I got to sit down with my darling friend JN Welsh to discuss music, writing, research, and her new book, In Tune!
When did you realize or decide you wanted to be a writer?
Did I ever decide? I feel like it chose me. I remember being in class in my early years and writing notes to my friends. As I got older the notes got more elaborate and I started to write these extensive stories where my friends and their crush had this relationship with conflict and it all ended in a marriage HEA. I believe that I was always the kind of writer with an affinity for romance.
What has been your best experience as an author so far?
The writer community has been great. I have met many writers who have been helpful and supportive. They are funny, smart mostly women and some men who are giving of their time and information. It has been overwhelming at times when I think about the moment when I attended my first Romance Writers of America National Conference and felt like I’d found my people.
How do you research and plan your books? Do you find outlining helps or hinders your process?
I love researching my characters and the worlds I attempt to build for them. I want to get details and nuances right so that if someone from that world knows about it, they can say “she nailed it,” which adds to every readers’ experience of that story. I outline, even if it is only in my head. Whenever I have challenges I have to go back and break a story down with visuals but I can’t outline a story in the traditional sense. Mine are more notes, intersectional boxes/circles, perspective emojis, and other type drawings.
Have you learned anything really cool or interesting while researching your books? What’s been the weirdest research you’ve ever had to do?
Yeah, I did a short story for the Morris Jumel Mansion a few years back and the museum has a history of paranormal activity. It was great researching the history of the mansion’s occupant and the events that occurred there as well as going on the paranormal tour. It was spooky. My paranormal short-story was fun to write because of it!
What advice would you give to new writers in the field?
Don’t give up. We all have wanted to at one point, but if you don’t give up you get better, you’ll make more connections, and eventually, you will have success.
Tell us a little about your writing nook! Favorite tea/coffee/writing snack?
My writing nook is not really a nook but I like to write on my bed. I also have to have access to music, most times a playlist I’ve been compiling that gets me into the mood of my story and its scenes. I’m a tea drinker at home and coffee drinker out in the world but I either like Lipton tea with milk and sweetener or unsweetened lemongrass tea (boiled from the stem), which are both my favorites.
My favorite snacks are high protein bliss balls that I make with dates, nuts, and cocoa. However, full disclosure, peanut M&Ms or guacamole chips win a spot on the night table for easy access on occasion. I do make sure to get up and do a few squats and lunches as well as half a sun salutation to keep the circulation going.
Of all of your own characters, who would you most want to date?
How about all of them? Can I date all of them? If you twist my arm, I’d probably say Luke from In Tune. I love how layered he is. I often describe him as an artichoke. He’s spiky on the outside but when you peel back the layers the heart is super sweet.
What project are you currently working on?
I am polishing Bittersweet which is book two in my Sea Breeze Seduction Series which will be out in the new year and writing the third book as well which will be a holiday novella in that series.
What’s next for you?
Well, I’m working on delivering more books for my readers as well as guest speaking on panels related to romance writing and the industry.
JN Welsh is a native New Yorker. She writes entertaining, often humorous, and provocative tales about strong, career-driven, multicultural heroines who are looking for love. Her punchy, flowing dialogue and big city stories are heartwarming and stick to your ribs. When she’s not writing she can be found dancing, wine-ing, rooting for her favorite baseball team, and/or indulging in countless guilty pleasures.
About the Book
Tell us a little about your new release: In Tune
In Tune was released on October 1st and is a multicultural enemies-to-lovers romance story that takes workplace romance on the road. It features ass heroine of color and an Electronic Dance Music (EDM) DJ!
Where did your inspiration for the book come from?
The inspiration came one night when I turned on the TV to the Fuse channel on cable and they were broadcasting a concert for this DJ named Kaskade. It was the end of the concert and Kaskade played a song that he did with Deadmaus called “I Remember” and I thought it was so beautiful. Every part of me connected with that song and though I had grown up in the clubs listening to techno, house, trip hop, and drum and bass, this was different.
I later learned about the new landscape and a term that was being used to umbrella a lot of electronic styles of music called Electronic Dance Music or EDM. My curiosity for the music and the festivals grew and so I attended a few. Then one day I was like well.. what if a fan fell in love with a DJ? That’s how the story started out and then developed into a manager and a DJ over time. In Tune was born.
