Ever since reading Eversea two years ago, I’ve been a huge Natasha Boyd fan. Those books remain, to this day, one of my favorite series of all-time, so I can’t put into words how excited I was for the release of All That Jazz. And boy did she deliver! I’m still thinking about that book and even felt compelled to reach out to her upon finishing it, which rarely happens. I just had to express to her how much I loved it. She just had to know, you know?! We exchanged a few messages and she’s graciously agreed to participate in an exclusive interview with Three Little Birds Book Blog. This is my first ever interview but I’m so satisfied with the result and I’m so excited to share it with you.
Natasha talks candidly about struggling with self-doubt, her writing process, and the exciting future projects that we can expect from her! Check out my interview below with the awesomely talented, down-to-earth, and uber sweet Natasha Boyd, then go right out and read her books because they are absolute MUST Reads!
S: Hi, Natasha! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions! So, start by telling us a little about yourself: Who are you? Where are you from? What do you like? What do you do?
NB: Hi Sparrow, thanks for having me on the blog. Who am I? In no particular order: wife, mother, author, friend :0). I’m a global citizen. I grew up in about 4 countries, went to school and university in England, and now live in the USA.
S: When did you start writing? Why?
NB: I’ve always written. Even from when I was a little girl. I always knew I wanted to write a book. Now I’ve written 5 (four plus a novella). But after 2008, we went through some major upheavals that resulted in my husband losing his business and starting to work for other people. When he was offered a job down on the coast of South Carolina (near to where he is from), we jumped at the chance. Suddenly, I was in this new gorgeous and inspiring place, I wasn’t working, my youngest had just started school, and I knew no one. I couldn’t do anything BUT write. Lol! A career was born.
S: What would you say your writing style is like? Are there any authors that may have influenced your style?
NB: Not really. Well, not specifically. My reading tastes are all over the place, from thrillers to literary works to romance. I grew up reading Wilbur Smith and Stephen King.
S: What do you read for fun?
NB: It’s really hard to find time to do this when I’m not writing because I feel I have to fit in so many of my fellow authors works or judge books for competitions (like the RITA’s). I also work as a critique partner for a few other people. My two regular guys every week, and then as needed through various aspiring writer groups. If you told me tomorrow that I had nothing to do for anyone else except read for pleasure, I’d be paralyzed by the choices!
S: Do you fangirl over any fellow authors?
NB: Yes! Gah. Mainly Colleen Hoover, I’ve followed her since Slammed was first out. And not just because she’s successful. The thing that really inspires me about her is how original her stories are, but also how grounded and wise she is as a person. I have a saying: WWCD (What Would Colleen Do). I’d say it was a good way to handle any kind of issue, good or bad. So yeah, major fangirl. Also – I’m such a fangirl that I’m completely awkward around her. I can’t talk, and when I do I say the most bizarre things.
S: Sounds like how I feel when I meet any author! I totally relate.
S: Where do you get your inspiration for your stories? Where do your ideas come from?
NB: I get inspiration from everyday things. Stories I read in the newspaper or magazines. Anywhere really. The idea for Jazz’s Dad’s boat came from the fact there are a dozen or so abandoned boats in Broad Creek on Hilton Head Island. Truly. It’s bizarre. Where did these people go to leave their sailboats just sitting there?
S: I’ve seen this same thing on a few occasions when I lived in Florida and always wondered the same thing!
S: How/where do you like to write? Do you have a dedicated space or can you write anywhere?
NB: This is a real problem for me. Where we lived on Hilton Head Island, I had this gorgeous sunroom where I sat at a breakfast table and wrote Eversea and Forever, Jack. After we moved, it’s been a struggle to find a spot. Right now I am sitting in the living room of our new place as I have no dedicated office space and it drives me NUTS! Most of Jazz was written in a sweet coffee shop called Mae’s drinking turmeric-ginger tea and eating warmed, gluten-free, almond poppy seed muffins.
S: What scenes are the hardest for you to write?
NB: Once I let the characters tell their story, it comes easily. The problem is people (readers, agents, blurbs for Amazon) want to know the kind of story you’ll be telling before you really know. Only my characters know. The hardest scenes to write are ones I think should be in the book, but that don’t want to be there. I’m not sure that really answers your question.
S: Do you ever experience writer’s block? What do you do to overcome it?
NB: Yes! Gosh, yes. I have to wait it out mostly. And figure out if it’s true writer’s block (which usually happens when I’m trying to make my characters do something they don’t want to) or whether it’s resistance. Resistance pops up in so many forms. Self-doubt, worrying what people will think, are you giving readers the story they want, what if no one buys it and you’ve sacrificed all this time with your kids… Gosh, so many things.
S: When you start writing a book, do you always know the beginning, the middle, and the end? Or do the characters reveal the story to you as you go?
NB: No. The characters have to tell me.
S: Let’s talk about All That Jazz. Before we dive into the pages, can we talk about that gorgeous cover? It’s phenomenal! In fact, all of your covers are gorgeous. Do you always have in mind what you want it to look like or do you have a trusted designer who just gets you?
NB: All That Jazz really does have a phenomenal cover! My assistant, Julie, is also a graphic designer by training. She read an early draft of All That Jazz and said she just tried to capture the joy, hopes and dreams of Jazz at eighteen years old with her whole life ahead of her. I can’t imagine covers, I just know what I don’t like. So I have to trust the designer to really “get” it. I don’t like people kissing on my covers because I really want readers to imagine their own characters. In my genre, though, this can be tough, people might overlook this book because it doesn’t tell them exactly what is between the covers.
