STEPH: I just love visiting with Jillian. She's a bunch of fun, and I'm looking forward to reading her latest release, "Sebastian's Salavation." Jillian, What's "Sebastian's Salvation" about?
JILLIAN: It’s a romantic suspense with a hero who was a Green Beret and was injured in Afghanistan. While in rehab learning to walk again, he found he had a gift for painting and, since he was medically discharged from the Army, he begins a career as a painter of nudes. The story is his journey from his self imposed exile from dating because of his war injuries, to dealing with a stalker who has it in for him, and finally, to acceptance of who he is and his past.
STEPH: What was the inspiration for the story?
JILLIAN: I have a couple of friends who are amputees and wanted to write a story with a hero with that disability as sort of a tribute to them. Everyone deserves love even if they don’t have a perfect body and I wanted to go against the romantic type and have a non-perfect hero.
STEPH: How long did it take you to write?
JILLIAN: It was my NaNoWriMo story for 2010. So, the first draft was done during those 30 days of November, 2010.
STEPH: Congrats on doing NaNoWriMo! That can be one demanding month. Did you have to do a lot of research for the story?
JILLIAN: I had to do some. I’m blessed with a friend who has a husband in the military and he was quite generous as I picked his brain about Green Berets. Once I talked to him in depth and took a ton of notes, my research was easier as I knew what I needed to look for and verify. I dedicated the book to them for their invaluable help.
STEPH: Do you cast your characters? If so, who is Sebastian? Joanna?
JILLIAN: Sebastian is Idris Elba, a British actor who I adore. My Sebastian is American but the inspiration for him was a British bloke. I really didn’t have a particular person in mind for Joanna. She’s a tall, blonde, British daughter of an Earl. I mostly cast the hero, not the heroine. I don’t know why that is, but that’s the way I do it. I guess I need some guy to drool over and not so much for the woman.
STEPH: Sebastian is the hero. What are his strengths? Weaknesses?
JILLIAN: His strengths are his tactical skills and his ability to speak foreign languages. He is much admired for his work as a painter as well as his work in the military. He’s loyal to his friends. His weaknesses are his belief that he’s unlovable due to his disabilities and scars. He can’t forgive himself for the situation in Afghanistan that cost him his military career and wants to avoid violence in any form. He also has an issue with accepting assistance from anyone. He’s very independent and tries to cope with everything on his own.
STEPH: What does he find appealing about Joanna? Why does she stick out?
JILLIAN: Initially, he believes Joanna to be merely a spoiled girl with a trust fund. Eventually, her acceptance of his disability softens his heart toward her. He finds she has an inner strength he didn’t expect.
STEPH: What's your writing space like?
JILLIAN: I write pretty much anywhere, but my favorite spot is in the den sitting on the couch with my laptop on the arm. I like some noise around. Music or even the television on in the background. I don’t like conversation, though. It’s strange, but I seem to write better with noise. I guess it comes from having written when my kids were little and running around. I also have a lot of noise around in the day job with people coming in and out of my office to lay things in my inbox. I can concentrate on my work when they are doing that as long as they don’t talk to me. And yes, I know how weird that sounds.
STEPH: Are you a plotter or a panster?
JILLIAN: Pantser all the way. I usually start a story with the hero’s name and maybe three sentences of what I think is going to happen and then start typing. I love the joy of discovery as I go along.
STEPH: Fun Question: Chocolate or Flowers for Valentines Day?
JILLIAN: Chocolate for sure. I love flowers but I don’t love the way the floral industry jacks up the prices for a couple of days around February 14. I think that’s terrible. It’s something I feel pretty strongly about.
Thanks for having me come by, Steph. It’s always fun to hang out with you. I’m going to give away an e-copy of Sebastian’s Salvation to one commenter.
Visit me on the web here: http://jillianchantal.com/news/
Book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvzMd4ttvmU
Buy link: http://www.bookstrand.com/sebastians-salvation
Three lives intertwine—a former Green Beret, now a painter of nude portraits tormented by the death of his comrade, an earl’s daughter, and a crazed stalker. Will the acts of the stalker force the soldier back into the life of violence which he sought to avoid?
Sebastian Hughes, wounded on a mission in Afghanistan, discovers a talent for painting nude portraits while in a rehabilitation center learning to walk again after losing part of his leg. He becomes the toast of London society and women clamor to be painted by him.
Lady Joanna Gresham, nursing a broken heart and used to getting what she wants, sets her sights on having her portrait painted by Sebastian. Once she meets him, she wants him for herself. She pursues him, intent on winning him. What she didn’t count on was a stalker who wants to harm everyone Sebastian holds dear.
