I’m so excited to have Jamie Lynn Miller for an interview today, and to share about her latest release, Broken Solider!
I was fortunate enough to meet Jamie at Rainbow Con last summer, and it was like meeting an old friend! We share a lot of the same interests, including our love of sci-fi television shows and hot men in hot water. 🙂 Be sure to check out the terrific interview, and leave a comment to be entered for a chance at one of Jamie’s backlist stories.
Without further ado, here’s Jamie!
Hello! Welcome to my blog and thank you for answering my
nosy discerning questions! First, please tell us a little about yourself and the kinds of stories you like to write. Would you say there is an underlying theme behind your stories?
Thank you so much for having me! Little bit about myself – I’m a 40-something graphic designer who loves my husband, my cats, science fiction, photography and of course, writing.
I would say the underlying theme of my stories is “Hearts and flowers romance with a bit of angst thrown in for good measure”.
But that statement changed pretty drastically with Broken Soldier. I believe in challenging myself as a writer and taking chances. And that’s what I’ve done here. This book is dark and gritty. It tackles drug use/addiction and how far Shawn is willing to go, submitting himself to the bad guy emotionally and physically until it breaks him and nearly kills him.
This is a big change for me, and I hope that my regular readers will give this book a chance. Because even though it’s not my usual style, I am, and always will be, the Queen of Happy Endings. I will put my boys through hell, but love and dedication will always put them back together again. So give it a try! You just might like it!
What part of the world do you call home? Can you tell us a little about where you grew up and where you live now?
I’ve lived a pretty boring life in that I was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago and still live there today!
How long have you been writing? Did you write as a child or is it something you developed a passion for later in life?
I’d been writing short stories since I was a kid and I also had two English teachers in high school that really encouraged me. But didn’t get serious about it until the mid-90’s when I started writing fanfic.
What gave you the courage to submit your first story to a publisher?
I got tired of hearing how bad all fanfic was, that fanfic writers had no talent. I took it as a challenge and decided to give going pro a shot. And what do you know, my very first book was accepted to a publisher on my very first try. Take that, fanfic haters!
I see you write M/M fiction. Would you characterize your stories as M/M romance, erotica, or something in between?
Definitely contemporary romance.
What draws you to the M/M genre? Have you written in other genres?
This goes back to my fanfic days as well. I started off writing m/f fic and then by complete accident ended up reading my very first m/m story. To say it was a life changing experience would be an understatement! LOL! My eyes were opened and I jumped ship to the m/m world and have never looked back.
Are you a panster or a plotter? Do you outline extensively or write your story as you go along?
I’m a big time plotter. My outlines are extensive, like pages long. So that takes up a good chunk of time before I even write the first word of the book. But then because I have done such detailed outlines, the writing of the actual book flows pretty easily after that.
Of the stories you’ve written, which one do you like the most? Which one would you recommend a new reader begin with?
Oh gosh, that’s like choosing your favorite child! LOL! But if I absolutely had to pick I would choose Burnin’ for You. I spent a couple of months in a fire academy class and used that experience to write the book. My firemen have a special place in my heart.
Most authors admit to feeling uncomfortable with the degree of self-promotion necessary to be successful. Are there some aspects of social media and self-promotion that make you more comfortable than others? Are there some you avoid like the plague?
I think the only thing I’m not really comfortable with is approaching reviewers. They make me nervous! Their word can either build me up or knock me down.
How often does your real life experience figure into your story telling? Do you base characters or stories on your actual experiences?
Oh yes, absolutely. It was actually my time spent in various citizen police academy classes that inspired me to write Broken Soldier. I would listen to the detectives talk about undercover work and how far they needed to go and how dangerous it could be and how it could end up breaking them, living this other life. And this was just to take down drug dealers or gangs. So I upped the ante even further by making this a military book and the “target” an arms dealer supplying weapons to terrorists. Just imagine the lengths a covert ops team would go to, to stop this man. I really put Connor and Shawn (most especially Shawn) through the emotional and physical wringer to complete their mission.
How much do you think that a good blurb and good cover art figure into the success of a story?
A LOT. If you can’t hook people with a few hundred words they won’t click on the BUY button. And a picture’s worth a thousand words, right? So I believe cover art is very important. And this is coming from a graphic designer who’s been doing advertising for over 20 years!
Do you miss your characters when you come to the end of their story? Do you find ways to write sequels for them or do you become entranced with a new set?
I do miss them! I’ve just spent sometimes a couple of months with them non-stop and suddenly they’re not talking in my head or appearing in my dreams. But that said, I’ve only ever written one sequel (to Burnin’ for You called Where There’s Smoke). After my “mourning period” I find new characters beginning to talk to me.
What are your writing goals for 2016?
