Answers from the Author!
Thank you so much for hosting me!
Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?
Like many of the Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) novels, I usually take a theme or a trope that I’m interested in writing, and I run with it. I really enjoy writing about shenanigans involving cats, so I rolled with it. And a catnapping featuring a crazy-cat lady?
There is just so much fun to be had there.
How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?
It really depends. Some books, I will spend 2-3 weeks just planning and outlining. The more complex the concept, the longer it takes to prepare. Catnapped took all of five minutes, as it is a ‘go and have fun’ sort of book. Now, there is complexity in this one, but I would stop and work out the kinks as I wrote the book and went back and fix anything I broke… rather than go in fully prepared.
It really depends on the book. I do whatever is needed to get the book finished.
How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?
It really depends on the book. Catnapped needed very little research because I had already done the research for it on other books. I did have to brush up on some mythology and lore from a few religions, but it only took a few minutes with Google because I knew what I was looking for.
What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote?
Once again, it really depends on the book. If Wikipedia has what I need, I cross-check references and use that. If I need something more thorough, I contact someone who knows what they’re doing in their field, or I hit up the library for resources.
If you need specialist knowledge to write a book, how do you obtain it? For instance, do you interview people? Go to the location? Use Google Earth? Apps?
All of the above, really! Everything I research often needs a different approach. I’ve done interviews in the past, but I find interviews to be less useful for urban fantasy/paranormal than visiting locations and doing book studying. But I do what’s needed to get the book written.
Research can be a major time-waste if you don’t set up a plan and research with the goal of getting specific data. My suggestion for anyone who needs to research is to learn to pull to plug on researching, else all you do is research rather than write.
Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened?
Yes, I earn enough from my writing to live on. It took five years from my first self-published book to when I started making a living wage. I became fairly aggressive about advertising three years in, which made a huge difference.
What do you read when you are ill in bed?
I’ve had a lot of that lately, unfortunately! We just moved, and my allergies/asthma have been really bad, so there has been a lot of staying in bed while whining. Honestly… I re-read my own books because I wasn’t up for reading anything new. I was too sick!
What is your favourite genre?
Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance. I just love stepping out of the real world for a while. Bonus points if the books contain humour and non-abusive male leads.
Do you have any pets? If so, what are they?
I have two cats! One is a tortie, and one is a calico. They are both terror goblins.
And what are they called?
Zazzle the Beguiling Tyrant is the calico, and Princess the Understudy is the tortie.
Do they help you write?
Absolutely. They are paid in treats. They refuse to work for free.
What is the funniest thing they have done while you are writing?
Once… I was preparing a book for publication. It was in the final formatting stages. Princess got onto my keyboard and helpfully insert some characters, which made it into the live version. Fortunately, readers were really kind about it, because rando stray characters is not the norm in my books. It definitely caught their attention, though.
Do you want to add a photo of them to this Q&A? [please add a separate file, not embedded into document]
Please see the attached picture(s)!
Who is your favourite pirate and why?
I’m going with Edward Teach/Blackbeard. The guy was a freaking genius of a lunatic. Everything about his exploits were phenomenal. He definitely wasn’t a good guy. Most pirates simply weren’t, but there was a lot to learn about Teach’s exploits and the golden age of piracy.
Drake was also a really interesting privateer/pirate, but Teach’s exploits sparked a special sort of magic, especially for us.
Do you enjoy sailing? On a lake or the sea? And what about tall masted ships- are they better than engines or?
I absolutely adore sailing. Both lake and sea. In school, we got to sail the Lady Baltimore, which was just a fantastic experience. Ever since, Ships of the Line have captivated me. (For those who aren’t into naval history, a Ship of the Line is a sailed battle ship used during the golden age of sail for naval combat. They would battle in lines. A First-rate Ship of the Line is the first ships to engaged, and are considered to be the best of the best.)
My husband and I watch a lot of naval history documentaries.
Has the pandemic inspired you with any new stories to write? If so, what is the story premise?
The pandemic has been so hard. But yes, it absolutely has inspired books… and it has forced me to step back on some books because of too many people embracing hate. (The Jesse Alexander series and the Seeking the Zodiacs series are both on hold due to the pandemic; I’m hoping I can return to writing them in 2022, but we shall see.)
When I was picking my birthday book for this year (Which is Catnapped), the pandemic was just starting to roll through, so I decided I wanted something that was more fun than anything else. We all need fun right now.
The hardest part of the pandemic, for me, is the awareness that a lot of people are reading to escape right now, and I want to make sure my readers have a wonderful time getting lost in a book.
We all need to get a little lost right now.
Do you prefer doctors or nurses as your hero/heroine? Why?
Nurses. Without nurses, doctors can’t operate, they can’t keep patients alive… really, medical care is a joint effort. Nurses are often neglected because they don’t have the label of ‘doctor’, but it’s not the doctors who are there every hour making sure the patients get through the tough spots. It’s the nurses. They’re the ones inserting the IV lines, monitoring the equipment, and making it so the doctors can do their jobs.
Doctors are important, but nobody is getting out of an operation alive without the hard work of the nurses.
What about ‘snark’? is it good or bad?
I love it, as long as it isn’t malicious. Snark that’s malicious is just another jerk, and we have enough jerks… snark needs to be moderated. There’s a time and a place for malicious snark in fiction, though. So, it really depends on the skill of the author writing the snark.
Is it easy to write humour?
Nope. Just nope. It’s a lot of fine lines to dance through, over, and on. And every joke has the potential of doing more harm than good. With time and practice, it’s ‘easy’ to write, in that it’s a learned and practice skill.
That said, I love writing humour. It’s a good challenge.
How many of the accidents – funny or otherwise, or bad experiences in your stories are based on your own experiences? Or those of your friends?
Honestly, very few. Sometimes, I lift something particularly amusing. A character in a book I wrote under a pen name had salmonella poisoning that went into her bloodstream from a raw chicken nuggets from a fast-food establishment.
No research necessary. I’d lived that one. It’s definitely not an experience I’d like to repeat!
About the Author
RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning.
In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until satisfied.