I'm thrilled to introduce you to SJ McCoy, an author I've had the pleasure of being in a couple of groups with and have worked with on a mutual project together, the Hometown Heroes Box Set, which ran for two months this January. I've read SJ's books and enjoyed them and I hope you will too. In the meantime, let's get to know her.
Is your Author name your real name?
No, it isn’t. The SJ comes from the fact that my son’s name was Sam, and mine is Jenni. I was Sam’s Jenni, to distinguish me from the other mums named Jenny. McCoy is a product of my odd little mind playing with the fact that the name isn’t the real McCoy.
What is the first book you ever published?
Actually, the first book I published was back in April 2012, and that was a self-help book born from all the work I’d done in my former career as a life coach. The first book I published as SJ McCoy was Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt, the first Summer Lake book.
What is your publiversary? (The day you released your first book)
August 24, 2013 and on August 24 2016 I published book ten in the Summer Lake series.
What is the favorite book you've written thus far?
Oh, wow. That’s a tough one. I love them all. I feel guilty sometimes when I see other writers wrestling with themselves over how they could do better, how they’re not satisfied with some aspect of their writing. I don’t feel that way at all. I love my stories. I strive to improve with every book I write, I know I have (way to many) flaws. I have a long way to go as a writer and so many ways in which I need to improve. But I do enjoy all of my stories. I don’t see how anyone else could enjoy them if I didn’t.
There’s a Robert Frost quote:
“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”
That about sums it up for me. If I don’t laugh, cry, and love the stories, I don’t see how or why a reader would either.
What kind of music (If Any) do you listen to while writing?
Only instrumental stuff. I can’t deal with other people’s words while I’m writing – I can only listen to the voices in my head. I love movie scores, smooth jazz, Beethoven and classical guitar.
Who is you favorite character from any of your books?
Oh, now that’s a toughie. There’s one character in the Summer Lake series, Ben. He’s been in every single one of the books so far. He’s a wonderful guy. He’s helped all his friends find their way to happiness, but he hasn’t gotten there himself yet. He’s taking his time—he had his heart broken in the past, you see. He will get there, but I’ve always seen his story as the end of the series, and I don’t want it to end yet.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on the next book in my other series, Remington Ranch, which is set up here in Montana. It focuses on four brothers and their “brother-by-choice”, Chance. (Chance came from Summer Lake and has made for some interesting interweaving storylines between the two series.) This latest book is called Four Weddings and a Vendetta and is a follow up to each of the brothers finding their true love.
Do you have anything you snack on while you write?
Does coffee count?
What is your favorite quote or line from one of your books?
I have lots of quotes I love, but I think my favourite might be:
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that there’s no point wishing we could change yesterday. All we can do is our best to make a better tomorrow.”
Are you a self-published or traditional published author?
Self-published. It never occurred to me to submit to a traditional publisher.
What is your writing inspiration?
My son. All his life I talked about getting around to writing my “silly stories” someday. He made me promise that someday I’d stop talking about it and just do it. After he died I decided to honour that promise.
What genre do you write?
Contemporary romance. I like to say I write “sweet n steamy” romance. To me that means light and fluffy, happy, feel-good stories with steamy sex. One reader told me that my books are like Hallmark movies with great sex thrown in. I like that. I stay away from angst and darkness, because, to me there’s enough of that in everyday life. I write to escape reality and to go to a happy place for a while. Readers who enjoy my books are looking for that same kind of escape.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Application of the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair. I used to like to think that I had to do certain things in certain ways at certain times. But over the course of fifteen books I have realized that all of that is just procrastination in a fancy costume.
Do you have a specific place you write or time?
I have an office out back of the house and that’s my writing place. As for the when, it’s whenever I can force myself to apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Start writing. I don’t have any wise words, I’m not sure there are any. All I know is that thinking about writing, or aspiring to write will never make you a writer. The only thing that will make you a writer is writing!
What are your writing goals?
To keep improving, to keep learning, and to keep writing. I do have a simmering desire to write a big, epic disaster novel at some point. For the time being I have the next twenty-four romances lined up, with impatient characters stomping around my head demanding their stories be told. I have to do what the voices tell me :0)
What will be your next release?
Four Weddings and a Vendetta, Book Five in my Remington Ranch series should be out in late October.
If you’d like to check out my stories, you can get started free in either series, with Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt (http://www.sjmccoy.com/love-like-youve-never-been-hurt.html) in Summer Lake, or Mason (www.sjmccoy.com/mason) in Remington Ranch.
I’ll also give away a paperback copy of Mason to one commenter. Just tell me if you prefer small town romance or western romance.
I'm SJ, a coffee addict, lover of chocolate and drinker of good red wines. I'm a lost soul and a hopeless romantic. Reading and writing are necessary parts of who I am. Though perhaps not as necessary as coffee! I can drink coffee without writing, but I can't write without coffee.
I grew up loving romance novels, my first boyfriends were book boyfriends, but life intervened, as it tends to do, and I wandered down the paths of non-fiction for many years. My life changed completely a couple of years ago and I returned to Romance to find my escape.
I write 'Sweet N Steamy' stories because to me there is enough angst and darkness in real life. My favorite romances are happy escapes with a focus on fun, friendships and happily-ever-afters, just like the ones I write.
These days I live in beautiful Montana, the last best place. If I'm not reading or writing you'll find me just down the road in the park - Yellowstone. I have deer, eagles and the occasional bear for company, and I like it that way :0)
You can learn more at www.SJMcCoy.com
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