Today, I bring you an author interview with Mari Jack. A flute player with many years of experience playing in bands and orchestras. Mari's musical experience and passion for contemporary romance stories spawned the creation of the Allegretto Band novel series. Mari lives in beautiful New Zealand.
So, lets find out more:
Tell me about yourself
I am a romance writer and administrator by day and a musician by night (I play the flute in two military-style symphonic bands and also play the piccolo in one of them). I’m also very passionate about human rights, especially disability rights and raising awareness of abuse and discrimination against disabled people. Ableism is one of the most commonly reported types of discrimination, yet it seems to be the least talked about, so I’m using my writing to speak out about this as well as share my ideas for sexy romance stories.
How long have you been writing?
I started writing at the end of 2013, so that’s almost ten years now. It took a lot of practice and drafting before I wrote anything publishable, which is why I didn’t get anything published until recently. (By the way, I’m self-published – I decided to do things my way, rather than having to conform to agents’, editors’ or publishing houses’ standards!)
What do you like to read?
Anything by Bella Andre. I was lucky enough to meet her at a Romance Writers of New Zealand conference in Auckland a few years back. She was very nice, and encouraging of new writers to give their best shot.
What drew you to writing your chosen genre?
I’d been reading contemporary romance stories for a few months and kept an eye out for stories about sexy male band or orchestra conductors. I didn’t find any, but it wasn’t until I was at a band social event, talking with a fellow flute player about real-life flirtatious conductors when I got the idea to write about them.
You are also a musician. How does this inspire your writing?
Wildly-behaved conductors, of course! But also my own real-life musical experiences, like working with young musicians, along with my daydreams of things like featuring in TV soundtracks. Many of my characters are modelled on my actual band mates, and it helps that I have a trumpet player in one of my bands who’s also a policeman. He helps me with writing police scenes, so I can get police procedures as accurate as possible.
Do you listen to music when you write?
Yes, I listen to whatever I feel like listening to at the time. I have a stereo in my writing office, along with a CD collection ranging from rock music to Michael Bublé.
What was the first book you published?
Facing the Music, the first book in my Allegretto Band series. It follows a flute player who has been asked to work with an ensemble of young flute players, which her band conductor has formed. The attraction that grows between flutist and conductor is undeniable, but they each have painful personal secrets which they keep from each other for fear of their flute group and their love falling apart.
Tell me about your latest release?
A Thing Called Compassion is the third book in my Allegretto Band series, and has more suspense elements than the previous two. The hero is a clarinettist in the band who also has a singing career, which is really taking off after he features in a major TV theme song. He’s been offered an opportunity to sing in a TV ad about bullying, which will also feature the heroine playing her French horn. He can’t help thinking she’s the most attractive woman in the band, and recording for this ad is perfect for her as she’s writing a book about bullying as part of her counselling job outside the band. But along the way, mysterious events happen, from fires to strange recurring dreams. The meaning behind these events could have something to do with their bullying ad, maybe someone who wants the hero and heroine silenced, and if they don’t solve this trouble soon, they will be in terrible danger.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A bit of both – I plot the main points of books beforehand and pants in between. One of my writer friends says I’m a “plotser”.
What advice would you give to a new author?
There’s so much advice I could give, but right now, I will say, don’t give up. If you don’t succeed, keep trying. And if anyone discourages you, don’t listen to them. They either don’t understand your goals or they’re jealous because they failed in landing their dream job. If anything, you can prove them wrong when they say you can’t or shouldn’t do it.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Aside from playing the flute and piccolo, I love reading, running, shopping and checking out vintage 1930s fashions. Also, socialising with friends, writer and non-writer. It’s always nice to catch up and talk about what’s been happening in our lives.
Thank you to Mari for joining us on the blog. If you would like to know more, click on the links below.