Handbags, Books...Whatever

Handbags, Books...Whatever (http://www.vickibatman.blogspot.com) is the website of Vicki Batman, sassy writer of sexy and funny fiction. Handbag lover. Avid Jazzerciser. Mah jong player. Yoga practioner. Movie fan. Book devourer. Choc-aholic. Best Mom ever. And adores Handsome.

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Author Interview with Jeffery McClanahan, May 4-6

This month I welcome Jeffery McClanahan, part of the writing team of Dixie Cash, who also writes as Anna Jeffrey. She has written many books and best describes her work as relationship stories. The Dixie Cash stories hit the lighter side of romantic comedy.

Her new release for June 2008 is Don't Make me Choose Between you and my Shoes - Love the title. And Sweet Return.

Thanks, Jeffery, for interviewing with me. This is very exciting.
Who is your favorite author and why?

Did you always want to write? What jumpstarted you into writing?

Anything else you want to share with us?


Texas Author said...

FAVORITE AUTHORS: I have a lot of favorite authors. In fact, I have a whole page on my Web site (www.annajeffrey.com)listing my faves and why. ..... And my favorites change from time to time. My top favorites right now are Tami Hoag, Penelope Williamson and Michael Connelly, although I haven't read anything by those authors in a while now. .... Short answer why I like these authors is probably I like their voices and styles. ..... One of my all-time favorite books is "Dark Paradise" by Tami Hoag .... As for Penelope Williamson, I just love her rich prose. She, too has written one of my all-time favorites, "The Outsider." .... Michael Connelly, I like his journalistic style, which couldn't be more different from Penelope Williamson's. And I think his Harry Bosch character is one of the most interesting ongoing characters I've read. I get tired of reading about slick city detectives and lawyers, but I never tire of reading about Harry Bosch. There aren't many books I eagerly await, but I always look forward to a new one starring Harry Bosch.

Texas Author said...

DID I ALWAYS WANT TO BE AN AUTHOR?....Yes, but I didn't always work at it. I was a voracious reader as a child. I read everything that stood still. And when I would read a fiction novel, I would think, "I can do this someday." However, I never pursued it until later in my life. .... The thing that jumpstarted me was one day it dawned on me that I wasn't getting any younger and if I wanted to "write the great American novel," I needed to get on with it. So I started taking creative writing classes, reading books, taking workshops, joining groups, etc.

Texas Author said...

SOMETHING TO SHARE.... The latest Dixie Cash book, DON'T MAKE ME CHOOSE BETWEEN YOU AND MY SHOES, will be out June 1st. Hopefully it will be everywhere. It's another zany comedy starring the Domestic Equalizers, Debbie Sue Overstreet and Edwina Perkins-Martin. It's currently for sale as a pre-order at the online Web sites. It's a wacky story of Debbie Sue and Edwina going to New York to a detectives' convention and bumbling their way into solving a murder that takes place in the hotel room next to theirs. It's getting good reviews. ..... My Anna Jeffrey book that was released in January, 2008, SWEET RETURN, is a finalist in several contests, winnters to be determined in May and June. ..... My next Anna Jeffrey book will not be an Anna Jeffrey book. It will be released under a new pseudonym, Sadie Callahan. The book title is LONE STAR WOMAN. It's another West Texas story, using a fictitious old and legendary ranch as a setting.

Vicki Batman said...

Jeffery, would you describe yourself as a voracious writer? You are so busy!

How do you get the zany titles for the Dixie Cash books?

Why the new pseudonym, Sadie Callahan?

What is the appeal of writing your kind of books?

Texas Author said...

SO BUSY? ..... Well, I have no social life. (LOL) I've never been a social butterfly. ..... I mostly read at night. I put myself to sleep almost every night with a book. Wherever I go, I usually have a book with me, so if I find myself waiting somewhere for some reason, I fill the time by reading. This is why I can't see myself ever owning one of those electronic reader things. I like having a ratty, worn paperback in my purse. (LOL) ..... If I find myself without a book, I usually just people-watch. I've taken a couple of classes on interpreting body language and read a couple of books about it. I learn a lot from watching people. It comes in handy since my Anna Jeffrey (or now my Sadie Callahan books) are relationship-driven stories. ..... If I'm driving, sometimes I listen to audio books. Depending on who's reading them, I usually enjoy the audio books a lot.

Nancy said...

