Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our fifteenth official author interview on this romance blog! I know in the past, we did character interviews then switched over to the author’s take on it, but this approach is a bit unusual.
We have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak one-on-one with a talented author. Please join me in welcoming Jamie Schulz to ILRB! 😀
Marie Lavender: Hello, Jamie. Please have a seat.
Author Jamie Schulz: Hi, Marie!
Marie: Hey, such a pleasure to have you here!
I’m going to throw in some standard questions first.
Obviously, we know your occupation as an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do?
I know I’m overloading you with questions, but we’re really interested in finding out more about you…
Jamie: I am a romance author who writes mashup genres that are just a little different from the norm. I have a broad range of stories floating around in my head, so there’ll be some of the normal genres too, like contemporary romance, romantic suspense, maybe even some paranormal romance in the future (I really like Dragons!).
Am I any good at it?
In a word? Yes. (Well, at least, I’d like to think so, but it’s up to the reader to decide for themselves.)
Do I like it? I love it!
Marie: Happy to hear it!
So, tell us…what is your family like?
Jamie: Right now, it’s just my wonderful husband and myself with our little fur baby, but we’re hoping to add one more to our number soon.
Marie: That’s wonderful! ♥
Let’s try something else, okay?
If it doesn’t bother you at all, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?
Jamie: Your typical one-story rambler. It was cozy and comfortable. I have many fond memories of the place.
Do you have any hobbies, Jamie? What do you enjoy doing?
Jamie: I have a few. Reading has always been a favorite, of course, but I also like to draw, and play the piano (when I can get my hands on one) and guitar. I love music and gardening too.
I really enjoy writing and making up stories. I love to see where they go, because it’s not always to where I’d thought they would when I started. I like to camp, garden, can our vegetables and fruit, and go for walks outside.
And what is your greatest dream?
Jamie: To be an author and reach the bestseller lists.
Marie: Sounds like a plan! 😉
Let’s try another question.
What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?
Jamie: I wish I could be as athletic as I used to be and not worry about anything.
What is stopping me? Getting older and old injuries from being athletic and not always so smart when I was young
Who was your first love?
Jamie: Hmm… He was a friend, we were kids, and we never dated. Sad, I know.
Marie: In any case, life seems to have worked out well for you! 😀
So, with the next question, I hope I’m not prying too much, but we are curious…
What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?
Jamie: If you’re talking about accidents or bad choices, I have one. Getting a big, heavy car stuck in a snow bank on Easter Sunday, miles and miles from a main road with no way to pull the car out, and all through no fault of my own. This was before the proliferation of cell phones, so we couldn’t just call someone, even if there was service out there. Ended up staying the night. We were planning on walking out the next morning, but luckily a forest Ranger was checking the roads and he happened upon us. Fortunately, he had a rope to pull us out. Not a fun trip.
Marie: Yikes! 😕
At least you got out safely.
Let’s move on to another topic, shall we?
What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?
Jamie: To have a family and to be a successful author.
Did I achieve that dream? I’m still working on both, but I’m far closer to them now than I was even a year ago.
In what ways was it not what I expected? The author part involves a lot of things I didn’t expect to have to do. I’m an Indie author, so I don’t have a crew of people to help me with formatting, editing, story development, cover art, book description, publishing, social media, and marketing. I had to learn how to do all those things, and I’m still learning every day.
The family part I always thought would take care of itself, but it didn’t turn out that way. We’re still working on it and hope it will be resolved very soon!
I didn’t meet the right person and the situation didn’t present itself for a long time. Now that I have a great guy in my life, it’s time to add that extra piece.
The author dream got put on hold for a really long time due to life and all the crap it can throw at you. Now that I’ve got to a relatively comfortable place, I have some time to devote to what I love to do. I hope to be able to do it full-time at some point.
Marie: Oh, I know exactly what you mean! I hope to have both of those as well…
So, who is your role model, Jamie?
Jamie: My mom.
Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?
Jamie: There are a few of these, but I’ll never tell you who they are.
Marie: No worries, I respect your privacy.
Let’s try something different.
What is your deepest desire?
