Juanita, thanks so much for being my guest. I want to congratulate you on your soon-to-be released Fly Away Peta. I read that you’ve been working on this novel since high school. What prompted you to finish it?
I began writing FLY AWAY PETA at aged sixteen. When I look back on my handwritten drafts, in between the pages of a yellowed school note book, I can see how far I’ve come in terms of finding my voice.
Scenes changed, the story grew, and the characters developed through years of maturity and several rounds of self-editing. The one thing that always remained true was the title: FLY AWAY PETA. No matter how many other stories I penned, this one would not leave me alone. Jaime and Peta wanted their story told and they nagged me until I finished it.
After a few more months of editing, procrastinating and more editing, I finally bit the bullet and said: ‘Enough! It’s now or never.’
Now comes the spooky bit. I have a thing for roses, and while searching for alternatives for FLY AWAY PETA, I came across Eternal Press. The symbol on their website is a lilac rose. My gut feel said, ‘Send it!’ My head said, ‘What have you got to lose?’ And my heart said, ‘A rose is a rose, perhaps this is the right rose.’
Read the full story at http://juanitakees.com/2012/03/04/off-to-a-flying-start/
What is your personal biggest roadblock to writing?
I’m a Virgo. I think that says it all. It takes me hours to get something down because I tend to over analyze and over edit it! There are not enough hours in my writing day for that, LOL.
What character was the most difficult to develop?
The awful Paul Price. He is so nasty. I still don’t think I succeeded in making him nasty enough.
Who is on your nightstand? What genres are you drawn to?
I’m never without Nora Roberts on my nightstand. I love Contemporary, adore Historical, enjoy Paranormal, Fantasy and Suspense, and am warming to YA and Chick Lit.
If Fly Away Peta became a movie, who would you like to see casted in the main roles?
Oooh! So many names come to mind. I adore Lauren Graham from Parenthood. I think she’d make the perfect Peta. As for Jaime, I think he would be played by Chris Hemsworth…*sigh*. I would definitely cast Johnny Depp in the role of bad guy, Paul Price.
I read that you also work as an editor, web-content writer, and proof-reader. Name the most common errors/typos/grammatical problems you come across.
There vs. their;
your vs. you’re;
its vs. it’s (even I still make that mistake!)
Do you make mistakes? If so, what kinds keep cropping up?
Ha! Even a proofreader isn’t perfect, LOL. I make many mistakes with my own work, I think because I’m so focused and close to it that I don’t see the errors. I tend to ‘over tag’ with ‘he said, she said’ and find the dreaded words ‘just’ and ‘that’ pop up far too often in my own work. It’s so much easier to edit someone else’s work than my own.
Name some writing issues that ruin a story.
Sudden and frequent POV switches can jerk you right out of a story – this is a difficult art to master when you first start writing. Sentence structure, flow and rhythm are so important to get right to keep the reader engaged. A saggy plot L when it goes flat in the middle and there’s nowhere to go. I tend to get an idea and run with it only to find I have to stop and ask, “Where am I going with this?”
Can you give us an early teaser?
Peta snatched the photo from his hands and put it back in her purse. Her spine was ramrod straight. Ice dripped from her tone. “How magnanimous of you, Jaime. I’m quite capable of taking care of my daughter financially.”
“Yes and by keeping your mouth shut, you endangered her life and your own!” Jaime regretted the words the moment they left his tongue. He saw Peta flinch as the shutters descended in her eyes. He felt her retreat. The flimsy bough of peace was broken, destroyed by his angry words.
The door opened as they both stood, facing each other angrily. Tension sprang between them like a coiled snake, ready to strike at the smallest provocation.
“We didn’t have much luck with the tape of his call.” Mark didn’t notice the tension until he looked up from dropping the room key on the table. “No background noise, nothing to identify his whereabouts.” He watched as Jones bent to wipe up the soapy puddle on the floor near the kitchen sink, then looked at Peta and Jaime curiously…and spotted the still damp patches on their chests. “World War III or just a minor disagreement?” When they both glared at him, he continued, “Okay, then, on to the plans for tonight. We’re looking at putting a substitute in Peta’s place for the drop off…”
Peta dug her heels in. “No!” she said. “I go or the deal’s off. I’m not putting Bella’s life at stake any further.”
“Peta, he’s unstable. Who knows what he’s likely to do? The drop off could be a trap. It’s too risky. He knows there’s no way we’re letting you go in there on your own. He’ll be ready for us...and you.”
Peta looked at them, chin raised, her stubborn expression leaving them in no doubt. “It’s my daughter’s life at stake here. I go tonight or you don’t get the evidence either!” She held up her hand as Mark began to protest. “It’s me he wants. I know how to handle him. I did it for ten lousy years! I’m done being scared.”
Where can we find you?
My book trailer will be up soon. Here’s where I’m at:
Kees2Create Writing, Proofreading and Editing: www.kees2create.com
Juanita Kees – Author site: www.juanitakees.com
On-Line Bookstore: www.kees2createbooksnbobs.com
Mission Romance Blog: www.mission-romance.blogspot.com.au
Thanks for being my guest!
Thank you for having me. What a great set of questions.