Interview with Josephine Kent

What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is 'The Chef's Choice'. It should have been written before 'Jackson's Mark', but I needed to establish the central location of the series. Chef Peter meets the woman of his dreams, and so far, she's been very easy to get. The trouble is, what seems easy to get turns out to be a whole lot of work to keep. Her name is Emille, and she's a composite of women I know.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was raised in the West Indies. My parents were avid readers, so books were literally everywhere. My siblings are all older, and they'd have textbooks around the place. My folks would read those as well as their own fiction and nonfiction books, leading by example. The school system was big on literacy and Caribbean writers, some of whom lived in my community. My grandfather specialized in writing toasts. The written word was all around me as a child, and I wanted to be the next Jamaica Kincaid, Sam Selvon, and Simon Jones-Hendrickson, Austin Clark, V.S. Niapaul, Zee Edgell, Merle Hodge. What I didn't anticipate was that I'd end up falling in love with the Romance Genre, or that I'd end up migrating to Texas.
Describe your desk
My lap and my wall. I can't see anything on a desk, and I'd get distracted if I had to stay in one place and work. Funny, but I like knowing I can sit on my back steps and work. I keep what I need on my computer desktop and my notes on a wall in what should be the office.
What is your writing process?
I carry a notebook everywhere just in case I get an idea during a block. And when I'm on a roll, I go to my computer and pound it out. I've tried following the standard formats for the process, but I'm too much of a rebel for that. When I'm done, I put everything together and make something out of the pieces. It's like writing a book three times instead of once, and a whole lot of editing and reediting, but I don't mind. Once the story is done, I work on formatting it. Most importantly, I do not compromise on my reading time. I'll fool around with writing and then go on a bender, but I try to make sure I get some reading in. It's like a vitamin that prevents writer's block.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Embracing the crazy. I believe that every author of fiction is a little bit out of their mind. For example, I've got a thousand characters inside my head vying for my attention. The only way I can get any peace is to tell their stories. I am compelled to do it even when you don't want to, because I experience things before I write them, even if it's only in my imagination. And when I publish that work it is both terrible and satisfying. For a short while, I can breathe before it's time to write again. It is absolutely exhilarating.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Thinking about what I'll write when I next get the chance. My sister and I have a shop on Etsy called Le Exquis. I'm usually busy working in the shop if I'm not writing. You should stop by if you get the chance.
What do your fans mean to you?
Gosh! Every single time someone downloads one of my books on Smashwords, and I see that change, I'm on eggshells for a long time after. I wonder if they enjoyed the novella. I wonder if they'll come back for more. I wonder if they believe in me. I have made a lot of sacrifices in order to write, and I don't know how to do anything else. I'd like to say that I survive on the sales I receive from Smashwords, but that's hardly the case. At the very least, I would like to survive on the support and reviews of my fans. Those are bread and water to me.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I was five years old when I wrote my first story. You'll never know the work that went into it. I had to make sure my penmanship was just right, and that what I wanted to say came out just right. I'd just returned from a visit to Toronto, where we'd visited the zoo. For some strange reason, all I could remember was this elephant, so my first story ended up being a description of the elephant.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story I ever read was 'The Gingerbread Man.' I was three years old. It was a coloring book, but I never took a crayon to it. I read that book over and over and over. I read it everywhere. My life was like a Dr. Seuss book for a long while. I firmly believe that the best thing anyone can do for children is to read to them. Even if they want you to read the same thing over and over again. Read it. That's how they are learning. They are learning the words on the page, and how to imagine. That book taught me that words can open up the world to a reader.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
My five favorite books are:

1. The Falcon's Mistress by Emma Darcy - It was the first romance novel I ever read. The clandestine things I had to do so my mother wouldn't see me with it makes this book special.
2. The Polished Hoe by Austin Clarke - You'd have to read it to understand. It's a murder confession.
3. Night Storm by Catherine Coulter - Alec Carrick and Eugenia Paxton are my favorite couple outside of my own stories.
4. Tarzan of the Apes and the rest of the series by Edgar Rice Burroughs - It was hard to choose between Tarzan and John Carter, but Tarzan is like a Jungle James Bond. No woman can resist that.
5. Heidi by Johanna Spyri - My sister bought it for me, but also it's a reminder that children know more than we give them credit for.
Published 2013-08-23.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Chef's Choice
Series: Love's Choice. Price: Free! Words: 26,540. Language: English. Published: September 13, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Romance » Short stories
Peter Anjou is the Executive Chef at 'Jackson's Mark', South Texas' most famous steakhouse. He has everything he could possibly want out of life: a great job, amazing friends, female companionship whenever he wants it. And Emille Carter. Everything he does is for her. When they fall out of contact, there's only one way for Peter to get his world back into equilibrium. Find her where she is.
The Finish Line
Price: Free! Words: 24,670. Language: English. Published: August 3, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Romance » Short stories
Their one night together was a complete letdown, but Hilliard Griffin was still obsessed with her. When the woman he knows only as 'Anna' stumbles into his office ill, he accepts his fate. The problem is that Anna doesn't believe that they belong together. After she repeatedly rejects him, he decides to wait at the finish line for her to realize what true love is.
Everything She Wants
Price: Free! Words: 16,450. Language: English. Published: July 27, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Romance » Short stories
Amaryllis Ashley is tired of waiting passively at home for her husband's attention. And she is beginning to hate him for tempting her into divorce. Amy, after all, married for life. Given the options of sleeping with his wife or sleeping on the sofa, Orion Ashley took the sofa. He would never touch her in the home she'd inherited. Orion never bargained on his wife kicking herself out of the bed.
Jackson's Mark
Series: Love's Choice. Price: Free! Words: 16,120. Language: English. Published: July 27, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Romance » Short stories
Marcia has had a major problem for a long time. His name is Jackson Cole. She's tried fighting back, and she's tried ignoring him. But that's the trouble with problems. They won't just go away. Jack is tired of his intentions being misinterpreted where Marcia's concerned. He hijacks her for the holidays, hoping she'll stay put long enough for him to show her how he really feels about her.
Drawing the Line
Price: Free! Words: 14,580. Language: English. Published: November 16, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Short stories, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Corvette and Brody have been friends since the day she recruited him to be her hero. Now older, it appears that only Brody has grown wiser. Only one thing in Brody's love-life remains constant: Corvette. Every breakup was caused by her refusal to let their friendship die. Brody's drawing the line. Either he convinces the woman with the most staying power to stay with him, or he moves on.
Reckless Prudence
Series: Love's Choice. Price: Free! Words: 6,130. Language: English. Published: March 16, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Short stories
Margo is tired of Kellie's refusal to become romantically involved with someone, even temporarily. In order to help her friend live a more fulfilled life, she arranges for a girl's night at a trendy restaurant. When Margo arrives nearly an hour late, she finds Kellie with a glass in her hand and a gleam in her eye.