Q&A with Babette James

Categories: Babette James, bewitching book tours, book tour, interview

About the Author:

Babette James writes contemporary and fantasy romance and loves reading nail-biting tales with a satisfying happily ever after. When not dreaming up stories, she enjoys playing with new bread recipes and dabbling with paints. Babette is a member of New Jersey Romance Writers, where she has served on the Board. She is also a Pro member of Romance Writers of America, and the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal, Celtic Hearts, and ESPAN Chapters of RWA, Liberty States Fiction Writers, and Romance Divas. As a teacher, she loves encouraging new readers and writers as they discover their growing abilities. Her class cheers when it’s time for their spelling test! Born in New Jersey and raised in Southern California, she’s had a life-long love of the desert and going down the shore. Babette now lives in New Jersey with her wonderfully patient husband and three extremely spoiled cats.

Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

1. What is your novel, Clear as Day, about? Tell us a bit about the story.

Clear As Day is a sweetly scorching contemporary romance from The Wild Rose Press about two friends “with benefits” facing the fears and uncertainties of their changing relationship, set against the background of the summer heat and cool waters of Lake Mohave. Clear As Day has been a story of my heart in many ways, so seeing this story bloom and come to life as a full-length published novel has been a dream come true. Being able to hold my book in my hands and receiving the 4 1/2 star scorcher review from Romantic Times for my debut novel have been thrilling moments. I hope you enjoy Nate and Kay’s journey to love as much as I have.

2. Would you call Kay a difficult person? What has shaped her character?

Kay is an artist, specializing in detailed watercolors of desert landscapes, and to those around her, she appears to be a happy free-spirit. As I wrote Clear As Day it was fascinating to see Kay’s story unfold. She believes she is content with the quiet, organized life she’s made for herself: a satisfying job, a comfortable home, freedom to travel her beloved desert lands and paint as she wants in solitude, and the peaceful, friends-with-benefits relationship with Nate. She’s seen enough of the hurt and dark turmoil love and marriage has caused in her own dysfunctional, broken family and the world around her to know those are not for her and she manages the pain she carries from her past and hides it from everyone. Her childhood experiences and adult observations of relationships have left her very cautious, thoughtful, and nearly OCD exacting, and she believes love is only true in fairytales. Friendship is all she will allow. However, she now must choose: be ruled by her past and security of habit and keep herself walled off from emotional entanglement and potential pain or open herself to trust in Nate and his love and deliberately set out on an unanticipated new future where the outcome is not in her sole control.

3. Tell us a bit about the relationship between Nate and Kay.

They met at the river six years earlier because Kay’s best friend JoAnn (who is married to Lloyd, one of Nate’s best friends) had talked her into coordinating her annual trips to Mohave with theirs and Nate had made it back to the States in time from his travels to meet up with them. Nate is a photographer whose wanderlust keeps him traveling about the globe most of the year, and that very absence has helped make him the one man who’s been able to get past the walls of Kay’s wary heart. He fell head over heels for Kay from the start, but wasn’t at a point in his career where he could quit the traveling. He believes the time apart, staying in touch by phone and online, let them build a solid foundation of real friendship for their relationship. He’d learned over the years Kay isn’t the type to jump headlong into anything and understands that their first impetuous night together was a significant moment for her, too. However, despite his happy-go-lucky ways, wanderlust, impulsive decision-making, and years of traveling, Nate longs for commitment and settling down. Coming from a warm, loving family, Nate believes love is forever and Kay is his forever.
So, of course, Kay and Nate painfully discover, despite those years of close, long-distance friendship, just how much they didn’t know about each other and had assumed. Nate’s faced with just how hard loving can be and Kay finds denying love doesn’t keep it from happening to her. They now needed to learn to really talk and listen to one another, take risks, and truly trust, if their friendship was to survive and love they’d always shared have a future.

4. Do you think that the three little words are the magic key to a woman’s heart? 😀

Lol! They sure do help. Of course, those three little words had better be backed up by honesty, loyalty, kindness, and a host of other positive traits in the man before a woman offers her heart. I promise my character Dave Knight will be getting a sharp reminder of his own advice in the future!

5. What inspired you to set the story where you did?

This book grew out of the setting. Clear As Day began as a short story years back when I was in college, an exercise featuring the desert setting of Lake Mohave, a reservoir downstream from the Hoover Dam formed out of stretch of the Colorado River by the Davis Dam. When I was young, my family took camping trips every summer to Lake Havasu or Lake Mohave and I loved those scenic desert places. I grew up in Southern California and I’ve always had a love of the deserts of the Southwest, particularly the areas of Lake Havasu and Lake Mohave, and even took a college class on desert biology. I loved the juxtaposition of the stark, hot landscape with the cool waters and wanted to play with that particular setting. My cover shows a glimpse of the shoreline. It’s a harshly beautiful location and lets you feel you’ve gone somewhere completely remote even though it’s accessible in only a little over an hour from Las Vegas.

