I'm very happy to welcome J.J. Montgomery to the blog today. Her new romantic suspense from The Wild Rose Press, GUN FOR HIRE, came out on June 14, 2017 and I'm part of the blog tour celebrating the release. I asked J.J. a few questions about her writing and her life. Find out more about this interesting debut author. Make sure to enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to an ebook copy of GUN FOR HIRE.
BLURB: The job should have been easy—patrol a swank beach that serves as a backyard for Maui’s rich, kick out the riffraff, and get a tan in the process. But rent-a-cop Samantha Winters didn’t anticipate a deliciously grumpy cop, Sergeant Grady Roark, who comes down to the beach to bust her chops and instead leaves her breathless…and wondering why the one man who could help her seems determined to thwart her at every turn. Grady is keeping secrets from Sam that have him walking the line between attraction and duty. But when Sam becomes the target of a shadowy organization, Grady will have to choose between the law and the temptation of a woman who has him breaking every rule he’s ever known. The job should have been easy, but when the bullets start flying, Sam learns nothing is as easy as it seems when you’re a Gun for Hire. Buy Links: Amazon | The Wild Rose Press
Where did you get the idea for your new novel?
As with any story I tell, the whole thing started because I witnessed the real Sam Winters in action. My sister and I were on Secret Beach in Maui, and this woman comes storming out onto the sand. She was trying to enforce the Maui County code, and everyone was yelling at her, including the cops. And she was out there standing her ground, just giving everyone hell. And I thought, what on earth would make a woman wake up every morning and work this completely thankless job? I figured her motivation had to be something really, really compelling. And that was where Sam Winters – and Gun for Hire – started to take shape.
What do you want readers to come away with after they read your book?
I hope readers enjoy the romance between Sam Winters and Grady Roark but I also hope they see that Sam’s world is so much bigger than just falling in love. One of my favorite things about this book is the relationship Sam has with her nieces and her sister – that this isn’t a book about an individual, but rather a book about a family; a community.
Do you work on more than one book at a time?
I do! And I actually think it’s a terrible habit. I’m constantly cobbling together thoughts on different stories, really because I just can’t help it. I love dreaming up new characters, relationships and circumstances. But sometimes that’s an unnecessary distraction! And it always leaves me with the sense that there is something unfinished lingering in the background.
When were you first published and how did that happen? Was it a long or short journey?
I know a lot of authors who became published authors right away – after one attempt. Sadly, this is not at all my story! I started writing seriously about five years ago, wrote one manuscript, sent it around and…crickets. I was lucky to have a group of online writer friends who were willing to tell me the truth – that this first manuscript really, really sucked. So, I tucked it away under the bed and started my second manuscript. Three years later and I finally have a published novel! Had you told me at the start that I would have to keep writing for five years before anything would happen, I might have given up. So, in a way, it was my naiveté that saved me!
What is the hardest part of being a writer for you?
My greatest struggle as a writer is finding the time to write. I work full time, I have a husband, two small kids and a dog and cat…it’s like trying to write in the middle of a circus! Like nearly every author I know, the thing I lack is time.
What comes first for you – plot or character? And why?
My characters come to me first, always. I tailor my plot to who they are as people, what they need to grow and change and become something better…or in the case of my villains, worse. Why? I think because the books I’ve loved reading best had strong, real, authentic main characters. The plot is never what I remember about a book – it’s always a compelling character that keeps me wanting more.
If writing is your first passion, what is your second?
I’m a complete homebody and an introvert. I have passion for being a mother, for cooking, for gardening…anything I can do in my own little home. For me, home is my happy place.
Do you have any pets? Are you cat person or a dog person? Or are you into totally different pets, like goldfish? What do you like best about your pet?
I grew up in a house where my mom was always rescuing something. At one point, my mom rescued a possum who had been injured and it recuperated in our garage! I think that background led me to adore animals—my house would never be complete without a pet. Right now, we have a rescue mutt who we affectionately refer to as “No, No Bad Dog” and we just adopted a Siamese cat from the pound—she’s actually sitting on my feet right this second!
What genre is your favorite to read?
I have always read a wide variety of genres, but from the time I was pretty young and sneaking my mom’s Judith McNaught novels, I loved romance. I loved everything about them, but most especially the fact that everyone got to live happily ever after. It’s like Susan Elizabeth Phillips says—life is too short to read depressing books.
If money were not an object, where would you most like to live? Why?
I would live on Maui, right on Secret Beach. There is a good reason I set Gun for Hire there—because it might be the most beautiful place on earth, and I got to lose myself in my memories of that place every time I turned on my computer.
What are two (or more) of your all-time favorite books in any genre?
Match Me If You Can, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Bet Me by Jennifer Cruisie.
What do you like best about your heroine in GUN FOR HIRE?
So much of Sam Winters is based on my own sister that spending time in her company is like being home. My sister is the kind of person who can talk her way into—and out of—any situation on earth. All of Sam’s humor, courage and sass comes directly from my own sister.
How do you choose the names and physical characteristics of your characters? Do you base them on real people?
Most of my characters are, in some way, based on someone I know. I pick and choose characteristics depending on what the book needs, but it’s easier for me to predict what my characters will do when they’re based on someone I know.
How can readers reach you or find you online?
I would love to hear from readers! You can always send me an email via my website, www.jjmontgomery.com or through my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJJMontgomery/ . My favorite way to stay in touch is via Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/jmontgomerywrites
The Wild Rose Press: https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/5066-gun-for-hire.html
“The sunlight was intense after a half hour in that gloomy space, but I squinted hard and kept moving toward a narrow set of steps down to the parking lot. Grady walked a few paces behind me, and if he heard the crinkle of paper as I moved, he elected not to say anything.
Grady hit the remote to his truck and grabbed for the passenger side door, his hand light on my elbow as he helped me up. Paper crackled as my butt hit the seat and Grady’s eyes narrowed. Without a word, he slammed my door and went around to the driver’s side, climbing up into the cab and stabbing the keys into the ignition.
“So, I—” I hesitated as I shifted in my seat and my movement was accompanied by the distinct sound of cardboard bending.
“No,” Grady muttered, and clicked on the radio. “No talking.”
“Shh.” Grady put a finger to his lips, his eyes still on the road. “Any minute you’re going to tell me about the felony crime you just committed. And then I’m going to have to deal with the fact that I was an accessory to a felony crime."
“Umm, yeah.” I reached around to the back of my pants and eased the file folder up from my waistband, working it out slowly so as to not lose anything as Grady headed up the hillside toward his house. As I brought it around to look at it, the red block letters damning me to years of incarceration should I get caught, a muscle ticked in Grady’s jaw.
“You stole classified documents.” He shook his head from side to side.
I looked up at Grady and then down at the mangled file with the red Top Secret heading. I took a corner of the front sheet and ripped across the width of the page, separating the words “Top Secret” from the rest of the paper.
“They’re declassified now.” I crumpled up the classification and shoved it in my pocket.
I shrugged and opened the file.
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