Jeffery, I have read you as both Dixie and Anna, but I am shamefully out of touch with your recent work. Which I will fix with my next trip to B&N.

DON'T MAKE ME CHOOSE BETWEEN YOU AND MY SHOES? I'm laughing so hard, I'm snorting!

Vicki, thanks so much for bringing Jeffery to chat. Jeffery, you are fascinating!

Nancy Haddock
La Vida Vampire

Vicki Batman said...

Thanks, Nancy, for stopping by and Congratulations on La Vida Vampire.

I know exactly what you mean - those titles are hilarious.

Texas Author said...

Fascinating? Thanks so much, Nancy. I don't know if anyone has ever called me fascinating. However, I have been called a lot of other things. (LOL)

And thanks for reading my books. I assure you, I appreciate every reader.

Yeah, those titles for those Dixie Cash books are fun. There are about half a dozen people involved in settling on them, so Pam and I can't take *all* of the credit.

Jeffery Mc

Texas Author said...

THE NEW PSEUDONYM - That explanation would take a really long post that most folks would probably find boring. Suffice to say, it's a marketing thing.

Texas Author said...

THE APPEAL OF WRITING MY KIND OF BOOKS - As for my Anna Jeffrey (Sadie Callahan) books, I've always been fascinated by how real people handle adversity and life-altering events. If you stop and think about it, life-changing moments occur more often in our lives than we realize. Sometimes the trigger is a dramatic upheaval or sometimes it's something ridiculously simple. I get some of my ideas from just watching the news.

So, like many authors, I start with the premise "what if." ..... What if this awful thing or this great thing happened to Polly Pureheart? How would she deal with it and how would it change her life? To her, would it be a positive or a negative? .... And sort of at the same time I'm doing the "what if" scenario, I'm also building a particular type of character I want to explore.

My Anna Jeffrey books are reality-based as opposed to fantasy-based, so some critics think they don't "fit" in the romance genre. In fact, there are probably *some* critics who think they don't fit *anywhere.* But then, all authors deal with that.

I'm the first to admit I have trouble with the "fantasy" part of romance novels. However, I do eventually get to the happy ending and I usually come up with characters people like and a dramatic story. ..... Personally, I just call the books "kind-of, sort-of mainstream romances" and let it go at that.

The Dixie Cash books are supposed to be just funny. Not quite slapstick, but almost. I had this idea a long time ago, but I don't have that zany-type sense of humor. However, I have this funny sister who does, so I dragged her kicking and screaming into writing the Dixie Cash books with me.

Our editor didn't know exactly where to put Dixie Cash. Some people view the books as mysteries and some see them as light romance. After much debate, the ultimate decision was to keep Debbie Sue and Edwina doing zany stuff and have a romance sub-plot going on between two separate characters. ..... So that's the direction Dixie Cash is going until it's decided by someone to do something different.

It's been a bigger challenge than one would think to weave a romance sub-plot into the mystery that Debbie Sue and Edwina are involved in. And with every book, my sister and I have had to decide if the story is going to be about Debbie Sue and Edwina or the "romance" characters.

The new book coming out in June is mostly about a mystery Debbie Sue and Edwina solve, though there is a romance in the book. But the one we're just starting will be more a romance. If we live long enough to finish it, it will be out in 2010. (LOL)

Vicki Batman said...

Let's start today with some new questions.

What kind of writing turns you of? What stops you from writing?

How have you shocked your readers?

What is your writing day like?

chris k said...

I recently enjoyed reading Sweet Return. I love relationship based character stories -they're getting harder and harder to find in a suspense driven market.

Will the Sadie Callahan stories also be relationship based?

Suzanne Macpherson said...

Hey Dixie Jeff! Interesting list of who you are reading now. Love your books! Do tell about the Sadie Callahan books... more more~ !

Suzanne Macpherson said...

HI Dixie Jeff, I love your books girlfriend! Do tell about the Sadie books. Hope its sunny in Texas, it finally stopped snowing here!.

Vicki Batman said...

Hello, Suzanne. It is about to rain in Texas - so hurrah! We never turn down rain. Thank you for visiting with Jeffery and Me. I agree, the list of favorites is varied. I love Janet, too.

Texas Author said...

HAVE I SHOCKED MY READERS? - Hmm. I don't know. My stories are about ordinary people who are confronted with unexpected events. Sort of like life. "Grace under pressure," as Hemingway would say.