6. Your characters do quite a bit of fishing. Is that one of your hobbies too?

I fished with my family quite often at lakes and streams while growing up and always enjoyed it. I remember watching my dad fly-fishing and thinking it would be great to be grownup and have cool waders just like his. I grew up, but life got busy, and I never did get those waders. I haven’t fished in some years now, but writing these stories has made me want to take up the hobby again. I enjoy the peacefulness of being outside by the water and quietly enjoying nature.

7. Tell us a bit about the writing process for this novel. Did it affect you in any special way?

I never quite found a place for Clear As Day in its original short story form, but never gave up on it, and two years ago took on the experiment of expanding the little story into a novella. The expansion was an interesting experience. The simple friends-with-benefits relationship proved not so simple and from there the story exploded into a novel with the beginnings of their conflict, love story, and their tight-knit group of friends. Clear As Day was no longer a just scenic location and simple moment in time between two occasional lovers, but a full story world with a crowd of interesting secondary characters, and all the characters’ lives intersecting and affecting one another. Not only did I have to ask what has happened in just Kay’s and Nate’s backstories to bring them to the story’s point in time, I needed to explore their friends’ lives, and additionally, ask what happened next to all of them, after Kay and Nate reached their point of happily ever after. I found that the story of Kay and Nate and their friends had not ended, but had more still to tell, and the once tiny story has spawned sequels.

8. Do you feel it changed you in any way to write it?

Writing Clear As Day was a constant exercise in taking myself seriously as a writer and in reaching for a dream. I have been writing all my life, but unfortunately, I let anxiety and doubt divert me from seriously pursuing publication until recently. I realized I had a choice: I could just keep filing the story ideas away, never be published, and live with wishful thinking, or damn the doubts, start the scary process of submission and maybe still never succeed, but at least I wouldn’t have to live with the worse regret of never trying. Also, I’m a pantser at heart, not a plotter, but writing this novel really reinforced in me the value of exploring character and digging deeper, and of being willing to totally re-envision a project I’d once considered ‘done.’

9. What inspires you to write?

The love of telling a story. Usually it’s a glimpse of a character or scrap of scene in my mind that starts me wondering. One “what if” leads to another, and the story grows like Topsy from there. Other than being certain that it will end in happily ever after, writing each story is an adventure. It doesn’t always come easily, but it’s always interesting finding my way along to “The End.”

10. Tell us a bit about your future projects, give us something to look forward to.

I’m currently hard at work to finish and submit the sequel, tentatively titled Love Burns. This story takes off right from where Clear As Day ends. I love this couple’s chemistry, and I’ve enjoyed seeing their story come to life as they work through their personal trials and find their own happily ever after together. And I have plans for other friends to be joining Kay and Nate in falling in love at the river. I also have a fantasy series that’s simmering on the back burner while I focus on these contemporary stories.What is your novel, Clear as Day, about? Tell us a bit about the story.

Clear As Day is a sweetly scorching contemporary romance from The Wild Rose Press about two friends “with benefits” facing the fears and uncertainties of their changing relationship, set against the background of the summer heat and cool waters of Lake Mohave. Clear As Day has been a story of my heart in many ways, so seeing this story bloom and come to life as a full-length published novel has been a dream come true. Being able to hold my book in my hands and receiving the 4 1/2 star scorcher review from Romantic Times for my debut novel have been thrilling moments. I hope you enjoy Nate and Kay’s journey to love as much as I have.
Would you call Kay a difficult person? What has shaped her character?
Kay is an artist, specializing in detailed watercolors of desert landscapes, and to those around her, she appears to be a happy free-spirit. As I wrote Clear As Day it was fascinating to see Kay’s story unfold. She believes she is content with the quiet, organized life she’s made for herself: a satisfying job, a comfortable home, freedom to travel her beloved desert lands and paint as she wants in solitude, and the peaceful, friends-with-benefits relationship with Nate. She’s seen enough of the hurt and dark turmoil love and marriage has caused in her own dysfunctional, broken family and the world around her to know those are not for her and she manages the pain she carries from her past and hides it from everyone. Her childhood experiences and adult observations of relationships have left her very cautious, thoughtful, and nearly OCD exacting, and she believes love is only true in fairytales. Friendship is all she will allow. However, she now must choose: be ruled by her past and security of habit and keep herself walled off from emotional entanglement and potential pain or open herself to trust in Nate and his love and deliberately set out on an unanticipated new future where the outcome is not in her sole control.
Tell us a bit about the relationship between Nate and Kay.
They met at the river six years earlier because Kay’s best friend JoAnn (who is married to Lloyd, one of Nate’s best friends) had talked her into coordinating her annual trips to Mohave with theirs and Nate had made it back to the States in time from his travels to meet up with them. Nate is a photographer whose wanderlust keeps him traveling about the globe most of the year, and that very absence has helped make him the one man who’s been able to get past the walls of Kay’s wary heart. He fell head over heels for Kay from the start, but wasn’t at a point in his career where he could quit the traveling. He believes the time apart, staying in touch by phone and online, let them build a solid foundation of real friendship for their relationship. He’d learned over the years Kay isn’t the type to jump headlong into anything and understands that their first impetuous night together was a significant moment for her, too. However, despite his happy-go-lucky ways, wanderlust, impulsive decision-making, and years of traveling, Nate longs for commitment and settling down. Coming from a warm, loving family, Nate believes love is forever and Kay is his forever.
So, of course, Kay and Nate painfully discover, despite those years of close, long-distance friendship, just how much they didn’t know about each other and had assumed. Nate’s faced with just how hard loving can be and Kay finds denying love doesn’t keep it from happening to her. They now needed to learn to really talk and listen to one another, take risks, and truly trust, if their friendship was to survive and love they’d always shared have a future.
Do you think that the three little words are the magic key to a woman’s heart? 😀

