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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Jami Davenport Week: The Interview

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....

Jami: I’m one of those writers who disproves the “writers are introverts” theory. At any conference, you’ll find me in the middle of the rowdiest table in the bar. Not that I’m a huge drinker, just a huge socializer. I love hanging out with people, and I’m always watching and filing info away for future books. I’ve been writing since I learned the alphabet. In fact, I still have the first thing I ever wrote at about age five, a story about a horse named Wildfire, illustrated by me.

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.

I sold the contemporary (also the first novel I’d ever completed) a few years later and several super-erotic books under another pen name. After a couple years of making very good money writing under the other pen name, I found myself burned out on erotic romance. I decided to concentrate on the Jami Davenport pen name and writing what I really loved—hot contemporaries.

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….)

Jami: Definitely the swearing was an issue. Personally, I never use the “F” word, so every time I type it, I cringe. I did a search for it in this manuscript, and it occurred 167 times. I cut quite a few of them out of the book, except at the beginning. Tyler is Tyler, and I couldn’t cut them all or he just wouldn’t be himself.

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.

Wendy: Seriously, I cannot wait for that book!  Finally, you’re obviously a sports fan. If you met a Sports Genie, and he granted you one sports-related wish, what would it be?

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!


StacieH4 said...

Hi Jami,
My questions deal with your writing process:

When you start a new story what usually develops first, plot ideas or character traits?

Do you outline or take a more seat-of-the-pants approach?

Thanks for taking the time to read my questions and I wish you much success with your new series. Go Vikings! :)

Italia said...

Hi Jami,

My question is how do you feel that Lavender balances Tyler out? How do you envision the partners for your characters and do you try and pick diametric opposites or those with similar personas?


Jami Davenport said...

Thanks for the questions, ladies.

Let me see, normally I start a brand-new story with an idea. For example, my hubbie and I went on a ghost hunt and I want to write about a heroine who is a ghost hunter. Because the Lumberjacks series has some set characters, I am starting with the character with those books. For me, it's whatever works. I'm not very structured when it comes to writing, which also answer question #2. Yes, I am a pantser. I have been trying to come up with a process that works for me that's somewhere inbetween, as pantsers tend to do a lot of re-writing.

As far as Lavender, usually I pick opposites, but Tyler and Lavender are actually quite a bit alike, which was different for me. Either way, you can get conflict out of their differences and their similarities.

I hope that answered your questions.

Tracy S said...

I'm going to have to go purchase this book--sounds great and I have to support my fellow women sports fans!!

StacieH4 said...

Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Jami.

And thanks for hosting the interview, Wendy.

Deanna Rowton said...

Looking forward the the preview tomorrow. Hope you are enjoying the little mini vaca you are having, jami

Jami Davenport said...

Thanks, Deanna, for stopping by. I'm not exactly enjoying my vacation. The day we got here I came down with a sinus infection. Luckily my doctor called in a prescription, and I'm feeling better today.

nath said...

Very nice interview, Wendy and Jami! Very interesting :)

It's interesting how they say that sports romance don't sell. I guess it's a combination of different factors. I'm glad that you came back to it though, Ms Davenport :) I think the first rule of authors is also write what you know :)