Friday, March 23, 2007

Smart and Sexy says it all

I promised you, my blog readers, a special and exciting treat. This is one WIP that was a thrill to work on.

May I present, the one, the only, writer extraordinaire, …

Author, JILL SHALVIS!!!!
M: Jill, I can’t thank you enough for giving me this opportunity to not only ask you all the questions that have percolated in my head since first being introduced to your works by Bailey, but to spread the word about your exciting new novel, Smart and Sexy, coming out April 1st by Brava/Kensington Publishing.

J: I just found out SMART AND SEXY has hit the stores, as a matter of fact. I can’t wait to see it on the shelves...

M: For my regular readers here, I have to say that I was struck by the heroine’s first name. Did you name her after our Bailey? **VBG**

J: Actually, I had that book outlined and proposed way before I met Bailey, so no, unfortunately ...

M: In Smart and Sexy I am curious as to the names you picked. Did they have any special meaning for you? The name Noah Fisher has me sensing hidden levels of meaning. It's a strong name.

J: Just loved the name ... No deep meaning other than that.

M: Were your characters inspired or patterned after anyone we know in "famous" circles or do they represent your internal ideal? Has anyone from your youth provided a role model that you've used in your stories? Good (or bad)? If so, do we see that influence in Smart and Sexy?
J: I try really hard not to model my characters after real people. I like to make ‘em up from scratch! That way I don’t have to run into anyone at a holiday party for example, and have them want to hurt me.

M: LOL! The title, Smart and Sexy - what does it refer to? Is it that Noah is Sexy and Bailey is Smart? Do both represent Bailey? Or does it refer to both of them?

J: The title is the brainchild of my wonderful Brava editor Kate Duffy. She’s a goddess at titles ... But I’d like to think Smart And Sexy refers to both of them.

M: I have a confession to make about Noah Fisher. I liked him, a lot. There was something touchable about him. I found it endearing when Bailey labeled him "Superman" even when he was only doing what came natural to him. Noah is a regular Joe who happens to have a bit of know-how. Not major Jedi Master type stuff, but enough to be real and you let us readers see his vulnerabilities, which he works through. Your sense of humor was warm and generous when you wrote about his feelings for Bailey. I enjoyed the romance more because of it. Why did you choose to give Noah the vulnerabilities that you did? Can something like that ever be plotted out or did his character just "speak" to you?

J : To me, a character isn’t real unless there are flaws and vulnerabilities. I try to plot them out ahead of time but sometimes they just come to me after I’ve gotten to know their stories better. I didn’t really “get” Noah until about halfway, and then I went back and layered some of those things in.

M: I get a kick out of their business name, Sky High. Can you tell me why you picked that title?

J: Other than the fact that both Noah and Bailey join the Sky High club, literally, in this book?

M: Men and women of strong character appear in all of your books that I've read. We find them strong in emotion (tortured hero, Griffin, in White Heat was intense) , in passion and integrity. In spite of the foibles of human nature, the growth that they experience in their relationship as well as individuals during their romantic journey makes them stronger people. It’s a very healthy outlook. It must be a challenge to live, never mind write yet you make it look easy. I suspect it's quite a creative process to make it fresh and entertaining every time. What is your secret? What is your preferred activity for "refreshing the well"?

J: No secret. I refresh the well by making sure to live life, experience every day stuff. It keeps my mind sharp, hopefully.

M: You have a wonderful sense of humor and I must say, a sense of the ridiculous. What inspired you to chose Bailey’s method of … high jacking?

J: Well I figured Bailey had to be a little bit like me, meaning she would not have had a gun, nor known how to get one. So she ... Improvised. I do that a lot. Not hijack sexy pilots, but improvise.

M: Are we going to read about Brody and Maddy anytime soon? What about hunky Shayne?

J: Shayne’s story comes out in December and is called STRONG AND SEXY. Brody’s and Maddie’s story is scheduled for next June, I believe ...

M: I have been really curious about something lately; what is the draw of button-fly jeans? Zippered jeans are much faster for ... you know, aren't they? Noah wears button fly jeans ... any particular reason?

J: Personal preference. I just think button fly Levi’s are sexy.

M: During the process of writing Smart and Sexy, what was the zaniest or most obtuse inspiration?

J: Probably the hijacking scene ...

M: Really? What was so zany about the Hijacking scene? Did you chuckle as you were writing it? Was it one of those scenes that practically wrote itself? I personally thought it was fun and deliciously quirky, but why that and not the "get away golf carts" instead?

J: First of all, this book did practically write itself. Some books are gifts like that, and this was one of them. Secondly, if I don’t crack myself up when I’m writing, then I know I haven’t gotten the humor right. There are definitely days where it’s easier than others, but the humor is very important to me. I tried to make the hijacking scene, the get away golf cart scene, the makeshift dressing room scene all as funny as possible, and a bunch of other scenes that I’ve forgotten by now because I’m in the middle of a different story altogether, LOL, and trying to make THAT story funny as I write this ...

