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A Romantic Rendezvous with Jayne Ann Krentz: wrap-up

16 December 2017

Photo credit Marc Von Borstel

In July this year we learnt that Jayne Ann Krentz would be cruising past Australia this year. In November we were thrilled to host three Romantic Rendezvous events with Jayne—in Cairns, Brisbane and Sydney. Our thanks to Heather and Sharon for hosting these events, and to the local authors who also came along and signed books.

Brunch in Cairns

On Sunday 19 November, 11 keen and avid readers arrived at the Hilton Cairns to enjoy an intimate Romantic Rendezvous with bestselling author, Jayne Ann Krentz. We are really grateful to Jayne for taking the time to speak with some of her most avid fans, (even though she missed the Great Barrier Reef tour) but Jayne was happy to meet and talk romance and romance books.

We started with brunch and Jayne began to talk. She talked for two hours, holding the group enthralled as the talk moved from Jayne’s different writing names, why she had to drop and was able to regain her name, to her current Amanda Quick series and how and why she has taken her Amanda Quick pseudonym to another time period. Then there was the research for this new time period, which was really fascinating, and how facts or ideas drop into your lap when writing a new book. She also mentioned what seems to be the appearance of the female sleuth of the Sherlock Holmes type and era with many variants (but definitely something this reader wants to explore).

 

Jayne was asked about how she kept all the names and time periods separate. One of the readers noted that each name had a certain style and tone and Jayne said that it was totally an unconscious thing.

We also looked at the old chestnut—respect for the romance genre. Jayne made the comment the mystery, sci-fi and fantasy genres often make the same complaint. It seems that when people are making the criticism it is because they have never read a romance or think all romance are like HMB (even though we romance readers know that these are hard to write!). Jayne added often the covers are a detriment to the genre and it is the hardcover that has the respect. As a romance author you could sell millions of copies, and outside the genre, no one knows who you are. Jayne said that as women were the strong and, sometimes dominant, character they were dissed. The reader knows how the hero is supposed to act and it must be that the heroine and hero do the right thing in the end. The female characters have strength, do not compromise on their femininity, which many male writers do not understand as they tend to write female characters based on what they think they should be doing. (Female writers write the hero how they would like him to be, but often do it better.)

Social media has had an impact on what we read, but it is in third place. Interestingly, Jayne did a quick survey on her blog and she found from the responses that people are more likely to find a new-to-them author from the library these days, then a bookstore, then on social media. Although the Amazon algorithms will often show us a ‘you bought this author so you may like this author’ type scenario. This makes it harder for new authors to get their books out there but perseverance is the key. She said try to get published in book form as having a foot in both worlds makes the journey smoother.

 

If Jayne wasn’t married she would be working away in her little cave, especially when the ideas are flowing, but with her husband she is still anchored in the real world. Her advice to writers was to do what you do best. If you want darker and edgier but struggle with this, go back to what you do best. More experience may help but it is about your core and knowing what you do best.

Jayne told us that when she found Mills and Boon books she read them but was disappointed that most of the books were set in England and involved the woman marrying up, she decided to write her own version. Jayne also talked about how difficult it was to write contemporary when things get dated very quickly, so she tries to avoid specifying the age of the characters or even items like a landline, computer or cars.

Overall, a fascinating talk by an author who has outlasted many and can write across four different genres.

Happy hour in Brisbane

On Wednesday 22 November an excited group of more than 30 gathered to meet with Jayne Ann Krentz and listen to her words of wisdom on her characters and writing. While aspects of the talk in Brisbane were the same as Cairns, it was fascinating to listen to the stories again and to glean something different from the same thread.

Jayne talked about her Jayne Castle futuristics and talked about how she loved making up new things to inhabit her world, like her use of crystals as a source of power. Just as intuition is a part of many people. It can be taken and developed, used as required by the characters and provides a thread for the stories. Although it will be some time before she writes another title under Jayne Castle, but never say never.

