Professional coffee drinker & ECPA/Publisher’s Weekly best-selling author, Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing spirited romantic suspense stained with the shadows of history. Coffee fuels her snarky personality. She lives in Neverland with her Cap’n Hook who stole her heart and will not give it back, their little fairy Tinkerbell, and a very mischievous Peter Pan. The foursome embark on scores of adventure that only make her fall more wildly in love with romance and intrigue. Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures at jaimejowright.com
Today we’re talking with Jaime Jo about her debut novel, The House on Foster Hill.
About the Book:
Outstanding Debut Novel from an Author to Watch
Kaine Prescott is no stranger to death. When her husband died two years ago, her pleas for further investigation into his suspicious death fell on deaf ears. In desperate need of a fresh start, Kaine purchases an old house sight unseen in her grandfather’s Wisconsin hometown. But one look at the eerie, abandoned house immediately leaves her questioning her rash decision. And when the house’s dark history comes back with a vengeance, Kaine is forced to face the terrifying realization she has nowhere left to hide.
A century earlier, the house on Foster Hill holds nothing but painful memories for Ivy Thorpe. When an unidentified woman is found dead on the property, Ivy is compelled to discover her identity. Ivy’s search leads her into dangerous waters and, even as she works together with a man from her past, can she unravel the mystery before any other lives–
including her own–are lost?
SHAREE: Jaime Jo, thank you so much for the opportunity to interview you! I absolutely LOVED The House on Foster Hill. It was my rewarding read after long stressful days. Even if it scared the daylights out of me at times. True story, I went on a writer’s retreat and couldn’t take the book with me because I was afraid to read it in my room alone 😉.
I joke that The House on Foster Hill is to blame for my tiredness because I could not put it down. So first, thank you so much for such a fascinating story. You’ve said this is your debut novel but I’m guessing it wasn’t your first book. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing journey? (how many books have you written, your journey to publication, etc.)
JAIME JO: I apologize for the fatigue and loss of sleep! LOL But I’m certainly happy THOFH lived up to its “unputdownable” rating. You’re correct. This is not my first novel, rather it is my sixth. The other five are locked away in a vault. You may exhume them upon my death. My journey to publication was long. It started when I was thirteen and first queried a publisher—Bethany House Publishers, to be honest. It took them twenty-seven years to sign me
SHAREE: I’m so glad Bethany House saw the light! Will we see a sequel?
JAIME JO: There will not be a sequel to THOFH. The stories there are completed and left to the reader’s imagination to add onto. However, I do have another story, similar in split-time style and suspense, entitled, “The Reckoning At Gossamer Pond”, which is due out in July, 2018.
SHAREE: OOOH just added it to my Goodreads MUST BE READ PILE. I love the uniqueness of your writing style. What gave you the idea to incorporate history and present-day situations into a romantic suspense?
JAIME JO: I always seen present day and history going hand in hand. Simply, because they cannot be separated. However, I will credit the idea of writing a split-story novel to my mentor, Colleen Coble, who first gave me the idea.
SHAREE: I am impressed that you tackled human trafficking in such a unique way. This is a topic that is near to my heart. Can you tell us about your research on the topic?
JAIME JO: Trafficking is a horrific crime. My research on the topic spans studying old articles and history books on the trauma that has long been in existence. I’ve also kept a present-day eye open to current events, having worked in youth ministry for over twenty years which involved a lot of rubbing elbows with social systems. I also had first hand hints of experience with it as my daughter was targeted and I had to report the culprit. So, the idea of trafficking is sickening and it’s well past time to be brought well into the light.
SHAREE: Wow, that brings it too close to home!
SHAREE: And now the fun stuff. Do you have a writing ritual? (favorite drink, music, etc.)?
JAIME JO: I’m sort of boring! I don’t have a ritual. My life isn’t conducive to a routine for writing. I typically grab snippets of fifteen minutes here and there to jot down words. I am a full-time career woman and a mother of two little ones, so being able to have a ritual is sort-of a dream that maybe someday I’ll get to experience.
SHAREE: I’m a career-woman-writing-mama too so I totally get that. Is there a reward you give yourself for meeting writing goals? (chocolate, coffee, etc.)
