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The Dear Author Intro Interview: Lorelie Brown, author of Jazz...

Cover image for Jazz Baby by Lorelie BrownWhen it comes to careers, neither the hero nor the heroine of Lorelie Brown's Jazz Baby have quite "found bliss." Micah is a Prohibition enforcement agent, disillusioned by the realities of his job; Kate runs a swanky speak-easy she inherited rather than chose.   It's a set-up for a star-crossed lovers story, Jazz Age style, complete with rolled-down stockings and ticked-off mobsters.   Sound like thoroughly modern fun?   Thanks to Samhain Publishing, we have copies to give away, so leave a comment for a chance to win.

What were the original "triggers" or inspiration points for  Jazz Baby?

A 9th grade production of  Anything Goes. It took 14-year-old me a few years to realize that  Anything Goes was actually written in 1934, and by then it was too late. I was already in love with the 20's.

Later in life, I was piddling around with my writing. I'd write one chapter, back up, edit the heck out of it, post it on critique boards. Rewrite it. Repeat, ad nauseam. Get fizzled out on a project.   So when I finally decided I was going to get serious about this writing thing, I realized I'd need a project that would hold my interest for a good long while. The Twenties seemed like a natural decision.

A six-word memoir for your protagonist:

Micah – Lies for greater good don't count.

Kate – I don't trust too-handsome men.

An unexpected research detour you made while writing the book:

Coffee pots. At one point, a character pours a cup of coffee and I realized I had no idea what they looked like in the 20's. Somehow I ended up spending nearly a day researching the different ways coffee was brewed. But I guess that's why I ended up writing historical romances – I love the little details you learn about how people lived.

At one point, your hero Micah makes a very romantic gesture via postcards.   How did that become part of the story?

My husband is in the Army and he's been on three deployments, the shortest of which was seven months. So I've got a particular affinity for the little, quirky truths that come through when people communicate through the written word. I've got one email my husband sent me saved in five different places, and I peek at it whenever I need a little lift.

Your favorite line or moment in  Jazz Baby:

I actually can't answer this without giving something huge away. Suffice it to say, it's a line by Patrick, Kate's brother.

Patrick ends up having a pivotal role in the plot, even though he's a frustrated writer and alcoholic at the beginning. Did you know from the outset where his character was headed?

No, Patrick was a little bit of a surprise. I knew he was there, and he was a large factor in who Kate is at the beginning, but every time he popped up it was like some little new kernel of information appeared about him. He's a complicated guy. There's definitely more to his story, as he's still keeping secrets – even from me.

When will readers get the rest of Jake and Susie's story?

If they want it! LOL. Jake and Susie are next on my agenda, after what I'm currently working on. She's going spin him head over tail. It's great.

From page one, draft one to the "sold" call:   How long?

Twenty months.

Number of manuscripts you wrote before  Jazz Baby sold:

You mean that I actually finished? None. Remember that piddling I'd mentioned? That being said, I had written (and rewritten) probably hundreds of thousands of words.

Your oddest or most reliable writing ritual/habit:

Jazz Baby was written long-hand, in top-bound notebooks with Uniball Vison pens. It was like once I'd gotten going, I was scared to change anything for fear of breaking my mojo. Thank God I've been able to leave that behind. Now my only ritual is needing a laptop to get away from my desktop. The internet seems much more shiny and distracting when it's on a large screen monitor.

Writing advice you're glad you followed or ignored:

"Unusual historicals won't sell. Are you sure you don't want to write a Regency?" All it takes is one editor, such as lovely and fabulous Lindsey Faber, who's willing to take a chance.

Three sources of inspiration for you:

I read like a maniac, of course. When I finish a project, my favorite way to decompress is to run for my toppling TBR pile. Otherwise, when I'm actually writing, I usually tune into a specific genre of music. For  Jazz Baby, I discovered Ma Rainey, an amazing artist. Then there's dance – I watch  So You Think You Can Danceobsessively with my critique partners, Carrie Lofty, Kelly McCrady, and Patti Colt. It's two-minute story telling! Brilliant.

Your paying job pre- and post-publication:

Pre-publication I was a Management Assistant for the Department of the Army. It's a fancy name for secretary. Post-publication I'm a housewi – ahem – full time writer. My husband was stationed in the Southwest, and we naturally followed. Dang economy.

Your favorite book when you were 10:

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

An author or book you recommend again and again:

You don't know the danger you've wandered into with this one! I'm that person you see in bookstores accosting perfect strangers. "Oh, you like historicals? Why don't you try Carrie Lofty. You'd prefer something paranormal? Meljean Brook is fabulous. Something sexier? Then you need some Joey W. Hill." Seriously. Give me a category and I'll go on at length.

Jazz Baby is available now at Samhain Publishing, and you can find Lorelie on-line at Alyson H. does the Intro Interviews for Dear Author; you can contact her at daintrointerview AT gmail DOT com.

Alison Atlee (also known as "Alyson" here at Dear Author) is fascinated by creative people and how they work, which is why she enjoys contributing author interviews to Dear Author. She likes her romance novels light on the internal monologues, twisty with the conventions, and brimming with voice. Her favorite book at age ten? "An Old-Fashioned Girl" by Louisa May Alcott.


  1. Moth
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 12:21:57

    I love the 1920s, and I’ve been wanting to read this since I saw the query posted on a crit board a few months ago. Drop my name in the hat for a copy pretty please! :)

  2. Sandy
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 12:32:36

    Love the time period. Would like to win a copy.