Did you outline the story, or dive right in?
I dove right in. I had gone to Las Vegas to see Kaskade. It was my first concert of his and was special because it was around the time Hurricane Sandy hit New York, so it was already an emotional time. The story just seemed to pour out of me and I wrote it pretty quickly. The editing and developmental changes took longer to get right but the story was eager to get on paper.
How did your characters come to life?
The DJs I saw at the festivals were my inspiration. Watching them interact with fans and performing with otherworldly energy and heart was also integral for world building. They are all colorful and though they all play this music that brings people to together, they are all so different.
Did you do any cool or interesting research for this story? What did you learn?
I’m glad you asked. Attending clubs in Las Vegas, Electronic Daisy Carnival in New York and even doing two EDM inspired 5K runs were all part of the research. I talked to a lot of people and even took a DJ class at Scratch DJ Academy (which was a personal and research goal). The research was extensive and I hope it shows in the book.
What was your favorite part of working on this story? What was the most challenging?
Leona and Luke have high energy banter that I love. It comes naturally for them to where I really do feel they write themselves. I’m a detail-heavy writer and I want to give readers every tidbit but they don’t need all that so I find myself having to scale back on doing that so that I can give them that heart pumping story they love.
What’s next for this story – is it part of a series? When does it come out?
In Tune is part of a multi-book series I’ve written and I’m hoping all the books in the series will see the light of day. Right now I have books in the series out on proposal. So fingers crossed. I think readers will want to see these stories and one way or another I’ll get it to them.
Keep reading for a sneak peek of IN TUNE by JN Welsh, available October 2018 from Carina Press.
If Leona Sable had known how this day was going to turn out, she would have stayed in bed, nestled against her boyfriend pillow with the covers pulled over her head.
How the fuck did I get here? A conversation with her boss and mentor, Abraham Wallace, that started with “The client only wants you” and ended with “Meet me at the Metro Hotel this evening at seven and be dressed for a night out.” That’s how.
Ever since that conversation a few short hours ago, Leona had been collecting intel on Electronic Dance Music DJ Luke “The Musical Prophet” Anderson.
Had Abe not looked so stressed and hell-bent on acquiring said potential client, she’d still be in hiding, paper-pushing due diligence forms.
Leona sat in the hairdresser’s chair in Midtown Manhattan. Her tight corkscrew curls dripped wet onto the towel draped over her shoulders, while she pressed the cell phone to her ear.
“Dale, sweetie, you’re telling me that Luke’s manager left his tour? Just like that? Why?” Leona strained to hear above the light music playing in the salon.
Dale, her fabulous, long-time source swam in the know while others simply dipped their toe into the pool. “Allegedly, there was a mash-up of problems. Money issues and fraternization,” he whispered into the phone.
Leona wasn’t a gossip but she sometimes had to play the role of one to get the information she needed.
“They were dating? Was it serious?”
“Who knows in this industry? But I will say that hearts were broken. And…”
Leona couldn’t believe the next words that came out of Dale’s mouth, and neither would Abe when she briefed him. “No!”
“Yes, but you won’t find a lick about it in the rags. The family is wealthy and adamant about her privacy. They keep paying out.”
“Then why would she do that?”
“I don’t know, girl. Money got these people like…whoa!”
“Stop.” Leona laughed, assessing her milk chocolate brown image in the mirror. “Thanks, D. You gave me a lot to work with. I appreciate it.”
“Listen, love. Please don’t ever go underground again. I need my concert tickets.”
“I promise.” Leona hung up.
Her hairdresser started to work. “Let me get started on your twists.”
“Change of plan, Kim. Geisha bun. Sleek and sexy.”
Kim stilled with wide-toothed comb in hand. “You haven’t had that style in a while. Does this mean you’re back?”
Kim’s excitement surprised her. “No.” Leona’s raised voice carried above the music.
“Okay, okay. Just asking.” Kim’s grin reflected in the mirror.
Leona surveyed the room and tapped her left earlobe. “The last thing I need is that rumor getting out.”
