IndieView with Jocie McKade, author of Heart River Inn

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Most of my characters are based loosely on people I’ve met along the way. Some are people I’d like to meet and some are characters I wish I could be more like. Wow, that sounded like I have a multiple personality disorder.

How about I just go with fictitious characters that are highlighted with reality?

Jocie McKade – 17 April 2014

The Back Flap

A mysterious photograph, lethal swans, gushy beds and a kitschy lovers resort in the Pocono Mountains.

Can you say single woman in hell?

Lexi Sheridan doesn’t believe in true love. It’s a fantasy found only in old Hollywood movies. She’s a journalist trying to climb the professional ladder and work her way into a national news organization. When a mysterious old photograph lands in her lap, it could be her ‘golden ticket’ to that coveted news job.

That photo leads her to the Heart River Inn, a lovers’ resort nestled in the wilds of the Pocono Mountains. The resort is a kitschy place that she at first finds nauseatingly filled with fake couples in love. However, after only a few days interviewing guests, her jaded soul begins to see things with a new perspective.

At the Heart River Inn, Lexi encounters a soft-hearted owner with a secret past, a hot manager, lethal swans, attack curtains, and an assortment of couples you won’t soon forget.

If on some night your world is looking bleak, your heart is broken, and you don’t think true love exists, maybe you’ll be lucky enough to stumble across the heart-shaped sign of the Heart River Inn.

About the book

What is the book about?

Set in a lover’s resort in the Pocono Mountains, Heart River Inn follows reporter Lexie Sheridan in her quest to break into a national news organization. She finds a photo that could potentially make her journalist dreams come true. After staying at the resort for a few days, she realizes her dream job could cost her and the people she’s met everything.

It’s about love, jaded hearts, laughter, honor and finding what’s really important.

When did you start writing the book?

I started it in the dark and very scary confines of my brain several years ago.  It took awhile to get out of that primordial ooze.

How long did it take you to write it?

Once I actually put pen to paper, or fingers to keys as it were, writing it took about five months.

Where did you get the idea from?

My husband took me to a resort in the Pocono’s for an anniversary.  While I didn’t get surrounded and wounded by evil swans, I did encounter a few couples that had some seriously interesting (weird) traits that made it into the book.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

Probably the biggest struggle was getting the veterans in the book right. In several of my books I give a literary salute to vets, particularly Vietnam vets. Several family members served there and they didn’t get a whole lot of gratitude. This is my small way of saying thank you.

I wanted them to be strong, as they are, but I also wanted to show that soft human side that many of us outside of the service don’t see. The hero is ex-military as well, and it was hard to make him tough and rugged while showing his tender side to the heroine.

What came easily?

Oh, the comedy always comes easy to me because I have such funny, weird and unbelievable things happen in my life.  Like the heroine, I have been attacked by evil swans.  I was the mom on a field trip with a bunch of third graders and…..yeah, it got ugly really fast. So, I use those experiences to hopefully, make readers laugh.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

My characters are like my mom’s Mulligan stew. You take a pinch of this, and a smidgen of that and hope they come out good. Most of my characters are based loosely on people I’ve met along the way. Some are people I’d like to meet and some are characters I wish I could be more like. Wow, that sounded like I have a multiple personality disorder.

How about I just go with fictitious characters that are highlighted with reality?

We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?

I was and am a voracious reader and a librarian for sixteen years, so authors have taught me a lot. I find it hard to narrow this list down to something that is not of epic proportions, but I’ll try.

Mark Twain and Janet Evanovich influenced my humor, from Clive Cussler, Barry Eisler, and Vince Flynn I learned suspense, from Harper Lee and Jodi Picoult how to write emotion, from Louis L’amour how place can be a character, from Craig Johnson, that silence can say more than words, and I should probably stop now. They and many others are still teaching me.

Do you have a target reader?

I have primarily women readers, but anyone who wants to smile while they read would like the book.

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

Define process?? I write when I can, where I can, and I never leave home without a pen and paper. Yes, paper. Electronics always crash and die at the worst moments and while recharging, the colander that is my brain would lose that important plot point or snippet of dialogue, so paper and pen save me.

I have no defined process, I just write. In my fantasy world however, I am lounging on the deck during a fabulously warm day being served sweet tea by a handsome cowboy and the words are flowing like magic. Yes, I write fiction!