Jamie: To be a full-time author with a family.
Marie: And what is your greatest fear?
Jamie: That my dream of a family will never come true.
And hornets! I hate those mean little things.
Marie: Oh, no! I really don’t think that will be the case. It will work out one way or another. 😉
And, oh, man, bugs drive me crazy. We have so many in Indiana. 🙄
Let’s switch gears for a second…
If you were trapped on a deserted island, what five essentials would you need with you? They don’t have to be practical.
Jamie: A trunk full of my favorite books. My husband and fur baby (does that count as two?). Some lounge chairs. A comfy bed. And sun screen.
Marie: (Chuckles.) Yes, why not? I think I’d bring all the Black Dagger Brotherhood books I’ve collected. What else could pass the time? Well, other than spending time with my fiancé, of course.
Readers, let’s get the author’s perspective on one of her characters. 🙂
We’ve heard rumors about the hero of your story, Jake Nichols. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about him?
Jamie: Jake is a tenderhearted guy who’s gone through a lengthy, very traumatic experience. At the beginning of the story, Jake is an imprisoned slave and is worried that he will die in the dark cell where he’s been confined. Through the story, he thinks about his best friend and misses him more than he wants to admit. He’s afraid of women due to his experiences, but is still attracted to them (some of them, anyway).
And what are Jake’s greatest strengths?
Jamie: His integrity, kindness, intelligence, and loyalty.
Marie: How admirable! 😀
And his weaknesses?
Jamie: His fear of his tormentor and his worry that he’ll never be the man he used to be again.
Marie: I’m sure some of us can relate to that one…trauma definitely changes you.
Let’s try something fun, shall we?
What are Jake’s favorite foods?
Jamie: He’s not picky. After living in the wild for a number of years, he’s learned to eat what he can get.
Marie: All right.
How about another question?
What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?
Jamie: His loyalty makes him a very good friend, and his kindness makes people trust him.
Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?
Jamie: I think readers will like Jake very much for all the reasons I’ve already mentioned, plus there’s the fact that he’s far better looking than he believes. 😉
(Laughs and fans herself.) Hot gentlemen book boyfriends are my weakness!
Now that we have a real taste of Jake, we have a few questions for you as well as the author, about the writing process of your book.
What first gave you the idea for Jake’s Redemption?
Jamie: Well, I actually wrote the first five books of the series before I even thought of writing Jake’s story. But, the more I got into the story, the more I felt that Jake needed one that was all his own. Parts of his tale are told in more detail later in the series when he feels his best friend Bret needs to know, but I thought it was important that readers knew what brought him and Monica together before they got to know Bret and Angel.
Marie: That’s sort of what happened with book three of my historical romance trilogy. Suddenly, I realized that readers needed a glimpse into certain characters that had always been in the series, but I’d never gone into too much detail in the past. So it became a family saga as well as a Victorian romance.
It’s fascinating how the muse works, huh? 😀
Let’s try something else.
What is your writing style like, Jamie? Are you a pantster or a plotter?
Jamie: Actually, I’d say I’m a ‘plantser’. I do plan out the story and make outlines, but a lot of the time the story evolves as I’m writing and I have to edit the original idea. Most of the time this is good. Sometimes it gets messy, but it’s how I work and it works for me.
I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Jake’s Redemption or publishing it? What would you do differently the next time?
Jamie: Learning how to navigate all the marketing was a nightmare. I’m still wading through how to reach the right readers, but I’m slowly getting better. Then there was how to build a mailing list and how to use it. That’s not as easy as it sounds and I’ve made some mistakes. Luckily, I found some great online mentors to ask questions of who helped me understand much of the process, and who are still doing so, for me and many others.
As far as writing, development editing can be hard as you often end up rewriting or deleting whole chapters. It was difficult to do at first, but once you realize how much better the story is, the process gets easier.
What I’d do differently? Well, if I have the money, I’d hire someone to do a beautiful cover (which I may do with Jake’s Redemption anyway), as well as hire a virtual assistant to take care of all the small tasks that take up so much of my time. That way I’d have more time to write. I work full time and am working on that family thing I mentioned earlier, so it can be very difficult to find time to write or edit, especially when there’s so many other things to do.
