Inside the Literary Mind of Jill Blake
March 26, 2017
But secretly, I always dreamed about writing. Over the years, I dabbled as time permitted: freelancing for various local newspapers, doing a summer stint as a teaching assistant at a creative writing program, penning a few manuscripts that promptly got relegated to the bottom of some desk drawer.
Thanks to my wonderful husband, who encouraged me to blow the dust off one of those manuscripts, I’m finally pursuing my dream! Not full-time, to be sure. I’m still a physician with a busy practice, and a mom with three kids. But after the charts are done and the kids are asleep, it’s just me and my laptop—and, boy, am I having fun!
Why romance, you ask? Because I love a guaranteed happy ending. I hope you do, too!
Question: Tell me about your newest book and what was the inspiration behind your writing it?
Jill: My latest book, A Matter of Trust, is the third book of my Silicon Beach Trilogy. I wanted to write a story about the younger siblings of characters from the previous books in the series. The problem was that my hero, Vlad, was a jerk when he first appeared in book two. I had to rehabilitate him to make him “hero-worthy.”
This process led to the central conflict of the story. The heroine, Klara, witnesses Vlad’s bad behavior, which makes her doubt his integrity. But as they continue to run into each other, she starts seeing another side of him. Their fledgling romance hits a wall when a shocking murder casts Vlad in the role of prime suspect, and finding out the truth becomes more than a matter of trust…
Question: Why and when did you decide to become a writer?
Jill: As a kid, I used to watch old reruns of “Bonanza.” Even at age seven, I got annoyed over the fact that all the women seemed to move away or get killed off within one episode. None of them ever came back for a recurring guest role, so no “happily ever after” for the Cartwright boys. I got so upset over this that I started rewriting the scripts, casting myself as the female lead, and for several seasons I lived a double life: by day, elementary school kid, by night, daring and heroic foreman (forewoman?) running the Ponderosa ranch in 1870s Nevada.
Fast-forward a few decades, and I had accumulated boxes of miscellaneous writing—most of it unfinished manuscripts. With each move due to job change and/or growing family, those boxes came along. At my husband’s repeated prompting, I finally pulled out those moldering pages, and started reading. I remembered how much I loved the whole writing process. I enjoy it even more now that research can be done online, and storage goes to a cloud. So here I am, back to scribbling (typing) away…
Question: What book has been the greatest influence on you and your writing and why?
Jill: Exodus, by Leon Uris. It’s a beautiful tribute to the strength and resilience of the human spirit, telling the story of Holocaust survivors whose vision and determination leads to the birth of a nation. It’s also a love story, and Ari remains my all-time favorite alpha hero.
Question: Where do you find ideas for your books and characters?
Jill: Ideas are all around us: everyday events and challenges that would keep me up at night if I didn’t write about them. My characters likewise draw inspiration from people I meet in real life. The process of putting my hero and heroine into situations where they feel uncomfortable, or where there are no easy solutions, helps flesh out both the characters and the plot—with often surprising results.
Question: How would you describe your writing style?
Jill: Realistic. I want readers to recognize the landscape and relate to the characters who populate my books. That’s why I write about situations and people from everyday life. In my version, though, you’re always guaranteed a happy ending.
Question: What do you consider the most difficult part of writing a book?
Jill: Starting with a blank page.
Question: What are your current projects?
Jill: Brand-new trilogy in the works…contemporary romance, with a twist. Stay tuned!
Please click HERE to purchase A Matter of Trust.