Friday, May 11, 2012

TBR welcomes Babette James

TBR: Welcome to TBR, Babette. Will you share a little bit about yourself?
Babette: I write contemporary and fantasy romance, and I’ve always loved writing and making up stories, beginning back when I used to act out epic fantasy tales with my dolls. (My Barbies had swords and knew how to use them.) I even have a degree in Literature, but it wasn’t until 2004 that I wrote my first full rough draft of romance novel and began gathering up my nerve to pursue publication. I fell in love with writing romance and have focused on that ever since. Clear As Day is my debut novel and began its life as a short story I wrote back in college. It’s been a story of my heart in many ways, so seeing this story bloom and come to life as a full-length published novel has been a dream come true. Receiving the 4 1/2 star scorcher review from Romantic Times and being able to hold my book in my hands have been truly thrilling moments.  I’m also a teacher, and I enjoy encouraging young readers and writers as they discover their growing abilities. My class cheers when it’s time for their spelling test! When not writing, teaching or reading, I dabble with bread baking and painting, and try to keep up on weeding the garden beds. I live in New Jersey with my wonderfully patient husband and our three extremely spoiled cats.

TBR: Tell us about Clear As Day and where it's available.
Babette: Clear As Day is my debut from The Wild Rose Press and available in eBook and paperback. It’s a sweetly scorching contemporary romance about two friends “with benefits” facing the fears and uncertainties of their changing relationship. I loved writing Clear As Day and I hope you enjoy their journey to love as much as I have.
You can find Clear As Day at:

TBR: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
What’s a girl to do when her summer lover wants forever?
Haunted by dark memories of her parents’ volatile marriage, artist Kay Browning keeps her heart locked behind a free-spirit facade and contents herself with the comfortable affair she has every summer with easygoing photographer Nate Quinn.
The only trouble with her plan? This summer Nate’s come to Lake Mohave to claim the lover he can’t let go. He’s done with the endless traveling and settling for temporary homes and temporary loves. Kay’s always been more than just a vacation fling, and now he must convince this woman, who sees love as a course to certain heartbreak, to take that leap of faith and learn how safe love with the right man can be.

With a splash, she erased the frustrating daydream. This wishful imagining fixed nothing. Her sheltered little camp would still be empty. Should she give in, pack up the camp, and hit the road north to Lake Mead instead? Just break her routine for once.
No, but it was definitely past time to get her tush out of the water and do something constructive. This lonely gnawing in her bones and brain was unacceptable. Kay pushed to her feet, facing out to the scenic lake created out of a stretch of the Colorado River and the rugged land beyond shimmering with heat.
Work, right, but it was too early in the day for the hard afternoon light she needed for the Coyote Point painting. She was too restless to read or fish and not in the mood to take the boat over to the marina, chat with George, and buy ice.
She rolled her shoulders and stretched, enjoying the hot air licking over her wet skin. As she wiggled her feet in the sand and gravel-bottomed shallows, a flurry of minnows darted past her ankles, and her silver toe ring glinted beneath the clear water. She paused, caught by the possibilities in the sparkling sun on water and the intricate, shifting reflections over gravel.
Yes! Exactly the distracting challenge she needed. Shaking the water from her ears, she pivoted toward camp.
“Kay!” That male voice was not her imagination.
“Oh, shit!” She twisted and dropped into the water, sinking neck-deep.
Mother always said, among other things, that a lady never goes skinny-dipping and must always wear a proper hat. Kay was only half skinny-dipping, but she fervently wished she’d worn something a bit more substantial than a baseball cap and the bottom half of the quintessential teeny-weenie yellow polka-dot bikini.
Shit, oh, shit, oh, shit. She so hated when Mother was right.
Okay, time to find out who’d just gotten an eyeful. The guy had called her name, so she should know him. Oh boy, if she’d flashed old George…
She wiped water from her face, sucked in a breath against her pounding heart, and peeked around.
She must be sun-dazed. Nate? With a beard? Hair curling over his ears? No way.
Just because a familiar slouchy fishing hat topped those unruly, sun-bleached blond curls and just because this guy possessed the same deep-water tan and footloose taste in clothes as Nate with his electric blue Hawaiian shirt, bright orange swim trunks, and beat-up deck shoes didn’t mean—
“Hey, babe. Now that I’ve finally caught your attention, how about a hug from my girl?” He opened his arms. “Am I coming in after you or are you coming out?” Only Nate’s voice held that mellow timbre like chocolate for her ears.
“Nate! What…” Giddy delight flushed over Kay, clearing her shock. She dashed from the water and into strong arms, a wonderful hug, and a better kiss that launched her mind into a blissed-out whirl of oh, yes and why?
The oh, yes won out until the need to breathe forced them apart.
Nate gave her a long look, his usually easy gray eyes holding a new, simmering heat.
Wow. Whoa.

