Welcome back to Jersey Girl Book Reviews, Rosalind!
Your series is called “Escape to New Zealand.” Why New Zealand?
I spent 15 wonderful months living and working in New Zealand, and fell in love with the country. The beauty and diversity of the landscape (not to mention the seascapes), the Maori culture and its integration into the country’s life, and, perhaps more than anything, the people: modest, good-humored, unfailingly polite and hospitable, and so very funny. I think everyone would like to escape to New Zealand—I know I did!
On the same note, why did you decide on rugby players as heroes?
In New Zealand, being an All Black (a member of the rugby team that represents the country in play against other nations) is the absolute pinnacle of achievement—what every boy longs to be. But what’s different is that the players are expected to be model citizens off the field as well. These young men face so much pressure and are under such a spotlight—it’s a completely different environment from the U.S. sports world. The combination of superb athletic achievement and celebrity with the expectation that you’re still a “regular Kiwi joker” or a “good bloke” makes for fascinating hero material.
How many books have you written and which is your favorite?
I’ve just finished my fourth book, Just For Fun. They are all my favorites while I’m writing them! Here’s how they fall out for me:
Most cathartic to write/favorite hero: Just This Once.
Snarkiest banter/most interesting research (Maori hero): Just Good Friends.
Funniest/easiest to write: Just For Now.
Sexiest/most heart-tugging: Just For Fun.
Do you see yourself in your heroines? Which of them is most like you?
There’s something of me in all my heroines. Most like me: absolutely Hannah, in Just This Once. People say “write what you know,” so I did! That book has a fair amount of autobiography in it. The funny thing is that some reviewers haven’t liked her as well as my other heroines (I try not to take it personally!). They’ve thought her emotional issues should be resolved once she meets our wonderful hero. If only life worked that way, huh?
Least like me: Kate, from Just Good Friends. I wish I were that confident and tough.
What surprises your friends about your books?
That they’re so steamy!
When did you begin writing?
I’d been a marketing writer for 10 years, but I never had a thought of writing fiction. I was on holiday in New Zealand with my husband almost exactly one year ago, and I had a story unfolding in my head as I so often do. For some reason, instead of telling myself to stop daydreaming, I let the story continue for days. I asked my husband, "Do you think I could write a book?" and being the great guy he is, he said, "Of course!" So I had him stop the car in Te Kuiti and bought a notebook, paper, and a pen. It was Oh So Scary to write the first sentence of Just This Once. But within two weeks, I was writing six hours a day on top of my regular job, and I knew this was all I wanted to do.
How long did it take to complete your first book?
Six weeks, while working at my “real job.” (I finished the book and quit the job.) I think up/write/edit a book in about three months, but that's because I've been a professional writer working to deadline for so long--writing my own stories is so much more fun, it's just a matter of keeping up on paper with what's in my head.
I notice that you're self-published. Did you try the traditional publisher route first? Any advice for other writers considering self-publishing?
I queried agents for about 3 months with Just This Once, and got requests for more of the book from a few agents and one publisher. One day in June, I heard back from a very prominent agent, who'd requested the full manuscript, that she really enjoyed the story, but that "New Zealand rugby" would be too tough of a hook. An hour earlier, I'd heard from my doctor, who said, "I'm referring you to the oncologist, because we can't tell what your tumor is." My first thought was, thank God my children are grown. And my second was, thank God I have had the chance to find out what I wanted to do in life, and to do it. The one thing I knew for sure was that I didn't want to die without publishing my books.
And the other thing I knew for sure was that "New Zealand rugby" was a GREAT hook! I finished writing Just For Now two days before going into the hospital and started editing again seven days after surgery. I decided that I still didn't want to die without publishing my books, so within a month, I’d published all three! And by the way: I’m not dying anytime soon, unless I get hit by a truck—lots more time, I hope, to write lots more books!
We’re living in a wonderful time when you can see for yourself if your book has “sales appeal” or not. Why not give it a try and see? The risk and cost are low--professional editing and cover design, an author website. The dream, of course, is to get that lucrative publishing contract—but whether or not that happens, doing it this way is working great for me so far, and I’m so very thankful to have the opportunity to share my work with so many people.
What have you learned from writing and publishing your books?