Lol! They sure do help. Of course, those three little words had better be backed up by honesty, loyalty, kindness, and a host of other positive traits in the man before a woman offers her heart. I promise my character Dave Knight will be getting a sharp reminder of his own advice in the future!
What inspired you to set the story where you did?

This book grew out of the setting. Clear As Day began as a short story years back when I was in college, an exercise featuring the desert setting of Lake Mohave, a reservoir downstream from the Hoover Dam formed out of stretch of the Colorado River by the Davis Dam. When I was young, my family took camping trips every summer to Lake Havasu or Lake Mohave and I loved those scenic desert places. I grew up in Southern California and I’ve always had a love of the deserts of the Southwest, particularly the areas of Lake Havasu and Lake Mohave, and even took a college class on desert biology. I loved the juxtaposition of the stark, hot landscape with the cool waters and wanted to play with that particular setting. My cover shows a glimpse of the shoreline. It’s a harshly beautiful location and lets you feel you’ve gone somewhere completely remote even though it’s accessible in only a little over an hour from Las Vegas.
Your characters do quite a bit of fishing. Is that one of your hobbies too?

I fished with my family quite often at lakes and streams while growing up and always enjoyed it. I remember watching my dad fly-fishing and thinking it would be great to be grownup and have cool waders just like his. I grew up, but life got busy, and I never did get those waders. I haven’t fished in some years now, but writing these stories has made me want to take up the hobby again. I enjoy the peacefulness of being outside by the water and quietly enjoying nature.
Tell us a bit about the writing process for this novel. Did it affect you in any special way?

I never quite found a place for Clear As Day in its original short story form, but never gave up on it, and two years ago took on the experiment of expanding the little story into a novella. The expansion was an interesting experience. The simple friends-with-benefits relationship proved not so simple and from there the story exploded into a novel with the beginnings of their conflict, love story, and their tight-knit group of friends. Clear As Day was no longer a just scenic location and simple moment in time between two occasional lovers, but a full story world with a crowd of interesting secondary characters, and all the characters’ lives intersecting and affecting one another. Not only did I have to ask what has happened in just Kay’s and Nate’s backstories to bring them to the story’s point in time, I needed to explore their friends’ lives, and additionally, ask what happened next to all of them, after Kay and Nate reached their point of happily ever after. I found that the story of Kay and Nate and their friends had not ended, but had more still to tell, and the once tiny story has spawned sequels.
Do you feel it changed you in any way to write it?
Writing Clear As Day was a constant exercise in taking myself seriously as a writer and in reaching for a dream. I have been writing all my life, but unfortunately, I let anxiety and doubt divert me from seriously pursuing publication until recently. I realized I had a choice: I could just keep filing the story ideas away, never be published, and live with wishful thinking, or damn the doubts, start the scary process of submission and maybe still never succeed, but at least I wouldn’t have to live with the worse regret of never trying. Also, I’m a pantser at heart, not a plotter, but writing this novel really reinforced in me the value of exploring character and digging deeper, and of being willing to totally re-envision a project I’d once considered ‘done.’
What inspires you to write?
The love of telling a story. Usually it’s a glimpse of a character or scrap of scene in my mind that starts me wondering. One “what if” leads to another, and the story grows like Topsy from there. Other than being certain that it will end in happily ever after, writing each story is an adventure. It doesn’t always come easily, but it’s always interesting finding my way along to “The End.”
Tell us a bit about your future projects, give us something to look forward to.

I’m currently hard at work to finish and submit the sequel, tentatively titled Love Burns. This story takes off right from where Clear As Day ends. I love this couple’s chemistry, and I’ve enjoyed seeing their story come to life as they work through their personal trials and find their own happily ever after together. And I have plans for other friends to be joining Kay and Nate in falling in love at the river. I also have a fantasy series that’s simmering on the back burner while I focus on these contemporary stories.

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The_Butterfly_Livia

Book lover, customizations OCD-er and list-lover extraordinaire. Unrepentant coffee addict, smutty romance and sexy bad boys/villains lover of doom.
I read, I write, I spamificate -- therefore I am.

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