Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Author Interview: MARTINE JARDIN

Martine Jardin's Blueprint for Success
Author Interview by AJ Llewellyn
Award-winning Artist Stops by to visit the Dark Divas!!

1. Martine, you are a very accomplished artist and have won many awards and now it turns out that you are a talented author! How hard is it to balance your art and writing lives?

It's not easy to balance. I do whatever the muse tells me. Be it art, I create covers. Be it writing, I work on present works or start a new story.
2. Can you tell me a little about your background? Are you self taught? Or did you go to art school?

I've sketched, did water colors and charcoals since I was very young. I won some art competitions over the years. I ventured into oils in my twenties and painted just for relaxation and to use as gifts at Christmas, weddings, anniversaries etc. Early nineties I started to dabble in digital art. I took some online courses, but am mainly self taught. Just recently, I bought new oils and canvas, but I haven't had time to paint anything as yet.

3. Your work covers a wide spectrum but has such a wonderful dreamlike quality to it. What inspires your art?

Sometimes it's just the muse, many times it's an author's blurb that inspires a book cover.
4. How closely do you work with authors on their covers?

I work with them very closely, although many authors have learned just to let me and my muse have their way.

5. Why, is your muse a bee-yatch? LOL

I don't know what that means…LOL oh, a bitch? Well, I am on a strict diet, so yes, maybe. Sometimes…
6. Do you ever have to put your foot down with authors? I like to joke that you speak softly but walk with a big paintbrush. I think this might actually be true...right?

I rarely put my foot down. I'll work and rework a cover until the author is happy. Being an author myself, I know what it's like to get a lousy cover. Been there. My first print published book, Shadowed Love, had a very disappointing cover and the publisher wouldn't let me make my own.
7. How influenced do you think book buyers are by covers?

It's different for everyone. Personally, I look at the covers before I pick up the book to examine it further.
8. Have you ever bought a book for its cover?

Yes, I have. Not always a good thing to do. A cover can be very appealing but the content not what you expected it to be. Wasted some money that way and have learned to read blurbs and excerpts before buying.
9. Which artists do you admire?

Rembrandt, one of the oldies, and there are a lot of digital artists I admire, too many to name, except I do love Jim Warren.

AJ: I love Jim Warren! I have his painting of Goddess Pele on my living room wall.

Martine: He is one of my favorite artists of today. I quite often go to his website for inspiration and silently wish I had the time to dabble with my oils and become just as good. And you know how I found him? I googled painting of unicorns in sea…and there were his paintings. Just gorgeous paintings. I am not quite sure how he does it all…I think it’s a mixture of media but his can of tomato soup looks like a mix of oil and digital…beautiful work, just beautiful.
10. About your writing…Blueprint For Revenge is a wonderful story set in Switzerland. You paint a very convincing picture of a haunted castle. Is this place real? Did you go there?

No, I haven't been to Switzerland. I did a lot of research for this book. I have, however, visited castles in France and the Netherlands, and based some of my descriptions on those. I researched castles and blueprints of castles extensively before writing this story.
11. The story of the sociopathic husband is chilling and yet believable. Is he based on somebody real?

Not really, although some of the fella's behavior is based on someone real. By studying people, listening to them, reading about true life events or watching a true life drama on TV, one can create very believable characters.
12. What is your work routine like with your art work? Do you work at night or morning? Do you have to carefully juggle your schedule to accommodate your writing and do you ever feel torn?

Yes, I do have a job to do after all, so I have to juggle everything. And yes, I quite often feel torn between writing, art, and my regular work. I do my best art at night, as well as my writing. And I do art just to relax when I'm tense, in turmoil or upset. It really brings tranquility to me.
13. What are you writing now and how is your experience at Devine Destines? This is your second book with them.

I am working on several older novels that have been collecting dust. It will take a while to rewrite them. I have so many old manuscripts, it's hard to pick which one I really want to work on next. One of my favorites is the one that was stolen and published in Russia for which I never got a penny.
14. Wow…how did that happen??
Long story. I'll make it as brief as possible. I signed with an agent. She is listed on P & E and several other sites, so I feel comfortable posting her name, Kelly O'Donnell, alias Martha Ivery, O'Donnell Literary Agency and later on, Press-Tige Publishing. This woman promised me the world, encouraged me to write and write and she'd publish my books. I found out she was ripping people off for thousands of dollars, so I terminated my contract with her. It was a few months later when I suddenly received a fax from Russia to send them a missing page from my manuscript.
Someone had copyrighted my works in their name, or so they said. (It was never done). But, what they didn't notice was that I had for some odd reason put the title page with my address, phone and fax number, at the end of the manuscript. This is how Russia knew where to fax me. Kelly O'Donnel in collaboration with Deering Literary Agency, sold my books to this Russian publisher. I ran up quite a phone bill trying to investigate it all. I never saw a penny and I have no idea which name these books were published under or the Russian titles. It was a devastating experience and taught me a bitter lesson. But not lesson enough. I could probably write a whole book about crooked agents and publishers and the many times I've been bitten.
I'd really like to work on the one book Russia faxed me about and optimize it for publication. How a page ever went missing from the floppy disc, is beyond me. It's an historical, written in the Angelique series style. Another one is Send Me An Angel, but since someone else has published with that title, I'll have to think up a new one. However, rewriting an older book is more work than starting a new story, so these are constantly put on the backburner.
15. Are you planning to give these books to Devine Destinies?
Some. It depends on how much sexuality is in them. Devine Destinies allows sensuality, but not explicit sexual scenes like eXtasy Books. I haven't looked at these books in quite a while and don't remember how hot they are--or not.
16. Who are your favorite authors to read?
J. R. Ward. Some old timer authors if I can find their books. I like some of Stephen King's books, especially his dark tower series. Over the last years, I don't read as much anymore because I'm afraid it will influence my own writing.
17. How did you first discover romantic and erotic fiction? Did you read it growing up?
I started devouring books at a very young age, as soon as I could read. My mother introduced me to the library at age 6 and I was reading a book a day. When I was a teenager, I started reading Barbara Cartland. Those were considered very spicy for that time. After that, the Angelique series--even spicier. I loved the Angelique series for all the adventures and intrigue and trouble Angelique got herself into. Plus it was historical. From there I ventured into reading historical fiction.
18. Okay a wild question: Rembrandt comes back to life and turns up at your door demanding afternoon tea. Where would you take him and what would you order for him since he doesn’t speak English?
There is a story in that, LOL. Mmm, Rembrandt in today's time. Could make for an interesting book. I speak Rembrandt's native language so he could tell me what he'd like. Maybe I'd introduce him to MacDonalds? Or…since he was a starving artist in his time, he'd probably be happy with just a plain old Dutch cup of tea with biscuits.
19. What do you think he would make of some of your more provocative art??
He'd probably love it since he's done some provocative paintings himself in his day. LOL He'd probably shock me… tell me my art isn't provocative enough…
On behalf of the Dark Diva Reviews team, I’d like to thank Martine Jardin for her time and her passion.
Find out more about Martine at www.martinejardin.com and find her books at www.devinedestinies.com