D. J Jouett is a second-year law student and writer of several suspense/romance novels. She is here today to talk about her latest title The Destiny Factor, which has been nominated for Kindle Scout. Here at WWBB we discuss her novel:
What is The Destiny Factor about?
The Destiny Factor is about a young woman, Renny James, who has grown up in poverty. Her goal to pull herself from the awful situation she has endured for eighteen years. The only moral way she feels she can do that is by hard work and education.
It’s through tears and frustration but she attains her doctorate, she goes to work for an accounting firm and handles accounts for the government and large corporations, finding criminal activity. Along the way, she finds herself falling in love with her married boss, but it all comes crashing down when she’s arrested for murder.
Why did you write The Destiny Factor?
I know of a family that lives in poverty, who are third-generation welfare recipients. Their situation seems hopeless. The children rarely complete high school, and consequently they can’t find good jobs. They seem to be content to live off the welfare the government provides and the parents do nothing to encourage their children to obtain a better education or way of life. I thought how awful it would be to wake every morning to that situation—but then if you could think it was awful you’d do something about it. Like my character, Renny James.
I struggled with her character. It was strange. It was as if she had a mind of her own when it came to selecting a protagonist with which to fall in love. Very different from my usual books.
How many unpublished books do you have lurking under your bed?
Four partially written. I am still doing research on all of them. Friends are constantly suggesting ideas and plots for my novels. Everyone will be surprised with the twist in The Destiny Factor. I have a feeling I will have to suffer much teasing over this one.
How did you find your publisher?
I publish entirely with Amazon Kindle. Their program is a good one. It does require that authors spend a great deal of time promoting themselves. My book sales are good and Amazon has been most accommodating in handling any problems I encounter.
How do your juggle a writing schedule?
I am a student, so I write mostly during the summer. My first two books took two years to complete. I don’t have much time to write during the school year, so I try to get things line up so I can write steadily during the summer.
What’s the best/worst part of being a writer?
Friends and family want me to go places with them and they always laugh when I say “I can’t, I have to work.” They know how much I love writing so tend not to take me seriously when I call it work.
Editing is my least favourite thing. Sometimes I read a book four or five times and still find a grammar error. I order four or five proofs and ask friends to read for errors. It is amazing how mistakes jump off the written page—errors that were overlooked on the computer screen.
Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
Definitely the computer. I would waste tons of paper, if I didn’t use the computer. As far as I am concerned, “Computers Save Trees.”
What/who do you draw your inspiration from?
My father was a Police Sergeant. I have pages and pages of notes I have taken over the year about his experiences. Some of them are funny and some of them are incredibly sad both for him personally and others involved.
My book, The Cheating Wives Club—Women are Dying to Join! contains many of his experiences. I have at least two books on the back burner that are heavily influenced by my father’s stories.
Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?
My first two novels—Curses & Consequences and Must Be Murder–were very large, over 800 pages. I have found that a smaller book is easier to market. While the 800+ pages run up the page count on Kindle Prime, they aren’t very conducive to print books. I now try to keep my books to 85,000 words. I truly do not put any requirements on myself to write so many words a day. That is difficult to force. Some days I will write all day when my characters are cooperating. Other days, I just have to walk away and have conversations with them in my head. It is interesting to think, “how would Michael respond or how would his wife answer that?”
How long does it typically take you to write a novel and what are you working on now that you can talk about?
My first two books took a year each. My last two books took a little over six months each.
My niece keeps wanting to read my books. She is so proud of me. She has a shrink-wrapped copy of The Cheating Wives Club-Women are Dying to Join! On a little easel on her dresser. It is shrink wrapped so she can’t read it. Unfortunately, my books are written for adults. So I am now writing a suspense/thriller without much physical romance, so she can read it. It is titled “Death was too Easy.” It relies heavily on one of my father’s toughest cases.
How do/did you deal with rejection letters/reviews?
I threw vases, set the letters on fire and cried. No, actually I only received one, now the publisher is asking me to sign with him. But I am doing to dance with the one who brought me, so I am sticking with Amazon. They make everything so easy. With reviews, God knows I have had my share! I know that my books are not for everyone and not all readers will like them. Different strokes for different folks.
Do you have a critique/editor partner?
Yes, I do. She is an English teacher at the local high school. I run all the usual computer checks, Microsoft, Grammarly, etc., then she puts the finishing touches on it.
Promoting is something ALL authors struggle with. How are you managing yours?
I am fortunate to have a terrific promotion group behind me. They make my life so much better. I write and they promote. It works out great for both of us. They are my salvation.
Give me the first, middle and end line in The Destiny Factor.
First: We are all the master of our own destiny
Middle: In the future, she would make some excuse to avoid Vivian Rockmore.
End: Still, there was something not quite right about Creative Genetics.
Does (and how) your protagonist change/learn by the end of the book?
Renny James, my protagonist, starts out as a child in utter poverty. She knows that material things are the most important things in the world. Through education and hard work, she becomes a partner in one of the largest forensic accounting firms in the world. She realizes all of her monetary goals, then realizes that loving someone is far more important.
Who would be your dream cast if your novel was made into a movie?
I would like to see Lana Parrilla play Vivian, Kate Upton as Renny and Keanu Reeves as Brad Rockmore.