Jean Gordon’s interview

» Posted on Jun 3, 2007 in Blog | Comments Off on Jean Gordon’s interview

Jean Gordon is one of my guest authors this week. I will also feature Teresa Slack on Wednesday. Jean will be giving away Candy Kisses from Avalon in the drawing and Teresa will be giving away an advance copy of her new book, Evidence of Grace. If you want to be in the drawing, please email me at The drawing for these two books will end next Sunday. Please indicate which one you want or if you want to be entered in both drawings.

My winner for Sharlene Maclaren’s book is Teresa from Ohio. Congratulations!!!

At the end of the week I will post about the do’s with a critique group and next week follow with the don’ts of critiquing.

Jean Gordon’s writing credits:

Mandy and the Mayor, Avalon Books,

Love Undercover, Avalon Books

Bachelor Father, Avalon Books

Romantic Short Stories:
“Food for Thought,” STAR MAGAZINE, September 17, 1996, and
“School Daze,” STAR MAGAZINE, October 7, 1999


Jean began writing romance novels as a diversion from her regular job as a senior editor and assistant vice president for a financial publisher in Albany, NY. She sold several short story romances to national magazines before breaking the book barrier in 1999. A member of the Romance Writers of America and its Published Authors Network and Published Authors Special Interest Chapter, she serves as treasurer for the Capital Region Romance Writers and also holds an M.A. in Public Law from the Nelson A. Rockefeller School of Public Affairs (SUNY Albany), as well as the Certified Financial Planner designation. Jean is as at home writing tax and financial advice as writing novels, but finds novel writing more fun.

She and her husband live in a 170-year-old farmhouse in Upstate New York, with their son, daughter and son-in-law, two grandchildren, and a menagerie of pets. While Jean creates stories, her family tends the livestock de jour. You can visit her at

Interview Questions
1. What made you start writing?

I’ve been writing for a long time. I was on the staffs of my high school and college newspapers. My undergraduate degree is in journalism and, in my other professional life, I’m a financial education writer/editor. In the mid-1990s, I joined the old GEnie Romance Group as a reader. When some of the people on GEnie became involved with Laubach Literacy and a line of romance books for new adult readers, I thought, “I’d like to do that.” (The line was discontinued before I even submitted.)

2. How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?

I’ve been writing romance novels since 1995 and sold my first book in October 1999. It was the second book I had written.

3. How do you handle rejections?

I try not to let them get me down, but at first pass, they always do. So, I put the letters away right after I read them. If they offer advice or constructive criticism, I read them again a day or two later apply anything helpful to the manuscript that was rejected and/or to other projects I’m working on. I’ve gotten some very valuable advice from rejection letters.

4. Why do you write?

Because I enjoy it and like to make my readers feel good.

5. What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?

Reading, maybe sewing more, gardening, swimming, and hiking. Probably, weighing less because I’d be swimming, and gardening, and hiking more.

6. What are you working on right now?

I’m writing another short contemporary that’s an offshoot of Candy Kisses, my June release. It’s another chick-lit-like romantic comedy featuring Candy’s older brother and her best friend Mara. The story is about family expectations — meeting them, rebelling against them, moving away from them, accepting them. Most of it is set on an ocean cruise, which is kind of fun.

7. Do you put yourself into your books/characters?

I don’t plan to, but I find I do, along with everyone else who’s close to me. In one of my books [Love Undercover], I actually used my dad’s name for the heroine’s father while I was writing and did a search and replace with another name before I submitted it.

8. Tell us about the book you have out right now.

Candy Kisses is chick-lit-like romantic comedy from Avalon Books. Since I always get tongue-tied when asked about what I’m writing, here’s a promo blurb that I painstakingly put together:

Candy Price is tired of her three older brothers talking her into blind dates with their friends. She’s tired of living in SmAlbany, New York , and she’s tired of her overbearing boss. She’d love to break away, quit her job as a media assistant for a gubernatorial candidate and join her best friend Mara in North Carolina. But Candy’s father is still recovering from heart surgery and she should stick with her job through the election.