Joanna Gresham passed Margaret in the hallway of Bast’s building. Margaret carried a saddle under her arm.
Margaret stopped her and hitched the saddle to a more comfortable position. “You one of the many?”
“Clients of Bast’s?”
Joanna shook her head. “No. But I’m thinking about it. I was at his show last night and am very impressed.”
“With the man or the artist?” The woman smiled coyly.
“The artist of course.” Joanna stood tall and looked down her nose at the impertinent woman. The nerve to ask me such a thing. As if I’d be interested in a hoodlum.
“Don’t have to get huffy, Lady Joanna. All the women in town are swooning over the man. Some are even commissioning portraits just to tempt him with their bodies. No harm meant.”
Joanna ran her hands through her hair. “Sorry. Just moody, I guess.”
“No problem. Enjoy your session.”
“I don’t have a session. I’m just going to talk.”
“Good luck then. I think you’ll like Bast. I gotta go. Late for a practice run.”
“Good luck with practice. Ta, Margaret.” Joanna waved good-bye and approached the door to Bast’s atelier. Why am I so nervous? He’s just a man I want to hire. Why should I feel so skittish?
Joanna knocked lightly on the door.
The door burst open, and the man asked, “What did you for—”
He stopped short. “Uh. Sorry, I thought you were Margaret, come back for something she forgot. She always leaves something behind.”
“Is that why you were already at the door?”
He smiled. “Yeah. I give her about three minutes after she leaves to come dashing back. I thought I timed it right.” His smile got larger.
Why does his smile have to be so spectacular? He’s gorgeous even with that scar across his face. “Sorry, it’s just me. I’m not sure if you remember—”
“Of course, I do. You’re the lady in the alley, the one that needed no help with her aching feet. Come on in.” He opened the door wider to allow her access to the loft.
Once they were inside, he showed her over to a client chair. He took a seat behind the desk, leaned across the top, and asked, “What can I do for you?”
She put one hand on the desktop and scraped her nail across the surface. “I was at your show last night—”
“Yeah, I know. I saw you, remember?”
“I recall.” She frowned. Was the man determined to make her feel stupid?
“Sorry, ma’am. I didn’t mean to interrupt you. Go on.” Bast nodded his encouragement.
“I was thinking I might want a portrait of myself. Your work is impressive. Very tasteful. I know it seems like I’m just jumping on a trend, but I really am in awe of your abilities.”
“Thank you, ma’am. I appreciate it. I’m a little full right now. The show last night garnered me a lot of commissions, and I’m afraid I don’t have time to add one more person to my schedule. I’ll be glad to put you on the waiting list.” He pulled a pad out of his top drawer.
She stood, and the chair teetered and fell back against the wall. “I know what you’re doing. You jerk.”
He leaned back in his chair and looked at her. His face showed no emotion. “What’s your problem, Lady?”
“Lady? You say it that way because you know who I am? You think you can be a sarcastic bastard to me?”
“Ma’am, you came in here, didn’t introduce yourself to me, and now you’re offended? I can’t figure that out. All I said was I have to put you on my waiting list. How you think that’s something offensive, I don’t know.” He sat forward in the chair.
She glared. “I’m Lady Joanna Gresham. I don’t do waiting lists.”
He stood up and walked around the desk to her. He got in her face and said, “I don’t do snobby Ladies. So, I suggest you get out of my studio.”
Joanna pushed his chest. “I just bet you don’t do ladies.” She looked around and took in the whole room and nodded toward the fainting couch under the window. “I bet you do the ladies right over there.”
Enraged, he grabbed her arms and shoved her against the wall. He pressed against her. “If I wanted to do a lady, I’d do her right here against this wall.” He lifted her off her feet as if she was no larger than a toy doll and pulled her over to the other client chair. He sat in it and pulled her on top of himself. “Or here in this chair.”
She jerked off his lap and stumbled backward. “How dare you touch me, you arrogant—”
“What? Black bastard? Is that what you want to call me, your white holiness? Lady Joanna Gresham that doesn’t do waiting lists? Huh? Huh? That what you want to say?” He stood up.
She continued to back up. “You’re crazy. You know that? You’re insane.”
He stalked toward her. “And you’re all alone here with me. A crazy, scar-faced, big black man who isn’t intimidated by a title. Now, what are you gonna do?”
“I’m leaving.” She flounced toward the door.
Just as she got to the door and opened it, he slammed his hand on it and shut it. His body leaned against hers. He pressed against her and whispered, “I bet you always leave. When the going gets tough and you don’t get your way, you leave. Right?”
He let go of the door and stepped back. “Thank you for coming by, ma’am. I’ll be sure to not add you to the waiting list.”
She jerked the door open and left.