>Seven Questions With Janey Chapel

>Get What You Need
By Janey Chapel
eBook, Dreamspinner Press, September 2010

The basics first: what’s your new book about, and how can readers get their hands on it?

Get What You Need is a novella-length story about a cop named Patrick who meets up with Jay, an ex-con, at a bar; a simple enough premise, I suppose! The cop’s in the middle of an investigation, with a lot of pent-up frustration looking for an outlet, and Jay gives him exactly what he needs. For all that, it’s more a character study than a drama, and I hope readers will love Patrick and Jay as much as I do.

Readers can get their hands on the book at the Dreamspinner Press website.

Where did the inspiration for your story come from?

I love my men tender on the inside, tough on the outside, and that describes both of the main characters. In terms of exploring the dynamic between them, I have to admit I was inspired by the FX series Justified, which features a U.S. marshal and his old friend/foe, a possibly reformed criminal. That gave me the jumpstart I needed to dive into the story.

How long did it take you to write and revise the story, start to publication?

The whole process took from May to September. I wrote and revised the story in about six weeks, submitted it to Dreamspinner in June, had it accepted in July, and published in late September.

Do you write just one story at time, or do you usually have several works in progress?

I’m a monogamous writer—I can really only work on one thing at a time. I’ve got an idea or two percolating on the back burners, but I seem to only be able to focus on one story until it’s done. What I find is that if an idea’s going to work, that happens pretty quickly. If not, then there’s just no forcing it. I’ve yet to get characters to speak to me on command! I know a number of professional writers set aside specific times or word-count goals for each day, and more power to them; it just doesn’t seem to work that way for me.

Other than simply finding the time, what’s the most challenging part of the writing process for you, and what comes easiest?

The most challenging part for me really is finding the time to devote to it. I know we’re all trying to wear multiple hats, so I’m not unique, but when I’m writing, other things fall by the wayside, and it’s not fair to the people in my life to neglect them for too long. Once I start to write, I tend to dive in headfirst, and I have trouble doing anything except that, so I wait until I know I’ll have a chunk of time that I can dedicate before starting a project.

What comes easiest is the simple logistics of spelling, grammar, and sentence structure (with the unfortunate exception of commas, which still routinely defeat me!). I’ve got degrees in English and journalism, and I come from a very “wordy” family, so the basic structure of dialogue, for example, isn’t difficult for me. I enjoy the process of editing as much as the process of writing.

How do you write, physically speaking? Longhand, laptop, desktop, inside or out, at a desk, comfy chair, in bed?

I write at a desktop computer in my study at home, usually while my kid is in school and my spouse is at work and the house is quiet. I’m not one who can write while the TV is going or people are chatting in the background. I immerse myself in the writing “zone” so deeply that I learned to set the kitchen timer so I wouldn’t miss going to the bus stop!

In order to edit, though, I have to print out the project and read it through on paper, with red pen in hand. I catch so many more things on paper than I do onscreen. There’s something really satisfying about combing through a piece under construction and finding ways of improving it.

What are your long-term goals as a writer?

Considering how detailed I am in some areas, it feels a little strange to say that I have no long-term goals as a writer. I still find myself a little bemused when characters start to “speak” to me, and I’m always convinced the latest project will be the last project. But if I have my druthers, I’d like to write more about Eli Jones and Cooper Fitch, the Navy SEALs featured in Maritime Men and Anchors Aweigh.

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