- Welcome, Jennifer! For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?
(JM) Hello Kam, and thank you for the warm welcome! I think I was born with a pen in my hand – I’ve written stories since I could put letters together to make words. My mother (who else?) still has a copy of my first book written when I was 6, called ‘Tafy the Wunder Hors’. I have made progress in spelling since then, but the joy and creative passion is still intact. I love to invent stories.
- All writers fear the dreaded “block”. Please tell us how you handle it.
(JM) I sacrifice to Calliope, muse of epic poetry. A bar of chocolate and a cup of coffee usually do the trick. Otherwise, I’ll send a prayer to the Oneiri. In Greek mythology, the (Ὄνειροι, “Dreams”) were various gods and demigods that ruled over dreams and nightmares. My favorite would be Morpheus – god of dreams, but Phobetor, the god of nightmares, is handy too. Many of my books are born of dreams.
- Contrary to what some people envision about a romance writer’s life, it’s not all glitz and glam. Well not for the majority of us. With that bubble sadly busted, when you’re not writing, how to do you spend your time?
(JM) I have a “real” job as an assistant to an orthodontist that keeps me grounded and gives me a different kind of job satisfaction. We say, here in the office, that we make smiles. I love my work, and we have a great team working together.
- I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?
(JM) Since I live in France, and my books are all in English, it’s rather a let-down when people find out I write but that they can’t read my books. (Let down for me, that is – I can’t brag or show off, lol) So far, none have been translated into French. I have one translated into German and another in Thai – but no French. Otherwise, I don’t hesitate to tell people I’m a writer – it seems natural, since it’s so much a part of me.
- Will you share with us your all time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.
(JM) Ray Bradbury, Dorothy Dunnett, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Larry Mcmurtry, Diana Norman, Louise Penny, Ian Rankin, Philippa Gregory, Mary Renault…there are ten, but like you said, I could go on forever!
(KAM): It is truly difficult to stop at ten. Like you, I’m sure, my favorite’s list grows longer each day.
- If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love see casted in the parts?
(JM) Well, my wish came true when The Game of Thrones became a TV series – I devoured those books, and the mini-series did them justice. If I could see my Time for Alexander series be transformed into a show, like Game of Thrones, that would be so cool. I’d need a huge cast of characters, and for the main part, I’d love to see Paris Jackson play the part of Ashley – she’s a tough girl, with a strong character. She’d be perfect. As for Alexander, a certain Alexander Richard Pettyfer might be good, and Richard Madden as Plexis.
(KAM) Can you believe I’ve yet to watch it?! Maybe one day I shall see what all the fuss is about. I’ve heard rave reviews regarding the books and show.
- Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.
(JM) Not top secret, but taking a while because squeezed in with promoting and my day job – I’m writing a YA story about a daughter of a Muse, she’s mortal, lived in the present day, and wants to become a great hero so she can become immortal and join her mother’s family on Olympus. I can tell you right now, it’s an impossible dream. (But what are dreams for, right?)
(KAM) Sounds fantastic!
- Where can we find your stories and is there a particular reading order?
(JM) The first one in the Time for Alexander series is ‘The Road to Alexander””, and there are 7 books in the series. They’ll be coming out every 3 months or so – all are written and I’m just in edits with the later books. Writing is easy – editing is tough.
Otherwise, there is a list on Goodreads, and also on Amazon are a few of my other books. I have a really cool space cowboy series about horses that travel through the galaxy at Evernight Teen (‘Riders of the Lightning Storm’ is the first book in that series)……..
…..and also at Evernight are ‘Jack the Stripper’ and ‘Murder and Mayhem’ that feature zombies and vampires, oh my!
- Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?
(JM) My Time for Alexander FB page is: https://www.facebook.com/TimeforAlexander/
My blog is: https://jennifermacaire.wordpress.com/
My author webpage is: https://authorjennifermacaire.wordpress.com/
- Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.
(JM) Nothing really – except – I am eternally grateful to readers everywhere! I feel like we’re a dying breed sometimes. Buying books can be expensive and it’s hard to budget sometimes, so I am always thankful when someone takes the time to invest in one of my stories. I buy books too – my favorite pastime is reading (besides biking – I love my bicycle!) And if you, dear reader, could just put a small review or remark on your blog, tweet, Amazon review – anything – I promise that every little bit helps, and this author, at any rate, is truly thankful.
~~ Closing remarks ~~
Jennifer, thank you for divulging a bit of yourself with all of us here today. It has been a true pleasure getting to know you.
Now folks, before you go back to work/school/etc, please grace us with a few more minutes of your time and lets take a more in-depth look at The Road to Alexander.
After winning a prestigious award, Ashley is chosen to travel through time and interview a historical figure. Choosing her childhood hero Alexander the Great, she is sent back in time for less than a day. He mistakes her for Persephone, goddess of the dead, and kidnaps her, stranding her in his own time. What follows, after she awakes under the pomegranate tree, is a hilarious, mind-bending tale of a modern woman immersed in the ancient throes of sex, love, quite a bit of vino, war, death and ever so much more.
I wondered if I should speak or wait until he spoke to me. I was irritated to feel myself getting flustered. Then Alexander sat down next to me with a fluid movement and I stifled an exclamation.
‘What can I give you? Grapes? Some wine?’
‘That sounds fine,’ I said, my fingers itching for a pen so I could write down all my impressions. But I had to wait until I got back. Until then, I was supposed to make a mental note of every word and action.