My tag line is “Men in uniform…and out”. So far I’ve written cops, firemen, paramedics and now soldiers. I would like to tackle a Coast Guard book next. I’ve already started scribbling down notes.
Sergeant Connor Finley and Sergeant Shawn Weller are dedicated soldiers working covert ops for Shadow Unit — a joint UK/US anti-terrorism task force.
Partners in the field and out, they had been through hell together for the last four years and made it through standing side by side. But when their latest undercover op to bring down an arms dealer plunges them into a world of drugs, sex and violence, Shawn must literally get in bed with the enemy in order to complete the mission. And Connor is forced to watch, helpless, as his partner is broken into pieces.
Will love be enough to put them both back together or will this be their final mission?
WARNING: Contains scenes of drug use, graphic sex and realistic situations
Connor continued on, pointing at Shawn, his voice rising. “Look at him! We’ve turned him into a fucking addict! Do you know why he’s here right now? Because he was so strung out last night that I couldn’t leave him alone!” Connor’s voice was steel, his eyes flashing anger. “This has gone too far. Pull him out. Now!”
“NO!” Shawn pushed himself to his feet and slammed his hand down on the table.
He knew full well that he looked like hell and knew what he was turning into. But he also knew he was a soldier and not a fucking quitter when things got rough. He would see this mission through to the end, not be consigned to the sidelines.
“No one’s pulling me out,” Shawn said forcefully. Connor angrily shook his head and Shawn ignored him. “Not when we’re this close to nailing this asshole.” He pointed to Mandy. “We don’t even know if we can use anything on that drive. But I know the weapons will be here soon. I can get the name of the supplier and where the exchange is going down.” He stared straight at MacDonald. “Leave me in.”
There was utter silence in the hub as the team waited for MacDonald’s answer.
After a long moment where neither Shawn nor MacDonald broke eye contact, MacDonald finally tipped his head. “Very well. I trust your judgment.”
“Fuck!” Connor spat, then threw his arms out. “Am I the only one that sees his judgment is impaired?”
Shawn blew out a long breath. “Connor, I can –“
Connor jabbed a finger at him. “Don’t you fucking say you can handle it, Shawn!” He crossed his arms over his chest. “I mean, do you even have any idea how you’re supposed to get back in Chan’s house undetected? You were supposed to have been there all night.”
“Actually, yes, Connor, I do,” Shawn snapped at him, angry that his partner suddenly seemed to have so little faith in his ability to do his job and it stung.
“I found a blind spot in the security camera grid outside of the pool. I purposely left the doors unlocked in case I ever needed to use that route to get in or out unseen,” he explained. “I noticed that the guards do twelve-hour shifts and they change at noon. Right now there’s only one at the house. Jae took the other two with him. The guy who came on at midnight will have thought I went with Jae to Jakarta, so he wouldn’t have been wondering where I was last night. The guy who comes on at noon and then sees me in the house will think I’ve been there all night.”
Connor’s brow furrowed. “That’s bloody risky.”
“Maybe. But it’s all I’ve got,” Shawn said simply. He looked down at his watch. “And I’ve got to go if I’m going to time this right.”
“Watch yourself,” MacDonald told him.
“Will do, boss,” Shawn answered, bending down to pick up his drawstring bag then turned and headed for the stairs.
Connor caught up with him halfway down, taking hold of his arm, stopping him. Shawn pulled out of his grasp, his expression hard.
“I’m not going to apologize for being worried about you,” Connor said. “I’ve seen things they haven’t. I know what’s been going on between you and Chan. They don’t.” He put his hands on Shawn’s shoulders, his voice quieting. “It’s not that I don’t think you can do your job. I just don’t want to lose you to it. I can’t.”
Shawn’s eyes softened. “You won’t, Connor.” He touched his paracord bracelet still on Connor’s wrist. “I told you I’d be back for this. And I always keep my promises.”
All Romance Ebooks (ARe): http://tinyurl.com/phwnx9k
LuLu (ebook): http://tinyurl.com/hveo8lq
LuLu (print book): http://tinyurl.com/hp921w3
Jamie Lynn Miller has been writing fiction since childhood and decided to take the plunge and go pro in 2008, finding to her amazement that people truly enjoyed her love stories. She’s a romantic at heart, and her tales reflect the desire we all have to find “the one,” persevering through trials and heartache for that happy ending.
Jamie has a degree in fine arts and has spent the last twenty years working as a graphic designer, though she’d much rather be writing. She was born in Chicago and still lives there today with her husband and their two furry, four-footed children, er… cats.
If she’s not brainstorming story ideas, you can find Jamie at a sci-fi convention, in front of a furnace doing glass blowing, or on a mat twisted into a yoga pose.
Leave me a comment (AND YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS) for your chance to win a FREE copy of any of my backlist ebooks!