Welcome, Jane O’Hanlon, Golden Heart Finalist!

gttwylzj[1]Today’s interview is with J.K. O’Hanlon, author of Objection Overruled, a finalist in the Contemporary Single Title category of Romance Writers of America’s® 2013 Golden Heart® contest for unpublished manuscripts. This is the premier contest (worldwide) for writers of the romance genre. Welcome, Jane!

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m an eclectic skimmer, enjoying a wide-range of activities that don’t always make sense. For example, I live in a fly-over state, but I know nothing about farming or small town life and I am most at home on a beach or in the mountains. I can craft a glorious loaf of sour dough bread, but you do not ever want me to bring the cake to the church social. Although I play four musical instruments, I’m always content to leave the symphony or ballet at intermission, and please do not invite me to a musical theater production!

Frequent exercise facilitates my obsession with food and drink. With over 100 different types of spirits in my home bar, crafting perfect cocktails for my friends is one of my greatest pleasures.  When my husband needed coaching to mix me a drink, I wrote and published a book, Three Ingredient Cocktails.  I’m wrapping up research on my second non-fiction book, Twelve Happy Hours, which should be out in the fall. It’s a fun, albeit quirky, life which gives me a leg up at Trivial Pursuit.

Like most writers, I read every day and love everything, rotating through mysteries/thriller, literary, non-fiction, classics, romance, commercial fiction, young adult and women’s fiction.   My top three all-time most re-read books are: The Canterbury Tales, The Grapes of Wrath, and Middlemarch.

Now tell us about your manuscript, Objection Overruled, that just finalled in RWA’s Golden Heart contest!

Objection Overruled is my first novel and the second fiction work I’ve written. It’s a contemporary erotic romance situated in and around Baltimore, Washington DC, and the Chesapeake Bay. Although set against a backdrop of legal and financial intrigue, the sultry romance between a heroine and hero with opposing loyalties carries the day.   With only a few weeks until trial, attorney Jackie North can almost taste victory until the opposing side’s last minute switch of its expert witness threatens to unravel her strategy. A loss will send her where she’s vowed never to return – the humiliation of bankruptcy she suffered through as a teen.

Brandon Marshfield is a sexy and savvy financial wiz.  When a college fraternity brother calls in a marker, Brandon heads to Baltimore to fill in as an expert witness with hopes that once and for all, he can put his dark past behind him. Jackie and Brandon head into a deposition, confident of crushing the other until their gazes cross on the courtroom floor.  A single night of passion they shared as strangers only a few weeks earlier left each with a smoldering fire in their heart.

Pulled together by physical magnetism, torn apart by opposing loyalties, can their objections be overruled?

I’m proud to announce that I’ve signed a contract with Loose Id for publication of the book.  Release date is set for July 30, 2013. The book will be published under my pen name, J. K. O’Hanlon.

How do you feel about the Golden Heart experience!

Would surreal be overly dramatic?! I’d only entered a couple of contests before the GH, and wasn’t planning on entering until my critique partners goaded me into it.  I’d planned another conference relating to my non-fiction writing (Tales of the Cocktails) for the same time as RWA Nationals, so when I got the call, I had to rearrange all of my travel plans, which was a nice problem to have. I’m not sure how many erotic romances have finalled in the Golden Heart, but I’m delighted that the judges enjoyed reading something that is both humorous and steamy hot.

Where do you get the ideas for your stories? And/or for this story, in particular?

Stories pop into my head. Too many, in fact. I keep a book of stickie notes with story ideas jotted on them. The idea for Objection Overruled came to me one day while driving to my office, when I was still working as a lawyer. As soon as I had a chance, I outlined the characters’ “goals, motivations, and conflicts.”  The story has gone through three major revisions, but the core of it remains the same as that idea that came to me in the car one day.

What has your writing journey been like?

Growing up in a mid-sized city in a non-descript fly-over state, my childhood goal was to move to the East Coast or the West Coast. And become an aerospace engineer.  Logging a 10-year stint during my early adulthood in the Mid-Atlantic area checked off one goal.

But, after realizing that a life existed beyond programming my HP calculator, I started the gradual de-escalation of my major, ending up with an unmarketable, but vastly entertaining, history degree.  Law school seemed like a logical choice, so I stumbled around that area for a while, learning an immense amount of fascinating cocktail knowledge, while never knowing how to do anything useful like fix a speeding ticket or get a questionable relative out of jail.

When I left the practice of law to spend more time with my family, a disturbing number of friends suggested I write to fill in the gaps.  While I chalked them all up as crazy, given the low overhead and the unsettling number of characters rattling around in my brain, I thought I’d give it a try. Three years later, after one short story, one novel (soon to be published), and one non-fiction book (published), I now officially put down “writer” on any form asking for my occupation. I am a member of Mid-America Romance Authors and Georgia Romance Writers.

What’s your ideal writing environment?