Kim readied her tools—complete with blow-dryer and brush—for Leona’s hair. “Maybe after tonight it won’t be a rumor.”
For the past year, Leona had stayed out of the spotlight. Lately, she had to admit that the administrative role Abe allowed her to perform was a snore fest, and she’d thought about waging a comeback and once again doing the work she loved. Though she was an experienced personal manager, with production and tour experience, the entertainment industry was fickle and would make her pay for her absence. More importantly, a nagging question remained.
Am I ready?
Leona checked her messages and returned a call to Tracy Ruiz, one of the resident lawyers at Wallace Entertainment. “Hey, Tracy. Got anything on Mr. Wonderful?”
“He doesn’t have any priors, but there have been some disturbances of the peace. Mr. Anderson has had a string of episodes involving angry outbursts, but no one was hurt. Only a couple of scuffles here and there.”
“This just gets more interesting by the hour. Okay, Tracy. Thanks.”
What the hell did Abe get me into? A client with a shady business past and anger management issues… Seriously?A shiver scuttled up her back and her shoulders shimmied in release.Just get him in the door, Leo, and you’ll be done.
Kim took a brief break from pulling at Leona’s kinky curls. “You cold, girl?”
“Oh, no, I’m good. Just some old ghosts trying to bully me.”
Kim patted her shoulders.
Leona was tempted to contact Luke’s family members for more information, but her experience with her ex-boyfriend gave her pause. The media craziness had adversely affected the Sable family. And though she only sought information—it was a line she was unwilling to cross.
With her hair completed, Leona thanked Kim and headed home. In her walk-in closet, Leona chose her outfit while she listened to one of Luke’s interviews. He mentioned a fondness for animal crackers and she chuckled. “And not just any kind either.” She loved researching potential clients. Sometimes their quirks and preferences were predictable, other times quite unexpected.
Her phone rang. She picked up when she saw it was Abe.
“Leo? I’m on my way to the hotel. What’d you find out, darlin’?” he asked. Though from Scottish and Spanish stock, Abe had been born and raised in North Carolina. He used the touch of Southern twang in his voice to sweet-talk anyone into doing his bidding.
“He’s very into his fans. In fact, that’s why this guy is all over the place and not just in the States.” She put Abe on speaker and scrolled through some notes on her phone. “Yeah, Brazil, Australia, United Arab Emirates…Yikes. The list of worldwide appearances goes on for pages. What a treacherous schedule.”
“Hard worker. What else?”
“He’s passionate about his music and active on all social media outlets. We like passion.”
“Wallace Entertainment,” Leona clarified. “People have nice things to say about him. But, Abe? There’s a bit of controversy around his last management. His ex-manager stole some astronomical amount of money from him and—”
“That’s an unfounded rumor. We need him, Leo.”
There’s that desperation again. “I get that you want him, but…”
“No, Leo. The company needs him.”
“The company? Okay, Abe. What’s really going on here?”
Abe was silent. “I’m in a cab, coming up on 14th Street. We’ll talk later. See you in a bit.”
“Abe…” she called to a dead line. Damn it. What the hell? She breathed deep.
She dressed in snug off-white leather bootleg pants and a fitted black shirt with capped sleeves. Sexy black lace accented the top of the shirt—from above her bust to her neck—and covered her back. It was the perfect day-to-night outfit, yet still professional. Too much time had passed since her life required such attire. The outfit felt foreign at first, until the old familiar part of her began to stir.
A sheer off-white shawl draped over her shoulders allowed the light material to pop off of her brown skin. Black peep-toe booties added four inches to her five-foot-four frame. She quickly evaluated her image in the mirror and extended her arm to the reflection, as if offering a handshake to see how her outfit moved. She hadn’t done that in years. You’re nervous.She wiggled her shoulders.Shake it off. This is old hat, Leo.
She didn’t know what situation awaited her at the Metro Hotel but she was as ready as she’d ever be.
Don’t miss IN TUNE by JN Welsh, available wherever Carina Press ebooks are sold.
Copyright © 2018 by Jennifer N Welsh
Read more on
Amazon – iBooks – B&N – Kobo – Google Play