Today I’m really excited to have Lisa De Jong on My Secret Romance for an interview! I’ve gotten to know her over the past few months, and had the chance to meet her briefly in Boston at a book signing. She was so incredibly sweet and a real down to earth girl. She’s also been known to have a slight addiction to giant frosted cookies and LOVE country music. 🙂
She sent me a picture of the cookie once… I can totally see why she likes them.
Check out my interview with Lisa and the sneak peek she gives us from her next book, GLASS HEARTS. Oh! And see what she has to say about her character, Alex.
No, I love to read and I always have an opinion about what I read but I’ve discovered that I can’t read while I’m deep in the writing process; it takes me away from my characters. I’m lucky if I read one or two books a month now. Also, it didn’t feel right to pick apart another person’s writing after I became an author myself.
How was the transition from blogging to writing? Did you view writing reviews differently now that your book will be reviewed?
Being on the author side of the fence is hard. For instance, whenever I see a blogger/reviewer is reading my book, I say a silent prayer that they don’t tear my work to shreds. I think back to every author that sent me a review copy and I have a new respect for them and what they must have been going through as they waited for me to read it.
Above anything, I’m a very honest person and I always say what I have to say respectfully. Is it fun as an author to read a negative review? No. Would I take back any of the negative reviews I wrote? No. I think a well-written negative review is helpful to an author.
It was a long journey that tested my willpower and determination. I wrote this long outline before I started to write and had every chapter planned out but as I started to write the characters took over the story and I ended up throwing my outline away. I thought authors were crazy when they talked about their characters’ voices being in their head but it’s true. They start to tell their own story in a way so I let them and it worked out much better than my outline.
I came up with the idea of Alex first. I wanted to show a young woman who was struggling with
herself and show the process of her finding who she really is. Then when I decided to insert Dane into her life and the rest of the story just happened.
In PLASTIC HEARTS, Alex’s mother is seriously like the evil Step-Mother from Cinderella. Where did you get the inspiration for that character? I wanted to throttle her- more than once! The father too!
Explain Alex’s character to us. There were quite a few times she was walked all over and it got frustrating. Why would she just stand there and take so much for so long?
When I was writing Alex, she was frustrating to me too. I think when we’re young and we’re in that transition to adulthood, things are confusing and we feel a little lost. We live under our parent’s roofs and follow their rules for so many years and then all the sudden we’re on our own. I mean, you met Alex’s parents; it’s not easy to get out from under their expectations. Sometimes it’s just easier to do what they want.
Overall, I wanted to show Alex’s growth throughout this book and part of showing that was making her “unlikeable” in some parts. We all have our moments of weakness and I wanted Alex to be real.
I started to feel bad for Dane at one point. It felt like Alex was embarrassed of him. Was she? Or was she just too concerned about pleasing her parents?
I wouldn’t say she was embarrassed by him but she was scared to death of what would happen if word got back to her parents that she was dating him. She obviously developed strong feelings for him but she didn’t know what to do with them.
Will we see more of the ex-boyfriend? As much as I love Dane, I would really like to see more of him and what his future holds. He seemed so sad at the end.
I felt so bad for Ryan. He’s a nice guy but he wasn’t the guy. I never intended for him to have his own book. To me, he wasn’t interesting enough and I didn’t see a complete story based on him BUT someone planted a little seed in my head and I now have an interesting book idea based on him. If and when I will get to it is yet to be seen but it is a possibility.
Dane and Alex’s story will be continued in Glass Hearts in late June and that will be the last book for the two of them. I’m also working on a book for Jade and Tyler, which can be expected in the Fall of 2013. I knew when I wrote Plastic Hearts that I wanted Jade to have her own book so I purposefully gave peeks into Jade’s relationship without giving away everything. Other characters I’m considering books for are Nolan and Ryan, which would come in 2014.
For the upcoming books, will there be new characters, or will the story still focus on Dane and Alex? Personally, I want more Dane and Alex! I love them together!
Dane and Alex are the main focus of Plastic Hearts and Glass Hearts. In Plastic Hearts, I focused a lot of time on Alex and her issues. In Glass Hearts, I will focus more on Dane and his story. Many of the supporting characters from Plastic Hearts make an appearance in Glass Hearts; you will get to know Nolan much better and get a few more snippets into Tyler and Jade’s relationship to set up their eventual book.
Who was your favorite character to write? Why?
This may surprise you but Catherine was my favorite character to write. She’s so different from me but yet she came to me so easily. I hated her but I loved writing about her.
What are you currently working on at the moment? Can you give us a little peek at it?
My main focus right now is Glass Hearts. Here is a little snippet from Dane’s POV, which is unedited and subject to change…
When Alex showed up at my apartment yesterday, I didn’t know what to think. I spent so much time losing myself while we were apart and then she knocked on my door and the minute I opened it, I could see myself again. She hurt me so much but being with her is far less painful than being without her.
Walking away from her in the park wasn’t easy but I was still upset and needed time to sort through our relationship and what had gone wrong. I knew the moment I fell in love with Alex that it would never die. Alex buried her self deep in my heart and I’m pretty sure she didn’t leave room for anyone else. Time seemed to lessen my anger and left me feeling empty and alone. It wasn’t the first time I’d felt lonely but it was worse than the other times. Being in love is different than loving somebody.
A part of me wanted to tell her to leave and never come back. It would hurt but she wouldn’t be able to hurt me again. After looking into her eyes, I realized that it would hurt more to watch her walk away. I couldn’t do it.
“Dane,” Alex yells, breaking me away from my thoughts.
“Coming,” I shout, opening the bathroom door. There she is, lying in my bed like I dreamed of the past couple months. Her long blond hair is fanned on my pillow, begging to be touched. She’s cuddled under my sheet but I know there’s nothing else under there. I wish we could stay locked in my apartment forever, just like this. I crawl under the sheet and curl my body around hers. “Did
you miss me?”
“I always miss you,” she mumbles, moving her body back into mine so we are as close as two people can possibly be.
“I like the sound of that.”
Aside from this series, do you have any other books in the process?
I’m working on a standalone that will have a late summer, early fall release and it’s extremely hard to write because it’s very raw but it’s also very true and real. I can tell you that it will be New Adult/Adult Contemporary Romance.
Is there a message with your story? If so, what do you want readers to take away from reading it?
To follow your heart and never give up, to learn from your mistakes and move forward, to do what feels right and makes you happy.
What is something we wouldn’t know about you?
The only things I ever watch on TV are football (go Patriots and Hawkeyes) and Bar Rescue. Otherwise, I hate TV.
Where can readers reach you?
Thanks so much for being here, Lisa!!