  3. CupK8
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 12:48:23

    Wow. I am really excited for this book! I’m so glad you followed your gut to write in the 1920s. :)

  4. Pearl
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 12:56:11

    I can’t wait to read this book, it will be a welcome change from the regency, medieval and victorian historicals that have been dominating my (digital) shelves. The 20’s and mobsters intrigue me to no end and I hope there will be more to come from Lorelie in this setting!


  5. becca
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 13:04:03

    This book sounds fabulous, and I’ve been looking for unusual romantic suspense type books – I’d love to read this one!

  6. Susan
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 13:26:20

    Sounds cool. Interesting period. My grandmother was a flapper of sorts.

  7. madscientistnz
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 13:26:54

    This book sounds intriguing and set in a really cool time period.

  8. LauraB
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 13:41:34

    Cool concept! It’s funny, but instictively I wouldn’t consider a 20th century setting a historical. LOL! It so obviously is… Maybe it’s a technology thing?

    Pick me, pick me!

  9. Sabrina
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 14:27:25

    Sounds very interesting, like the time period, nice change of pace:)

  10. Jennifer M
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 14:28:52

    I’ve read very few books set in this time period. I think it’s a great idea and would love to read it. It seems like I know more about things that happened two or three hundred years ago than I do about the early 20th century.

  11. Zoe Archer
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 15:15:13

    Two things:

    1) Lorelie is an awesome person, so I’m really glad to see her finally published.

    2) The idea of a Jazz Age romance is so incredibly cool, I’m shocked we don’t see more books set during this period. Maybe now we will!

  12. Jamie
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 15:21:44

    Wow, this sounds really neat! I’m intrigued by the postcards – we’re dealing with a deployment at home right now too. :)

  13. katiebabs
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 15:26:16

    One of the best books I’ve read so far for 2010. Lorelie is one author to watch.

  14. Carolyn
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 16:20:16

    Would love to win this book. The early part of the last century is becoming more and more romantic the older I get. :-)

  15. Christine M.
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 17:01:19

    Katiebabs reviewed this book last week (I think?) and I’m definitely interested in getting my hands on a copy!

  16. Faye
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 17:23:27

    Oooh, this sounds great! I can’t wait to read it.

  17. Jenny Schwartz
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 18:14:48

    I think the 1920s are set to become the new Regency. Think back to the 1920s/30s when Georgette Heyer established the genre. The Regency years were a hundred years back, but they were dealing with similar issues to the post-WWI 1920s–traumatised soldiers returning to society and not fitting, a social whirl aimed at obscuring the harsh reality, an economically and socially divided society–sounds a bit like now, doesn’t it? Lorelie, I’d put money that you’ve caught the start of a trend. What will you call the genre? Jazzies?

  18. Alyson H.
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 18:16:50

    @Jamie: The post cards were my favorite detail–sighingly romantic, if I may make up a word, and even more so after Lorelie explained how it came to be.

    And Jamie, best thoughts and prayers as you and yours go through the deployment. It takes a lot of grit to see through something like that.

  19. Tanya S.
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 18:31:58

    The book sounds wonderful and I’m going to have to add it to my TBR pile.

  20. Zelda
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 18:43:02

    I will definitely pick this one up, I love unusual historical periods.

  21. ritu
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 19:20:19

    The books sounds interesting. Adding to my TBB pile!

  22. lorenet
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 20:18:35

    I’ve been lusting after this one.

  23. Kerry
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 21:52:39

    Great interview! I have this bookmarked to buy.

  24. SonomaLass
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 23:14:19

    I heard about this book on Twitter; it’s always exciting to have historical romance in a different time or place. It sounds really great.

  25. Rene
    Mar 09, 2010 @ 07:54:33

    Put my name in the hat. I love the twenties. Love them with a Charleston-y, flapper dress, hidden flask love.

  26. bettie
    Mar 09, 2010 @ 12:41:06

    This book is definitely on my TBR list, and not just because I’ve been waiting for another Lorelie Brown book since “Tarnished Angel”. The time-setting and subject got me before I even noticed the name on the cover. I’m a huge pre-code movie fan. I love late twenties/early thirties movies and have often thought, “If only someone would write romances in the same time period…” Thank you, Lorelie!

  27. Ridley
    Mar 09, 2010 @ 14:32:03

    I love the coffee pot comment. So many hours of my life have melted in the face of Wikipedia and little details like that. You’d never think the trivial could be so interesting.

    Please drop me in the hat for a copy. I love non-19th century historicals.

  28. Kelly McCrady
    Mar 09, 2010 @ 15:32:27

    Great interview, Lorelie! I don’t need to enter the drawing. But yes–you all must read this historical. Her research was put to good use, no matter how distracting while she wrote the manuscript. I am inspired daily by Lorelie’s tale of writing this book longhand on legal pads during breaks and lunch while working full time. Steady work = a book. She rocks!

  29. Joanne Renaud
    Mar 10, 2010 @ 01:23:42

    I love pre-code movies too, as well as any kind of unusual historicals. The 1920s setting is definitely a win with me.

    I read the excerpt over on the Samhain site, and I was definitely impressed.

    Is it too late to enter the drawing? Count me in if it’s not!

  30. Winners of the Lorelie Brown Intro Interview | Dear Author: Romance Novel Reviews, Industry News, and Commentary
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 08:27:27

    […] to Lorelie Brown for joining us for the Intro Interview, and to Samhain Publishing for the giveaway copies of Jazz Baby. The winners […]

  31. Milblogs | Blog | My mind is beyond lost....with contest!
    Apr 17, 2011 @ 07:12:41

    […] for more than a week? Really? You promise?) and I’ve had a couple lovely reviews, and an interview at Dear Author. Monday night I got to spend a fun couple hours chatting with The Blackraven in preparation for […]

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