I'm so thrilled to have Joyce Lamb as a guest on my blog. I met Joyce during the Literary Book Signing at RWA National Conference this last July in NY City. We sat next to each other and had a great time chatting. I'm still working on the idea for a dolphin shapeshifter book. (long story) I bought her book, the one she was signing: True Vision and loooved it. And also have the second in the series True Colors. Both amazing and must reads! When you're reading a book and you feel your heart pounding, you know it's a good book. Very sexy too. Paranormal romantic suspense is now one of my new favorite sub-genres.
I remember Joyce telling me about the romance blog she wanted to start up at USA Today and was pretty sure it was going to get approved. I bet the powers that be never had a clue how successful it would be. Go Joyce! If you haven't checked it out, do so: www.HappyEverAfter.usatoday.com
Joyce will be signing her new release from Berkley TRUE SHOT at Turn the Page Book Store in Boonsboro, Md., December 3 with Nora Roberts, Grace Burrowes, Anita Chenney, Tim Snyder and S.D. Sawyer. For more info. check out her website www.joycewrites.com
-Tell us a little about the book and where did you get the idea to write this story.
True Shot is the third in my True trilogy (True-logy!). This was my favorite of the Trues to write, because I got to flip the hero and heroine roles so that she’s the bad-ass spy and he’s the somewhat nerdy (but very hunky!) journalist. Here’s the plot: Sam Trudeau is part of a secret government agency of psychic spies. Like her sisters in True Vision and True Colors, she has an intense psychic ability in which she can touch another person and experience something that happened to them as if it happened to her. This is a handy psychic ability as a spy because it negates the need for torture to get accurate, important information. Problem for Sam is that the government agency has a rogue element to it, and she’s gotten unwittingly caught up in that. She goes on the run and ends up with Mac Hunter, a journalist holing up in Sam’s family’s cabin to exercise some of his own demons. When Sam loses her memory, Mac’s her only ally. He’s not thrilled to have a hunted and clearly dangerous psychic spy on his hands, but he’s also determined to reunite her with her estranged sisters. All he has to do is survive the onslaught of bad guys and get Sam home to safety. No problem, right? Mac is my favorite hero from my own books. He has a wicked sense of humor and an honorable streak that doesn’t quit. I’d totally marry him. : )
- If you could turn any of your books into a movie which book or series would it be?
My third title with a smaller publisher, Found Wanting, would make an awesome movie. There’s a ton of action and the hero and heroine’s relationship is pretty intense. In that one, private detective Mitch Kane is hired to track down a rich guy’s son who was taken away by his shady mother when he was a newborn. When Mitch finds Alaina, though, lots of stuff doesn’t add up, and he begins to suspect that he’s been duped. Problem is, he’s already led the bad guy to Alaina and her son. When the boy is swiped by his ruthless father (who has a mysterious plan for him), Mitch faces the task of winning Alaina’s trust so he can help her get her son back. But Alaina has been on her own for a long time and doesn’t need anyone’s help, especially that of the man who just helped get her son kidnapped. Lots of great action and angst in this one, which, incidentally is a 99-cent e-book now.
A book that would make a great TV series would be True Shot. Once Mac and Sam get their HEA, there’s still the matter of the secret government agency of psychic spies. There could be lots of episodic TV options there, and the twist would be that the spies would experience whatever happened to others as though it happened to them. Excellent advantage for telling a back story – and putting the characters into all kinds of different of situations.
- Which actor screams SEXY to you?
Gerard Butler. Oh. My. God. That body. That hair. That face. Even when he was just doing a guest spot on The View, I couldn’t tear my gaze away from the gorgeous, raw sex appeal of that man. And that was before he even said anything, cuz, you know, that accent just turns my world upside down. OK, I need to take a little break to cool off. I’ll be right back.
- Are you seat of the pants writer or plotter?