TBR: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Babette: It seems no matter the couple, my stories revolve on all kinds of friendships and the support that you get from them, from friends turning to lovers, and old friends that are closer than family, to discovering new friends. In Clear As Day, and the stories that I’m writing as sequels, each couple develops out of a core group of friends that vacation together each summer. Each story also explores questions of trust and the milestone transitions in life where the characters must let go of their pasts and take the risk to plunge into their new future.

TBR: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Babette: I’m definitely a pantser. The only plot goal I have in the beginning is that my hero and heroine will reach their happily ever after at the end. I start with a scene and a character and the story grows like Topsy in every direction until I discover how it all works out. I do create an outline as I go deeper into the story to keep track of scenes and start to build the synopsis, but the story comes first and outline second. I’m often as surprised as my characters are along the way. Plotting would be much more efficient, I’m sure, but I’ve given into the fact my mind doesn’t work that way and now I enjoy the unexpected on the journey to The End.

TBR: How do you develop your characters?
Babette:  It’s all very organic. In writing Clear As Day, my character Kay appeared first in her lakeside campsite, already independent, reserved, and commitment-shy. Then the man who would become easy-going, globetrotting photographer Nate showed up to disrupt her careful, comfortable rut in life. As I explored why he’d shown up on her beach and his connection to Kay, their simple friends-with-benefits relationship proved not so simple and their conflict, love story, and their tight-knit group of friends bloomed from there.

TBR: Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?
Babette: Nora Roberts has said, “You can’t edit a blank page.” This really sums up the best advice I’ve received on writing. Just get those words out and on the page and don’t worry until you’re done. You can fix them later.

TBR: Did any music inspire your book? Do you have a playlist?
Babette: I love listening to music at all time, but especially while I write and I’ve collected different playlists for each story.  Clear As Day takes place in a summer vacation setting and I began its playlist by collecting songs that made me think of summer and vacation and longing. What I found interesting as I wrote Clear As Day, and as I am working on the sequels, is how the characters’ own musical tastes shaped the playlists as their personalities emerged, some songs of which surprised me since I don’t normally listen to pop or rock music. The playlist for Clear As Day can be found here:

TBR: Tease us with one little thing about your fictional world that makes it different from others.
Babette: I think that the backcountry camping setting of Clear As Day makes it different from other vacation-set romances. Clear As Day is set against July desert heat and cool waters of Lake Mohave, a reservoir downstream from the Hoover Dam formed out of stretch of the Colorado River by the Davis Dam. My cover shows a glimpse of the shoreline. It’s a starkly beautiful location and lets you feel you’ve gone somewhere completely remote even though it’s accessible in only a little over an hour from Las Vegas. My characters go to Lake Mohave every July to get away from it all for two weeks of friends, fun, fast boats and fishing. Their camping site is only accessible by boat and there are no amenities at camp beyond the sparkling lake water, scenic desert, and wide blue sky. It was definitely a challenge for more intimate scenes!

TBR: What's next for you?
Babette: I’m currently hard at work to finish and submit the sequel, tentatively titled Love Burns. I love this new couple, who are two of Nate and Kay’s friends, and I have enjoyed seeing their story come to life as they work through their personal trials and find their own happily ever after together. And other friends will be joining Kay and Nate in falling in love at the river.

TBR: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
The most angst is definitely in the editing stages. All that lovely word count, those brilliant passages ( lol ), and fun lines now must be corrected, gutted, rearranged, whittled down, tightened up, fluffed, and polished. It seems endless and it’s easy to lose sight of progress when focused at the word and sentence level.
The most rewarding: Hearing from readers how much they enjoyed the story and characters, what their favorite parts were, and that they can’t wait for the sequel.

TBR: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Among my many favorites are: J.R.R. Tolkien, Inez Kelley, Toni Blake, and Eloisa James. I love them all for their story-telling and vivid description. I just finished reading Red’s Hot Cowboy by Carolyn Brown. I’m now reading The Goblin King by Shona Husk.

TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?

TBR: Readers, Babette will give away a set of Romance Trading Cards to one lucky commenter. She'll pick a winner on May 12 and announce the winner here. Be sure to leave your email address so she can contact you.
Thanks so much for visiting TBR, Babette. All the best to you.


  1. Welcome to TBR, Babette! Love the cover for Clear as Day.

  2. Hi, Cate, thanks so much for having me here today. I love my cover! TWRP did a wonderful job capturing the characters and setting of my story.

  3. Thank you for featuring Babette and Clear As Day on your blog today. I enjoyed the interview.

    bas1chsemail at gmail dot com

  4. Hi Bas, you're the winner of the Romance Trading Cards!


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