S: I much more prefer for the covers not to have faces (or abs, for that matter) on them. I like to use my imagination and the author’s description to create the characters in my mind. I can’t speak for every reader, but I think you underestimate how much readers truly appreciate covers such as this one!
S: Why did you write this book?
NB: Ever since I wrote Eversea and Forever, Jack, Jazz (Keri Ann’s best friend) and Joey (Keri Ann’s brother) have had this unbelievable tension and chemistry between them. I knew something had happened between them, but I kept putting it aside because these weren’t their books. As soon as I published Eversea and Forever, Jack though, I had messages, tweets and emails from all over the world about Jazz’s story. It almost became this huge thing that scared me out of writing it! As it was, it took two years to get over the fear of not doing it justice. I couldn’t be happier now with the final result. It wouldn’t have been the same book if I’d written it then.
S: Why did you choose to write it in a present – past – present pattern?
NB: The story of what happened between them before was the story I needed to tell. It was the most important part of their relationship. I was going to tell it in parallel but then I felt (and my critique partners felt) it was hard for the reader to jump back and forth. So instead I let their whole past stay together so we could really understand the myriad of things wrapped up in that summer when Jazz turned eighteen. It was a book within a book. Everything about who they turned out to be and the choices they made come from things in their past. That was by far the most important part of their story and it deserved to be told in its entirety. I opened with the present because Jazz was on the cusp of the rest of her life and suddenly there was Joey. This was the time she really had to deal with what happened between them so she could move on with her life. Too bad Joey decided that was the perfect time to tell Jazz he was ready to be with her.
S: Is there a little bit of you in Jazz? Or are you more like Keri Ann?
NB: There’s always a bit of the author in every character. I’m very much like Jazz in some ways. And certainly I was daughter to a single mom. But I identify with Keri Ann too.
S: Why did you put Jazz through so much?!
NB: Honestly, Jazz told me what happened. That sounds so hokey, but it’s true. And more than that, it’s life. Sometimes sh*t happens in life that is way more shocking than what we could ever dream up in a story. The difference is, in books, the timing of an external crisis is usually engineered to coincide with a personal crisis to make the growth of the character that much more impactful.
Jazz is a strong heroine, and it’s her book. We needed to see her resilience. People have told me they wished they had more of Joey, to understand him better. And I’m working on a few scenes from his POV. But in the end, this book was All That Jazz, not All About Joey. ;o) It doesn’t make Jazz a weaker person to choose to be with a less than perfect guy. She’s been in love with him for years and she had all the facts, got her own life together, and THEN chose him anyway. It was beautiful and I couldn’t be more proud of her story! I laughed and cried even while writing it.
S: Is Nana’s character based on someone in your life? I loved her so much, she reminded me of my own grandma.
NB: I was extremely close to my grandmother and basically lived with her for a while growing up. She was sometimes more like a mother than a grandmother. So, short answer: yes.
S: Did you cry at any point while writing this book? Because I’m not usually a crier and I cried a few times!
NB: Oh my gosh. Yes. Ugh. I cried several times. I actually messaged a selfie one day to Julie and my friend, Lisa, because I felt so ridiculous! These were fictional people and I was CRYING! But the thing is they just feel so real to me. It’s like living in two alternate realities.
S: We want more Joey! Do you have plans for an extended epilogue or novella from his POV?
NB: Haha. Yes, definitely POV scenes. We’ll see how involved he wants to be. If he doesn’t shut up then I guess it will be a novella. Something in Jazz’s voice when she called him about Keri Ann (in the first chapter of All That Jazz) spurred him to come home. I think he could tell that Jazz was on her last thread and also that she was finished with college and who knew what could happen. She also said right then she wished they’d had a different ending. I don’t think Joey realized until right that moment that he still had a chance with her after what he did. Her saying that changed everything for him.
S: What else are you working on and what can we expect next?
NB: I spent last year working on a historical fiction novel that is currently with my agent, and now I’m focusing on expanding the Butler Cove series. I’d love to do a Jack and Keri Ann wedding book, as well as Colt’s story and Lizzy’s story. And perhaps a few others we haven’t even met yet who call Butler Cove home. I’m excited!
S: This news all makes me very excited too! Thank you so much for spending some time with us and sharing as candidly as you have. It was a true pleasure and I can’t wait for what you have in store for us!
I really appreciated Natasha’s openness and honesty. She’s so down-to-earth and kind, and she didn’t hold back. I just love her. What do you guys think of what she shared? Can you relate to her struggles? Are you excited about what she has in store? Have you read All That Jazz? What did you think? Comment below for a chance to win a SIGNED paperback copy of All That Jazz. Giveaway closes in one week. Open to US residents only.
Natasha Boyd is an internationally bestselling and award-winning author of contemporary romantic southern fiction. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and has a background in marketing and public relations. Eversea, her debut novel, was a finalist for Contemporary Romance in the 2013 Winter Rose Contest, won the 2014 Digital Book Award for Adult Fiction and is a LIBRARY JOURNAL self-e selection 2015. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Georgia Romance Writers and Island Writer’s Network in coastal South Carolina where she has been a featured speaker on book marketing. She lives with her husband, two sons and the cast of characters in her head.
Natasha grew up in South Africa, Belgium and England. She now lives and writes full-time in the USA.
Her work is available in English, Italian, Turkish, German, and Indonesian.