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Interview with Jessica Andersen

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
For more information on SKYKEEPERS and the other Keepers books, excerpts, extras and more, please visit www.JessicaAndersen.com!

Tell us a bit about your latest book?
Ancient prophecy holds that 12/21/2012 will bring a global cataclysm. Mankind’s only hope lies with the Nightkeepers, modern magic-wielding warriors who must find their destined mates and fulfill the legends to defeat the rise of terrible Mayan demons.

In Skykeepers, Michael Stone is a man with a dark secret that has skewed his magical abilities dangerously toward the underworld. Seeking redemption, he sets out on a perilous mission to save the daughter of Ambrose Ledbetter, a renowned Mayanist who died before he could reveal the location of a hidden library. The Nightkeepers must find the library before their enemies gain access to its valuable cache of spells and prophecies.

Sasha Ledbetter grew up hearing heroic tales of an ancient group of powerful magi who were destined to save the world from destruction. She never expected that her bedtime stories would come to life in the form of Nightkeeper Michael Stone, or that she’d hold the key to the warrior’s survival. As Sasha and Michael join forces to prevent the imminent battle, sparks of attraction ignite between them, and they’re forced to confront the unexpected passion that brings them together … and also tears them apart.

What prompted you to write this book?

I'm a huge fan of disaster movies, and love writing sexy, action-packed stories, so the combination of the end of the Mayan calendar on 12/21/2012 (i.e., imminent doom and the idea of a cosmic countdown) plus the cool factor of the Mayan pyramids and the elements of sexuality that were built into their culture and rituals ... it really came together for me as a series concept. I had spent a fair bit of time ruin-ratting down in the Yucatan when I was younger, and drew on that early fascination and the sense of otherworldliness when writing. I love these books, and the research has become as much a hobby as anything :)

Do you belong to a writers group? How does it help your writing career?

I'm an active member of RWA (the Romance Writers of America), and participate at both the local and national levels. Locally, I'm at the point of giving back by mentoring less experienced writers and being involved with the annual conference. I recieved the chapter's service award in 2005 and continue to do as much as I can with and for the group. In return, I've gained friends, fans and supporters, and have a deep well of knowledge and strength I can draw on when I need it. Writing can be such a solitary endeavor, that it's important to make strong connections with other writers (at least it's been very important for me- your mileage may vary, of course!). On the national level, RWA is a great resource, not just in terms of the annual convention and RITA/Golden Heart awards, but also in terms of legal advice, market insight and promotional opportunities. It's not a perfect organization (what organization is?), but RWA is constantly evolving in an effort to meet the demands of its members, and I'm happy to have been a member for the past decade.

How do you over come writers block?
For me, writers' block isn't something to overcome, so much as it is something to listen to. For the most part, if I can't write the next line or the next scene, that's because my subconscious is trying to tell me that I'm going off the rails. I've either taken a wrong turn with the story, or I'm about to do so, and my inner self is trying to keep me from making the mistake. Thus, if I'm blocked, I go do something mindless and repetitive for a while: drive around, mow the lawn, take a shower, muck a stall... Pretty soon, I'll have that 'AHA!' moment, and figure out what I'm missing (or what I've just added that doesn't need to be there). So for me, writers' block is a signal of a problem rather than a problem itself.

Do you have an agent? What made you choose them?
I'm represented by Deidre Knight of The Knight Agency (TKA). I chose her from among three agents who offered to represent the Keepers series, all of whom have excellent reputations and gave great phone when I talked to them about the series and my career. I picked Deidre not just because we get along very well on a personal level and she has a great sales record, but also because TKA offers a level of service beyond those offered by the other agencies. The agency is small enough to feel very personal, but large enough (and forward-thinking enough) to offer marketing services (and nudges). I knew that self-promotion was one of my weak areas, and that Deidre would push me to make myself (and the Keepers novels) visible and stay visible. More, I picked her because of her business savvy and her ability to get the right deals done. And, indeed, within a few weeks of me signing with The Knight Agency, Deidre sold the Keepers series to my dream editor at my dream publisher, in a pre-empt. For me, it was exactly the right decision.

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