As you all know, I only read the odd romance book and when I feature one on my blog you know it must be really good. “Dog Days of Summer” by PJ Fiala is a real treat. As romances go this has great chemistry and interesting characters. I found it refreshing to have a romance between people who are parents themselves. The setting in the biker community and its annual charity ride was particularly fascinating for me, since it is such a different world to mine. It was much how I imagined it would be yet with great individuals and ideas that made the story and the characters very relatable and likeable. A good dependable war veteran as love interest should have readers fall in love, just as Joci does in the book. The language and the erotic scenes are quite explicit at times but fit the storyline and characters perfectly. A heart warming and uplifting book full of great values.
Here is an interview with P.J. Fiala:
As a person, I am a wife of 29 years, a mother to 4 grown children and a grandmother to 3 lovely grandchildren. My husband and I are bikers and love to travel on bike as much as we can.
Tell us about your writing history. When was the first time you decided to write and when was the first time you did?
I always wanted to be a writer and let fear get in the way. I simply didn’t know how to begin and who would want to read what I had to say anyway? Then, one day, I was reading my thousandth romance novel, by a very well-known author, and I found mistakes. The kind like eye color of the heroine or technical mistakes in the flow of the story. I was irritated that between all the editing, formatting, etc., no one caught this. That’s when I decided, I could do this. It’s the details, baby.
What inspired you for the stories?
If you are aware of my stories, you will know that I write about bikers, at least in my latest series. It seemed natural for me to write about bikers, since we are bikers. I wanted to write a positive story about them, because there is so much written about the 1% bikers, but not much on the other 99%. The groups we ride with support charities, local organizations and each other. I was standing on the deck at a local bar, waiting for a ride to start one day. As I looked out over the crowd and heard snippets of conversations, I thought, “I should write about bikers.” I mentioned it to my husband and he said, “Now you’ve got it.”
How did you decide on the characters, plots and titles?
The characters are mostly figments of my imagination, but, they are all loosely based on someone I know in some way. Some of the physical characteristics are different and the stories may be modified a bit, but the general idea came from a true event, or person.
Are your books auto-biographical in any way? Are you like any of the characters, or is your life similar?
The parts that are auto biographical are the trips and the rides. The rides I mention in my books are rides we have already taken or charities that we support on a regular basis. I’m not like my characters, but I would like to be, at least the heroines. I find that I write qualities or characteristics of people that I wish I could be like or would like to have as friends.
Did anyone influence you / encourage you to become a writer?
As I mentioned above, I have been married to my husband for 29 years. We dated for 6 years before getting married, so we have a fair amount of history between us. He has been my number one supporter throughout our lives together. When we would encounter something interesting he would say, “You need to put that in a book someday.” When I finally decided to do it, he was right there supporting me all along the way.
What do your family or friends say about your books. Do they mind you taking so much time to write?
I think my family would appreciate it if I didn’t spend so much time on it. It isn’t just the writing, it’s all the marketing that takes up so much time. But, they are supportive of it. My friends are, shall I say shocked? I write erotic romance, or at least romance that is explicit and steamy. In real life, I guess I don’t come off as someone who would be interested in reading it, let alone writing it. My books have been the topic of many conversations and late night phone calls.
When did you decide to write in this genre?
I love this genre. Love it. So, it’s natural for me to write in it. I will venture into fantasy/paranormal soon. I have ideas floating around in my head regarding a fantasy/paranormal series.
Would you say there is a message in your books beyond the story? Do you find it is well received and picked up by the reviewers?
There is a message. It’s mostly that bikers are good people, have regular lives and do many good things in their communities and for others. The general comments have been that it’s nice to read about bikers doing good things. It’s why I generally promote my Rolling Thunder Series as “Romance of a different kind”.
Who would you hope plays the characters in a movie version?
Oooooo, Brad Pitt would be my Jeremiah, no doubt. Linsee Davis would make a fabulous Joci. Scarlett Johanson would be that awful LuAnn.
Did you have your books all planned out before you write them or do the characters and story surprise you?
I find that the characters and the story surprise me all the time. I usually have something in my head when I begin to write, but something happens along the way, and I just go with it. Sometimes it changes again later.
Which character did you most enjoy writing?
I really liked Jeremiah. I had him in my head from the beginning. He is smart, devoted, dependable, caring, loyal, sexy and the best kind of alpha. He isn’t a jerk. I didn’t want him being one of those men that has to be hated in the beginning, I’m tired of those characters.
