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High Tea with Superstar Author Jayne Ann Krentz

 I was so thrilled when I heard that the Australian Romance Readers Association was sponsoring a High Tea event in Sydney, with none other than Best selling romance author extraordinaire, Jayne Ann Krentz, who is one of my absolute favourite authors, ever! So of course I had to purchase a ticket straight away, and then after doing so, spend the next few months waiting with eager anticipation. To say I was excited, is a rather massive understatement. November couldn’t get here fast enough!

Jayne herself has been one of my idols, for as long as I can remember. I was first introduced to her work by the lovely Malvina Yock who, at that time, was working in a delightful romance bookshop in Sydney (goodness I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it was around 20 years ago and unfortunately that store is no longer open. A shame, as it was such a gorgeous space). Malvina recommended I read an Amanda Quick book ‘Dangerous’. Well I did so, and the rest as they say, is history. I was hooked on all things Amanda Quick. I had to read absolutely every book of hers, and then I had to read all of her books written under her other pseudonyms, and I’ve been doing so ever since – gosh I hope I don’t sound like a stalker, lol. To be honest though, reading her wonderful books, is one of the things that got me interested in writing. To be able to create such wonderful stories and characters, was something I wanted to share with the world too.

On the day of the High Tea, I’ve got to confess that I was rather star struck, when I turned around from chatting with another lady, to find Jayne standing there with a lovely smile on her face. OMG… it was JAK… and I could actually talk to her. What a reader’s fantasy, not to mention an author’s! And then when I was also lucky enough to sit next to her while we had High Tea (how good does the pic of the food look – and trust me, it was as good as it looked! It even had edible gold dust on some of the cakes…), well it could get no better for me. Oh and how cool, I also got to sit next to Malvina, who sold me my first Amanda Quick book, who I hadn’t seen for years! Talk about a great start to high tea. 

So what advise and wisdom did Jayne impart? Well there were two main things she spoke of that really resonated with me. The first was her talking about why she had so many pen names. And the story behind it is particularly interesting. It was the early 90s and Jayne wrote some paranormal fantasy books under her name Jayne Ann Krentz. But she was a bit ahead of her time and the books did not sell! Which meant, that the booksellers would touch nothing that had the name Jayne Ann Krentz on it it (what a difference now)… So Jayne had to reinvent her ‘author’ self. She came up with the pen name Amanda Quick and rebranded herself writing historical romances. to say the books sold well, is an understatement. They became bestsellers, and she quickly re-established her presence in the fickle fiction marketplace. Eventually she was able to again write under her actual name of Jayne Ann Krentz, which she decided to use for her contemporary romances. Then she bravely decided to dabble her feet back in the paranormal romance genre, but not wishing to do any damage to her very established author names, she opted to use a further pen name of Jayne Castle (Castle being her maiden name). Luckily this time, the market was eager for paranormal romances and she saw great success with his genre too. So the big question is does she recommend multiple pen names?? Absolutely not! She actually advises against it, unless it can be avoided.  Part of her reasoning is that with multiple pen names, you have separate fans for each name, and hence have to have multiple marketing campaigns for each, which can equate to multiple headaches… I see her point… though I still am thinking of having a different pen name when I branch out into straight up contemporary romantic suspense, lol.

The second thing she discussed which I found really interesting, was that all of her stories have the same core theme. Jayne believes you have to be true to your values when you write, which is why she has the same core theme at the heart of all of her stories, and it does not change. Sure the characters and the situations vary, but at the very heart of each and every novel of hers, are the same beliefs and ideals regarding love, honour and courage. Probably why I always enjoy her books so much. Oh and she also said to read her paragraphs of narrative, slowly and careful, as she has to spend hours writing them!! Setting and description, don’t come naturally to her, but dialogue does, so when her characters are talking to her while she writes, the writing is a breeze, but when there’s no dialogue going on, she has to work very hard. I must say, it’s refreshing to hear that such an accomplished and bestselling author still struggles with certain aspects of her writing – and I’m with her totally. I LOVE writing dialogue, and like Jayne, the writing is a breeze for me when my characters are happily engaged in conversation. But when they’re not… omg it can be torture!!

Anyhow, as I’m sure you’ve gathered by now, I had an amazing time meeting Jayne, and if you ever have the chance to attend an event where she will be speaking at, I highly recommend you do so. Jayne is just so lovely, humble, and a fount of information. It was an absolute pleasure to get to spend a few hours with her, and a BIG thank you to the Australian Romance Readers Association for bringing her to Australia (btw if you’re not a member of ARRA, you should be, it’s an awesome organization!!).

Oh and of course I had to get her to sign a book for me 🙂 She signed it with the following words: “For Maddison – Best wishes on your writing! Amanda Quick”

What a great end to such a great day!

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