He chose a grape for me and gently put it into my mouth. It was one of the most sensual gestures anyone had ever made to me. I felt faint, and, when he leaned over and kissed me, I toppled over onto the rug with hardly a whimper. Alexander obviously thought I’d come to see him for only one reason. I guess he was smothered with women throwing themselves on him, but vestal virgins? My body was saying, ‘Yes! Yes!’ My head said, ‘Ashley! Get a hold of yourself this instant!’ I sat up and pushed him away.
‘Sorry, I can’t do this,’ I said.
His expression of surprise was comical. ‘You mean, you really did come from the temple?’
‘Can we talk?’ I avoided the question and took a bunch of grapes.
‘Not those,’ he said, plucking them from my hand and putting them back into the bowl. ‘Those grapes are poisoned. I keep them in case an enemy comes. So, what do you want to talk about?’ His brow furrowed, then his face cleared. ‘Ah, yes, I recall. You’re the onirocrite. So, what dreams have you had?’
‘I dreamt that I came to your tent while you were sleeping. In your sleep you were calling out my name, the secret one that I can’t tell to anyone except the goddess. When you woke up you saw me. You said that I must come to you because you had a dream that you wanted me to interpret for you. You also said that it was a waking dream.’
He looked interested. ‘Really? And just what is a waking dream?
‘It’s like a wish,’ I said. ‘It’s what you want to do with your life. Can you tell me about it?’ I was hoping for grist for the prize-winning article that I was going to write when I got back. No one knew why Alexander had decided to conquer Persia and travel as far as the Indus River. It was a mystery, and I’d decided to solve it.
Instead of answering me, he lay back on his bed, put his arms above his head and stretched, showing off his lean body with its beautiful, flowing lines. ‘That’s too bad,’ he said. ‘I was hoping you were one of the virgins who didn’t want to be sacrificed. There are lots of them, you know,’ he added, looking at me sideways out of his magnificent eyes. ‘When they don’t want to be sacrificed they simply cease to be virgins, if you get my meaning.’
‘I do,’ I said, ‘and I’m flattered. But can we get back to the subject of my visit?’
‘A single-minded woman,’ he sighed. ‘You remind me of my mother. She’s terribly stubborn. She hated it when I sucked my thumb, so I did it for years just to spite her.’
‘Well, that explains your teeth,’ I said, vexed to be compared to his mother.
He looked at me, his expression unreadable. I started to think that maybe conversations about his mother weren’t the best idea, but all he said was, ‘You want to hear about my dreams, is that it?’
‘Please,’ I said, concentrating on his next words.
‘Very well.’ He stood up, poured two glasses of wine from an earthenware pitcher, and sat down next to me again, handing me one. The wine had a faint spicy note.
I was feeling smug. The article was going to net me a huge prize. I could just imagine the accolades. I was going to be famous; I couldn’t wait to see the faces of those who’d been waiting to see me fail. ‘Cheers,’ I said, and sipped. The drink wasn’t bad. It was young grape wine with spices and a trace of honey. It had been watered down so it was refreshing.
He raised his eyebrows. ‘Cheers?’
‘Here’s to your health,’ I amended.
We sipped our wine in silence for a few minutes while he studied me. Finally he put down his glass and shook his head. ‘There’s something strange about you,’ he said, ‘though I cannot say exactly what it is. You are impressed, I sense this, and you are interested. But, you are not afraid. Perhaps it is your lack of fear I detect the most. I am extremely attuned to fear; my father beat it into me. But it goes deeper than that.’ As he spoke, he wound his body around me, pausing now and then to touch my cheeks, my neck, or my breast. ‘I get a very peculiar feeling from you. There is a coldness, a frost that emanates from your very bones.’ He paused and ran his hands lightly down my sides.
‘I don’t know what you mean,’ I stammered. ‘I’ve wanted to meet you since I first heard about you. It was a dream, and now it’s come true.’ The passion in my voice startled me. I frowned, struggling to keep my emotions in check. This was not the cool, calm, collected Ashley I knew.
Alexander took my hand, stroking the inside of my wrist before pressing it to his mouth. ‘I want to bite you,’ he said. ‘I want to shake you out of your indifference. I want to hear you scream.’ He stared at me, a fierce expression in his uncanny eyes. ‘My mother is cold like you. She’s as cold as the ice on the mountaintops.’
I shivered. ‘I’m sorry if I appear cold. It was my parents’ fault. I had to stay quiet, otherwise I was punished.’
‘Perhaps that’s it.’ He tilted his head and looked at me. I felt the blood rush to my cheeks. There was such intensity in his gaze that I had to struggle not to drop my eyes. ‘Did you know that of all the living things on this earth, only man can look another man in the eye? My teacher, an old Greek, taught me that. He is a very intelligent man. He said that the world was round like an orange, and that the stars we see at night are in reality other earths, like this one, or suns. Is that heresy, do you think, or is it truth? I would like to know the answer to those questions and to so many more. I want to see the ends of the earth where the water drops off into a great chasm. Of course, if my teacher is right, I shall never find that. Instead, I will end up where I started out.’ He sighed, then leaned over and lifted a corner of the tent to peer outside. ‘It’s getting near midday, I have to go see my troops. Will you stay, or will you go back to your temple?’
‘If you please,’ I said humbly, ‘I’d like to stay.’
‘I please.’ He smiled then, and I realized that his face had more expressions than anyone’s I’d ever seen, including the great actors and mimes. His smile seemed to bloom from within, to reach out and caress me, and to bind me to him.
Anyone on the receiving end of that smile, I thought, would walk straight off the edge of the world if Alexander asked him to.