Interview with J.A. Turner

What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book, Dear Diary: Sherri's Mark, started off as a short story about a one-time fling between a flustered nurse and beefy mechanic after she breaks down on the interstate and he stops to help her out. When I shared it with a small group of my friends, they all urged me to keep going. So, I did. Nearly a year after I initially started it, I'm ready to release it to the public. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as my girlfriends do.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up along the Gulf Coast, mostly in Pensacola, FL, but pretty much everywhere from Tallahassee to Houma, LA. It's an area teeming with adventure during the day and full of ghost stories at night. I was a river rat, but my husband, who grew up in Pensacola as well, was a beach bum. Talk about night and day. I think the main influence the area has on my writing, other than locale, is vernacular. I tend to talk and write with a southern drawl and use phrases that mean squat to people who don't understand redneck slang. I say 'Y'all' a lot, lol.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Raising two teenage boys. That's a full time job all by itself. When I'm not hanging out with them, working on school projects, catching up on our favorite TV shows, watching the newest movies, comparing notes on the latest books we've read, or gossiping about all the things teenagers gossip about, I'm usually cooking, cleaning, walking one - or both - of my fur-babies, or planning the next road trip with my best friend to a book signing or concert. Occasionally, I find time to spend with my husband, who I've been married to for nearly eighteen years. Luckily, he gets it.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't remember the first story I read, but I do remember listening to Romeo and Juliette on my uncle's record player when I was still too young to read. I remember being blown away by the fact that someone had imagined the whole thing...which was how my uncle explained the creative writing process to my tiny four-year old brain. I'm still in love with Shakespeare to this day.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Actually, I do. I was in second grade and we had to collaborate with upperclassmen, the fifth graders, to write a short story about Christmas. My mentor allowed me to write the whole thing, but I think she was just being lazy. It was a silly story about Santa getting stuck in the chimney at a home after eating too many cookies and drinking too much milk. The little boy and little girl who lived in the house found him Christmas morning and wanting to save Christmas for all the other little boys and girls, promptly lubed Santa up with a bottle of cooking oil from their mom's pantry. He slipped right on up after that and continued on his way.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Most of the ebooks I read are ones that are recommended by the various book clubs I'm in. Occasionally, I'll stumble across one that just catches my eye and rarely am I disappointed.
How do you approach cover design?
With a bottle of Xanax in one hand and a triple shot of espresso in the other. I'm just kidding, I don't drink espresso.
Seriously though, cover design is not my strong suit. It takes me days, sometimes weeks, to design the simplest of covers. If people didn't choose a book by it's cover, all of my books would be plain white with the title imprinted in bold black. Catchy, right?
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Really? I can only pick 5? That's so hard!

1) Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley... I've always been a huge fan of Gone with the Wind and the summer that Scarlett was released was the summer I had to spend in bed due to back surgery. I probably read that book a dozen times that summer. It's just a fantastic read.

2) The American Nights & Wilderness (the lost writings of Jim Morrison)...It's Jim Morrison! It's poetry. It's dark. It's sexy. It's Jim Morrison. What's not to love?

3)Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon...I love her Dark Hunter's series and she's a phenomenal writer. I felt like I knew Acheron personally after I read his book. And it doesn't hurt that he's a super hot immortal.

4) Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry...I know it's a bit macabre, but I've always had a deep fascination with the Manson family murders and this book scared the daylights out of me when I was a teenager.

5) The FSOG trilogy...not only was it fan-fiction based on the Twilight Saga, which I adore, it helped inspire me to start writing again after a very long hiatus. And, come on, who doesn't want the billionaire with a kinky fetish to fall in love with them?
What do you read for pleasure?
Well, it's certainly not instruction manuals or self-help books, though I should probably read more of those things. I read whatever my kids are reading so that we can talk about it. I read whatever my friends are reading so we can talk about it. I read everything Sherrilyn Kenyon puts out. I'll read just about anything...but I especially love all the wonderful new erotic romance that's been coming out lately.
Describe your desk
Well, sometimes it's my kitchen table, sometimes it's my bedroom floor, sometimes it's a booth at McDonald's cause I'm out and need WiFi, sometimes it's my friend's couch, sometimes it's my car (when the hubs is driving). My desk is wherever I'm sitting when inspiration strikes.
When did you first start writing?
When I was nine. I got my first journal that year and started writing poetry and making up stories about my invisible pet squirrel, Mr. Greengut, who would run along the power lines and follow me where ever I went. I think I knew back then that I wanted to spend my life putting words on paper.
Published 2013-11-10.
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