Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How Authors Write: JQ Rose

Today I'm participating in a blog swap with fellow MuseItUP Author JQ Rose. You can find my post on strong characters and fairytales here (after you learn about JQ and how she writes, of course!) Welcome JQ!

JQ: Thanks so much for swapping blogs. It’s a great opportunity to interact with each other’s readers.

MW: I totally agree. And I'm thankful to get the opportunity to introduce you to my readers as well as meet some new readers over at your site. So, JQ, what types of books do you write? 

JQ: I write mystery/romance

MW: What POV do you write in?

JQ: I write in 3rd person—usually 2 POV’s. My editor at MuseItUp Publishing, Karen McGrath, on my first published book had me pare down the number of POV’s from 5 to just 3. That was very difficult! But it did make for a better story, Sunshine Boulevard, a good read for this time of year. Yes, it’s a bit scary.

MW: I'll have to check that out!. How do you get started with a book?

JQ: I believe it is an idea that I usually get from the news headlines. When I meet an interesting person, I often incorporate some part of his or her personality into a character that drives the story forward.

MW: I'm sure you find lots of inspiration out there. Do you draft quickly or or are you more detailed in your draft? 

JQ: I don’t draft quickly and wish I could. I get caught up in the small details like does the man have a beard or wear glasses. I wish I had drafted quickly, getting down the bones of the story, instead of writing so much and then allowing my crit group to read the draft as I wrote the chapters without an ending for the story. My plot was discombobulated by all their brainstorming ideas of the possibilities for the ending. They are excellent at brainstorming, so there were just too many options!
MW: I can see where that can seem overwhelming. Although, as someone who does draft bare bones, sometimes adding in all that description is harder than it should be :-) 

Almost all stories require some research. Do you do yours before your first draft or during?

JQ: Usually as I write, if I don’t know for sure about the subject, I write a note in CAPS to research the topic.

MW: Great idea. Do you outline? 

JQ: Not a formal outline, but I do write notes about scenes and turning points in the story from the beginning through to the sketchy end. (The ending is never the one I had planned before writing!!)

MW: I almost always know the beginning and the end when I start. It's the middle that's rather hazy. I can't imagine not knowing the end at the start. Very interesting. 

What about names? Do you name everything up front when you are drafting or do you leave comments for yourself to go back and fill in later so you don't lose the flow of what you are working on?

JQ:  Definitely leave comments.

MW: Do you work with CP's (Critique Partners)  or Beta's (Beta Readers)? 

JQ: Yes, I have crit partners and I let them see the story as I go, but as I said I don’t plan to do that anymore, but rather get the first draft of the story down first.

MW: I'd be interested in hearing how that change works for you. What books/websites have you found most helpful to helping you write your best? 

JQ: Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg and Elements of Style.

MW: Another book to add to my list. And, with the holidays coming up, Elements of Style makes a great stocking stuffer for the author in your life :-) (I had a friend gift it to me for Christmas several years ago.) 

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started writing?

JQ: I wish I had continued to write after my first e-book was published instead of spending time marketing it so heavily. A writer needs more than one book in their list because if a reader likes the writing, she will come back to buy another book.

MW: Very good advice. Finding that balance between promoting and writing can be quite difficult. It's something I'm still working on finding.

What do you have out now, or coming out? Any upcoming events? 

JQ: I love having events on the J.Q. Rose blog. This fall I am hosting a series with guest authors: Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing. The authors give tips on writing, on the writing process, marketing, and publishing every Thursday (except holidays) through December. Hosting authors is a wonderful way to meet and get to know them. 

In the winter I will be put all the tips together into an e-book and plan to have a launch party on Facebook. Also I have a page on Pinterest for the event.  

I took a Book Marketing Challenge this summer and got all excited about marketing, so I decided to get proactive about it. As you can see, I took some of the ideas to heart and am trying them out through this event. You’re all invited to join us every Thursday. If you are a writer, you may pick up a gem of an idea to help you with your writing career. Readers will meet their favorite or new authors and discover great reads. Giveaways too!

MW: Thanks so much, JQ. I'll have to swing by and see what I can learn. Be sure to check out JQ's latest mystery/romance: Coda to Murder. 


Pastor Christine Hobbs has been in the pulpit business for over five years. She never imagined herself caring for a flock that includes a pig, a kangaroo, and a murderer.

Detective Cole Stephens doesn't want the pretty pastor to get away with murdering the church music director. His investigative methods infuriate Christine as much as his deep brown eyes attract her.

Can they find the real killer and build a loving relationship based on trust?

You Tube Book Trailers:
and other online booksellers

After writing feature articles in magazines, newspapers, and online magazines for over fifteen years, J.Q. Rose entered the world of fiction. Her published mysteries are Sunshine Boulevard, and Coda to Murder released by Muse It Up Publishing. With her non-fiction book for girls, Girls Succeed!, she returns to her first love, writing about real people. Blogging, photography, Pegs and Jokers board games, and travel are the things that keep her out of trouble. She spends winters in Florida and summers up north camping and hunting toads, frogs, and salamanders with her four grandsons and granddaughter.

Connect with J.Q. Rose online at

J.Q. Rose blog
Girls Succeed blog
Author website
J. Q. Rose Amazon Author Page


  1. Thanks, Mary, for swapping blogs today. It's fun to get to know each other and your readers.

    1. I had so much fun too. It was a pleasure getting to know more about you and to see how you write your books. Thanks for coming up with the idea!

  2. What great questions, Mary, and I really enjoyed your answers, JQ. Very informative. I sympathise with what you say about the crit group. I took a draft of the first couple of chapters to my writers' group last week. There were only four other writers there - but they each told me something totally different about how I should improve! It left my head whirling.
    You have some great ideas on marketing. I'm looking forward to checking out your regular writers' posts. Thanks for a great post!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Helena.

      Critique partners, while they can be totally awesome, sometimes muddy the waters. I've found that if one says something, it's an opinion. If two say it I should look at it, and if more than two say it, it's an issue that needs to be addressed.

    2. Hi Helena, I hope I learned my lesson on taking a first draft to the crit group. It' s just that it's so exciting to be writing and you want to share it with others. But not too soon!! LOL. Yes, do come over to the J Q Rose blog. Tomorrow is Gail Roughton with her down home Southern advice on writing. Lots of fun.

  3. Great interview! My brother and I are our own little critique group. You'd think this might cause trouble, but we trust each other so much that brutal honesty works well for us :)

    1. Thanks, Heather.

      I'm a huge fan of brutal honesty. 'Cause really, if you don't know something's wrong, how can you fix it? While I like seeing the 'I like this' comments, I tend to skip over them and focus on the ones that tell me what's not working.

    2. Heather B--you're so lucky. What did your parents do to make siblings such good friends? Thanks for stopping.

  4. Great post. I've always really enjoyed JQ Rose's works and now I know a little bit more why!

    1. Thanks Conda!

      It's amazing what goes on behind the scenes, isn't it?

    2. Thank you, Conda for your sweet words. Mary asks great questions. Thanks for stopping in.


Thanks for dropping by. I love reading comments and will respond by e-mail as soon as possible.