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Monday, November 19, 2012

Interview & Review with M.J. Schiller

Please give a warm welcome to M.J. Schiller to Book Lovin' Mamas today.
We had a chance to interview her and get to know her and her latest book, "Taken by Storm".  


1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

For my day job, I am a lunch lady, which is the perfect job for me. I get to work with kids, and take a nap before my own crew gets home. I have a seventeen-year-old daughter and fifteen-year-old triplets (boy, boy, girl). I’ve been blissfully married for twenty-four years and have a secret passion for karaoke.

2. What does a typical writing day look for you?

Day? A whole day?! Never seen one. I write in the nooks and crannies of the day. The hour between work, and when my kids get home from school, the fifteen minutes before I leave the house in the morning, while dinner’s cooking…. I write in fast food joints while waiting for my kids’ practice, game, doctor’s appointment, while getting the oil changed in my van….

3. Can you please tell the readers a little bit about your book "Taken by Storm"?

Taken by Storm begins as the darkly bitter Grand Vizier, Lord Boltar, is about to claim what he believes belongs to him, the rule of Avistad. The King of Avistad’s son, Prince Tahj, has just returned from a trip and senses the unrest even before his best friend and captain, Radeem, warns him. Radeem has heard rumors and suspects that the King’s advisor is planning to overthrow the crown. Just as Tahj discovers a “gift” from Lord Boltar, a young girl bound and gagged on the prince’s bedroom floor, fighting erupts. Tahj, Radeem, and the captive girl, Bashea, escape the castle in a hail of arrows.

Born from the fire of a coup, Tahj and Bashea’s relationship burns with a passion that neither of them quite understands. The pair is drawn closer together as they face various perils, Boltar’s soldiers, a screaming panther, even the scathing winds of a desert storm. But after what she had been through at the hands of Boltar’s men, Bashea is afraid to trust and her fiery nature is both what appeals to Tahj, and what drives him crazy. In fact, when Bashea’s brother, Bagrat, informs Tahj that Bashea means “lips of the gods,” he retorts, “Are you sure you don’t mean tongue of the devil?” It takes a long separation to bring them back to each other, but when Tahj does return, it is once again during a battle with Lord Boltar. But now the overlord, who has been forced beyond reason by Tahj’s success in retaking the throne, is an even more dangerous threat than before. Reunited, will Tahj and Bashea be strong enough to defeat their twisted and powerful enemy?

4. How long have you been a writer and who or what inspired you?

I have been a writer since I could put a sentence together. I was a big reader as a child, so I think that children’s liturgy started me on my path. That, and my dad was a fantastic storyteller. He used to make up all kinds of stories for us when we were young. For instance, when he combed our hair after a bath, he would name the tangles. There was Tina Tangle, and Tommy Tangle…and they would carry on so when they were combed out!

5. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

I think I would like the super power of reach as I have unusually short arms!

6. What was the easiest and hardest scene to write in "Taken by Storm"?

The beginning sort of wrote itself, so I guess that would have been the easiest. As far as the most difficult scene goes, there is one scene that comes to mind. In the scene, Tahj is teasing Bashea in what, I thought, was a cute way. But my editor thought Tahj was being a jerk. I struggled changing that because I thought maybe she was being hypersensitive. Then I showed it to a few writer friends who agreed that it could be viewed as mean-spirited. A few I asked loved the scene and thought I should keep it as is, but I didn’t want anyone to see Tahj for anything but the wonderful man that he is, so I altered the scene.

7. Do you ever suffer from writer's block? How do you get over it?

My fellow writers are going to kill me here, but, knock on wood, I haven’t really had that problem yet. 

8. When you are not writing, what are your hobbies and interests?

Uhh, pretty much just karaoke. Oh, I also like to listen to live music, and dance (I’m not very good at it, though). I’ve decided that you shouldn’t let lack of talent stand in your way when it comes to singing and dancing because it is just such a kick! It’s a release for me from everyday stressors. You just sort of lose yourself to the music.

9. Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?

You mean, besides buy my book? Just kidding. Well, I’m not, but I am. Anyway, I’d like to invite them to meet Tahj and Bashea and watch their romance blossom. I’d like them to enjoy the colorful characters of Radeem and Bagrat. I want them to get caught up in adventure and connect with the sense of family they see whenever Bashea interacts with one of her siblings. I want them to feel the desert heat!

Fun quick questions:

1. Coffee or Hot Tea

…uh, neither? I’m more of a hot chocolate, Diet Pepsi, martini kinda gal.

2. Beach or Mountains

…sorry, too tough. I love both!

3. Sunrise or Sunset

…sunset, ‘cause sunrise comes too early in the morning!

4. Summer or Winter

 …summer, ‘cause I’m off in the summer!

5. Country Music or Rock N' Roll

…oh, now this one’s too easy—ROCK AND ROLL ALL THE WAY!!!! (My next book, Trapped Under Ice, is about a rock star and is the first in my Rocking Romance Collection).

Thanks for having me!

