Come back to me. I’ll teach you how to deal with those beautiful tears of yours. I’ll teach you how to breathe again. I’ll teach you everything.
Not everyone will grieve in this order, nor will everyone go through every stage. It’s during the stage of denial when Alex Hart meets Andrew Foster. He takes her one-step closer to acceptance: the stage when new, meaningful relationships are formed. The stage when the realization occurs that this is now the new state of normal.
Just when Alex thinks she is on her way to healing, she enters the bargaining phase. That’s the phase where you wonder what you could have done differently. You wonder “what if?” Specifically, what if the ones you loved hadn’t left you?
Leaving…this is what makes heading off to war so difficult and frightening for Alex. She knows all too well what it’s like to be the one on the losing end of life, which is why she’s made it her personal mission in life to save as many lives as possible. The extreme high she gets from treating trauma victims turns into Alex’s own form of therapy, or so she thinks.
When faced with her world being turned upside down, Alex may just find that her true therapy is in the one who has always saved her.
What inspired you to write Skipping Stones?
I was at Lake Lanier with my family, and I watched as my husband tried to teach my boys how to skip stones and it just ignited something in my heart. He’s tried to teach me how, as well. We’re all a lost cause. I knew at that moment I had a story brewing.
Tell us about your characters Alex Hart and Andrew Foster and how they came to be?
This is hard to explain without spoiling the book. I did have a time in my pre-teen years that inspired the Andrew and a certain aspect of this plot.
Did you have a particular audience in mind when you started writing?
I really wanted to appeal to new people. I also want to pursue opportunities in motivational speaking and sharing our personal testimony in churches to help raise awareness about Mitochondrial Disease, so I knew in order to do that I needed a book that was a little more pure than the others I’ve written. With that opens new genres. So it will fall into many, and that makes me hopeful and excited.
How have your personal experiences affected your writing?
There is a lot of me in my books, and there are also a lot of situations that were inspired by events that happened in my own life. I usually twist them really good before I put them in a book. That’s the beauty of writing fiction. I get to make things happen the way I want. It’s fun putting the puzzle that becomes a novel together.
Are there any books or authors that have influenced you? What are you reading right now?
I’m reading Everything for Us by M. Leighton right now. I love her and this series. I would say there are a lot of authors that I love and have influenced me or played a part in this becoming a career for me. E.L. James for the sheer fact that I didn’t know what erotic romance was before her. I live in a naïve bubble. K.A. Linde’s book, Avoiding Commitment, is what I was reading as my own story started screaming at me. Katie Ashley has become a critique partner for me and edits. She definitely has made me a better, stronger writer. Nicole Andrews Moore is also another critique partner for me, and I value her input. We work well together.
I know it has been quite a journey for you from your debut novel, Broken (Book 1 in the This Series), to now, several books later and Amazon Best Seller. What has surprised you the most since you first hit the publish button just a year ago?
Honestly, the best seller part and the number of people who read and support me. I remember when I asked my dad for a loan to help pay for my first editor for Broken, that I would have been happy to sell a couple hundred. I’d consider myself successful as a self-published author if I sold 1,000. My goal had always been 1,000. I didn’t even know what a blog tour was. I didn’t know what bloggers were. I had no clue what an Amazon rank was. Of course, I dreamed about hitting a best seller list, but it was just that…a dream.
So when the rank started climbing, when I reached 1,000 books sold, I realized it was time for some new goals. The entire thing is surreal even still. It’s such an amazing blessing. Maybe I’ll write down the experience in more depth later. It’s literally been life-altering for the good.
What has been the biggest challenge?
Mitochondrial Disease. I struggle to stay well while working. If I didn’t have that, I think I would be able to do so much more than I already do. I try to focus on the positives, the things I can do. Not the things I can’t. I love a great challenge. I’m fiercly competitive with myself, and I just try to turn challenges into something good.
What is your writing process like (environment, must-haves)?
I have to have music. I usually have earphones because my family is here with me and I write in a common area of our house so I don’t feel like I am so far away from them. I spend so much time on the computer writing and socializing that I feel like there are days I hardly talk to them. So just being close makes it more manageable. My music is the most important thing. If I have my computer and a good play list, it doesn’t matter where I am, I can write.
