Susana: Today my guest is Jillian Chantal, who’s here to share a bit about herself and her new release, Doctor, Lover, Baronet.
Jillian: Thanks for inviting me over today and interviewing me, Susana.
Susana: What inspired you to start writing?
Jillian: I work as a lawyer in my day job and it’s quite stressful. Writing fiction is an escape valve for me. I have a hard time turning off my mind and writing is a good way for me to focus on something besides cases.
Susana: How long have you been writing?
Jillian: Fiction since 2006. I started a novel in 1998 but my computer crashed and I lost it so it took me a while to get back to it since I had small children and I was devastated by the loss of those eight chapters.
Susana: What advice would you give writers just starting out?
Jillian: Join a writing group. My craft improved once I did. It’s amazing what you can learn from other writers and critique groups. It’s also a great way to learn industry news as well.
Susana: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Jillian: I haven’t had this issue but I think if I did, I would watch movies and study them for the way the story is told and dialogue. I’d hope that would inspire me.
Susana: What comes first, the plot or the characters?
Jillian: Characters. Usually the hero. For some reason, I always get the male protagonist first. His quirks, his personality and his back story.
Susana: Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.
Jillian: The hero in this story, Colin, is a British man who is obsessed with American culture. He quotes movies, television shows and other pop culture references throughout the story. I think it adds a fun element to the novel.
Susana: Are you working on something at present you would like to tell us about?
Jillian: I’ve started polishing and editing my NaNoWriMo novel from 2012. It’s a romantic suspense that takes place in Los Angeles and Puerto Vallarta. The hero is an undercover DEA agent and the heroine is a lawyer.
Susana: What are you reading now?
Jillian: I just finished a book called Blood Money by James Grippando which is a present day thriller set in Miami. I’m planning to start reading The Yard by Alex Grecian next. It’s set in 1880s London. I like all kinds of stories and settings.
Susana: What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
Jillian: As far as the mystery components, Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle. I’ve been a fan of mysteries since childhood.
Jillian: I also love thrillers and Harlan Coben is my hero in that genre.
Susana: What is your work schedule like when writing?
Jillian: I write in the evenings and weekends. Having an intense day job, I get the most work done on weekends.
Susana: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Jillian: A lawyer. Funny, I know, but that was the goal since I was eight. Once I met that goal, I was ready to take on new ones. I think we should always be growing and learning.
Susana: What is your favorite food? Least favorite? Why?
Jillian: I love Italian food. Pretty much any kind except the Alfredo sauce ones. I hate tuna fish and raw tomatoes. I can’t deal with the smell of tuna and if my family makes tuna salad they have to eat it all as I can’t deal with it being in the refrigerator. Raw tomatoes have a slimy texture I can’t stand but I love them cooked. Preferably in an Italian dish.
Susana: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Jillian: Pantser all the way. I sometimes start a novel on little more than a hero’s name, occupation and back story.
Susana: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?
Jillian: I once went sky diving and loved, loved it. I only went once because the friend who took me crashed a few weeks later and broke his pelvis. I decided maybe jumping out of planes wasn’t a grand idea after all.
Susana: Is there a writer you idolize? Is so, who?
Jillian: I don’t know about idolize but I admire the heck out of Harlan Coben. The man has mad skills in the thriller department.
Susana: What would we find under your bed?
Jillian: Dust, old empty boxes and some holiday decorations. A shotgun in case of intruders is also there. Thank God I’ve never had to use it.
Susana: Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book. Where would you most likely want to go?
Jillian: Egypt. I’ve never been and would love to set a story on the Nile. I’m fascinated by the place. Both the ancient pyramids and the 1920s golden era of discovery in the area intrigue me.
Susana: Do you have a favorite quote or saying?
Jillian: It’s an Aristotle quote. “It is the sign of an educated mind to be able to entertain an idea without accepting it.” This to me means we can listen to others’ opinions but we need to make up our own mind about things.
Susana: Do you write in multiple genres or just one? If just one, do you ever consider straying outside your genre?
Jillian: I write romance and have illusions that I will write a thriller one day. I love to read thrillers and I try to insert a bit of mystery or suspense in my romantic fiction. I hope someday to venture into that genre.
Susana: What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing career next year?
Jillian: I’d like to increase my readership. I love my characters and want to share them with more folks. I’m not about bestseller lists but I want to have readers who love my stories like I do.
Donya Spencer, a busy art gallery manager in London, finds herself battling double vision and dizziness. She doesn’t have time to be ill and finds herself battling the national health care system for months. When she finally gets to see a specialist, she finds the man to be sexy, handsome, and very much her type. Knowing there can be no relationship due to medical ethics, she tries to resist his charming manner.