What would your character(s) say about you?
Hmmm, good one. I think they would say I am dependable, smart, stubborn and tenacious. When I really want something, I go after it. I’m also willing to step out of the box a little bit and see where it takes us.
What do you like best about writing? What’s your least favourite thing?
The best thing about writing it creating the fantasy. Creating those characters that you want to love and fall in love with. Creating the situations and stories around them. It’s fabulous. The least favourite thing is the darn marketing. It seems never ending and there is a plethora of information you have to learn every day. All the social media and websites, learning new software, writing tweets, creating teasers, posting, posting, posting. Oh, and don’t even get me started on blogging. Where does the writing fit in? Family? What family?
Did you have any say in your cover art? What do you think of it? Tell us about the artist.
I did. My publisher has used this artist for a very long time. They would submit it to me and ask me what I liked and what I didn’t like. From there, changes would be made and sent back to me. I love the cover of Dog Days of Summer. Wait till you see the cover for Rydin the Storm Out, it’s amazing. It’s from a different artist, JC Clark, but she is doing a fabulous job with it. She also just redesigned the cover for Second Chances, which I will be republishing next year.
What is your writing environment like? Do you need silence or music to write?
I write all over the house. Usually in my office and always with music or television on. I like the noise and I can do several things at once, so I can sing and write at the same time. Or listen to the news and write. My office is very nice and I face windows that over look my front yard. It’s a nice view.
How many rewrites does it normally take you for each book?
Several. For Dog Days I had 4 rewrites. Rydin the Storm Out, my next book and the second in the series, is on rewrite #3.
How do you edit and quality control?
I have beta readers that I trust and enjoy. They are my quality control. I am pretty good at keeping the story and facts straight, but every so often, something will slip past, that’s where my betas are so valuable. Then, I send my books off to my editor, who I adore. She is fabulous and she does a phenomenal job and she will catch things here and there.
How have you found the experience of self-publishing? What were your highs and lows?
Well, it’s certainly a learning experience. It’s nice having all the control over everything and at the same time, it’s difficult having to make all the decisions and being the only person responsible for everything, marketing, teasers, finding editors, beta readers, social media, etc. Highs are definitely when a reader writes a fabulous review. It makes me soar and I feel as though I was meant to do this. The lows are the long hours and of course, trolls.
What is your advice to new writers?
This isn’t an easy business. You will climb on a rollercoaster and ride it up the hill and back down again. Hang in there and keep writing for the purpose you began writing in the first place, because you love it. Read as much as you can read, learn about every aspect of publishing a book so you can be self sufficient and find that group of fellow authors who will support you and help you along the way. They are out there.
Who are your favourite authors?
Right now I am really enjoying Joanna Wylde and S.C. Stephens. They are relatively new to publishing but I just love their books. Of course I am a huge Sylvia Day fan and have been for many years. Lauren Dane is another favourite.
Who are your favourite independent writers?
There are so many fabulous independent writers out there. I’ve found JC Valentine and Sibyl Matilda as well as yourself Christoph, Hunter S. Jones, Tanya Holmes, Melodie Ramone and so many others.
What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?
I always read ebooks. I have the kindle app on my phone and I also have the kobo app. I can read at anytime, anywhere and I love it. Currently, I am reading Rekindled Love by TL Clark.
What three books have you read recently and would recommend?
I mentioned Joanna Wylde above. I just finished her Reaper’s Stand, which I would recommend. Steamy, sexy and wild. Sylvia Day has the last of the Crossfire Series coming out in November and I am trying to clear my schedule for that one, because, I won’t be able to put it down.
Who would you say are the biggest influences?
Well, for me it’s any writer who can make me sigh! I just absolutely love a great story. I prefer romances, but if a story can grab me and keep me interested from beginning to end, I am influenced. I like reading different writers to learn different styles and techniques. Some authors just have a fabulous way of describing things, or making you feel. I like learning all of these different techniques.
What books have you read more than once or want to read again?
Well, I’ll admit, I read Fifty Shades of Gray twice. I’ve read the Harry Potter series twice. I’ve read S.C. Stephens books twice.
What is your life like outside of writing?
I’m married to my best friend. I know that sounds like a cliché, but it is true. He make me laugh everyday. We are bikers and ride as much as we can. We have four grown children and three grand children that we love spending time with. We have a large group of friends who we enjoy hanging out with as well, so you could say we are always busy.
