Please welcome Jill Hughey to my blog today. Tell us a little about yourself, Jill.
My name is Jill Hughey and I write historical romance when I can squeeze it in between being a wife, mother of two teenaged boys, and a part-time job as an administrative assistant for the MacIntosh consulting company my husband and I own.
My other talent is as a soprano. I started taking voice lessons seven years ago, as an adult, after singing for a few years in a community chorus. I had been involved in instrumental music in my youth so had a bit of a head start with reading music, breath control, and phrasing. Right now I am working on Lascia ch’io pianga by Handel, and another piece by Mozart, though I stray into Broadway musicals also.
What a wonderful talent to have! I’ve always wished I had a good singing voice. Tell us about your current series.
I have just completed the third book in my Evolution Series. I chose Charlemagne’s empire as the setting, during the rule of his son, Louis, because it offered the backdrop of political upheaval and some of the societal structure that romance readers like while being completely separate from England or Scotland, which have been pretty well covered in the genre. Each title in the series describes the hero. I know titles can be hard for authors to choose, but these were easy.
The first book, Unbidden, begins in 831 when Louis has just regained his throne. That turmoil sets the stage for the relationship between Rochelle, a noblewoman who resists the betrothal arranged by the emperor to David, a Bavarian soldier and second son of a nobleman.
Redeemed, features the villain of the first story, Doeg, David’s brother. Doeg, a withdrawn, tortured man, strives to become more principled. He seeks a wife only for her housekeeping skills, but the quiet widow he chooses wants more in return than he ever expected to give.
Vain is set in 839. The male lead is David’s best friend, Theophilus (usually shortened to Theo). He is a nobleman in the thick of the political intrigue. He finds himself responsible for a talented female tailor. They discover a mutual interest in fine cloth and interesting garments while trying to ignore a physical attraction that neither intends to act on.
I’ve read Unbidden and enjoyed it a lot. I’ve tried to wander away from England and Scotland too in some of my books. What is your favorite part of writing?
This will sound like a dumb answer but my favorite part of writing is…wait for it…writing. I love hammering out that first draft when characters are growing in my head, sentences are being molded into what I want them to be, I solidify the details of locations, and anything is possible.
I do my own formatting, and even with the list of tasks and tips I’ve made for myself, it makes me absolutely crazy. The other less concrete thing I don’t like about being a writer is that I can’t turn off my internal editor when I read other people’s books. Even with a story I’m loving, I am analyzing what the author did to make it so spectacular.
All self-pubbed books are rumored to be shoddily edited. What do you say to that?
Some are. I’ve read a few traditionally published books that are pretty sloppy too. I can usually tell from the book’s description if I will like a writer’s style. Even with that vetting, I sometimes stumble on a book that is too painful to read so I stop, delete it from my ereader, and move on. I don’t really understand why some authors get so indignant that such books exist. If you hear garbage on the radio, you change the station and get on with your life, you don’t rail against new artists who are destroying the musicality of the world and worry that all listeners everywhere will turn their radios off forever. A reader who gets a bad book will request a refund, know to never download anything from that author again, and go find a book with its sentences properly cobbled together.
Couldn’t have said it better myself! How likely are people you meet to end up in your next book?
Not at all. My experiences certainly color my stories, but I definitely do not pick people out of real life to plug them into my books like paper dolls.
Do you have a view in your writing space? What does your space look like?
I work at my kitchen table with a nice view across a stone bench in our landscaping to a pretty blue atlas cedar and beautyberry bush all backed by the forest of the Pennsylvania gamelands. Very peaceful.
Sounds lovely! Give us an elevator pitch for your book Vain.
A tailor’s abandoned daughter fashions a vain nobleman’s tunic, finding passion between the neckline and hem as misfortune forces her into his precarious aristocratic world.
The hero in Vain is Theophilus, Lord of Ribeauville. He is incredibly compassionate but he is vain, hence the title. I think of him as a medieval metrosexual, though my husband warns me about using that term because he says I will confuse readers. Metrosexual is a modern term for a man who is heterosexual, meticulous about his looks and willing to spend his money on his appearance. Anyway, Theo’s compassion leads him to help Lily whose skill with and interest in clothing meshes with his vanity, thus beginning an unexpected companionship.
What about your heroine?
Lily’s strength is her ability to become immersed in her passion, which is designing and creating clothing. When her father abandons her, the work is her only escape from utter despair. She clings too much to the past, though. That weakness makes it difficult for her to accept the changes being forced on her.
How much time do you spend promoting your books? What works best for you?
Well, I’m not sure if I spend too much time promoting or not enough. I’m still searching for the magic formula to reach readers who can’t wait to share my books with all their friends! Hopefully my visit today will inspire your visitors to find Vain on the sites below and then tell everyone they know.
Thanks so much for sharing your insights and experiences, Jill.