J.C. LONG on Characters, Writing, and his new release ‘Hearts in Ireland’ (Guest Blog/Tour)

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Hearts in Ireland (World of Love) by J.C. Long
D
reamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Valerie Tibbs | Tibbs Design

Available for Purchase at

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host J.C. Long here today on his Hearts in Ireland blog tour. Welcome, J.C.!

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Welcome everybody to the next stop on my Hearts in Ireland blog tour! I’m J. C. Long, author  of Hearts in Ireland, coming May 10th, 2017! I’m so glad to be here on Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words. I love to talk about myself (just joking, haha. Okay, maybe not entirely a joke) so today I’m bringing you an interview! The people folks here at SW&RT asked some really good questions, and I’m really excited to answer them! Without further ado, on to the questions!

How much of yourself goes into a character?

I try to make my characters far more well-rounded than I am. If a majority of my characters were like me, the stories would be pretty boring pretty quickly, I think. But, with that said, there are definitely elements of my personality or little quirks that do shine through into the characters, though I don’t often realize it until I’ve finished writing. Noah Potter in my novel A Matter of Duty shares my love of spicy food and aversion to certain textures of food, like tofu. The self confidence issues that the character Tate suffers in Broadway Babe are very much my own. But Ronan, from this upcoming story, is the closest to me. He has the most of me I think I’ve ever put into a character.

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

I think it’s important for an author to avoid the perfect, idealized characters as much as possible. Perfection is boring. No one wants to read a character that doesn’t make a mistake, because those are usually characters with absolutely zero agency.

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

Honesty time: I hate most research, which does influence what I write, I think. Let’s just say you will NOT be getting a Victorian era historical from me (I hate that era, anyway). When I select a project that requires research, I always want it to be something that I love and am interested in. My Hong Kong Nights series required quite a bit of research into the city, but I found it to be really interesting and fun. Science fiction and fantasy have a great appeal because of the ability to make up worlds and cultures as I go along.

Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

Yes! I have a contemporary romance WIP that’s sitting about 75% finished. I can’t touch it yet. It involves a character who loses his grandmother, who raised him. This time last year my grandmother passed away, and that loss was devastating. Any time I approach that story I get overwhelmed and can’t think straight. I hope to finish it one day, when the time is right, but for now it’s on hold.

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I didn’t read romance much as a teenager; I was far more into scifi and fantasy. I do read it now as an adult. I’ve developed an appreciation for just how wonderful the genre is (and how difficult to write, as a writer, when the world is a dark and scary place).

How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part)

I like this question. Part of the cover process for me is trusting the artist and the publisher. They know what’s marketable and what will sell the best. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve loved all of the covers I’ve had for my books. With Hearts in Ireland I was given three choices, and I was stuck between the one you see and a second. My boyfriend actually was the tiebreaker for me.

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

My favorite? That’s a bit difficult. Each story is meaningful to me in its own way. This one is the one that my heart is most invested in, I’ll say that. I can tell you my least favorite—it’s always the one I’m working on right now!

What’s next for you as an author?

I’ve got a busy year ahead of me! I’m currently working on the follow-up to Broadway Boys. When that’s finished I’m jumping into the third book in my Hong Kong Nights series and after that the third book in my Gabe Maxfield Mysteries series (the first and second will be out sometime this year).

Blurb:

When the future is shrouded and it’s hard to find direction, maybe it’s time to let the heart lead the way….

Ronan Walker stands at a crossroads, unsure how to pursue his education… unsure if he even wants to. Now that his mother is gone, all he has left are the wonderful stories of her youth in Ireland, and he’s drawn to the land of his ancestors. There, he seeks out his mother’s family and meets Fergal Walsh, who works at Ronan’s aunt’s bookstore. A love of literature facilitates a fast friendship between the two men, and even though Ronan cannot deny the potential—and his desire—for more, he cannot see a future for the two of them when he leaves Ireland. Fergal must persuade Ronan to give school in Dublin a chance—and convince Ronan that his heart has already found its home.

 

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

About the Author

J. C. Long is an American expat living in Japan, though he’s also lived stints in Seoul, South Korea—no, he’s not an Army brat; he’s an English teacher. He is also quite passionate about Welsh corgis and is convinced that anyone who does not like them is evil incarnate. His dramatic streak comes from his lifelong involvement in theater. After living in several countries aside from the United States, J. C. is convinced that love is love, no matter where you are, and is determined to write stories that demonstrate exactly that.

His favorite things in the world are pictures of corgis, writing, and Korean food (not in that order… okay, in that order). J. C. spends his time not writing thinking about writing, coming up with new characters, attending Big Bang concerts, and wishing he were writing. The best way to get him to write faster is to motivate him with corgi pictures. Yes, that is a veiled hint.

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A Melanie Release Day Review: Hearts in Ireland (World of Love) by J.C. Long

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

 

When the future is shrouded and it’s hard to find direction, maybe it’s time to let the heart lead the way….

Ronan Walker stands at a crossroads, unsure how to pursue his education… unsure if he even wants to. Now that his mother is gone, all he has left are the wonderful stories of her youth in Ireland, and he’s drawn to the land of his ancestors. There, he seeks out his mother’s family and meets Fergal Walsh, who works at Ronan’s aunt’s bookstore. A love of literature facilitates a fast friendship between the two men, and even though Ronan cannot deny the potential—and his desire—for more, he cannot see a future for the two of them when he leaves Ireland. Fergal must persuade Ronan to give school in Dublin a chance—and convince Ronan that his heart has already found its home.

Ronan Walker’s mother left her beloved Ireland to marry his father and move to America, leaving part of herself behind.  Ronan was raised on stories of her family, songs of Ireland and her mother’s love for the land she left for a greater love.  Now his mother is gone, and in his grief, Ronan is stuck. Mired in depression and his inability to move forward until a talk with his father and the sudden realization that he needs to go to Ireland…take the trip his mother waited too late to make.

The character of Ronan is easy to understand when you think about someone who has lost his mother, someone he was so close to, who almost grounded him his whole life.  He has lost his mooring and now needs to find himself and in a way, his mother leads the way home for Ronan once more.  She leads him to Ireland and family.

J.C. Long’s description of Abhainn Dún—River Fort, the village where Aunt Gwendolyn and cousin Hannah live is wonderful.  I could see so easily the houses with the ancient Agas and the stores with the lanes leading up to them.  I felt as though I’d been there and that includes the pub.  In fact every part of this element of the story was vivid and real.  It made Ronan’s journey to a new life and a new love grounded and believable.  I got it when Ronan felt that he was finally at home in Abhainn Dún, amid family he knew of but now were a part of his heart.  Even the character of Fergal Walsh, who’s less substantial in feel than the others, still has a ring of authenticity about him.  This is a HFN, a promise of a start for Ronan and Fergal, which is as it should be, nothing more.

I could definitely see a sequel for Hearts in Ireland, Ronan has just begun his new start here in Ireland.  But if that doesn’t happen, I’m happen to have read this story.  It’s a lovely read, heartwarming and sweet.  Definitely one I recommend.

Cover Artist: Valerie Tibbs | Tibbs Design.  Lovely with Dublin on the  cover along with the River Liffey and a terrific representation of the character.

Sales Links

Book Details:

ebook, 119 pages
Expected publication: May 10th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Original Title Hearts in Ireland
ISBN 1635334500 (ISBN13: 9781635334500)
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series World of Love