My stories are hot, with explicit language and sex, but in today's market, I doubt if that shocks anybody. My characters are edgy, especially my male characters, though I did write an edgy female in "The Love of a Stranger." Nobody liked her.

I write 100% alpha males with all their flaws and foibles. Again, just like real life. (LOL) But I doubt if anyone who's married is shocked by them. (LOL)

So giving it more thought, I doubt if I've shocked readers.

Texas Author said...

MY WRITING DAY - Well, I go to bed with the chickens and get up early. I'm usually at 5:00 a.m. or earlier. That's when my brain works best.

I write every day. I sit down at the computer and pound the keyboard until my brain freezes up, then I get up and walk around, drink coffee, look outside, do email, do laundry. Then I go back to writing. And that's pretty much my routine all day. I don't watch TV programs, but I'm a news and politics junkie, so I do throw in a few minutes of watching the news on TV.

What really screws up my day is if I have to go to town for something. I live 12 miles from town, so I don't go any more often than I have to. I've now learned that if I have to run errands in town, to save them for the afternoon. So at least my whole day won't be lost.

Vicki Batman said...

Up with the chickens? I swear there is a bird sitting on my fence that thinks it is a chicken at 430 in the morning. I do understand about your schedule. I find it easier to run errands in the afternoon as well.

So what is coming up in the future for Dixie Cash, Anna Jeffery, and Sadie Callahan?

Do you have any rejection stories to share?

Texas Author said...

FUTURE? - Well, we are contracted for 2 more Dixie Cash books. One next year that we are currently just calling our Elvis book because it doesn't have a title yet. We're working on the revisions now. .... Then we'll be working on the 2010 release that I mentioned earlier.

Sadie Callahan will have LONE STAR WOMAN out in January 2009. After that I'm not sure what happens to my "relationship" books. They fall into that "contemporary romance" category that a lot of people think is dead.

Of course if you're a NYT Bestseller, it isn't dead, i.e., SEP, Nora, Macomber, Dodd, Foster, etc., etc. ..... I know so many good authors of contemporaries right now who have suddenly found themselves without publishing homes.

LONE STAR WOMAN is Book #1 of a trilogy, but I haven't yet heard if my publisher is going to buy the other two books. Book #2 is kind of a "sleeping with the enemy" story stemming from domestic abuse. I will probably know what's going to happen there in the next couple of months.

I'm putting together a proposal for a more mainstream-type story. I'm also toying with the idea of a romantic suspense. I wrote a murder mystery that was sort of a police procedural, "Salvation, Texas." I really enjoyed plotting that one, but it wasn't a thriller. The murderer was a mystery and it was fast-paced, but the hero and heroine weren't in danger.

I'm confident I can write romantic suspense, but I haven't made up my mind if I want to. Seems like every author out there is doing romantic suspense now. That seems to be what happens in publishing. They flood the market with one or two things and let everything else go by the wayside. Meanwhile, a lot of good mid-list authors just fade into the woodwork.

This is the hazard of being a mid-list author. Example: When I was first published, editors wouldn't even look at paranormals no matter how good they might be. Now paranormals dominate the market and contemporary is going away.

The market is hard to figure out. The tail that seems to be wagging the dog right now is the big distributors.

Vicki Batman said...

To wind up my interview with you, Jeffery, I like to ask a couple of funny questions:

Fill in the blank - your ideal fictional hero would think you gorgeous if you....

And how much do you love cake?

Texas Author said...

CAN I SHARE SOME GOOD NEWS HERE? - I just got word that both SWEET RETURN and SALVATION, TEXAS have finalled in the More Than Magic contest conducted by Romantic Ink RWA chapter in Tulsa! That's 4 finals for SWEET RETURN and 2 for SALVATION, TEXAS. (VBG) .... Here's hoping for at least 1 win.

Texas Author said...

My ideal hero would think I'm gorgeous if I were thin and svelte and considerably younger. (LOL)

How much do I love cake? Let me just say that if I didn't love cake, I would be thin and svelte.

Texas Author said...

I want to thank you, Vicki, for inviting me to your blog. This is the first time I've ever been a blog guest. I was nervous about doing it at first, but I've enjoyed it immensely. Thanks again.

Jeffery Mc

Vicki Batman said...

Thanks, Jeffrey, for the fun interview. Good luck to you and congratulations on the contest finals.

On June 16-18, Jo Davis will join us in an author interview, talking about her new firefighter series. We love those guys!

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