Marie: Oh, I hear ya! 😀 It is tough to navigate the publishing world.
As for the cover, I think it’s perfect! I look forward to learning about the other books in the series as well.
It was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog! And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Jake’s Redemption appears to be… ♥
Jake’s Redemption is the first book in the Angel Eyes cowboy dystopian romance series.
If you like scorching-hot chemistry, clever post-apocalyptic worlds, and star-crossed love stories, then you’ll adore Jamie Schulz’s captivating tale.
Genres: Romance, Cowboy/Western, Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic/Sci-fi, Suspense
Here is the blurb:
An imprisoned cowboy. An empowered woman. When true love is forbidden, opening their hearts could destroy them both…
Chained and enslaved, Jake Nichols is convinced he’ll die alone. In this new order where men are stripped of all power, he endures brutal torture at the hands of his female captor. But when he’s hired out to build a ranch home for an outspoken beauty, his dreams of escape transform into visions of passion.
Monica Avery struggles to fill her heart in a loveless society. With marriage outlawed and romantic partners reduced to pawns, she’s given up hope of finding her soul mate. But watching the rugged rancher hard at work on her shelter awakens her deeply buried desires.
As the project comes together, Monica discovers a kindred spirit in the tenderhearted Jake. But despite their growing attraction, he still belongs to a cruel woman who’d rather see him dead than free.
Can Monica save Jake, or will their love lead to a tragic tomorrow?
Here’s a peek at the story…
JAKE NICHOLS knelt in defeat on the cold ground of the mountain meadow, directly beside his best friend, Bret Masters. Defenseless, with their fingers laced together behind their heads, their eyes scanned the surroundings for any escape from the Raiders who had attacked their camp in the early morning hours.
Both men scowled up at their captor, a woman Bret had foolishly—and against Jake’s repeated warnings—loved to distraction. Jake risked a quick glance at his friend, knowing the pain Bret must be suffering in the wake of her betrayal. He felt the bite of it too, only for a different reason. Bret was family, and what hurt him, hurt Jake. His protective nature made him long to shield Bret from the misery this woman inflicted.
“I don’t care for you,” Amy had said only moments ago, indifferent to the devastation Jake saw in every line of Bret’s granite-hard face. What made her confession even worse was the bit she added about only wanting to use his body.
“You do have such a pretty face, but no brains in your head,” she went on, and then laughed at Bret’s seething look. His expression made Jake ache for his friend, and he silently hoped she had nothing more to torment him with. But Amy wasn’t done with Bret yet.
“How could you think any self-respecting woman would want you for anything more than your gorgeous face and hard body?” she asked, not waiting for a reply. “A decent woman would never accept you as an equal. Any woman who would is worse than the slave you will shortly become.”
A deep growl rumbled up from Bret’s chest, and to Jake’s surprise, Bret lunged to his feet and attacked her. Seeing an opportunity, Jake and all the other prisoners immediately joined him in a last, desperate attempt to gain their freedom. Their female adversaries, however, had a new genetic advantage. It may have taken a few seconds for the hysterical-strength to kick in, but once it did, the fight, strength-wise, was no longer in the men’s favor.
The skirmish didn’t last long, but in a brief moment before it ended, Jake turned to see Amy about to drive a long-bladed knife into his best friend’s back. Jake didn’t think, he moved, tackling Amy as her weapon plunged downward from its high arch. Amy tried to wiggle away from him, but he held on, desperate to keep her from harming Bret.
“Run!” He heard Bret’s frantic shout. “Run!” The sound of pounding feet and continued battle assaulted Jake’s ears. He tried to roll away from Amy, but now she held on to him. On his hands and knees, he jerked his arm to shake her loose and follow his friend into the forest, but she wouldn’t let go.
Pain bloomed sharp and bright in his ribs as a booted foot slammed into him—once, twice—and he fell. The boot kept coming. He curled up, protecting his vulnerable areas, but his assailant still landed several blows to his head and back.
