Today we are celebrating the book birthday of Streamline by Jennifer Lane. The book birthday is happening over a number of blogs this week. For details of other posts, check here. Stay tuned for a giveaway at the end of the post. First, I got to pick Jennifer’s brain about writing and her work as a psychologist.
Interview with the Author
How about we start with a little background. With your background as a psychologist, what inspired you to turn your hand to writing romantic suspense?
Jennifer: I loved my job as a psychologist at the university. It was a dream job. Then my bosses changed and the job became less dreamy. When reality sucked, I turned to fiction! I'm single and I've never been married, but I guess I'm a romantic at heart because I can't imagine writing anything other than romance. And I like a snappy plot with intrigue and danger, so romantic suspense is my preferred genre.
What was the biggest difference in writing YA after writing adult books? Did you find the transition difficult?
Jennifer: Streamline was actually my first novel, and I had no idea I was writing a YA/NA novel at the time. I was simply fascinated by the transition into adulthood, with all its change and growth, so that's the age I chose for my characters. I also had a wonderful time swimming at that age, and wanted to share my experiences. When I started my adult romantic suspense series, I enjoyed writing more realistic dialogue that included "F" bombs for Mafia and military men, as well as the freedom to explore physical intimacy in sexy detail.
I'm fascinated by psychology. While my brother studied it, I read through a lot of his books and enjoyed many late night discussions about my writing process and my characters. I found it brought a lot to my character development. I'm dipping my toes into my first psychology course this summer to continue. How much do you draw on your experience of how the mind works to develop your characters?
Jennifer: I'm "psyched" you're taking a psychology course this summer! We must chat about what you're learning. It's hard for me to know how much my psychologist training seeps into my writing. I do know I have shared many intense emotional experiences with psychotherapy clients, and I hope to honor that intensity by getting character emotion right. I think good characterization is making the reader really feel for the characters through understanding their motivation and internal experiences.
Do you ever find yourself pausing because as a psychologist you can't agree with the course of action a character will take, even though you know allowing them means staying true to the character? How did this affect your process for Streamline?
I really struggle with showing compassion, both in real life, reading, and writing. I find it very difficult to see the good in people who I find morally repugnant. Child abuse is my hardline. This is something I struggled with while reading Streamline, especially in scenes where the abused character interacted with the abuser while trying to repair their relationship. You handled those scenes with an intense realism and heart that kept me turning pages. Were they as difficult to write are they are to read?
Jennifer: Carol, thank you for that lovely feedback! I'm a big believer in personal responsibility, and I think there should be consequences for individuals who hurt others and/or break the law. Any sort of abuse can be devastating, and there's no excuse for that. But one gift of being a therapist is the opportunity to understand why people do what they do. And if you get down to it, people almost always have a good reason for their behavior. To understand reprehensible behavior isn't to condone it, but it does allow some compassion.
I don't like James, Leo's abusive father. And I tried to write him as a somewhat sympathetic character--as a damaged man who believed he was helping Leo. James has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which is an egotistical exterior hiding a wounded, fragile interior. Despite all the times James hurt Leo, James is his father and Leo can't walk away. Leo has such integrity that he won't let his father wallow in depression. Instead Leo reaches out his hand to help. I'm sure many readers were thinking, "No, Leo! Don't do it! Let him rot." I went through many tissues writing those scenes.
You don't shy away from difficult subjects, do you intentionally push the bar when writing or does it come naturally? What other subjects would you like to tackle that you haven't yet?
Jennifer: Life is difficult (and beautiful), so it comes naturally to write about difficult subjects. I also want to represent the beautiful part of life by infusing love an humor into my stories too. One of the most horrifying human experiences is sexual abuse, and I've started a story about twin brothers where one was abused and one wasn't, to explore their different trajectories. Sexual abuse leads to such pervasive pain that I tread lightly in exploring it. But I did read a recent novel that covered sexual abuse in an honest, hopeful manner. (I don't want to spoiler anyone by naming the book).
Tell us more about your next release and are there plans for more YA?
Jennifer: I just finished On Best Behavior (The Conduct Series #3), which Omnific Publishing will release perhaps this autumn. It feels wonderful to finish a series! I'm enthralled by New Adult right now but YA will always have a special place in my heart, so I definitely hope to return to it.
Thank you for chatting with me today, Jennifer.
Now for the Giveaway
Streamline turns one-year-old this week! We're celebrating with a giveaway.
Seems like Leo Scott has it all: looks, brains, and athletic talent. He's captain of his high school swim team with a bright future in college and beyond. But Leo has secrets. His mother's crippling car accident has devastated his family and left Leo to deal with his father's abuse, battered and alone.
Leo's girlfriend Audrey Rose is poised for her own share of success. As one of Florida's top high school swimmers, Audrey dreams of college swimming stardom. But there's an obstacle to her glorious rise to the top. Her number one supporter--her father--is in prison for murder.
Part murder mystery, part tale of young love in a military family, this gripping story takes readers on a journey from Pensacola to Annapolis. Leo and Audrey must band together to rise above the adversity they encounter and find their true selves in the process. When everything's on the line...streamline.
"What an emotional journey! I don't think I have ever cried over a character so much in my life."
~Dani from Paulette's Papers
"The issues that are touched upon in the story: family, substance abuse, teen relationships, trust, honor...they are dealt with in an amazingly realistic, unglossed manner."
~Andrea from The Bookish Babe
"Overall, Streamline is a wonderfully, emotionally complex story about the ones we love, the ones we hurt, the mistakes that break the human heart, and the unconditional love that puts the pieces back together."
~Dani from Refracted Light Reviews
Streamline at Amazon for $2.99
Streamline at Barnes & Noble for $2.99
Author Jennifer Lane is giving away one signed print copy of Streamline to a US winner and three ebooks to international winners. To enter, complete the Rafflecopter form.a Rafflecopter giveaway