I don’t even know how to start this introduction, other than to say that Gennita Low is an extraordinary person. Not only does she run her own roofing construction business, and speaks fluently in a multitude of foreign languages — she’s also an adventurer, a rascal, a very nice person (surrounded by the cutest pack of mutant pomeranians)—and she can write romantic suspense like no one else.
Gennita has a new e-book out that she’s giving away as a lead-up to her next big release, and she kindly stopped by the blog for an interview. Check it out—and answer the question Gennita asks at the end of the interview—because she’s also giving away some signed copies of her books, and we’ll pick a name out of the hat on Tuesday.
First of all, though, here’s the blurb to her new e-book, BIG BAD WOLF, the first chapter of which can be found here.
Out of the Darkness
Killian Nicholas Langley has spent most of his life as a member of a covert team, living in the shadows, working among people who accept danger as part of their lives. When an explosion nearly took his life, he thought he would follow S.O.P.–lay low for a while, figure out what happened, and contact someone he trusted. He thought he’d do well in construction, hiding among the transients, keeping a low profile. However, he hadn’t expected a boss quite like Jaymee Barrows.
Into the Sunlight
Jaymee has spent the last eight years paying for a massive monetary mistake, all because of being too trusting. Giving up her college education, she’d had to take over her father’s roofing business, working hard to get it back
in the black. The tall, dark stranger with clean hands and smart mouth looking for a job wasn’t a roofer. She could tell he was going to be trouble…just like the big bad wolf. Best to stay far, far away from him.
But the more he got to know Jaymee, the more Killian was intrigued by his new boss. She had secrets he wanted to know about. Her light tempted the darkness in his life. And after tasting her, he wanted more….
And now, on to the interview!
Tell readers about yourself—tell them everything! How did you end up where you are now, as both a roofer and writer?
I tell people that I roof and I write about spies. And that I’m the captive of Mutant pomeranians. That’s my life in a nutshell. Okay, here’s the long version:
I ran away from home at 17. I was a girl who like to make big statements, so I didn’t just run away from home, I ran across the oceans from Malaysia to the States. I was supposed to be studying in Ohio, but being a silly 17 year-old, I wanted to visit Disneyland and Hollywood, so I flew there, thinking, “oh, I can get a bus to Ohio afterwards.”
You understand, I was 17. I’d packed my entire world with me, down to my favorite record LPs (we called them albums in those days) and my security pillow from childhood. There I was, stuck in the red light district in LA, with 3 huge suitcases and two minibags, plus various little stuffed bags and animals that I couldn’t resist buying as I made my way across this strange new town.
The prostitutes took pity on me and started asking questions. I had no idea they were prostitutes–hey, I was in Hollywood, everyone was supposed to be strange in Hollywood–so I talked up a storm. The cops came by and started asking questions. I was “taken into protective custody” (for my own good, probably) and finally driven to this motel that was in my notes where some foreign student office had booked a room for me.
So that became my headquarters for the next two weeks as I spent way too much time discovering California. For a 17 year-old, it was a heady experience. For a more grown up me so many decades later, I’m thinking that was more like heading for suicide.
This is getting too long. Let’s just say that I did find my way to Ohio (it took more than a bus) and I did finally get that college education. Which didn’t do me much good except for translating stuff all over the globe and through one of those strange adventures that always seemed to happen to me, I ended up with no money and in the strange land of Florida. I was hungry. I was totally totally penniless.
I was supposed to teach these five classes at the community college that somehow ended up being just one. To survive the $60 a week after taxes, I took up an offer by a kind roofer to clean gutters of houses he reroofed. Gutters. Let me tell you. There was nothing worse than being an educated gutter girl, with her hands in dead leaves and dead lizards.
Oh my God, this is turning out into an epic. Okay. I started roofing because basically, the pay was better than cleaning gutters and teaching surfers to write. It was wild, wearing my first tool belt, swinging my hammer and jumping from roof to roof, because you know, I never thought I ran away from home for that. But this was the sort of stuff that grew into stories in my head–globe-trotting translator who went berserked, made horrible decisions, got chased by evil professors, hiding in the wilds of Florida, wielding a hammer by day and writing deadly secrets that would reveal deadlier conspiracies. Then, with lots of luck and hard work, I became published and here I am, still in one piece and still roofing and writing books–two jobs that people told me were very hard to accomplish. I totally ran away from home for this.
(note from Marjorie: Dude. Cool, cool, story)
Tell readers about your new e-book and how it fits into your series—or is it a standalone?
My new e-book , Big Bad Wolf, was my first manuscript from way back that I’ve polished up a bit. It’s sort of the percursor to my COS Commando series and can be read standalone. It was written to be submitted to Harlequin/Silhouette’s Intimate Moments Line of the late 1990s, when they had the longer format.
