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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Just For Fun by Rosalind James (Author Interview / Book Review)

In association with Reading Addiction Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Rosalind James, author of Just For Fun, Book 4 in the Escape to New Zealand series!

Author Interview

Welcome 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 publishing 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 visiting Jersey Girl Book Reviews and sharing a bit about yourself and your writing career.

About The Author

Rosalind James is the author of the Kindle bestseller Just This Once and the three subsequent books in the Escape to New Zealand series. She is a former marketing executive who has lived all over the United States and in a number of other countries, traveling with her civil engineer husband. Most recently, she spent several years in Australia and New Zealand, where she fell in love with the people, the landscape, and the culture of both countries.

Visit 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 Fun ~ Virtual Book Tour Page ~ Reading Addiction Blog Tours

Buy The Series: Escape to New Zealand

Book Review

Just For Fun by Rosalind James
Book 4: Escape to New Zealand series
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: December 8, 2012
Format: Paperback - 336 pages / Kindle - 508 KB 
ISBN: 0988761939
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: Just For Fun

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.

Book Description:

What if the person who broke your heart turned out to be the only one who could mend it?

Nic Wilkinson is a responsible, organized, disciplined rugby player at the top of his game. Emma Martens is a sometimes-scattered, often-emotional, and always-broke would-be designer with a big chip on her shoulder where Nic’s concerned.

They have no history together, except one perfect week. Nothing in common anymore, except the most important thing of all.

Getting together again would be messy. Complicated. Scary. And, just maybe, worth every risk.

Book Excerpt:

“Mum!” Zack burst in through the front door. “It was brilliant!” He kicked his shoes off impatiently, dropped his rugby boots next to them before struggling out of his jacket. Nic followed him in, grabbed the jacket and hung it on the brightly painted rack next to the door when Zack would have dropped it on the floor.

Emma reached out for a hug that, Nic saw, the boy was still willing to give his mother, at least here at home. Her eyes met Nic’s as she looked over her son’s head. How did she always look so soft? So . . . pettable? She was wearing another sweater, that was all, he told his troublesome libido. Another light, lacy one, prettily trimmed once again. A pale pink cardigan with pearly shell buttons, edged in cream, over a long stretchy top and leggings. She looked like an invitation to cuddle. Like the best blankie ever.

“Can Nic stay for dinner, Mum?” Zack asked excitedly, offering a welcome distraction from his wayward train of thought. “He could help me tell you all the things we did. We’re having spaghetti!” he told Nic. “It’s really good.”

“Can’t, mate. Sorry,” Nic put in hastily at Emma’s instinctive shake of the head. “But I’ll have a glass of water, if one’s on offer.”

“Sit down,” Emma told him. “Please.”

Nic slipped off his own shoes before heading to the couch with Zack. “Cheers,” he said as she came back from the kitchen to hand each of them a glass, then took her own seat in a small armchair next to the couch, the only other option the little room offered.

“You look tired,” she said abruptly. “And bruised. Are you OK?”

“Just a bit confused on the sleep schedule, still,” Nic admitted. “I took a wee pill on the flight home, but it never works that well.”

“It’s a long way, Mum,” Zack put in. “South Africa’s really far.”

Nic took a long drink of the cold water, looked around for something to set the glass on. “Coaster?”

“Just put it down,” Emma told him.

“Don’t want to spoil this,” he said, looking more closely at the coffee table. The simple rectangle had been transformed into a forest of ferns, with native birds peeping out from underneath fronds, perched in trees. The parson-throated tui making a meal of red fruit, the colorful, stumpy takahe on the forest floor, tiny fantails darting overhead.

“You can’t,” Emma assured him. “It’s all enamels. Everything in this house is pretty indestructible.”

"Did you find the ruru yet?” Zack asked him, leaning forward.

“Don’t tell me,” Nic said. “Let me look.” Zack watched him eagerly as he searched and finally pointed triumphantly to a notch in a tree where the owl blended into the bark. “There.”

“You did this too, eh,” he asked Emma. “Nice.”

“I did everything. That’s my decorating theme. Things I made.”

“I like it,” he assured her. The warm colors of the lounge seemed to cocoon them. Two walls were a rich caramel, the others a warm yellow. She didn’t even paint every wall in a room the same color, he realized. Well, at least in the kitchen it was all the same. Purple. He wondered what color her bedroom was. How it looked. And found himself wishing, against every better impulse, that he could see it.

My Book Review:

Welcome back to New Zealand ... land of Kiwis and everything rugby! In the fourth book of the Escape to New Zealand series, author Rosalind James provides the reader with another tale of romance, this time with the story of Nic Wilkinson and Emma Martens.

Seven years ago Nic and Emma meet on a plane to Fiji, and because of air turbulence, Emma literally lands on Nic's lap. Nic was going to the island for a week's holiday before heading to England to play rugby; while Emma was spending the week on her non-honeymoon after her ex-fiance left her at the altar. They had an intense week-long island affair and then went their separate ways, but a little gift in the way of a son came out of their time together. Fast forward six years later, Nic is volunteering at a kid's rugby camp and discovers that he has a son when he sees six year old Zack's mom, Emma. Nic is determined to do right by his son, and as their story unfolds, there is some bumps along the way: Nic's engaged to a snotty high-maintenance lawyer named Claudia, but the mutual attraction that simmers beneath the surface between Nic and Emma, and the love they share for their son brings them back together. As they work through their newly formed family dynamic, can their long ago Just For Fun affair turn into a forever relationship?

Just For Fun follows the same relationship and rugby themes set in New Zealand as the previous three books in the series, but this storyline is a bit different as it focuses on a love child born from a long ago quick affair that brings two people together for a second chance at love. I loved each of the four books in the series, but I have to say that this one is my favorite, it is a happy feel good kind of romance story that simply makes you smile. Written in the third person narrative, the reader follows Nic and Emma's journey from each of their perspectives as their love story unfolds. Their story is about two people who had a youthful affair seven years ago, only to reunite as parents who begin their relationship as friends, and gradually build it into a second chance at becoming lovers. The story flows smoothly as Nic and Emma move forward with realistic co-parenting issues and basic relationship yearnings, with occasional steamy flashbacks to their affair, and some dramatic twists and turns that keeps the reader turning the pages.

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 Nic and Emma throughout the story. Emma is a gentle and caring woman who is very protective of her son. Nic is a lovable man who is determined to be a father to his son, while being rough and tough on the rugby field. I really appreciated the author's style of building their relationship from one of coming together because of their son, to their growing mutual attraction, overcoming emotional baggage, to getting a second chance at love and a building a family.

With an interesting cast of characters, some who make cameo appearances from the other three books in the series; engaging dialogue and interactions; and a storyline that mixes humor, drama and romance; Just For Fun is a heartwarming and enjoyable read!

Just For Fun is the fourth (but hopefully not the last!) book in the Escape to New Zealand series.



  1. Love the way you review, so thoughtful. Thank you! Best, Rosalind

    1. Hi Rosalind! Thank you for the opportunity to read, review and host your virtual book tour events for the Escape to New Zealand series. I loved this series, maybe you have more tales to weave from this series? Thank you for your kind comment about my book review, I appreciate it. :)

    2. Writing a U.S. book right now, first in a trilogy. Very different, challenging but fun. Should come out mid-April. Back to NZ for inspiration next month! I'll be alternating for a while, which should keep me on my toes. I have a couple interviews scheduled in New Zealand too--exciting! They've actually been really nice about the books, to my great relief.

    3. Oh boy a new trilogy, awesome! I'll watch for the first book to be released in April. Congrats on your NZ interviews and the warm reception that you've received from them! :)