Today I'm excited to introduce my fellow author Jana Hollifield (@janahollifield), who resides in a coastal northern California town bordered by majestic redwoods. Her love of animals, kayaking, and beachcombing makes this an idyllic place to live. When the rainy season begins, Jana likes to indulge in the pleasure of cuddling on the couch with a good book. Born into a creative family of artists, Jana’s interest in writing was shelved over many years while she pursued her passion for painting. However, the desire to write ultimately became irresistible and her debut novel, The Problem with Goodbye takes the classic murder mystery and injects it with healthy doses of romance, humor, and extrasensory perception for a unique romantic suspense experience.
Q: Welcome, Jana! We delighted to have you here today. Please tell us about your latest release. Do you have a review you could share with us?
A: The Problem with Goodbye is a romantic suspense novel with a substantial mystery element, set in the beautiful city of Portland, Oregon. The story is written in first person narrative alternating between the female and male protagonists, Cora Dalton and Ryan McCabe.
Cora is on the run from a determined stalker whose rage has culminated in the murder of her sister. She trusts no one, not even the police, until she meets Ryan, a stranger with the talent to uncover her darkest secrets with a simple touch. He senses what others cannot, and when he stumbles across Cora, the beautiful lead witness in his best friend’s latest homicide case, one caress tells him she is desperate…and lying about something. Ryan knows what it’s like to be all alone in the world, and he can’t just walk away. Forming an uneasy alliance, the two struggle to identify the ruthless madman who is hunting Cora while fighting an attraction that could get them both killed.
A 5 star review posted on Amazon by S. Bell describes The Problem with Goodbye this way:
It's been years since I started reading a book and couldn't put it down until I finished it. This one hooked me right away and I loved the characters. This was just my kind of book - a well-written romantic-suspense. The author made you feel like you knew Cora and Ryan. Ryan and Ollie's relationship was one of those extra special ones that you don't find every day. I can't wait for the next book by this very talented new author.
Q: What do you enjoy most about writing romantic suspense?
A: Romantic Suspense is wonderful because it allows you to blend well-defined genres in an exciting way. As a reader, I’m drawn to suspense and mystery novels, but sometimes find myself hankering for a bit more romance. Love is something we all aspire to have in our lives, so it seems almost unnatural not to have it as an element, at least to some degree, in every book. Romantic Suspense provides authors the freedom to fully develop a moving love story within the framework of a well-plotted and thrilling mystery novel.
Q: How did your story’s setting impact your plot or characters?
A: Since I live in northern California amongst the redwoods, I wanted the story to take place in the Pacific Northwest. I have visited Portland multiple times and it was the perfect choice. It’s a beautiful, environmentally-conscious city that I researched thoroughly to portray it almost as if it were a secondary character in the book.
Q: Did you choose the title of your book and if so how did you do it?
A: Yes, I chose the title, The Problem with Goodbye. It is reflective of the challenging relationship between the two protagonists, Cora and Ryan, but it also speaks to the loss of loved ones both of these characters experience.
Q: Please tell us about your favorite character in the book.
A: This is a tough question because the two main characters, Ryan and Cora, are my favorites for various reasons. Both characters are good-hearted but flawed, trying their best to handle an extraordinarily dangerous situation. However, Ryan’s best friend, Portland homicide detective, Ollie O’Neill, is not only equally beloved by me, he has been favorably singled out by several readers and reviewers of the book. Ollie was a joy to write and he brings many humorous moments to the story.
Q: When did you know you wanted to be an author?
A: I’ve always had an interest in writing, even as a pre-teen, but issues with dyslexia made the dream of being an author seem out of reach. After years of pursuing a passion for painting, I finally gave in to my desire to write. That was about three years ago and it was one of the greatest decisions of my life.
Q: Which element of story creation is your favorite? (Characters, settings, plots, etc.?)
A: Creating the characters is definitely my favorite. The characters come first and then the story is developed from there. I also enjoy crafting a solid plot so that readers can delve into an intriguing mystery, but it’s the characters of a novel that interest us most, make us care, and allow us to emotionally invest in a story.
Q: Do you have any advice for unpublished authors?
A: My advice is to continue writing. Make time to write every day, even if it’s just a few paragraphs. And don’t forget to appreciate the simple pleasure of writing. If the pressures of day-to-day life or the creative demands you are placing on yourself turn writing into a chore for you, it will show in your work. I also recommend reading. Many artists learn a great deal about how to paint by wandering museums and studying the works of the old masters. Exploring how other talented authors have used style, character development and plotting to create fantastic works of fiction can inspire you to strive for excellence in your own writing.
Q: Thanks so much for sharing your insights with us, Jana. One final question: What’s next for you?
A: I am presently at work on the sequel to The Problem with Goodbye which is called The Problem with Second Chances. In this story, Ryan McCabe is convinced by his ex-lover to help an innocent man accused of murder, stirring up unresolved issues from the past that threaten not only Ryan’s current relationship with Cora, but also his life.