M: If someone is just discovering your books, and wants to read beyond Smart and Sexy, where should they start? Which book or series of books captures the synopsis of your romantic dream? Yeah, I know, HOW can you possibly pick one of a few out of the amazing number you've done? *wink*

J: Are you asking my favorite? After SMART AND SEXY, probably GET A CLUE, SEEING RED, or HER SEXIEST MISTAKE ...

M: Here's a good question: Why pilots and planes? . You have quite a theme going; bush pilots, private planes and the people who fly them, male and female. The subject of planes seems to be a passion for you. How far will you go? What other aspects of planes and/or pilots haven't you gotten to yet that you are itching to write about?

J: Right now, it’s the three pilots for my Brava editor. Next year I’m also writing two more firefighters for my Harlequin editor. After that, something new!

M: Oh, yes, you sure know your way around heroic firefighters. White Heat and Seeing Red come to mind as favorites. But you've written about pilots in quite a few of your stories and it never ceases to amaze me how you zero in on the unique way it fits with your characters. Have you ever thought of writing about the hurricane spotters? Or a female Coast Guard helicopter pilot? You said you might try something new ... as in, a pilot of a spaceship? Come on, Jill. tease us with a tiny hint, *VBG*

J: Well I just finished an attitude ridden French doctor for my Lost meets Survivor meets Gilligan’s Island story THE TROUBLE WITH PARADISE, 10/07 ...

M: Has an experience in your life lit the fire of flying in your blood? Have you personally flown a plane, you know, had the controls? If not, is it a goal that you will someday? I have no way of knowing but I think it must be like driving a car at NASCAR - a passion - intense and focused as well as a sense of freedom. How is it that you capture that so well?

J: Haven’t personally flown a plane, but I’ve been on lots and lots, small, big, and everything in between. I do love being in the air ... But mostly I wrote these three pilots because I thought it was a sexy occupation that would make fun adventurous romances.

M: Speaking of themes and inspiration, in your latest book, Smart and Sexy, ON SHELVES NOW - we are once again flying with you into adventure and romance. Even the cover of Smart and Sexy shows Noah and Bailey in the seat of a plane. Speaking of covers, how much influence do you or can you have about the covers of your books? In any event, it seems like you combined both passions well in this book, Jill. I Loved it!

J: I have no control over covers, few authors do!

M: I had no idea. You mean, the hunky models on covers are always a pleasant surprise? How about the quotes (or are they taglines?)?
Do you have input there or are they surprises too? Can you remember a quote ever giving you the "warm and fuzzies"?

J: Yes, the nice covers are always a surprise. The not so nice covers are a big bummer, but I’ve been very lucky lately ... Knock on wood!! When another author has a quote on the cover of an author’s book, it’s just called a quote. And since all the quotes I’ve received were from authors whom I greatly admire, they were each a great thrill.

M: Jill, thank you so much for taking the time to share your insights with me and my readers about your new book and the inspirations that went into writing it. On behalf of my blog buddies and myself, we wish you continued success in your writing career. Can’t wait for Shayne’s and Maddie and Brody’s stories!

Hey Blog buddies, don't take only my word that this is a great book, check out these reviews from two savvy readers:

And the excitement doesn't end with this interview; it's just beginning!

Mark your calanders!
On March 30th, Smart and Sexy's author, Jill Shalvis, will be guest blogging on
Bailey's site.

Be sure to check it out.


Rumor has it that there might be a contest where a lucky reader can win their own copy of Jill's new book! *wink*
Did we tweak your interest with those other titles? Want the scoop?

Here's a link to her website - JILL
*WHEW!* This is the most exciting blog I've done yet. Hope y'all had fun!
And thanks for visiting everyone!


Dru said...


What a great interview with Jill.

Michele said...

Thanks Dru!! I had a lot of fun putting this together - it certainly was a challenge. :-)

Jill made me feel very comfortable and we're both pretty satisfied with the result. So glad you stopped by, Dru, and enjoyed reading the interview.


Brandy said...

Best interview yet Michele!! The questions were thought provoking and I like'd the insight into the authors perspective.

Bailey Stewart said...

You mean Jill Shalvis, who was just nominated for a Rita for best contemporary for Aussie Rules.

Bailey Stewart said...

Um, that's single title, not contemporary. She's been nominated!!!!!!!

Brandy said...


Jill Monroe said...

Not only does she have a fabulous name, she's a great writer!

Thanks for the interview!

Michele said...

Thank you so much, Brandy. I really wanted to do Jill proud and agonized over some of the questions. All in all, though, it was a blast to do. Thanks again!


I have GOT to find me that book! Western part of the state doesn't even have it in the library and the Eastern? It's "missing". Which means someone liked it so much,they never returned it! LOL

But yeah, this is EXCITING news for Jill. I Second Brandy's comment, Yeah, Jill!!


*giggle*, Jill M., you would say that. ;-)

I agree, she's a great writer...and like the featured Jill here, so are YOU! *VBG*

Thanks for stopping by AND you're welcome! :-)