Behind the Scenes: J.L. Wilson

Where It Started

I’ve always enjoyed reading mystery books so when I began my writing career it seemed a natural for me to choose mystery as my genre. Because I’m somewhat lazy and didn’t want to get into all the police details, I usually have a regular person get involved in a mystery and stumble through it all on the way to a solution. And because I’m an older woman, I wanted my stories to feature older women who are perhaps re-entering the romance world after a death or a divorce.

Series Inspiration

The genesis for my current series of books – The Remembered Classics Romances (10 so far with my next one coming out in November)– all have a well-known story behind them. Woulds is my Robin Hood book in which Tuck is the main female character. Mazed is my Beauty and the Beast book; a hybrid rose plays an important role in that book as it did in the original “Beauty” story. Mirrored is my Snow-White book. It features Snow White and the Seven Jocks.

For each of these stories, I had to be very careful to follow the ‘original’ story. For example, my Wizard of Oz book, Twistered, uses only characters from the 14 books that L. Frank Baum wrote, all of which are in the public domain.  Other authors used some of his characters in subsequent books, but those are all still copyrighted. I had to be careful not to use any of those plot lines or characters in my book.

In the same way I had to be careful that I was not influenced by popular depictions of these stories. My Little Mermaid story, Beached, is a good example of how the original fairy story is so different from the current version. In the original story the little mermaid gives up everything to entice the prince and in the end, her sacrifice is in vain. I chose the Little Mermaid as my villain of my story and had my heroine be the woman who saved the ‘prince’ when they were young.

My next book coming out in November is Heir, and it’s my Rapunzel book. Her hair is a big part of the Rapunzel story, so I had hair be a central part of my book. My heroine was abandoned as a child and now, as an adult, her parent is seeking her and needs a strand of her hair to verify her identity through DNA testing. If her identity is proven, she inherits a massive estate—and someone is, of course, trying to stop her.

The Process

Writing the book is only one part of the whole process. Once I finish that first draft, I wait a month or two and go back and re-read it. Then I go through what I call my “abused word” check where I search for and try to replace overused words. I have a list of about 40 words that sound fine in everyday conversation but when they’re written, they aren’t right. I’ll search for those words and try to find a different way to phrase things.

Once I’ve done that editorial review I often shelve the manuscript for another month then I go back, read it again, then submit it to my editor for consideration. And then I wait and hope it passes inspection! If it does get picked up for publication, I start another round of editing and then, several months later (once the cover art is chosen and the proofreading is done), it’s ready for you to read.

In addition to the Remembered Classics books, I have 25 more books published (listed at I hope the enjoyment that I experience while crafting these stories comes through in my writing – because I truly do love what I’m doing!

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