First, let me say thank you for having me here. I appreciate your hosting me on the occasion of the publication of CALLED UP (book two in the CALLING IT series). 🙂
You’re welcome! And, welcome 🙂
What 5 things should readers know about you?
* I’ve always been a huge reader, but only became a romance convert about five years ago. But it’s pretty much all I read now.
* I have three children, including two teenagers, who are a bit scandalized that their mom is writing romance. (Well, the 16yo girl is; the 13yo boy is busy catching Pokemon [or whatever is happening there].) The 5yo only cares when I’m on deadline and can’t do the normal bedtime routine.
* I’m a HUGE Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan. I still quote lines, even all these years later.
* I have a master’s degree in library and information science.
* I can’t stand the word ‘nipple’ yet I use it fairly often. (The hazards of being a romance writer.)
LOL! My 17yo girl AND 19yo boy are doing the Pokemon thing too…I don’t get it either 😉
Where did the inspiration for this book come from?
CALLED UP is, as you know, the second in the CALLING IT/Inspiration, IA series. The inspiration for the series itself was the character of Nate Hawkins, the celebrity athlete who comes back to his small hometown and finds love. But even in those early days of thinking about Nate, I always knew there was a huge heart lurking underneath a cold and jaded shell. And the character of Angelica “Fitz” Hawkins, who is Nate’s half-sister and the heroine of CALLED UP, was where a lot of that goodness came from. Though they got off to a rough start due to the way she comes into his life when they are both teenagers, the kindness and loyalty he’s shown her since those early days says so much about who he is. So even though CALLING IT was about Nate and Dorie, I had pages upon pages of backstory for the character of Fitz that served as the inspiration for book two.
Fitz isn’t a loner, but thanks to the circumstances of her introduction to Inspiration, she’s also taken advantage of the fact that most of her best friends are guys who have no interest in heart-to-heart conversations. There’s a lot of emotion hidden under her surface and she has no interest in acknowledging it even to herself, much less letting it show. Max “Deke” Deacon, on the other hand is pretty much the opposite. Part of Nate and Fitz’s group of close friends, he’s a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of guy. When the two characters presented themselves to me and required I write their story, I was quite intrigued.
That’s awesome! I love how things sometimes work out like that.
How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?
I became a writer fifteen years ago. I can actually name the day and time—November 6, 2001 at approximately 8:45 p.m. Remember how I mentioned above that I was a Buffy fan? I’d begun to watch the show when it came on in syndication (because, you know, back in those days, you had to actually wait until something was aired :)) and had avoided watching the season six episodes as they aired. But on November 6, they had their musical episode, and along with the entire rest of the Buffy fandom, I had to see it live. There was a particular character I’d come to love, and realized he hadn’t made it to season six. By about three quarters of the way through the episode, I found myself distracted by wondering what had happened to him. I almost immediately began to search out where he was—and was completely unhappy with the answer. I then came across the world of fan fiction and saw that there were others out there who felt the same and who wrote a different ending. But it wasn’t the ending I wanted, especially because I believed in the canon, which meant I couldn’t conceive of his journey happening differently than what had been laid out on the TV show. With that said, however, I felt pretty strongly that the story didn’t have to end there. So I picked up where his story left off. (I actually did a whole blog post about this. 🙂 See http://www.jendoyleink.com/2016/08/18/on-becoming-a-writer-another-throwback-thursday-blog-post/ if you’re interested in reading more.)
It wasn’t until December that I began to put words to the page, but I feel like that moment was when the switch turned on for me.
I love it! I may have written fan fiction a time or two myself. For a different fandom, however.
What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?
I’m currently working on the proposal for book three for the series, so hopefully I’ll have news about that soon. I also just recently put out a free short story (Last Call) that serves as an introduction to Inspiration, Iowa. It’s a complete standalone, but Deke makes a cameo appearance. It can be downloaded at: https://www.instafreebie.com/free/HXb8B
This fall I’m also going to post Butterfly Ops, a somewhat epic story (360K words – which is, um, a lot), on Wattpad. It’s the evolution of that first fanfic I wrote, having become quite more polished over time. If you’re on Wattpad, keep an eye out.
Great! Thanks so much for both of those 🙂
If you had to “sell” your book in a single Tweet, what would you say?
Ugh! I am so horrible at this! How about:
Fans of @JillShalvis will love this friends-to-lovers story. Baseball, small town romance and…handcuffs? #CalledUp http://bit.ly/CalledUpAZ
Works for me! You’re better at it than you think!
Actually, I think I might go tweet that now…
Thank you so much for having me! I hope everyone enjoys CALLED UP and the rest of the CALLING IT series!
Thank you again for coming, Jen!
Keep reading to find out more about Jen and her books.
A big believer in happily ever afters, Jen Doyle decided it was high time she started creating some. Jen is a member of the Romance Writers of America, as well as a member of the New England, New Jersey Romance Writers and Music City Romance Writer chapters of RWA. She is represented by Sarah E. Younger of the Nancy Yost Literary Agency. She has an M.S. in Library and Information Science and, in addition to her work as a librarian, has worked as a conference and events
planner as well as a Communications and Enrollment administrator in both preschool and higher education environments (although some might say that there is very little difference between the two; Jen has no comment regarding whether she is one of the “some”).
There are two things Max “Deke” Deacon can always count on: his old high school teammates and Fitz Hawkins. But no matter how much Deke might secretly fantasize otherwise, a relationship with one of his best friends is off limits. Until one unexpectedly smoldering encounter has Deke and Fitz looking at each other in a whole new way.
Angelica “Fitz” Hawkins knows for a fact that it is not better to have loved and lost. After losing her parents, she’d rather lock up her heart and throw away the key than endure that kind of pain again. If that means giving up any hope of a lasting relationship, then so be it.
With Deke, Fitz finally feels like she’s back in the land of the living. But she won’t risk another broken heart—even if it means saying good-bye to Deke for good. It’s up to Deke to convince her that the safest place she could ever be is right here with him.
“Hey, Dorie,” she heard from above her. “Do you know where Fitz wants these bottles of water?”
Speak of the devil. Fitz brought her head up a little too suddenly, banging it on the underside of the table. “Ouch!” Her hand going to the back of her head, she came up frowning, and…
Oh, God, was he this gorgeous before? Had he always smelled amazing?
Doing everything she could to keep herself immune from his physical charms, she spun on her heel. “Back here.”
Very specifically not looking in Deke’s direction so that she didn’t give anything away, she forced herself to act exactly as she always did around him. Except she suddenly couldn’t quite remember how that was. Did she flirt with him? Did she flat-out ignore him? Did she generally just go around in a state of low-level irritation? Because right now she had absolutely no clue.
She had even less of a clue as she bent down to open up the lid to the cooler and he crouched down next to her, his head so close all he’d need to do was turn it slightly to the left and his mouth would be on her breast.
And was that…?
Oh, hell, no, her nipples had not just hardened. She slapped her arms over her chest.
Because they had. And Deke, with his superhero sex god extra sensory perception, had definitely noticed. He at least had the decency to look down at the ground as he grinned.
“It’s the cold,” Fitz snapped. “From the cooler.”
Pushing the bottles down into the ice, Deke just answered, “You’d be amazed at all the bits and pieces I can warm up with my tongue.”