“Enough!” Amy’s voice rang out, and the assault ended. Jake spit blood from his mouth and struggled to catch his breath. The dizziness in his head and the stabbing ache in his side told him getting to his feet might be harder than it was a few minutes ago.
Definitely broke a rib or two, he thought, tonguing his split lip and rapidly cataloging the pain in the rest of his body.
“How many do we still have?” Amy shouted to someone nearby.
“Ten got away,” a woman said. “With this one,” Jake assumed she was pointing at him, “we still have twenty-seven men, along with some traitorous women and children too.”
“Is there a tall man, black hair, green eyes, very good-looking, among those we recaptured?” Amy asked, describing Bret to a tee.
“That sappy, pretty-boy son of a bitch,” Amy swore, undoubtedly meaning Bret. “I should’ve known he’d try something like that.” She cursed again.
“You know their hiding places now,” the other woman said. “We’ll catch them and their friends too.”
Jake and Bret had come across Amy by accident—or so they had thought at the time—almost seven months before as they traveled the mountains, hunting for food. She’d been hungry and in need of aid. Unsurprisingly, she took an immediate interest in Bret. Although he had a mistrusting nature, she spared little time wrapping his love-starved heart around her finger. Jake had never liked her and the two friends argued about her more than once, but despite his misgivings about Amy, Jake refused to alienate his boyhood friend. Yet as a result of her relationship with Bret, she now knew the location of most of their woodland hiding places.
“That’s true,” Amy replied to the other woman’s comment. She tapped her chin with her index finger as if considering, and then she glanced down at Jake.
He had lain very still during their interaction, hoping against hope they might forget about him.
No such luck.
“And you,” she said coming toward him. “You—”
He didn’t give her a chance to finish; he had a fairly good idea of what came next. Instead, he ignored his dizziness and the pain in his chest as he surged to his feet, pushed her aside, and ran for the trees. He’d made it six feet when he heard a crack behind him. Then something hard and thin snapped around his neck and yanked him backward. He saw stars as his head and back slammed to the ground, sending a new wave of misery through his abused body. He groaned, trying to place what just happened, and then Amy was leaning over him.
She jammed her knee into his chest, and pain shot through his damaged ribs. He lifted his arms to shove her away, but the leathery rope wrapped around his neck yanked at him again, choking off his air. Desperate, needing to get her off him, needing to breathe, he tugged at the cord strangling him. His eyes widened as Amy grabbed him by the hair and tilted his head back to expose his throat. He reached for her again, but the minute the edge of her knife grazed his flesh, his arms collapsed to the ground and he froze.
The binding around his neck loosened and fell away as Amy glared into his face. Blessed air came freely, but the simple act of breathing caused his ribs to twinge more.
With the suffocating rope gone, his hands automatically lifted off the ground to defend himself. Amy’s knife cut a tiny fraction deeper. Blood tickled his neck as the warm liquid trickled over his cool skin, and he froze once more, afraid to even breathe.
“Uh-uh,” Amy warned as she increased the pressure slightly, widening the gash a bit more and digging the point of her blade into his Adam’s apple.
His mouth went dry. Is she going to slit my throat?
“Looks like Bret didn’t value your friendship as much as you thought, huh, Jake?” Amy said with a nasty smile, her dark brown eyes glittering down at him. Jake cringed inwardly. He knew that wasn’t the case. In the chaos, Bret probably hadn’t even realized Jake had been captured, and wouldn’t until he failed to show at their rendezvous point. But her implication twisted at his guts nonetheless.
A second woman stepped up behind Amy, coiling the long black length of a bullwhip in her hand.
So, that’s what was strangling me…I should’ve known.
“You fucked up my plans, Jake, just as much as your damned friend,” Amy hissed at him when he didn’t respond to her earlier comment. “If it weren’t for you, he’d be mine and you’d both make me rich. Now, I have to settle for you and those other losers we caught today.”
“What’re—you going—to do with me?” He stifled a groan for his halting speech and glared daggers at the woman hovering over him.
“Oh, I think you know what we do with captured men,” Amy chuckled. She tilted her head, and a strand of her amber-blonde hair fell into her face as her eyes raked over him.