I’m giving it away as a thank you to all my patient readers who have been waiting for the second book of my Virtual series, which have been delayed by my publisher again. Readers familiar with the COS Commandos will get a bird’s eye view of what happened in the often referred to “The Big Bang” arc of my published books, in which a few commandos had gone missing, presumed KIA or MIA. Readers not familiar with my group of covert agents can enjoy the story as well, without the need to go looking for explanations. It’s really a simple story–covert agent in hiding after surviving a blast as he tries to find out what happened to his team.
What is it that you�re exploring in this book?
At the time of writing, I wanted write about a group of covert agents that are similar to the historical SOG group. I wanted to explore people on the edge who live in a grey world. Way back in the 1990s, the books I read were mostly black and white, and I wanted darker heros. There were a few authors who were writing these type of anti-heros/sexy bad boys but not enough. I wanted more danger and more capable heroines, so in starting Big Bad Wolf, I was trying to see whether I could use big themes in a little book. Of course, since Harlequin/Silhouette didn’t buy the book, it meant that I couldn’t . So, I started writing “bigger” books instead, called single titles in the industry.
Can you tell us how you became a writer?
Writing has always been my hobby. I think I started writing when I was eight or nine years old. My first taste of being published was winning a contest for a magazine back in Malaysia, the prize of which was being published in an anthology. This was in the late 70s. I was given a copy of the book and still own it .
But as the way life went, education and work took away a lot of that writing energy. I didn’t think about writing seriously again till I read about the Nora Roberts/Janet Dailey plagiarism in 1997(?) when the RWA conference was in Orlando near where I lived. It caught my attention because I remember reading Janet Dailey when I first started reading romances in my teens. Also, in a strange twist of serendipity, I helped this old neighbor to clean her closet out that weekend and she had this huge collection of romance books that she was getting rid of. Voila! I sat down and was hooked again. And as always, reading feeds my need to write and suddenly the old Jenny-writer re-emerged from my soul. Muse was quite relieved, I think, because she’d almost given up on me by then.
What do you like (or don’t like) to do when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing, I enjoy playing with my furbabies, the Mutant Poms. And reading too, of course. I have very little time to do much else, since I have the Day Job which is an exertive one, so by the time I get home, all I want to do is drink beer and burb (kidding, kidding). I’m also excellent at the art of procrastination. All you have to do is visit my blog and click on all my links under Procrastination Station on the right. Or visit the Uber Subservient Chicken, who is my Procrastinator Assistant.
I don’t like to pay my bills. I hate paperwork. I hate bills. I hate cleaning. In short, I hate doing chores. LOL.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That I have no control over certain elements of my story. I can nudge my characters/story line there, but can’t make them behave the way I think they should, no matter how I try. The other surprising thing is to find out that my characters can be just as real to my readers as well.
Do you have any suggestions to help folks become a better writer? If so, what are they?
I write from emotion. It’s important to remember that even though one may be writing about something totally out of one’s experience, one should insert a thread of familiar emotion through it. I often start out with the main character’s state of mind in my stories because it sets the tone to the whole book. In fact, now that I’m thinking about it, all my stories begin that way.
What do you think makes a good story?
A good story is intimate to the reader. It moves from being mere words on the pages to a scene or an emotion in the reader’s mind. As a reader myself, good story is involving, surprising, often in deep POV. I love snappy dialogue and crazy action. I love characters who learn something about themselves as their stories evolved. And a good story, to me, must have a satisfying ending. That’s why I read and write romance.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I’m not sure. Quirk as in oddity? Each book has its own writing hour. For example, Into Danger was my lunchtime book–I wrote it long hand through my eating time. But The Hunter was a 3am book. The story just won’t come till about that time.
The other quirk is this odd tick I get every time someone emails me that they think the stuff in my books are too real for romance, that they don’t want to read about children trafficking or spy killing spy stuff. Umm. Hello? Since I write techno/action romance in the present world, how do I avoid these big topics?
The last quirk, the ones that mean surprising turn, in my writing is the stories have gone all techno thriller on me, moving into virtual reality and mind control, which I’ve had no idea I was going to explore. So now, I’m inviting those who enjoyed books like Bourne Ultimatum or shows like Alias to try out Virtually His, which is the first of my three-book series about Totally Immersive Remote Viewing Virtual Reality (TIRVVR, pronounced Terror). Focus on techno and romance 40/60. Sweaty towel factor–four out of five.
I would like to give away a few copies of VIRTUALLY HERS and THE HUNTER to the readers who will post and answer these questions:
Why are dark and dangerous secret agents so sexy to you, the reader? What is it about the new James Bond?
Thank you, Marjorie for giving me the chance to talk about my books and writing. I hope you all will read and enjoy my free ebook, BIG BAD WOLF. Here’s the first chapter, and you can find links to additional chapters at my blog.