘write’ direction!

What do you hope readers take with them after reading one of your stories?

I want my readers to understand that no matter what our backgrounds are, or where we are from, someone somewhere is experiencing the same thing that you are, good and bad. What matters most is how we deal with those experiences. Everyone may not have the love and support they need to help them make the decisions best for them. Reading how my characters endure, overcome, and evolve into stronger individuals due to the obstacles I put in their path is what I wish all my readers will learn. The ability to evolve into more is something that is possible in all of us.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Never give up going for your dream, despite what anyone says. Dig deep within yourself to find the courage you need to push through the negativity. Somewhere out there, there is someone else who is going through the same thing.

Are any of your characters based on real people or events?

Yes. Most of the men in my stories are loosely based on a facet of my husband’s many different careers and skill sets. The women in my stories are different pieces of women I know. They are also loosely based on the different aspects of my own personality, whether pronounced or hidden.

How would you describe yourself if you were “speed dating” your readers?

I love reading stories about strong women living lives and working careers that I can relate too. My goal is to bring what I feel is missing in storytelling to my readers through a fresh voice and different style of writing. My books will not only entertain you, they will offer encouragement, comfort, and support to those in need.

What’s something fans would find fascinating about you?

I survived a series of strokes in 2006 that nearly killed me. I was in ICU for two weeks, and paralyzed on one side of my body for several days. Every time I meet someone and say that, they think I’m lying. Believe me, I lived through it, it’s not an experience I would make up or wish on anyone! The fact that I have been able to recover and discover a talent for writing and to have gotten published is a blessing. There are many authors out there who have strived to get to this level for years and are still trying. Since surviving the stroke, I’ve learned a lot about me and what I can overcome. That is why I focus on the ability to overcome life’s adversities in my stories.

What else would you like readers to know about you or your work?

When I write, I try my best to tell stories I feel my readers can relate too. I like real characters, real situations, real everything. I literally cry with my characters when I put them through the wringer. It was a struggle to learn that hurting my characters and watching them grow stronger is the only way to tell a good story.

What books or authors have most influenced your life?

There are so many!! I will say that as of late, I have studied the writing styles of three very different authors: J.R. Ward (Erotic Paranormal Romance), Suzanne Brockmann, whom I’ve had the privilege of meeting and getting a book about my favorite characters autographed! (Military Romance), and Janet Evanovich (Comedy, Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance). All three tell very different stories using unique and intriguing voices. I have read and studied every book in their series and have learned so much. I don’t think my series would exist if it wasn’t from learning from them!

How do your family and/or friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?

For the longest my family thought of it as just something I did to keep busy, then again, so did I. It wasn’t until I reached a very changing point in my life when I put writing to the side for a month to focus on my personal growth that I realized the newly developed people in my head wouldn’t leave me alone. From there I made moves to learn as much as I could about writing. It was then not only me, but my family began to see this as something I cared about. Since then, they’ve had my back, and continue to do so. Outside of my house, not very many people know about my writing. I prefer to keep outside negative influences away and concentrate on those who are either supportive or interested in my work.

How do you come up with titles?

I think about the story and what theme flows throughout. I love symbolism. So if there is something symbolic about my characters life, or relationships, I try to tie that into the title. The original title to my debut novel was The Healing Heart. Since the heroine is a Veterinarian, her job entails taking care of animals, healing them when they are sick. But the story doesn’t focus on her job. It focuses on her experiences outside of work, events that test her as a woman, lover, and friend. Thus, A Heart Not Easily Broken. It suggests strength, endurance, and the desire to never give up. The title of the second novel in the series is called Jaded, and fits the hero and heroine perfectly!

Do you work on one project at a time? Or do you multi-task?

I little of both. Whatever deadlines my publisher has for me takes precedence. I still have times where no matter what I am working on, characters from one of the next five books pop in and demand my attention. After a week of being bombarded by their voices, I will pull out my voice recorder and dictate the scenes playing in my mind, then put it away. Many a scene has been dictated while I’m driving or sitting in the parking lot of the high school waiting for my kids! If I have time, I grab pen and paper and write it down. Each novel already has bits and pieces of the stories outlined, scenes written, character charts worked on. But nothing is set in stone until it’s time to focus on that book.

Please tell us 5 miscellaneous facts about yourself.

  •  I am an only child.
  • I am hard headed…lol.
  • When I was younger, I wanted to be a mermaid.
  • I am a Star Wars Fan! But you will never catch me in the Princess Leia Slave Girl outfit!
  • I don’t like spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

My debut novel, A Heart Not Easily Broken, Book One of the Butterfly Memoirs, will be published September 20th as and eBook, October 4th, in paperback.

Jaded, Book Two of the Butterfly Memoirs will be available March 2013. Look for a excerpt at the end of A Heart Not Easily Broken!

To Connect with MJ: 

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

This Writer’s Life Blog

The Butterfly Memoirs Blog

Google+

Linkedin

More about A Heart Not Easily Broken:

Ebony is a smart, sexy, career-oriented black woman who wants nothing more than a summer fling with a man who challenges her mind and body. What she doesn’t expect is a blond haired, blue-eyed bass player—who won’t take “no” for an answer—to accept the challenge.

When Ebony’s attempt at a brief fling turns into more, despite negative reactions from friends and family, she finds juggling love, family, and career are nothing compared to the ultimate betrayal she endures. Now her dreams spiral into lies and secrets that threaten her future and her best friend’s trust.

About Frank

Frank is a part-time assistant to Ms. Connolly-Reisner. When he's not wrangling email, scheduling deadlines, or coordinating marketing or to-do lists, he volunteers at the local food bank and helps maintain the website for a religious organization.

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