I recently sat down with the talented Jacqueline Rhoades and asked her all about her shifter romance books. Here's the scoop! If you haven't read her books before, you're in for a treat!
MICHELLE FOX: How did you get started writing? What was your first book?
JACQUELINE RHOADES: I can't remember a time when I wasn't daydreaming stories in my head. I wrote my first novel about thirty years ago. It lives in a box under my bed and will remain there until I die. My first published book was Guardian's Grace, followed by Guardian's Hope, and Joy. All three were written before I self-published.
MF: Not only do you and I have books with the same title (great minds, think alike!), we've also both set stories in Appalachia. For me, my grandmother grew up in that area, I lived there briefly as a teen and I knew there was a lot of wilderness there for a pack to call home. What made you choose that area of the country?
JR: I do a lot of travelling through those mountains over the years and fell in love with them and the language. The down-hominess and practicality of the dialects and idioms found there appeals to me since my stories are about finding a home and community (pack) as well as the man of your dreams.
There's an earthiness that seems to fit with creatures who are so closely connected with nature. Like you, I also needed a place where my Wolvers could hide in plain sight. The added attraction was that those mountains were settled by the Scots-Irish. You'll see why in a minute.
MF: I fell in love with the rich emotion of your stories. Your characters are so real that I cry and laugh with them. How do your stories come to you? Are you meticulously outlining or flying by the seat of your pants, waiting for inspiration to strike?
JR: I'm happy to hear I made you laugh and cry. Laughter and heartbreak are part of the human condition and make the story feel more real. Reading your books, I know you feel the same, because I can picture some of myself in your characters. We may write about shifters, but we relate to their humanness (or lack of it).
My stories always begin with a fairly typical woman who doesn't see herself as special or beautiful, quite the opposite in some cases, who comes to realize she is both – because true beauty really does come from within.
I then put them in a situation and ask myself, "What if?" What if you moved to a lovely little mountain town and found out these friendly people are not what they appear to be as in the Alpha's Mate? Wouldn't you question their motives and your sanity?'
I've tried outlining, but it doesn't work for me. I'm a seat of the pants writer because my characters are so real to me they won't always go in the direction I'm heading. When I hit a patch of writer's block, it's usually because I'm not listening to my characters. So far, they've been right, so I don't argue with them too much anymore.
MF: Readers say your stories are something special and unique in paranormal romance (I happen to agree). How did you come up with the idea of the Wolvers. And...do Wolvers celebrate Thanksgiving? If yes, what's on the table?
JR: The original story of wulfers or wulvers comes from the Shetland Islands of Scotland. Unlike other werewolves of legend, these creatures weren't bitten and transformed. They were born part man, part wolf. Peaceful creatures, they were known for helping the poor or leading lost travelers to safety. They would, however, fight to protect their own.
My Wolvers were born from the legend. Where would they settle when they emigrated from Scotland to America when our country was still young? The Appalachian Mountains, of course! Don't you love it when the pieces all fit together?
Yes, they celebrate Thanksgiving, and there'll be whole lot of turkey, ham, and venison, because they're not fond of vegetables. As a matter of fact, there's only one known vegetarian wolver. She lives in the little town of Gilead in the Ozarks. You'll meet her in The Alpha's Daughter.
MF: Haha! I have a vegetarian in my book First Moon! We must be sharing a wavelength! What's your next book about and when can everyone read it?
JR: Right now, I'm finishing up New Beginnings, the third book in my contemporary Hidden Mountain series which also takes place in the Appalachians. It'll be published in January. Then it's back to the Wolvers with Wolver's Reward, the third (stand-alone) novel in the second Wolver trilogy. That's a story that's been brewing in my head for quite a while, but since the character is one from The Alpha's Choice, I had to give him time to mature. His day has finally come!
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