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

I rarely outline, I think it’s a holdover from when I had to outline in school, ewww I hate it. I do keep a folder of notes and refer to them.

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

Both. I will write several thousand words then do a quick edit repeatedly while working on a book. Then I edit again at the end.

Did you hire a professional editor?

I absolutely hired a pro! If you spend your money on nothing else – GET AN EDITOR! Even if you are an English major and edit someone else’s tome very well, you will not do your own work justice. As a writer you are too close to the work, you need an objective second and third pair of eyes. Even after an editor has polished it, I edit it again, and again. No manuscript is perfect, but an editor can give it polish and make you more credible as an author.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

I love music although I don’t listen often when I write. If I have a difficult scene to write I will find ‘mood music’ to inspire the words. I prefer background music and if I do listen it is usually to Native American Flutes or Celtic music by a young composer Adrian Von Ziegler – awesome musician.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

I did several years ago, I no longer do. But I will always leave that door open for consideration.

What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

I was published by a small press publisher and I like them, but I was confined by their guidelines. After being rejected solely on this line, “We like your writing, but you just don’t fit anywhere”, I decided to go Indie.

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?

I had the cover created by a graphic designer. Many authors create their own and do a good job, but the designer gave me the cover in a dozen different formats for eBook, print cover, postcard, web, and banner. They make me look better.

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

I started out winging it, but since the first of the year I have written a plan. (She laughs) The plan however, has not been adhered to with any consistency because real life just keeps intruding.

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

Indie is hard, it’s a lot of work, and many doors are still closed to you, but it offers you the opportunity to write what you love without boundaries or someone else’s guidelines.

About You

Where did you grow up?

Midwest USA

Where do you live now?

On a small farm in the Midwest

What would you like readers to know about you?

I love to travel, and I’m a nerd, full of worthless trivia. Someday, Alex Trebek I’m gonna win big!! LOL

What are you working on now?

I am currently working on the second book in my Between the Lines series. The series follows two competing reporters. Lauren Jacobs is an award winning investigative journalist for Edition One. Derek Rourke is a reporter for the sensationalist tabloid The Lens. They collide over a crop circle in England, and if they can refrain from killing each other they might just catch a really nasty group of terrorists.

It is very reminiscent of the old movies with Spencer Tracey and Katherine Hepburn like Adam’s Rib or the television series Moonlighting. There is lots of tension, laughter and some weird characters.

End of Interview:

For more, visit Jocie’s website or blog, friend her on Facebook, or follow her on twitter.

Get your copy of Heart River Inn from Amazon US (paper or ebook), Amazon UK (paper or ebook), Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords.

12 Responses to IndieView with Jocie McKade, author of Heart River Inn

  1. Great interview! I know lots of worthless trivia as well, but I would never win Jeopardy because I would freeze on camera. LOL

  2. Madison Sevier

    Great interview, Jocie! Love it!

  3. Love the cover and the premise of the book, Jocie! Looks like a must read for me. Great interview. :-)

  4. Thanks for the insight, Jocie! As a struggling writer, I appreciate all of your info on your publishing journey. I loved Heart River Inn and I am anxiously awaiting the next installment in the Between the Lines series!

  5. LOL! Thanks for visiting Stephanie! Maybe Alex would let us be a “tag-team”?

  6. I really enjoyed this interview. Jocie is an instant buy author for me. I especially love the humor she shares with her readers in her stories. If Jocie writes it, I will read it.

  7. Thank you SOOO much for dropping by and your kind words. You guys rock!!!!!!

  8. Great interview!
    I too, feel as if I have a ton of useless knowledge rolling around in my head. I swear one day it will be good for something. This interview made me laugh, so I can only image what your books are like( now added to my ever growing TBR pile)!

  9. Thank you Deana! I think I might be onto something with this ‘tag-team’ Jeopady – hey Alex!! LOL From your pic it looks like you enjoy the Ren Faire. I have one close by and love to go. Thank you for dropping by!!!

  10. I love this book. The swans made me laugh load enough I woke my wife up. It was a great read with great characters. I can’t wait for Jocie’s next book.

  11. Thank you Walk!!! Tell your wife I’m sorry!

  12. Terry Scarangella

    The book sounds really interesting and I do love humor in books. I can’t wait to read it.

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