Rocking Around the Holidays with RockStarLit.com Authors
Hi everyone – welcome to our very first Rocking Around the Holidays. From now until December 23rd, we’re giving you the inside scoop and behind the scenes info on Rock Star Authors.
To celebrate the holiday season there’s a HUGE contest to go along with it – which includes 2 iPad Minis, signed books by all of the authors, gift cards galore and much, much more!
Behind the Scenes with Jillian Neal
When we finally figured out that we spent approximately 5 combined hours a year in our dining room and that I work approximately 60 hours a week, we ousted the dining table and that hideous china cabinet, circa 1972, that we’d inherited from Great Aunt Sue and turned the room into my office.
Always an avid reader, I knew that I wanted to fill my office with two things, books and words! I stocked the bookshelves with my very favorite works of literature. Everything from Kerouac to Rowling sit there, reticent, on my shelves reminding me that entire worlds reside between the covers of books. My favorite childhood novels stand proudly beside Colette, Austen, Bronte, and Chopin. I grew up with books. They raised me.
If you asked me what I absolutely cannot be without while I’m writing, I would immediately answer — coffee! But, if I were being truthful, I do my best writing surrounded by words. I hung them on the walls, placed them on the shelves, and set them on my desk. My favorite quotes reside there with my favorite books, all containing the most magical entities on this planet – words!
Since I am a dealer of words in the Romantic genre, I needed my office to contain a few things that lend themselves to sexier thoughts. Candles, music, rose quartz crystals, and an entire chest full of my very favorite Romance novels all ground me in my love of love.
To me, my office is a place for my mind to play. It is the place where I’m granted the extreme privilege and honor of being able to bring my characters to life and to tell you their stories. My office pays homage to my craft. Writing is such a magical thing, and I honestly cannot believe that I am lucky enough to get to call myself a storyteller, a novelist, a writer.
A Look Inside Jillian’s Office:
Holiday Cheer with Jillian Neal (pick your own questions!)
Silly Holiday Tradition-
I honestly do not know how this got started. I always prepare a huge Thanksgiving feast for our extended families. I love doing all of the cooking and selecting the perfect bird for our meal, and my boys always name our turkey! Our Thanksgiving turkeys don’t get just any name. No, they are always named after a character on… The Brady Bunch! We’ve always loved watching the Bradys and for some reason that’s where they get the names. Last year, we ate “Alice.” The year before that it was “Cousin Oliver,” and this year, we consumed “Brady” due to the large size of this year’s turkey.
Favorite Holiday Song-
Since I love romance, my very favorite Holiday Song is “It must have been the mistletoe,” by Barbara Mandrell. I love the story of the couple during their first Christmas together. It always makes me deliriously happy!
Favorite Holiday Memory as an Adult-
My younger brother and I have always been very close. He’s a Gunnery Sergeant in the Marine Corp, and he’s been on foreign soil more Christmases than he’s been home, since he enlisted. He’s served in Iraq in two theaters and in Afghanistan. The first time he was in Iraq, he was constantly under fire making the frontline his home. We hadn’t heard from him in weeks. He hadn’t gotten to call for Thanksgiving. We were sick with worry, and the news reports were grim.
On Christmas Eve, reports went out that several Marines had been killed outside of Fallujah, where he was stationed. I tried very hard to smile and pretend nothing at all was wrong. My boys were little then, and I didn’t want to dampen their Christmas joy. They raced down the stairs to see what Santa had left them, and my amazing husband wrapped his arms around me and kept up constant whispered promises that my brother was fine, just unable to call. I went to the kitchen to fix another mug of coffee, and to hide my tears. Suddenly, the phone rang. I raced to answer it and heard, “Hey sis, Merry Christmas! Sorry I haven’t been able to call lately. Been a little crazy here.” That will always be one of my very favorite Christmas memories.
The people! I know that’s horrible, but I am a very serious introvert. Being alone is something I relish. There are dozens and dozens of characters in my head telling me their stories all the time. I think that’s why I’m never lonely when I’m alone. Anyway, for two solid months before Christmas the stores that I frequent around my little town are brimming with bustling shoppers. It doesn’t seem to matter when I go, the lines are long, the people are crowded everywhere, and… gasp…some of them want to talk to me.
Favorite Holiday Cocktail-
Champagne is always my favorite drink, no matter the occasion. Last year at my husband’s company Christmas party, they served a mixed champagne drink with cranberry juice that was outstanding.
Do You Prefer a Snowy or Tropical Holiday?
Oh my goodness, I hate snow! I am a warm weather girl. My dream is to celebrate Christmas, at some point, in Hawaii where we can build a sandman on the beach instead of a snowman!
Favorite Holiday Movie
I would be hard-pressed to choose between “A Christmas Story” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I love them both! I’m also a huge “A Charlie Brown Christmas” fan.
Traditional Holiday Experience That I Don’t Understand
I have to tell you I really do not get the “Elf on the Shelf” deal. Thankfully, my boys were a little too old for it when it got really popular. I don’t understand it. Why are parents willingly agreeing to move the thing every night between Thanksgiving and Christmas, which is the busiest time of any parent’s year? And why on earth would you make “elf messes” that you then have to clean up? And the thing is kind of creepy looking. I think it would wig me out to have it up around my house staring at me through the holiday season.
Follow Along with Rocking the Holidays tomorrow, December 7th where author Amber Lin will be featured on the sites listed below, plus there will be ways to enter the contest daily!
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About Jillian Neal
Jillian Neal is a Romance writer with a passion for passion who pens strong, character driven novels, told from the male perspective. Her guys aren’t afraid to let us inside their minds or inside their bedrooms. They’re hot on the trail of a sinister criminal organization when they’re not burning up the bed sheets.
She’s a self-proclaimed ‘Southern girl with a sassy mouth.’ Her coffee addiction is barely legal, and she’s most often running around with her hair and her pen on fire! She’s full of smarts, sass, and sizzle and that’s a lot to get into barely five feet of girl with her head always in the clouds.