Meet Debut Novelist Jannine Gallant

Jannine Gallant writes romantic suspense. Her debut novel, Victim of Desire, was published by The Wild Rose Press. The story, which features realistic family dynamics based on personal experience, is set in northern California’s scenic Napa Valley and Lake Tahoe regions.

Jannine lives in Tahoe City, California with her ski fanatic husband, two middle school-aged daughters, and their crazy pound puppy, Ginger. Jannine worked in both the restaurant and ski industries in the past and more recently for the census bureau. She holds a degree in creative writing and history from the University of California at Davis.

When Jannine isn’t writing, she can often be found hiking, snowshoeing, or taking walks with her dog in any season or weather. She’s certain her 13-year-old daughter knows more about computers than she does and figures she’s the last person on the planet without a cell phone. Genealogy and cooking are two of her interests, and she says, “I never found a recipe I didn’t have to change at least a little!”

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I asked Jannine what cyber treat she’d like to offer her visitors, and here’s what she said.

I make really yummy guacamole – check out my blog for this and other recipes posted weekly. Grab a bag of chips and a margarita and enjoy!

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Jannine’s Journey Begins

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•With your penchant for words and your creative writing degree, I’m guessing you’re one of those people who was born with a pen in her hand. Am I right?

I always loved writing. It probably started when I read Harriet the Spy and carried around a notebook for weeks writing down fun facts about all the neighbors. I began writing my first full length novel my senior year in high school, a historical romance that went through many versions over the next couple of decades. I never did finish that book, but I still may do it one of these years!

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Jannine’s Dream Comes True

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•You’d been submitting for a number of years when you received The Call. When did it come, and how did you react? Tears? Cheers? Or stunned silence?

By the time I submitted Victim of Desire, I was getting pretty blasé about rejection. Originally the story was 136,000 words. A senior editor at The Wild Rose Press e-mailed me the encouraging news that it had potential but must be trimmed to 100,000 words or less. The manuscript went through several transformations before an editor contacted me with the offer of a contract. All I could think was finally, finally, finally my dream was coming true. Then I burned up the phone line calling everyone I knew with the good news!

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Jannine’s Challenges and Solutions

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•Writers face many challenges. What are some of yours? What do you do to overcome them?

One of the biggest challenges is simply finding time to write. With an active family demanding attention, it’s difficult to squeeze writing time in around my daughters’ ballet lessons, Nordic ski races, and track meets. I try to sit down and write every morning for three hours. My house may not be as clean as it could be, but even on a bad day writing is more fun than vacuuming!

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Jannine’s Perseverance

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•Sometimes, despite our dream of being a published author, our determination, and our dedication, life intervenes. You faced a number of major hurdles that sidetracked your plans of pursuing publication. What happened, and how did you handle the challenges that came your way and keep your dream alive?

In my distant youth when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I worked full time and still managed to complete four full length manuscripts over a period of several years. Positive feedback from several publishers and the acquisition of an agent kept me motivated. Still, nothing sold. I don’t know how many times I heard that my writing was strong, but the story wasn’t quite right for them.

Then I had babies, and my writing came to a screeching halt for several years. When my youngest started school, I went back to writing and completed Victim Of Desire. I went on a hunt for a new agent (mine having deserted me in the interim) and was thrilled to find representation. The only compensation they wanted was reimbursement for copying and mailing costs. All I can say is beware the agent who asks for any form of payment prior to a sale. I wasted a year and a half of my time before discovering it was all a huge scam.

I was devastated and gave up my dream of publication for another year before setting out on a new quest. This time I pursued the path of small publishers that didn’t require an agent. I am pleased to say Victim of Desire found a home with The Wild Rose Press.

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Jannine’s Writing Process

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•Pantser or Plotter?

I’m a little of both. I write a very brief outline – just a sentence or two for each chapter. I use it to get back on track when my characters take over and start going in directions I hadn’t planned. Sometimes spontaneity is a good thing, but with romantic suspense it can throw the plot into turmoil. I’m a believer in finding balance between planning the details and letting the creative process run wild.

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•Character-driven or Plot-Driven?

With romantic suspense and historical romance I’m plot driven. I envision the situation and then create characters who will add dimension to the story. Recently I contracted a novella for a new series with The Wild Rose Press. It is straight contemporary romance based around the theme of a twenty-five year class reunion. For this story I came up with two characters and let them dictate their journey. It was so much fun I’m writing a second novella for the series.