As a diversion, she decides to help her landlord — witty, gorgeous Mike Wheeler — find a new woman. Mike has a diversion of his own in mind. Convincing Candy that there’s more to life than out-succeeding her brothers. If something develops between them in the process, he certainly won’t fight it.

The result? A contest to find the perfect kiss. Points are paid in candy kisses. Winner takes all.

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Your editor is your friend. I find that many new writers/authors are offended or feel insulted by changes editors suggest to submissions or make to purchased manuscripts. When I sold my first book, I was used to the copy editor and technical editor at my day job making changes to my articles, brochures, and presentations. So, I was open to my Avalon editor’s revisions and suggestions. Alas, not every word I write is golden. My Avalon editors have made suggestions and changes to each of my books that have made them stronger. That’s not to say that I meekly accept every change. But I look at my revision letters with an open mind and only “fight” if I think something in my story has to be the way I’ve written it. And, then, I explain why. I view everything I publish, fiction and nonfiction, as a collaboration between me and my editors.

10. How important is faith in your books?

Avalon Books isn’t a Christian/inspirational publisher. Rather, it publishes “Books that are wholesome adult fiction, suitable for family reading.” The emphasis on wholesome and family is where I think my faith comes in. All of my books are family centered.

11. What themes do you like to write about?

I have trouble determining themes. But, as I said, family seems to be the core of all of my books. My first book [Bachelor Father] is about a single uncle fighting to adopt his orphaned nephew. My second [Love Undercover] has a divorced mother moving back to her hometown so her daughter can grown up in the small-town family atmosphere she grew up in. The hero in that book is avenging a wrong done his grandmother. In my third book [Mandy and the Mayor], the hero has to overcome the fact that his father and stepmother have betrayed him and accept them as they were/are. That book also features a very nice interfering great-aunt. The theme of Candy Kisses is that sometimes the grass is greener right where you are. It includes the entire Price family, all of whom I hope to feature in future books.

12. What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?

It’s always the last one I’ve written. But I have a particular fondness for my first book. In Bachelor Father, the hero’s sister and brother-in-law were in the process of finalizing the adoption of their son from Korea when they were killed in an accident. The hero has to fight against a requirement imposed by the Korean program that all adoptive parents have to be married. Our son is adopted from Korea and the story is very loosely based on a couple in our adoption group. The mother died of cancer before the adoption could be completed and the father had to fight to keep their baby.

13. How do you juggle writing both historicals and contemporary romances?

Not very well. My historical took an extraordinary amount of time because I got so wrapped up in the research. Consequently, I plan to concentrate on my contemporaries for the time being.

14. What is your writing schedule like?

Erratic. I generally write in the evening, but sometimes I write early in the morning before anyone else is up or at lunch break at work if the weather is bad and I can’t go out for a walk. On Thursdays, I write at church while my granddaughter is at choir practice. I wrote my second book long hand at bowling alleys when my son was on the travel bowling team and too young to drive himself to the weekly matches. I try to write at least 100 words a day at least five days a week. Most often I write more than my minimum, but some days I struggle to get those 100 words in.

15. You live in a farmhouse that is 170 years old. You have a lot of animals.. Do animals play an important part in your stories?

Interesting question. Candy has a cat, and has to take care of her boss’ cat. The hero in historical has a wolfhound. No farm animals yet. But an author friend of mine wants me to write a book about a secondary character from one of my books who has and organic farm with free-ranging chickens.

16. In your day job you write tax and financial advice. How is this different from your fiction writing? How do you go from one to the other?

Most of my writing at my day job has become very technical and not too creative, which may be another reason why I write fiction — as an outlet for my creativity. When I first started my day job, I wrote simpler, more consumer-oriented publications and could be more creative. I find fiction writing more difficult and challenging. Probably because I’ve been doing both kinds of writing for a while, I go back and forth between the two easily. I might not be able to if my nonfiction writing was less technical and I had to be more creative there.