Life is all about taking risks. Anything that’s worth doing is going to be scary. The trick is to feel the fear and go ahead and do it anyway. Fall in love, write a book, pursue your dreams. That’s the underlying theme of my books, and my life.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure.
– Helen Keller
Thank you Rosalind for once again visiting Jersey Girl Book Reviews and sharing a bit about yourself and your writing career with us!
About The Author
Visit www.rosalindjames.com to listen to the songs from the books, follow the characters on their travels, watch funny and fascinating New Zealand and rugby videos, and learn about what's new!
Rosalind James ~ Just For Now ~ Virtual Book Tour Page ~ Reading Addiction Blog Tours
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Buy The Series: Escape to New Zealand
Just For Now by Rosalind James
Publisher: Rosalind James, Self-Published
Publication Date: August 29, 2012
Format: Paperback - 310 pages / Kindle - 475 KB
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Women's Fiction
BUY THE BOOK: Just For Now (Book 3: Escape to New Zealand series)
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Reading Addiction Blog Tours.
For teacher Jenna McKnight, nothing spells "heartbreak" like finding her husband with somebody else--in her bed. It's clearly time to reinvent herself. A new body, a new city, and a new job later, she's done just that. The beautiful Auckland villa isn't really her home, though. Finn Douglas and his kids aren't really her family, however much she wishes they were. And playing house can be a dangerous game.
Rugby star Finn Douglas is just looking for a temporary nanny and housekeeper. Not a girlfriend, and definitely not a wife. He can't resist Jenna's cooking, it's true. Who knew he'd have so much trouble resisting her? He wants to do what's right for his kids. But waiting is so hard . . .
My Book Review:
Life changes and second chances ...
When Jenna McKnight came home and found her husband Jeremy in bed with another person, she knew it was time to make changes and move on with her life. The life changes she made included reinventing herself by taking up running and going on a "divorce diet"; leaving her home in Wellington, New Zealand, and a teaching job of six years for a year and a half of travel and short stints working in cafes. Now she's ready to move on with her life by settling down in the town of Auckland and resume her teaching career.
Finn Douglas is a well-known All Blacks rugby player and single father to Sophie and Harry. With a heavy travel schedule and a nanny who needed to take a personal leave, Finn is looking for a six month interim nanny / housekeeper to take care of his kids.
Jenna applies for the interim nanny position and plans on securing a teaching position when the new school term begins. Both Jenna and Finn carry emotional baggage that they need to resolve. As their arrangement proceeds, they become attracted to each other and embark on a journey that will provide them with the ability to accept life changes, move forward with their lives, and open themselves to a second chance at finding love.
Can a just for now arrangement become a permanent relationship for Jenna and Finn?
Just For Now is a heart-warming romantic story of two people who overcome their past emotional baggage and get a second chance of finding love and a family relationship. In the third book of the Escape to New Zealand series, author Rosalind James once again transports her readers to the enchanting country of New Zealand, and weaves another refreshing tale of romance, love and family that will leave you with a smile. Written in the third person narrative, the readers follows the development of Jenna and Finn's relationship as their love story unfolds. They are two people who weren't looking for love, but a growing attraction and two adorable children paves the way for a romantic story that has a nice mixture of humor, drama and steamy passionate romance.
True to the other books in the series, the author provides the reader with stories that are set in New Zealand and revolve around the popular sport of rugby. The attention to detail and description of New Zealand's history and dialect, and the nuance of the professional game of rugby will peak the reader's interest and imagination.
I enjoyed the author's character development of Jenna and Finn throughout the story. Jenna is a gentle and caring woman. Finn is a lovable and concerned father to his kids, while being rough and tough on the rugby field. I really appreciated the author's style of building their relationship from one of not looking for a significant other, to their growing mutual attraction, overcoming emotional baggage, and providing a caring and loving family structure for the children. I absolutely adored Finn's children, Sophie and Harry, they added an interesting and fun twist to the story.
With an interesting cast of characters; engaging dialogue and interactions; a storyline that mixes humor, drama and romance; and an added bonus of a collection of recipes; Just For Now is a heartwarming and enjoyable read!
Once again, author Rosalind James has captivated me with her latest New Zealand romance. I was thoroughly entertained and look forward to reading the fourth book in the Escape to New Zealand series, Just For Fun!
RATING: 5 STARS *****