It depends on the book. Some books, like Found Wanting, which has one goal – find the son – and lots of forward momentum, take more of a seat-of-the-pants approach. I knew where I was going, but not sure exactly how I would get there. True Shot was a lot like that, too. Probably because the characters in both books are constantly moving, constantly on the run. I was more of a plotter on True Vision and True Colors (Books 1 and 2 in the True-logy). Since True Vision is the first in the trilogy, I had a lot of groundwork to lay. I was very methodical about how I unfurled the psychic ability, its cause and its limitations. I basically created my own psychic ability for that story (a supercharged kind of empathy), so I had to figure out how it works and how it could be used to further the story. And in True Colors, there are two story tracks: the hero and heroine’s story and the villain’s back story. So I had to carefully plot both of those. One I got to True Shot, I already knew what I needed to know about the psychic ability and I also already knew Sam’s and Mac’s back stories from the previous Trues. So, long story long: I’m a pantser when I need to be and a plotter when I need to be.
- Do you write full time or work outside of the home?
The job that pays the bills is as a copy editor at USA Today in the business section. I get to write lots of creative headlines for the print and online editions: “Dow goes up.” “Dow goes down.” Haven’t gotten to use this one yet, though: How now down Dow. : ) Also, USA Today and I recently launched a blog devoted entirely to romance novels. Happy Ever After (happyeverafter.usatoday.com) celebrates romance readers and romance writers, and it’s been a blast. I’ve gotten to talk to some of my idols: Nora Roberts, Cindy Gerard, Iris Johansen, Roxanne St. Claire … and lots of others. Romance authors and readers are the BEST, and I’m psyched that I’m able to help provide a national media platform to get the word out about how much we all rock. I hope everyone will get a chance to stop in and say hey.
- If you could write another genre other than romance what would you write?
I would love to write science fiction. I’ve loved lots of sci-fi shows and one of my favorite elements of the genre is the ability to completely ignore or manipulate the laws of reality to tell a great story. The suspension of disbelief is built into the genre (within reason). I don’t know if I have the patience for the world-building required, though.
- Have any of your titles ever been changed from your original choice?
Yep. My first with Berkley, Cold Midnight, was originally called Break Point. The story is about a tennis player who was attacked a decade ago and the attacker was never caught. New evidence shows up in the present and the case is reopened. Break Point was perfect, to me, because of the tennis term and because the hero and heroine’s relationship plays out a little like a tennis match, until one of them gets to their breaking point. The title had to change, though, because there was another Berkley book with that title. “Cold Midnight” doesn’t mean anything to the story. It takes place in Florida, so it’s not cold. And nothing significant happens at midnight. But it was considered a “cool” title. True Vision was originally called True West, because the heroine’s name was originally Charlie West. But we wanted to get the psychic element into the title, so that’s where “vision” came from. And Charlie’s last name was changed to Trudeau, to connect the True part of the titles – plus, truth-seeking is the overriding theme of the trilogy. The third True was originally called True Calling, but I think maybe that had been overused as a title, and we wanted something a little grittier. Which is where True Shot came from – sort of like the characters have one more true shot at love.
- What books or authors have influenced your writing?
I’ve been heavily influenced by Dean Koontz and Nora Roberts, two of my favorite authors for most of my fiction-reading life. I love, love, love the depth of Koontz’s characters as well as their clever, often playful dialogue. I love the good vs. evil themes in his books and the way that often terribly damaged people prevail in the end. His villains aren’t black and white, either. They have shades of gray, which is something that seems missing to me in some books. I mean, real people are never just plain evil. There’s usually some element to them that at least started out well-meaning. Roberts’ writing in general is awesome. Her characters all just have such good intentions, and I love that the conflicts often arise because the hero and heroine are both right. I love, too, that I can pick up one of her books and it’s like reconnecting with old friends.
Interestingly, I know these writers’ writing so well that I immediately knew when I was reading a book written under a pseudonym. Back in the 1980, Koontz published a couple of books with the pseudonym Leigh Nichols. I was reading one of those books, and I thought, “This has GOT to be written by Dean Koontz.” I could tell because of the way the dialogue was written. It took a couple of years before I found out I was right (no Google back then!). And when the first J.D. Robb book came out, Nora’s name wasn’t on the cover. I started reading it and thought, “This is written by Nora.” I flipped back to the copyright page, and sure enough, there was her name.
Where readers can find me (I love hearing from readers!):
Twitter: @JoyceLamb and @HEAusatoday (for the USA Today blog)
Thank you for having me, Kathy!
Joyce, Thanks so much for letting me interview you. I love your books and the HEA blog is amazing!! Keep up the good work. Hope to see you again soon.