Debut author Jaime Loren is another South Australian local I was fortunate to meet recently and I am so glad that I did. Had we not crossed paths at a recent author signing I may have missed Waiting For April and I am very glad I didn’t.
I also approached Jaime about telling us a little about herself and this is what she shared.
Hi Jaime, welcome to Beauty and Lace. Thanks for talking with us.
Can you tell us a little about your decision to pursue a writing career?
Hi Michelle, thanks so much for having me!
It’s funny—I get asked that question a lot. I’m not sure anyone ever decides to pursue a writing career. It kind of chooses you! I’ve wanted this since primary school, but it wasn’t until I had my son six years ago that I actually had the time to reflect and decide I didn’t want to be that old lady who told her great-grandchildren that she always wanted to be a writer, but never tried. So, I let the idea of Waiting for April marinate for a month, then sat down to write it. I haven’t looked back since!
This is your debut, what can you tell us about your journey to publication?
It’s been a long one in terms of multiple revisions! It was originally NA, with Scott and April already in Harvard. Then, agents asked me to revise to YA, because they felt they could sell it easier as that, due to NA not really being recognised as a category by big publishers at that stage. So, I pulled my characters out of Harvard and put them in their final few months of high school.
It was important to me that in doing that, I didn’t focus on the fact they were in high school, though. I knew the direction I wanted to take the sequels in, and it wasn’t down the YA road.
Then, after I got a pub deal, and given the plans I had for sequels, it was labelled NA again by my publisher, so it all worked out in the end!
(Having said that, I know there has been a bit of controversy over the current ages of my characters and the content in the novel. WAITING FOR APRIL is classified as NA, despite Amazon suggesting similar titles in YA—we can’t control that.)
At the end of the day, I know how lucky I’ve been in that I didn’t query a lot of agents or send WFA to many publishers before landing my deal. So, aside from the YA/NA classification controversy, it’s been a relatively easy road. I’ve met some truly supportive people along the way—one of them being Haylee Nash, my editor. She loved the book from day one, and has been an absolute joy to work with; from cover design to editing, I never imagined it would all feel so seamless.
Waiting For April came out on February 12 with Momentum, tell us a little about it?
The gist of it is, April Fletcher is currently living her twentieth life as the same person. Her neighbour and best friend, Scott Parker, was rendered immortal with her last breath all those centuries ago. To keep it short, Scott miraculously finds April in each of her lives, but tragically loses her before her eighteenth birthday each time. In this novel, a few things about April have changed, and Scott realises this could very well be his last chance to save her and win her heart, once and for all.
What inspired the story of Scott and April?
As a teenager, I always used to wonder about the whole concept of soul mates, and whether fate would be so cruel as to rip them away from you before you’d really had a chance to live your life with them.
As I hit my late teens and early twenties, a couple of friends died—one of them was only twenty when he was killed in a car accident, and one was just twenty-six when he lost a very short battle with leukaemia. Both of them had just started their lives with their girlfriend and wife, respectively. It was absolutely heart-breaking to see these women at such a young age having to face the fact they wouldn’t have their happily ever after. The whole concept that fate can be that cruel is just too tragic.
So, I wanted to write something that suggested it was never fate’s design. I wanted to write a story that gave soul mates a second chance to be together. And a third, fourth, fifteenth, nineteenth chance—well, you get the picture. The concept that death can’t keep soul mates apart, and that they’ll always find their way back to each other, no matter what, is the epitome of romance, if you ask me. That’s exactly the type of book I wanted to write, so I did, and I’m so glad readers are connecting with it.
How much research was required for all of Scott’s information gathering travel?
I actually learned quite a bit while researching for Scott. Those who’ve already read Waiting for April will know there are a few religions discussed in the novel. Of course, I knew there wasn’t going to be any scientific explanation for what he’s going through, or even any current folklore that would account for his unique predicament, but it was fun taking bits and pieces and spinning them into my own story to give it a spiritual feel while keeping it firmly rooted in our own world. It was all simply a matter of finding certain religious beliefs that could contribute a little to help ‘explain’ what was happening, but not give Scott the whole answer, in order the keep the suspense going.
Are you planning more books about Scott and April?
I am! I’ve just signed on for another two novels in this series, which will also release with Momentum Books. I couldn’t be happier! I’d also love to do some novellas, if time permits!
Can I ask, are you a believer in reincarnation?
Absolutely. I’m a big fan of small children who can spout off information they couldn’t possibly know about strangers and foreign places. I find that absolutely fascinating.
It was so interesting to me in writing this novel that most—if not all—the religions I researched for this plot have some level of belief in reincarnation. Generally speaking, I’m not a religious person at all. I don’t follow any specific belief, but I also don’t believe that death is final. For me, personally, reincarnation just … fits.
Can you tell us a little about what are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently writing the sequel to Waiting for April! Yay! I have no idea what it’s called yet, and as yet we haven’t set a release date, but it’s coming along nicely!
What are you reading at the moment?
I’m reading The Infinite, by Lori M. Lee, which is the sequel to Gates of Thread and Stone. It’s such a fantastic read! The Infinite comes out March 10th, so there’s still time to read Gates of Thread and Stone and jump on board!
What does being a woman mean to you?
Great question! I love the elegance of women. The innate power within women. I love being a mother, a daughter, and a sister. To me, being a woman means being strong and vulnerable at the same time, and I honestly believe we’re the only creatures on earth who can pull that off successfully.
I’m very proud to be a woman.
Thanks so much for your time Jaime, and I can not wait for the sequel to Waiting for April – please don’t let it be too long.