“You know, Jake,” she said reflectively, “you’re a good-looking guy. If Bret hadn’t been around, you would’ve been my target. It’s only next to a man like him that you’d seem second best. But then, you were always suspicious of me, weren’t you? Maybe once you’ve been trained, I’ll pay you another visit.”
He clamped his jaws tight and didn’t respond, but his mind was in overdrive. He wanted to fight, but moving meant death. He didn’t want to know what it was like to bleed to death from a severed artery. Instead, he scowled all the more. If he wanted to live, it was all he could do.
The woman beside Amy crouched down, but he couldn’t see what she was doing. The next thing he knew, he jumped as a needle jammed into his hip and something injected into his body.
Ah, shit… He knew what that was; he’d heard dozens of stories about it but luckily had never had to deal with the drug, until now.
It started working almost instantaneously, driving up his anxiety level, making him shake and cringe. A few seconds passed, while Amy’s gaze bore into his, and the effect of the chemical doubled.
Oh, God, this is worse than I thought it would be. He had never felt so weak and vulnerable in his life.
“Now,” Amy said as she removed the blade from his throat and stood. She tucked the knife in her boot and then plopped her rear down on his chest, knowing he would be too terrified, thanks to the drug, to do anything to save himself. “What shall I do with you?” She ran a finger down the side of his face.
He flinched away.
You could let me go, he thought and tried to force out the sarcastic remark, but the substance surging through him wouldn’t allow it.
“I think you deserve a particularly horrible punishment for always interfering in my plans with Bret,” she said, answering her own question while tapping his bearded chin with one finger. The slight contact amped up his anxiety, and he shivered. “He may have listened to you complain about me, but he loved me.” Her derisive tone told him what she thought about that. “He would’ve never turned me out the way you kept telling him to do. And now, you’ve ruined my chance to have him how I always wanted him: in chains. So, how shall I make you pay for all of it?”
Jake’s body shook with fear, both real and chemically induced. Amy was far more lethal than he had once thought.
“I know just the place you should go,” she continued with a bright smile, as if she’d come up with a brilliant idea. “I have an acquaintance near here, a woman who’s exceptionally adept at training men to be perfect little slaves. I’ll bet she’d jump at the chance to make you a willing breeder. You’ll make her a lot of money. Once she pays me a high price for you that is.”
“P-Please…” Jake pleaded involuntarily, the drug wreaking havoc with his willpower. No matter how much he wanted to resist begging, he couldn’t stop now that he had started. “P-Please…” he muttered again, his voice shaking while fighting the drug—and losing. “Let me go…”
“Darla’s going to tear you to pieces, Jake,” she told him, her sinister smile sending waves of dread prickling up and down his spine. “A little bit at a time, she’ll peel away your pride—”
Sounds intriguing, suspenseful and sexy! Can’t wait to find out what happens next. 😀
Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/3LGnKX
Add it to Goodreads or BookBub: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42607132-jake-s-redemption
What are people saying about Jake’s Redemption?
Also, check out what our former ILRB reviewer, Kevin, had to say about this book back in March! https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2019/03/20/book-review-jakes-redemption-by-jamie-schulz/
We’ll be sure to get a copy of this dystopian western romance with a touch of suspense! ♥♥♥
Jamie Schulz lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family, her husband, and their fur babies. Writing has always been a big a part of her life.
Cowboys, ice cream, and reading almost any kind of romance are among her (not so) secret loves. To her, every one of her stories, no matter how dark, must have a happy ending, and she strives to make them impossible to put down until you get there.
She balances her free time between reading her favorite romance authors—in genres ranging from erotica and dark romance to sweet historicals and contemporary romance—and spending time with her family.
Her debut novel, Jake’s Redemption, was released in February 2019 and is available for sale on Amazon.
Readers can connect with Jamie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads, or follow her website.
And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Jamie Schulz, here are some author links…
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jamie-Schulz/e/B07K7X6JV5/
Once again, I want to thank Jamie Schulz, the brilliant author of this dystopian western romance, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