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•First-Person or Third-Person?

I write in third person. Delving into and staying in POV is one of my greatest challenges. I would happily head hop from character to character, but that’s about the biggest no-no a writer can commit!

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Noise or Silence?

Silence – I can’t concentrate with a lot of background noise. My youngest daughter is learning to play the trumpet. It has added a whole new dimension to staying focused!

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•More Creative in the A.M. or P.M.?

I’m definitely more creative in the morning. By evening I’m lucky to stay awake, and writing is a lost cause.

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Jannine’s Debut Novel

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•Please tell us about Victim of Desire.

Ex-soap star, Rachel Carpenter, is a single mom coping with the daily problems of raising three daughters and operating her bookstore in the Napa Valley wine country. Kane Lafferty is a burned out police detective struggling with his own demons. The attraction between the two is immediate, though they both have reasons to avoid a relationship.

At a wilderness camp in the High Sierra, their passion grows. But someone is watching. A man obsessed with Rachel since her soap star days is determined to have her at any cost. Danger mounts as the stalker’s reign of terror escalates. Kane risks his life to protect Rachel and her daughters, but can he uncover the predator’s identity in time? Or will Rachel have to sacrifice herself and her relationship with Kane to save her family?

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Reactions and Reviews

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•I haven’t sold a book yet, but I hear the firsts can be amazing experiences. First galleys. First look at your cover. First time you read a review. What struck you the most during the months leading up to your release?

I was absolutely thrilled to get a first look at my book cover. The Wild Rose Press gives their authors a lot of say in the design, so my cover was exactly what I asked for. Read Victim of Desire and you will find the cover scene in chapter four.

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Victim of Desire has garnered some great reviews. Which of them has touched your heart, and why?

My first official review was from Theresa Joseph at The Romance Studio. She gave Victim of Desire five hearts – their highest rating – and had nothing but positive feedback. I felt validated for all those years of writing. Someone other than my mom actually thought my story was wonderful!

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Jannine’s Journey Continues

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Victim of Desire is in readers’ hands. What can they look forward to next?

My novella, Lonely Road to You, will be available on August 25, 2010 from The Wild Rose Press. The story is a journey of discovery for two people traveling cross country to their 25 year high school reunion. I guarantee Kate and Tyler’s adventures will keep you entertained. I am currently working on a second novella for the class of ’85 reunion series. Check my website for updates.

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Five Ways Jannine Fuels Her Creativity

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~ Whenever I have writer’s block, I take a walk. Communing with nature always clears my head.

~ I start my writing day by reading (and editing) what I wrote the day before. It launches me back into the flow of the story.

~ Often I have two projects going at once. When I get bogged down with the primary story, I’ll switch to the second for a change of pace and fresh perspective.

~ When I’m planning a new project, I go to the family photo album for setting ideas. Writing about places you’ve been keeps your work feeling authentic.

~ There’s nothing like a gallon of coffee to keep me awake and focused!

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Jannine’s Question for You

What do you do to keep those creative juices flowing?

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Jannine’s Drawing

Jannine has generously offered to give away a paperback copy of her book, Victim of Desire.

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment for Jannine by midnight August 24 (Pacific time) and enter your email address when prompted during the comment process. (You don’t have to leave it in the body of your comment this way.)

On August 25, I will hold the drawing and post the winner’s name here as well and will contact her/him via email to get a mailing address. (I don’t share your information with anyone, other than sending your mailing address to my guest, and I don’t add your name to any mailing lists.)

Congratulations to Donna L. Bolk, winner of Jannine’s debut novel.

Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.

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Learn More About Jannine

Visit her website ~ http://www.janninegallant.com

Visit her personal blog ~ http://janninegallant.blogspot.com

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About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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21 Responses to Meet Debut Novelist Jannine Gallant

  1. Keli Gwyn says:

    Welcome, Jannine! It’s great to have you here at Romance Writers on the Journey.

    One of the ways I fuel my creativity is by listening to classical music. As soon as I hear the strains of Vivaldi or Handel, I’m transported to the 1870s, which is when my historicals take place.

    Another way I get the creative juices flowing is to take a walk. I live in a Gold Rush town in the heart of California’s Sierra Nevada Foothills. Strolling past Victorian homes and meandering down Main Street, where some of the buildings date back to the 1850s, fills my mind with ideas. I hurry home, plunk myself in front of the computer, and write.

