It is such an honor today to spotlight my author friend JL Campbell, hailing also from the Caribbean, this time from the incredibly beautiful island of Jamaica.
JL Campbell writes contemporary and sweet romance, romantic suspense, women’s fiction, as well as new and young adult novels.
Campbell, who features Jamaican culture in her stories, has written twenty-seven books and two short story collections.
It makes me so happy to shine the spotlight on her work …
… getting the word out on her new release ‘The Thick of Things’, and hearing her thoughts on her personal creative process. I hope you’ll enjoy our chat, check out JL Campbell’s work via the links below. Thank you for showing some love.
What’s the most difficult thing and most important thing for you as a writer?
Finding enough time to write has always been a challenge, however, balancing that and getting my name out to the book-buying public is what I’d say is the hardest thing in this writing life. There’s so much free promotion you can do, but I’ve found the biggest results come from paid advertising which is another challenge when your budget is small.
The most important thing for me is writing a well-crafted story that’s memorable and resonates with readers. I’m a perfectionist, so even after the book is out I’ll still be editing on the sidelines because I want to be sure readers have a great experience when they choose to read one of my novels.
Do you view writing as a spiritual practice, a job, or creative outlet or something else entirely?
I think I’d lose the joy I experience when writing if it begins to feel like a job. Writing, for me, is a little bit of everything – a creative outlet, a spiritual activity, escape, revival, therapy, and a channel of growth. Time and responsibilities disappear when I slip into my characters’ lives. Aside from my relationship with God and my family, writing is the next activity which brings me the most pleasure. I don’t want to imagine what my life would be like if I couldn’t write. Sure, I’d have more time but I wouldn’t be as fulfilled as I am now.
What does author success/appreciation look like to you?
For me, success would be finding a wider audience which includes Jamaicans and people of Caribbean descent in the diaspora. While there are readers who like and support my writing, I’m still on that journey to finding more people who understand the context of my stories and ‘get‘ what they’re all about. Appreciation for me is a reader reaching out to say how much they enjoyed the story and it’s icing on the cake if they leave a review and tell someone else about the book.
Do you have any common threads running through your work, (e.g. favorite tropes, location, message, types of characters)
The matter of choice is one of the strongest themes in my books, alongside subtle and not-so-subtle references to faith, family, and strong relationships. The things that happen to my characters result from the choices they make. In life, our actions cause reactions and part of what my stories centre around is how our choices change our lives for better or worse.
Jamaica shows up in all my novels because it is where the stories are staged. It is a pleasure for me to share the culture of the island, which goes beyond sun, sea, sand and music.
What’s your favorite book or series you’ve written?
That’s a hard one, but since I have to choose, I’d say the Mature Romance series. That series involves three friends whose lives go haywire because of their relationship problems.
I have a soft spot for Justine Charles, the main character, because she gets into an extra-marital relationship and has some hard choices to make. She’s a good person at heart, who’s caught in a bad situation. The second book plunges her into an even worse situation. The father of the child she has from the affair finds out about his son and wants to be included in his life. His demands turn Justine’s life upside down. Book three comes with even more complications, but the complexities from these relationships provided great fodder for this set of stories.
Thanks so much for this chat and best wishes with your new release,
The Thick of Things
By JL Campbell
GENRE: women’s fiction with romantic elements, contemporary romance
BLURB: Life has a way of going awry when you least expect it, and Khalila Skyers learns this lesson the hard way. In one devastating blow after another, she loses her cosy existence. Then Douglas Blythe overtakes her life like a flood, and she’s not equipped to deal with an attraction that seems forbidden and overwhelming. But her body and heart want what they want, and leave her wondering if she ever knew herself at all.
Douglas is determined to help Khalila move beyond her obsession with the past and reach for love a second time. No matter how long it takes. No matter the distance. He’s going to prove he’s worth the risk.