Colin Knight is the heir to a baronetcy whose father is pressuring him to marry and have children. This is an impossible task for Colin. He’s also a neurosurgeon who hasn’t opened his heart to love since the death of his young girlfriend many years ago. He works hard at the career he pursues relentlessly in an effort to somehow atone for the accident that killed his love. He meets Donya, and the comfortable bachelor life he’s made for himself is turned upside down.
She looked around and noticed Alec St Clair standing sideways in the doorway talking with someone she couldn’t see. The other man had his back to the room. She rose, shook off her melancholy, and approached Alec.
“Hey, Alec, remember me from the gallery?” She touched him on the shoulder.
He turned around. “Of course I do, Donya. You’re the other bridesmaid—the one that planned that huge art show. Do you know Colin Knight?”
She glanced up the man who had been speaking to Alec. “Yes. We’ve met. How are you?” She held her hand out to be shaken. Oh, God. It was her doctor. She hoped he wouldn’t say anything. This was pretty awkward.
“I’m fine. And you?” He smiled down at her and shook her proffered hand.
“Sorry, guys,” Alec said. “I’m going to have to leave you for a second. I think Roxanne has had too much to drink. I recognize the signs that she’s going to fall out. I better go get her a chair.”
“Alec, there you are in your role of rescuer again.” Donya laughed.
“Yep. That’s me. I’m a regular knight in shining armor. Although I shouldn’t say that as a true Knight is standing there beside you.” He laughed at his own joke and made his way across the room to Roxanne.
Donya looked up at Colin. “I had rather hoped for a certain Dr. Knight to be my knight in shining armor to fix my head. But, alas, I’m afraid it’s going to be too late.”
“I do intend to be your surgeon. What do you mean, too late?”
“I lose more vision by the day, and the surgery couldn’t be scheduled as quickly as I’d been led to hope for by you.”
“What do you mean? When’s it scheduled? I told my nurse to set you first available.”
“It’s set for two weeks from this coming Monday.”
“What? That’s not acceptable. I had no idea.”
“That was what your nurse told me. She said the operatory would not be available for me until then. Apparently, they were booked solid for three weeks.”
“Damned National Health Service,” he muttered. He took her hand. “Donya. I promise you, I’m going to see what I can do to move up the date. I’m sorry about this. I have no real control over the availability of the facilities. There’re so many rules and regulations involved. But I promise, I’ll do what I can.”
“I understand that there may be people in more urgent need than me, but I’m frustrated with the whole thing.”
“I know. I know. Believe me, I get that way, too. Sometimes I wonder why I’m still trying to help people. The system needs some serious revamping.”
Tara danced over, with yet another glass of wine in her hand, to where Colin and Donya were talking. “Why are you so solemn? This is a party, and I command you to dance. Now.” She spun off. She took a big swig of her wine and spilled most of it down her shirtfront.
Colin shrugged at Donya. “She has had some wine tonight, huh? Would you like to dance?”
“Sure. If you think it proper to dance with one’s surgeon.” Can I handle him holding me in his arms? He’s so magnetic and handsome, I may pass out.
“I wasn’t sure if they knew I’m your surgeon, so I didn’t say anything. I think it may be harder for you if you refuse my offer, as Tara seems a bit worse for wear and she may make a scene. Even though she looks pretty in pink, I know she can be an arse sometimes.”
“I have no intention of turning down your invitation to dance, and no, they don’t know you’re my surgeon and I prefer to keep it that way. Was the ‘pretty in pink’ comment a reference to the movie?” she asked.
“Yeah. And me being your surgeon is our secret.” He took her hand and moved toward the dance floor.
They approached the floor. The tempo changed and a slow song, Gerald Alston singing the Sam Cooke song “You Send Me,” came on. Colin held out his arms to Donya, and she stepped into them. They swayed slowly across the floor. “I thought I recognized you from somewhere when you came in my office,” Colin said. “I couldn’t place you, but I knew I’d seen you. What Alec said reminded me of where. It was at the gallery gala night. Are you an artist? Is that how you know Tara?”
“No. I’m not an artist. Just an art lover and former magazine junior editor who went to Oxford to obtain a History of Art degree when I got bored with editing. I’m the manager of the gallery. I saw you there that night, too. If you recall, you caught me in the hallway and told me I needed to see a doctor. Why didn’t you tell me you were a doctor?”
“Why didn’t you say anything that day in my office?” he asked, seeming to deflect her question.
“I was afraid that you wouldn’t perform my surgery if you knew we had mutual friends.” The truth was, she was terrified to lose her chance to get well, but she wasn’t ready to share that with him.
“No. Actually, that’s how I get a lot of referrals.” He smiled down at her