What can your readers look forward to next? Do you see yourself writing in different genres?
I have to get back into the This Series and write Falling. I know people are waiting on that. I don’t like to start something and not finish it, so I need to do that.
I’d love to write a suspense or mystery romance next, maybe in between those books. Just waiting for the plot to pop in my head.
I’m also hoping to work in the next year on getting the couple of children’s books I’ve written published. They are important. I’m trying to talk my husband into writing a children’s series with me. My boys are eager to also write more with me. So there may be some family writing nights in my future.
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Just write. You can always edit what you write later. But you can’t edit a blank page. I would also say to figure out what it is that helps you. Music helps me, but you may need complete quiet. Write every day, set goals, and get a fantastic editor and graphic designer. Treat it like a profession, like a job. Write for you, from your heart.
That’s hard. That’s like having to choose just one of my children over the other. Drew has some serious survival skills, so I’ll go with him. Bradley is probably a little too pampered, and might get us killed or starve us.
What TV or book character did you have a crush on growing up?
Hmm. That’s hard, too. I’m not sure. I liked a lot of guys on television. I have always appreciated a beautiful face. I loved Luke Perry as Dylan on 90210.
Favorite hobby that isn’t reading or writing?
Crafting and graphic design. I love to make things.
A big thank you to J.B. for stopping here today on her Blog Tour!
We stare into each other’s eyes. Speechless seems to be my middle name for one reason or another today. I blink. “I...”
“You can’t skip a stone to save your life, can you?” He smirks.
I breathe for what seems like the first time in five minutes and start to laugh. “No. No, I can’t.”
He brushes a piece of hair out of my eye. “You will. I’ll teach you.”
“I am not sure I’m teachable. Been trying for years with Papa.”
“Come back to me. I’ll teach you. If it’s the last thing I do...” His entire face lights up. “I’ll teach you everything I know.”
I feel him, every inch of him. I know there’s more to that statement. I must admit that I’m curious.
“Everything you know, huh?”
“Everything.” He caresses my cheek, just below my eyes. “Come back to me. I’ll teach you how to deal with those beautiful tears of yours. I’ll teach you how to breathe again. I’ll teach you everything.” He looks down to his pile of rocks. “I’ll share those with you. And I’ll teach you how to skip stones. It’s a promise, and I don’t break promises.”
About the Author:
In 2005, the couple welcomed their first son, Noah. J.B. finished her Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education at the University of South Carolina-Aiken in 2006. During her time studying children's literature, a professor had encouraged her to become a writer.
In 2007, she welcomed their second child, Jonah, and she became a stay at home mom/entrepreneur. In 2009, the found out their two children and J.B. have Mitochondrial Disease. In 2011, a diagnosis also was given to Chad. Please take a moment and learn more about Mitochondrial Disease. Awareness is key to this disease that has no cure or treatments.
J.B. McGee and her family now reside in Buford, Georgia, to be closer to their children's medical team. After a passion for reading had been re-ignited, J.B. decided to finally give writing a shot. Broken (This Series), is her first book and first series.
Stalk J.B. Here:
Get the Facts about Mitochondrial Disease:
- Mitochondrial disease is a chronic, genetic disorder that occurs when the mitochondria of the cell fails to produce enough energy for cell or organ function.
- The incidence about 1:3000-4000 individuals in the US. This is similar to the incidence of cystic fibrosis of caucasian births in the U.S.
- There are many forms of mitochondrial disease.
- Mitochondrial disease is inherited in a number of different ways
- Mitochondrial disease presents very differently from individual to individual.
- There may be one individual in a family or many individuals affected over a number of generations.
The severity of mitochondrial disease symptoms is different from person to person. The most common symptoms are:
- Poor Growth
- Loss of muscle coordination, muscle weakness
- Neurological problems, seizures
- Autism, autistic spectrum, autistic-like features
- Visual and/or hearing problems
- Developmental delays, learning disabilities
- Heart, liver or kidney disease
- Gastrointestinal disorders, severe constipation
- Increased risk of infection
- Thyroid and/or adrenal dysfunction
- Autonomic dysfunction
- Neuropsychological changes characterized by confusion, disorientation and memory loss.
(Information from www.mitoaction.org)