What makes you laugh?
I have a dry sense of humour and so does my husband. He is very funny and always coming up with something witty or cleaver about anything and everything.
What (not who) would you like to take to a lonely island?
It would have to be my phone loaded with books to read.
Who would you like to invite for dinner?
I think it would be a hoot to meet Maria Shriver. I also think Jon Stewart would be interesting to talk to.
Hot or cold?
Hot. Always hot. I hate being cold.
Salty or sweet?
Hmm, that’s a tough one. Both.
What would your friends say are your best and your oddest quality?
I’m creative. No kidding, right? I paint with oils and I paint on walls. I’ve done a ton of faux painting in my day and enjoy that so much. I am very good with color and mixing colors. My oddest quality is probably that I get bored easy and move on. If something doesn’t hold my interest, I can walk away without a second thought. That means jobs, hobbies, whatever.
What would you chose as those qualities?
Tell us about your other books?
Second Chances was my first book. I enjoyed writing that one. I had a publisher that charged me money and I haven’t seen a single dime from them since then. Luckily, I own the rights to it, so I will be republishing that one in March of 2015. Rydin the Storm Out is the second book in the Rolling Thunder Series. Ryder is Dog’s son from Dog Days of Summer and very shy. That was a harder book to write for me, because, I’m not shy. After Rydin, I will release Danny’s War, which is the third in the Rolling Thunder Series then Gunnin for You, Gunnar’s Story. Gunnar is Joci’s son from Dog Days of Summer. Then, Restoring Connor and there will be more after those are released but I don’t have titles yet. Each of the stories mentioned is in some form of existence. Written, half written, outlined or something.
What song would you pick to go with your book?
Ahh, I just love Kid Rock, anything he sings will work.
How do you handle criticism of your work?
Let’s just say, my skin is getting thicker. Some people have a nice way of critiquing and I appreciate that. I know I’m not perfect and I believe I will always have something to learn. So, I try to approach criticism with that in mind.
Tell us one weird thing, one nice thing, and one fact about where you live.
Okay. Weird-Almost everyone in Green Bay owns a cheesehead! In some form or another, we all have them, cheese can coolers, cheese pillows, cheesehead, yep, it’s a thing here. Nice-we almost never have traffic jams. Fact- It’s cold here in the winter, and yet sometime throughout the winter, you will always see people wearing shorts. Don’t understand it, don’t think I want to.
What are you working on now?
Besides all of the books I mentioned above, I am beta reading and reading for other authors, learning marketing. I am the area coordinator for my local RWA chapter and I work full time.
I was born in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri named Bridgeton. During my time in Missouri, I explored the Ozarks, swam in the Mississippi River, and played kickball and endless games of hide and seek with the neighborhood kids. Spending summers in Kentucky with my grandmother, Ruth, are the fondest childhood memories for me.
At the age of thirteen, my family moved to Wisconsin to learn to farm. Yes, learn to farm! That was interesting. Taking city kids and throwing them on a farm with twenty-eight cows purchased from the humane society because they had been abused was interesting. I learned to milk cows, the ins and outs of breeding and feeding schedules, the never ending haying in the summer, and trying to stay warm in the winter. Our first winter in Wisconsin we had thirty-six inches of snow in one storm and were snowed in our house for three days! Needless to say, I wasn’t loving Wisconsin.
I am now married with four children and three grandchildren. I have learned to love Wisconsin, though I still hate snow. Wisconsin and the United States are beautiful, and my husband and I travel around by motorcycle seeing new sites and meeting new people. It never ceases to amaze me how many people are interested in where we are going and what we have seen along the way. At every gas station, restaurant, and hotel, we have people come up to us and ask us about what we are doing as well as offer advice on which roads in the area are better than others.
I come from a family of veterans. My grandfather, father, brother, two of my sons, and one daughter-in-law are all veterans. Needless to say, I am proud. Proud to be an American and proud of the service my amazing family has given.
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Follow the links for the playlists for each book:
Second Chances – http://tinyurl.com/nuut3wn
Dog Days of Summer – http://tinyurl.com/qhld35l
Rydin the Storm Out – http://tinyurl.com/l8x8p84
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#PJ Fiala, author PJ Fiala, bikers, interview, interview Dog Days of Summer, Romance, veterans