Let’s give a big welcome to Christy Jeffries, our newest visitor to the SYTYCW blog! We’re delighted to have her and chat about her writing. Don’t miss her new book from Harlequin Special Edition, The Makeover Prescription. Without further do, here’s Christy!
How did you get into writing?
I was in law enforcement and, on my first day back from maternity leave, I sat there staring at the breast pump kit I’d just set on my office desk. I was geared up in my duty belt, gun and bulletproof vest and was trying to figure out how I could possibly fill up those empty milk containers while I was out in the field. Although I was the senior officer, I knew my male partner wasn’t going to be all that happy about me sitting in the caged backseat of the Crown Victoria, expressing milk while he drove around town. Part of it was post-partum hormones, but when I called my mom (USA Today bestselling author Judy Duarte) on my way home from work one night, tearfully asking how I could work and still be a stay-at-home mom, she replied, “You could always write romance.”
Then she signed me up for my first Romance Writers of America (RWA) meeting. Moms can be very bossy that way.
What do you like most about writing contemporary series/category romance?
I love writing for a line that is already established with other great authors. It makes me feel like I’m in good company and have a built-in support network. Special Edition has been a perfect fit for me because I get to include all those fun secondary plot points (like kids and families) and have some continuity throughout my books.
How did you transition from working in criminal justice to writing contemporary romance?
I’d gone to law school and had a lot of experience drafting court reports and documents. And I’d been reading romance and historical fiction since I was in my teens. So it was a matter of taking the writing skills I’d learned and transitioning them to the writing style I loved. That might sound easy, but court reports are very objective (or at least they’re supposed to be), and it was tough for me to learn what “deep point of view” meant.
How did you create the town of Sugar Falls, Idaho?
My parents own property in Idaho and I fell in love with the greater Boise area the first time I visited. Growing up in Southern California with all its eternal sunshine and fair weather makes me long for mountains and snow. And who doesn’t love small town communities? You know how people have alter egos? Well, Sugar Falls is my alter residence.
Which was your favorite character in The Makeover Prescription, and why?
Mr. Donut, the stray dog! I loved the idea of a lazy, but lovable pooch who totally makes himself so at home, nobody seems to know where he lives or who his real owner is. Also, the nine-year-old Gregson twins make a guest appearance in this book and those little mischief makers are a couple of my absolute favorite characters to write.
How much of yourself is reflected in the book and how?
I think there’s a little bit of myself in every book, but The Makeover Prescription hits extra close to home since the hero, like my oldest son, is learning how to deal with his ADHD. The conversation where Julia explains to Kane that he had a “super fast racecar brain” was almost verbatim to what my husband and I said to our son when he was first diagnosed. I even touch on this issue in my Dear Reader letter in the front of the book.
How do you motivate yourself when you don’t feel like writing?
I tend to be hyper-organized, especially when it comes to time management. Which means there is nothing more motivating for me than a looming deadline. That big red circle on the calendar will get me going every time. But when I need an inspirational boost, I take a drive. I do some of my best brainstorming in a quiet car. Unfortunately, my Mom Machine is usually doing school runs and shuttles for extracurricular activities and is rarely quiet…
Do you have advice for other writers?
Find an editor and critique partner you can trust and who knows what they’re doing. No matter how perfect you think your manuscript might be, someone is going to have a better idea on how to make a scene work or else catch something that you missed. I’d much rather have a constructive revision note from a trusted source before the manuscript goes to print than have a bad review from a reader. But be prepared for both.