First- Let’s meet the author- Janet Walden
Janet Walden-West lives in the southeast with a pack of show dogs, a couple of kids, and a husband who didn’t read the fine print. A member of the East Tennessee Creative Writers Alliance, she is also a founding member of The Million Words craft blog. She pens diverse Urban Fantasy and inclusive Romantic Suspense and Contemporary Romance.
A 2X PitchWars alum, 2019 Pitch Wars Mentor, and Golden Heart® finalist, her debut multicultural Contemporary Romance, SALT+STILETTOS, is due out April 21st 2020 from City Owl Press. She is represented by Eva Scalzo of Speilburg Literary Agency.
How about a little Q&A
Can you tell us a little about your background? When did your first book come out and where can we get it?
Although I traveled quite a bit, I’m a Tennessee girl at heart, and I think both are reflected in my stories. When not writing, I (theoretically) juggle a pack of show dogs, family, and some fluffy chickens. I’m currently involved with The Million Words craft blog, as well as serving as a 2019 Pitch Wars Mentor. I’m represented by Eva Scalzo of Speilburg Literary Agency.-Janet Walden
I write Contemporary Romance, as well as Urban Fantasy/Urban Fantasy Romance. My Golden Heart® finaling multicultural Contemporary Romance, SALT+STILETTOS, is out April 21st from City Owl Press and will be available from all major online vendors.
A lot of readers love origin stories. What inspired you to start writing?
I never considered myself especially creative, and definitely not creative enough to be a writer. There’s a professor out there with a chronic eye-twitch thanks to The Great Thesis Crisis of 20mumble-mumble. Then one night, I was up yet again with a newborn who wouldn’t sleep, multitasking (hah) and catching up on a favorite show. And the writers killed off my favorite character.
I’m blaming it on the sleep deprivation because my (very fuzzy) thought process went something like ‘What? WHAT??? Are you kidding me?’ I could come up with a better ending.”
Yeah, not really. But that sleep-deprived moment led to my debut coming out this year.-Janet Walden
How did you get into writing Contemporary Romance?
I started out writing in my other favorite genre, SF/F. Unfortunately, I began querying when the Urban Fantasy market was experiencing a down trend, at least in traditional publishing circles. However, I was already romance-adjacent, having entered a number of RWA chapter contests, which are structured to give participants feedback from multiple published authors. Most of the writer judges were incredibly giving and helpful towards newer writers. Since the romance sub-plots in my UF were such fun to create, I decided to give pre romance a try, and gravitated towards contemporary.
I submitted my first stab at it to Pitch Wars, was chosen by Brighton Walsh, spent months revising and polishing, and started querying after.-Janet Walden
What, do you feel, sets SALT+STILETTOS apart from other books in the genre?
On the surface, SALT+STILETTOS features a flipped dynamic. Will is an American Samoan hero, and he is the character with issues surrounding self-confidence and body image. Brett is the fierce competitor here, having broken the cycle of rural Southern poverty and forged her own path to success and happiness.
On another level, I hope SATLT+STILETTOS is part of the rising tide of stories that shows a more nuanced side of romance. There are frank discussions of descrimination, and mental health and trauma. Neither love interest is tasked with “saving” or “curing” the other, but instead share and support each other.
Plus, food. And steamy South Beach sex.-Janet Walden
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