JAIME JO: Coffee isn’t really a reward, but a necessity. As for rewards, see? I really AM boring. I never thought of rewarding myself. I’m sort of the personality type that just does. I don’t even really set goals. I have some target word counts, but goals are often set ups for feelings of failure, so I just look at what needs to be done and, well, get it done. 😊
SHAREE: Type A personalities UNITE. LOL. Is there a muse?
JAIME JO: Can coffee be a muse? It’s probably more of my fuel. That being said, my family is my joy. They give me energy and are a huge part of my motivation.
SHAREE: Yay for families!! I am fascinated with names. How did you come up with the character names in the book?
JAIME JO: Well, truth be told, the names have very deep origins. *insert silly smile “Ivy”, is the name of my cat, and I couldn’t think of anything else at the time. “Kaine” was a suggestion from my writing sister because I also couldn’t think of anything at the time. LOL See? I am not a deep thinker at all. LOL *Jaime rolls eyes at herself
SHAREE: Well I must say, they worked out perfectly in the story how ever you came about them. If you could do anything different in the story, what would it be?
JAIME JO: I would love to write the story of Gabriella in full. Fill in all the missing pieces in her own novel. But alas, I think she is better off how she remains. 😊
SHAREE: Is there anything you want readers to know about The House on Foster Hill that we haven’t covered?
JAIME JO: Just that I love reviews! I love to read on Goodreads or Amazon or other media outlets what readers think! Even if they hated it, I really value honest reviews because it helps me know what readers prefer, and it builds that readerly community, which, for me, is half the fun!
SHAREE: I love that you want honest reviews and friends, you can read my honest review here of The House on Foster Hill
Thank you so much for being with us today! Friends, no lie, The House on Foster Hill is AH-MAZE-ING. Don’t miss it!
More Q&A with Jaime Jo:
Why did you write “The House On Foster Hill”?
I have always been fascinated by old “things”. Whether a building structure, old photographs, antiques, they make me feel as those time has been trapped within them and if they could only speak, the stories they tell would be stunning. I really grasped onto the old saying “if walls could speak” and envisioned an abandoned house with an unsolved mystery that spanned a century. How would that affect the generations? How might it create future individuals affected by a history they knew nothing about? So, I determined to explore that in the telling of Ivy and Kaine’s story, and most all, in the unknown life of a dead girl named Gabriella.
What faith message do you want readers to take away from your book?
Hope! One of the central themes in the novel is asking the questions, “what is hope when life offers none?” and “where does a person find hope in tragic life events that God could have stopped?” I really want readers to travel through the gritty hardships of three women’s lives and to come to understand that our limited vision can underestimate God’s far more magnificent vision. We must learn to look with hope beyond our life’s circumstances, and to promises not limited by this world.
You mention on your website that you write, “suspense stained by history’s secrets”. What does this mean?
I created that phrase when I was repeatedly asked what I wrote and when I answered “suspense”, I received questions about the FBI, police, murder investigations, and so on. So I wanted to define that my stories are far more vintage in nature, and that while there are present day mysteries and suspense, they’re all very stained and saturated with the secrets of the past.
In many suspense novels, the victim of a murder is merely a launching point for the story. Why, in “The House On Foster Hill”, do you make the victim such a central and active part of the book?
It sounds weird, but Gabriella demanded to the be central figure of the book. She is the tie between the house, Ivy, Kaine, and the story that is aching to be told. Gabriella, as victim, had as much to tell as the house on Foster Hill, and together, their story unraveled in a unified tale.
Explain how romance can fit into a story as eerie sounding as “The House On Foster Hill?”
The human story doesn’t stop when mystery and suspense abounds. Sometimes it is those circumstances that thrust individuals together and creates an unbreakable bond. I enjoy incorporating romance as a subset to the mystery in my stories. Sometimes, honestly, a darker theme needs that lighter reprieve and hope is laced throughout romance. Hope for a future, for love, and for belonging.
Do you personally relate to any of the characters you created in “The House On Foster Hill?”
I relate a lot to Kaine. I’m a fierce protector of those I love, but not so much for myself. I question myself often, have a very distinct awareness of common sense and despise emotionalism in myself. Yet, in spite of that, I find I am far too often a bit irrational and inclined to respond from my heart versus my head. It’s almost an unrealistic pairing, so I figured if I must suffer with it, so would Kaine.
Social Media Links:
Web site: www.jaimejowright.com