When I conceived of the idea to host a Jami Davenport Week (or as I like to think of it, The Woman Who Wrote A Football Romance That Didn't Make My Eyes Bleed Week), I knew we would have to do an interview. Jami graciously agreed, even after she saw my questions. Without further ado - give a warm Bat Cave Welcome to Jami Davenport!
Wendy: Jami, welcome to the Bat Cave! Tell readers a little bit about yourself....
I was born and raised in North Central Washington, attended Washington State University, received degrees and education and business, taught high school for a few years, got a job in IT, and I’m still at that same day job.
In my free time, I used to show horses. Since my show horse retired last year, I’ve put my riding on hold to concentrate on writing more books. I currently live on a small farm near Puget Sound with my hubby, a green beret turned plumber, two large dogs, and a spoiled rotten cat (aren’t all cats spoiled?). You’ll find my dogs, my cat, and my horse in many of my books, as I can’t write a book without featuring at least one animal.
Last but definitely not least, I’m a huge Seattle sports fan.
Wendy: When did you start to seriously pursue your writing? How long and how many manuscripts had you completed before receiving “the call?”
Jami: About eight years ago, I posted a fan fiction piece. My writing was so popular that several readers pushed me to pursue publication. Ready to realize my life-long dream of being published, I joined two chapters of RWA (Peninsula and Olympia) and a few online writing groups. Almost immediately I was inundated with “writing” rules by well-meaning authors. The rule I heard the most was “sports romances don’t sell.” Discouraged, I put away the football romance I’d been writing for over a decade and concentrated on a more sell-able contemporary.
Wendy: How did you come up with the idea of Seattle Lumberjacks series?
Jami: I’ve been writing football-themed romances for years (if I told you how long, you’d figure out how old I really was), though I’d never allowed anyone to read them. In fact, my first attempts were essentially YA’s. Fourth And Goal is the metamorphosis of that long-ago YA into an adult romance novel. Derek and Tyler (from Fourth And Goal) have actually been in my head and on paper in some form or another for about twenty years.
Sports romances are definitely my passion, which makes sense because I’m passionate about sports, especially football. In my original version, I called my team the Seahawks, which, of course, I couldn’t use when it came time for publication. I brainstormed team names. It had to be something that represented the Pacific Northwest. I considered Chinooks, but that was already taken, as were several others I liked. I poured over lists of Washington state high school mascots but nothing worked for me. Since I live in Shelton, near the Olympics, I naturally thought about old-growth timber which used to everywhere and the tough men who tamed the wilderness.
I also wanted my series to be as realistic as possible when it came to football scenes. I’d read so many sports romances in which the author obviously didn’t research the sport. My husband played D-1 college ball as a fullback/linebacker, so he proved to be an invaluable resource. Local Seattle sportscaster, Jen Mueller, also provided an insider’s answers to my questions. BTW, Jenn has a great blog called: “Talk Sporty to Me.”
Wendy: Loose Id published the digital edition of the first book, Fourth And Goal and earlier this year you took the plunge into self-publishing. We hear a lot about self-publishing in digital, what led you to self-publish the print edition of Fourth And Goal?
Jami: Loose Id is wonderful as a publisher and extremely author-friendly. My contract stated I could ask for my print rights back if the book wasn’t published in print within one year. As a computer geek, I believe in ebooks and the future of ebooks, but this is one book I REALLY wanted in print. So I asked for the print rights and hired the talented Kim Killion at Hot Damn Designs to do the cover and formatting. I did the setup on CreateSpace myself.
I don’t have any plans on self-publishing other books at this time. Because of my day job, I prefer to spend what spare time I have writing, not working on publishing books. I’d rather delegate those duties to a good publisher.
Wendy: When can readers expect to see more books featuring the Lumberjacks?
Jami: Last winter, Loose Id passed on Book 2 of the Seattle Lumberjacks series. It wasn’t hot enough for what they publish, and I didn’t want to add more heat to this particular book. They generously released me from my obligations to sell the series to them. Free to shop the book around, I targeted a few top-notch digital publishers and waited. I’d done my research, and I knew I’d be thrilled with a contract from any of them. Boroughs Publishing Group was the first to make an offer. Forward Passes is currently in edits and the release date will likely be late fall 2012.
Wendy: I have to admit that I am dying for Tyler’s book (Forward Passes), mostly because he comes off as The Asshole With A Heart Of Gold in Fourth and Goal. What were the challenges in writing his story? (It was the swearing right? I’m going with the swearing….)
I also found it difficult to juggle his jerk persona with the nice guy buried underneath. I didn’t want him to come across as too much of a jerk but he couldn’t be the sweet, guy-next-door either. I’m guessing there will be readers who won’t like him one bit, but my critique partner and I loved him.
I introduce a linebacker named Zach in Book 2 who becomes Tyler’s nemesis. Their dislike of each other continues into Book 3. I’ve been having a lot of fun with that, too.
Jami: Hmmm. That’s an easy one: For the Seahawks to win the Super Bowl.
Wendy: Dear Sports Genie, I'm less demanding at the moment than Jami. At this point I'd settle for the Buffalo Bills being respectable.
Jami, thanks so much for stopping by! Folks, Jami will be checking for follow-up questions in the comments, so feel free to leave one....or two! Also, remember that for every comment you leave on a Jami Davenport Week post - you are automatically entered for a chance to win a print copy of Fourth And Goal!