There was some discussion about literary and popular fiction. Literary illuminates the human condition and comes from within. The second path is popular fiction. At the core of popular fiction are the core values of the society of the time; no matter the era they are usually courage, determination and honour.

Jayne also talked a little more about her writing routine. She doesn’t listen to music as she finds it a distraction. Her writing routine is usually about five hours in the morning, then afternoon and some evenings unless she has the constant flow of ideas and will extend it if she can. Jayne says she has a vague outline then once she starts the story, she steps up another gear and the ideas flow. She does look to others to help with some of the technical ideas like cave diving, and she asked her brother who helped her get it right.

 

I would love to thank all the avid Jayne Ann Krentz fans who came to the Cairns and Brisbane events. I really enjoyed meeting you and speaking with you about romance books.

A special thank you to Barbara Hannay, Suzi Love and Vonnie Hughes who participated in the book signing with Jayne Ann Krentz.

I would also like to thank the QBD Cairns for being the bookseller at the brunch. Also a thank you to Dymocks Brisbane for being at the Brisbane event. If you are interested in a signed copy of Jayne Ann Krentz’s latest books, I know there are still some copies at the Dymocks City store.

I had the fortunate opportunity to listen to Jayne speak twice. It was absolutely fabulous. My only regret is that I didn’t go to Sydney for the last Romantic Rendezvous with Jayne Ann Krentz.

Heather

High tea in Sydney

On Saturday 25 November around 50 ARRA members and guests were treated to high tea at Bowery Lane and Jayne Ann Krentz (aka Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle) at the same time.
Thanks to ARRA for managing to ask one of my favourite authors to come to Australia and attend three sessions for us. I was stoked and excited to be asked to moderate the Q&A with Jayne and came armed with about 30 questions just in case the audience was shy … I didn’t need to worry on that score!

Every time I checked with Jayne about timing, the way the session would run and other housekeeping, her response was ‘I am at your disposal; whatever you would like’, or words to that effect.

 

During the first part of the event—our lovely high tea—Jayne wandered to each of the four tables and engaged with the audience, always keeping in mind that some of the questions asked along the way would be of interest to the broader audience.

Once we got into the discussion proper the topics were wide-ranging and Jayne proved to be as good a speaker as she is a writer.

(photo courtesy of Bowery Lane) (photo courtesy of Bowery Lane)

We discussed ebooks (though Jayne still thinks ‘the physical book will be the device of the future’ and sang the praises of the book).

We talked and asked questions across (but not limited to):

  • Jayne’s back lists
  • how, if you keep going back to re-read a much-loved book and have the opportunity to meet the writer, you will find you will have a lot in common
  • reinventing herself as Amanda Quick when things weren’t so great for Jayne Castle and Jayne Ann Krentz (but then they got great for JAK again)
  • getting back her book rights after such a long time
  • how her characters are the same and entering one of her books is a safe zone—you know the brand promise
  • what was her favourite book she’d written (‘the one I’m writing now’)
  • writing under so many different names and styles
  • how the plots come to her
  • her research methods
  • whose books she likes to read and does she read while crafting a novel
  • how long does it take to write each novel (answer is around four months).

For those who want to know who one of our favourite writers reads … Christina Dodd, Elizabeth Lowell, Victoria Thompson and Sherry Thomas to name just a few.

For one and a half hours we were held spellbound by this diminutive lady with a well-known and well-loved voice (well, three voices really).

 

It was lovely to meet another internationally acclaimed author for whom nothing was too much trouble. That amiability was a good trait to have given that one lady turned up with a massive suitcase filled with books for Jayne to sign … and I believe she did.

I hope to meet Jayne again in the future.

ARRA really does manage to attract the nicest writers.

Sharon Sherry

[This article first appeared in the ARRA newsletter of Dec 2017.]

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One Comment
  1. 23 December 2017 3:54 pm

    I had an absolutely fabulous time at all of the events! Thanks to everyone who made me feel so welcome. I will be back…!!!

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