I enjoyed being here. Pick up Taken by Storm at Amazon.com, BN.com, and other E-Book retailers! Check out my upcoming releases at www.mjschiller.com!
Taken by Storm
Publishing Date: 10/15/12
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Source: Provided by Author

Description:
Born from the fire of a palace coup, the relationship between the king of Avistad’s son Prince Tahj and the captive girl Bashea burns with a passion that neither of them quite understands. The pair is drawn closer together as they face enemy soldiers, a screaming panther, even the scathing winds of a desert storm. 
After what she has been through, Bashea is afraid to trust and her fiery nature is both what appeals to Tahj and what drives him crazy. It takes a long separation to bring them back to each other, but when Tahj does return, it is once again during a battle with his greatest enemy, Lord Boltar. But now Lord Boltar, who has been forced beyond reason by Tahj’s success in retaking the throne, is an even more dangerous threat than before. Reunited, will Tahj and Bashea be strong enough to defeat their twisted and powerful enemy?
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My Review:
M.J. Schiller's debut novel opens up with Bashea's character being kidnapped and having to face the worst kind of punishment that a woman ever has to endure.  Her family does not even know she is gone and she is not sure why she is being kidnapped and where she's being taken.
Prince Tahj is dealing with his own problems.  His father who is not himself is ill in bed and Tahj is forced to take care of stuff he does not really want to be apart of.  His older brother was supposed to be King, but he was killed.  What Prince Tahj does not realize is that Lord Boltar has had something to do with everything that is happening.
Prince Tahj and Bashea will actually come across each other's paths, but in the worst kind of way.  Bashea is a gift to Tahj from Boltar and Tahj is not sure why.  Bashea does not trust the Prince due to his men taking advantage of her.  It is up to the Prince to find out who she is and get her to trust him since he had nothing to do with her being put in the predicament that she is in.
Now Tahj is running for his life away from the life he has always known with his closest friend and the girl who came into his life unexpectedly.  It is up to him to find out the truth and take Bashea back to her family.
In the meantime though, Prince Tahj and Bashea will fight each other's feelings for each other and those feelings will keep getting stronger and stronger.

My thoughts on "Taken by Storm" is that M.J. Schiller definitely wrote a very entertaining and action packed story.  I loved the connection with Prince Tahj and Bashea.  They definitely were destined to meet and they definitely helped each other grow.  Bashea had her own feelings towards why she thought she could never hook up with a Prince and why she could not trust him.  Prince Tahj was not sure that Bashea would love him for who he was and also was afraid of how Bashea's family would take the news.
I definitely look forward to more novels from M.J. Schiller in the near future.

M.J. Schiller's debut novel is full of action and romance that will take you for a ride through the desert.    You will definitely be rooting for the characters to have a happily ever after.
I received a complimentary copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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(Author Bio taken from Author's Website)
I was born in Overland Park, KS, in the heart of Tornado Alley, and my life has been a bit twisted since. Actually, it’s not all that twisted, but I’ve always wanted to use that line. I grew up in St. Louis, MO, went to school at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and moved to Bloomington, IL, fresh out of college, after my husband got a job at State Farm’s corporate headquarters. I’ve worked as a high school/junior college teacher, personnel recruiter, office manager of a jewelry store, and, for the past ten years, as a lunch lady. I like to karaoke and attend rock concerts. I am actively involved at church and spend too much time on Facebook. I am the mother of a eighteen-year-old, and sixteen-year-old triplets, and have been married to my husband, Don, for over twenty-four years. I have been a writer all my life. My first book, which was co-written with Mary Ellen Murphey in second grade, was titled The Black Cat, and was written on blue hotel stationary, hole-punched, and bound by white yarn. I believe it is currently out of circulation. 
 When I turned forty, I had an epiphany of sorts. I realized those bigwig publishing houses in New York were now probably run by people younger than me, so I shouldn’t be intimidated by them. At about the same time I was watching one of those award shows, and Jaclyn Smith got up to give a post-humorous award to Aaron Spelling. She credited him for encouraging her to go into acting, saying something brilliant like, “Reach for your dreams.” Nothing new. Almost even seems a little Jiminy Cricketish. But, for some reason, it struck me that night. When Aaron Spelling was thirteen, he was probably just like any other acned thirteen-year-old. But he worked to achieve his dreams, and became a household name. So, I began to write. Once I finished my first book, I wasn’t able to stop. I would rather write than do just about anything else. After all, you get to make people (characters) do what you want and design your own happy endings. What power! What a privilege.

7 comments:

FranJessca- thank you for having me here today and for your kind words about "Taken by Storm." I'm so glad you liked it! As you can probably tell, I had a lot of fun answering your questions, so thank you for the opportunity. You are doing such a service for both writers and readers, and I appreciate that. Have a wonderful holiday!

Mary, I loved this interview! It's wonderful to get to know you better. I've got TAKEN BY STORM on my Kindle, and I can't wait to read it.

Great interview MJ! Looking forward to reading your desert romance!

Eliza Daly said...

Great interview and review! I also love the cover. Your heroine is beautiful. I love your attitude about not letting lack of talent to keep you from doing something you love to do. I can't carry a tune but love singing at the top of my lungs. But I only do kareoke in a group. Good luck with your book!

RT Wolfe said...

M.J.,
I can relate to writing in the nooks and crannies of a day. Hang in there! You're awesome!
-R.T. Wolfe

Loved the interview and am in awe that you find time to write with so much going on. Your book sounds so good MJ...and great to get an insight into an author. Bravo on your courage to sing and dance with gay abandon :-).

Wow! Thanks, guys, for stopping in!Thank you, Deborah, for so faithfully reading what I've posted and for cheering me on. Every author should have a Deb in their corner!Laurie, I've learned so much from you--I hope you enjoy "Taken by Storm!"And Eliza, I have a feeling we could have enough fun to get kicked out of a karaoke joint together! If we ever meet up at a conference, we'll have to play hookey and go out!R.T.- I know you can relate as you do the same thing. It makes it difficult to keep the flow going, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do, right? Thanks for your unwavering support!Joanna- thank you for your kind words and for taking time out of your busy day to stop by and share with us. Happy holidays, all!

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