    • janninegallant says:

      Keli, thank you so much for having me! We’re two of a kind. I love old homes and historic places. It’s the history major in me!

  2. I usually come back to let someone else be first. So, first …

    I love the story of your journey to publication. It is a boost to any of us who have had to put “down” the work because life happens. The kids want to eat and sneakers are a fortune 🙂

    I look forward to reading your website and blog.

    Good luck with your new book and the two novellas.

    Keli: You did mean Aug. 25 and not July 25 … Right?

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Ramblings,

      Thanks for catching my goof. Yes, Jannine’s contest ends at midnight Pacific time on August 24, and the winner will be announced August 25.

      Keli

    • janninegallant says:

      Hi ramblings – love your log in name! Thanks for stopping by and all your good wishes. Those darn kids and their appetites. I should be making dinner right now.

  3. Deb L Mallory Bonogofsky says:

    Jannine, thanks for sharing your story and your recipe. Congrats on getting published! I doodle in the fashion of the old time scribble pictures to fuel my creativity.

  4. janninegallant says:

    Hi Deb,

    Doodling is good. I’ll have to try it! I try to post recipes regularly on my blog. Next up later this week is lemonade cake at the request of my book club pals.

  5. Donna L. Bolk says:

    Greetings,

    To get my creativity going I talk to my characters. Some authors do character interviews at the being of a story. I conduct mine at different points throughout my story.

    I might ask a character what he ate for breakfast, the character could answer —
    “Who has time for breakfast? I’m chasing after this fool woman, who’s bent on finding a lost treasure. Let me tell you what she did yesterday.” And the coversation takes off.

    I discover things about my characters I didn’t know, and story twists I hadn’t thought of. Sounds crazy, but it works for me.

    Your website and blog are great. I’m not big on cooking. For me following a recipe has three steps. Preheat the oven, take the plastic covering off, and slip the frozen whatever in the oven. My sister is a fantastic cook, and I’ll be sharing your recipes with her.

    I enjoyed reading your interview.

  6. I enjoyed the interview, Jannine and happy to say you’re a fellow WRP author. The book sounds fascinating.

    To fuel my creativity, I sit and stare my computer screen and think! Really. I daydream and let my mind wander.

  7. christicorbett says:

    Jannine,

    You are not the last person on earth without a cell phone…I don’t own one either :).

    It was good to read how “life” only stalled your writing, not ended it.(I had premature twins which stalled my writing goals for a while so I LOVE seeing writers who’ve overcome obstacles)

    As to your question, I find dressing in period pieces (I write historicals) and listening to classical music both inspires me and puts me in the “writing zone”.

    Great interview and congratulations on your publishing success!

    Christi Corbett
    http://christicorbett.wordpress.com

  8. Janine, you live in a beautiful area and have written about one of my favorite places, the Napa Valley.

    What I do to keep creative juices flowing involves Dr Pepper, light classical music, and isolation in my office. I’m not a person who can use a laptop in front of the TV to write my novels.

  9. Hi Jannine,
    Greetings from Australia. Great interview. I love hearing “the call” stories. Your journey to publication mirrors mine, only the Agent I had didn’t leave me, she unfortunately died at the vital moment.
    Regards
    Margaret

    • Hi Margaret,

      I’m sorry about your agent. Finding one is difficult under the best circumstances. I’m shopping for one again for a historical romance I wrote years ago and completely overhauled. Wish me luck! Thanks for stopping by.

  10. Hello Jannine,

    Your perseverance on the road to publication is certainly inspiring to anyone tempted to give up. And also a good warning about spam agents. Thank you for sharing it and all the very best for sales. Your cover is beautiful, and I look forward to reading the novel to find the cover scene. (I have the opposte problem to you – I have trouble stretching a novel over about 50,000 words!)

    Cherie Le Clare
    http://www.cherieleclare.com
    cherieleclare@gmail.com

    • Hi Cherie,

      Those shorter novels are fun to write! Just when I would normally start bogging down in a full length story, the short ones are wrapping up. Thanks for stopping by.

  11. Keli Gwyn says:

    Thanks to everyone who stopped by to learn more about Jannine and her journey to publication.

    I held the drawing for the copy of Victim of Desire that Jannine so generously offered as a prize, and the winner is Donna L. Bolk.

    Congrats, Donna! I’ll be in touch.

Comments are closed.