I wrote most of Objection Overruled at one of our local libraries. I’d sequester myself in a study carrel until I made my daily word count. Recently, I transformed a spare bedroom into my office where I now work, and occasionally watch the slingshot weather shifts common in the Midwest. My critique partners and I have a standing Skype date each day at a certain time.  Whoever is available logs in and after we catch up with each others’ lives and goals, we then set a timer and get to work. Knowing that someone else is out there working at the same time and checking in with my accomplishments helps me put words into the computer even when inspiration eludes me.

How can fans reach you?

I’m getting my website, facebook and twitter connections for my erotic romance personna finalized.  Until then, people can find me under my alter ego, The Thirsty Jane: http://www.thirstyjane.com/; www.facebook.com/thirstyjane; Twitter: @thirstyjane

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Once I decided to follow my dream to become a writer, I heeded Michelangelo’s words: “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” In other words, DREAM BIG!!! Thanks for having me Leslie, and best of luck to you in your writing career!!!

Thank you, Jane, for visiting Leslie Lynch Writes – and we wish you the very best in your publishing future!


About Leslie Lynch

Leslie gives voice to characters who struggle to find healing for their brokenness – and discover unconventional solutions to life’s unexpected twists. Her manuscript, Hijacked, was a finalist in the Romance Writers of America® 2013 Golden Heart® contest, and attained Amazon Best Seller status in its category when published. Other books by Leslie include Unholy Bonds, Opal's Jubilee, and novellas Christmas Hope and Christmas Grace. A graduate of Spalding University's low-residency MFA program, she is an occasional contributor to the Archdiocese of Indianapolis’s weekly paper, The Criterion, and can be found on facebook at Leslie Lynch Writes, as well as Twitter @Leslie_Lynch_
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17 Responses to Welcome, Jane O’Hanlon, Golden Heart Finalist!

  1. Piper says:

    Congrats on the publication of your work, my fellow Lucky 13 and GRW member! With both fiction and non-fiction, it sounds like your work is going gangbusters!

  2. Leslie Lynch says:

    Good morning, Jane! I love your quote: DREAM BIG. Too many of us – or maybe it’s just me! – sometimes settle for smaller dreams. I have to run right now, but will pop back in later. Thanks for being my guest today!


  3. Sonali Dev says:

    Hi Jane,
    You had me at ‘crafting perfect cocktails’!! Can’t wait for Objection Overruled to come out.
    Good luck, and see you in Atlanta!

  4. Congratulations Jane on signing a contract with Loose Id for OBJECTION OVERRULED! Exciting news! So happy for you! And great advice to dream big. Looking forward to seeing you Atlanta.

  5. Thanks fellow Lucky 13’ers! There’s nothing like re-reading your book FOUR times in 2 weeks to make you truly crazy. Book goes to line edits tomorrow and I meet with my design team for my second cocktail book tomorrow, too. Looking forward to meeting you all in Atlanta.

  6. Aren’t you glad you entered, Jane? 😉 Your story sounds amazing! And thank you so much for sharing that quote from Michaelangelo — I’ll have to get that tattooed somewhere.

    Can’t wait to meet you in Atlanta!

    • Jane O'Hanlon says:

      Yes, I am! I was at the gym when they called so I didn’t get the message, then checked my email and had a message from RWA and thought, “Maybe…..” I called from the lobby of the gym and they probably through I was crazy jumping up and down.

  7. Nan Dixon says:

    What a wonderful and eclectic path to publication.
    It is so much fun learning about my fellow golden heat single title sisters!
    Just wondering which Midwest state is your fly over state teehee. Growing up between Minnesota and South Dakota, I think of East of Wisconsin as out East!
    congratulations on your upcoming publication!

  8. Jane, thank you for reminding us that our path in life is sometimes not linear, but dreaming big and working hard can show us the way. Congrats on both your nonfiction and fiction successes!

  9. Don Mulcare says:

    Hi Jane,

    Enjoyed reading your Blog. May I ask a few questions?

    Do Brandon and Jackie have a few conflicts of interest going for them or is all fair in love and war?

    Many famous authors today were lawyers that turned to fiction-writing, often court-room drama, with romance a distant second. Do you see yourself ever writing a mystery/courtroom novel?

    Does a law background give an author ad advantage?

    How often do non-lawyers say, “I’d sequester myself?”

    What benefits do you derive from using a pen name?

    Many thanks and good luck!


    • Jane O'Hanlon says:

      Don, I love court room dramas/mysteries, but I’ve never seen myself writing one. Mysteries just seem so tricky! I’m not sure why a lot of lawyers turn writers, but having a legal background has given me great business experience and confidence. Finally, I chose to use a pen name because there is another author with my real name already. She is actually quite famous, writes children’s books and also lives in Kansas, where I live. Too much potential for confusion. JK stands for my initials and O’Hanlon is my husband’s name. Thanks for your questions.

      • Don Mulcare says:

        Thanks Jane,

        You have such wonderful confidence to explore so many options. In your write-up you mentioned that among other forms, you read young adult literature. Have you considered writing for that audience?

        Take care out in Kansas, especially during the stormy seasons.

        God Bless,


  10. I enjoyed reading your interview, Jane, and getting to know you a bit. Four instruments! I’m impressed. I confess, I’ve never lived in a flyover state, only on the coasts (both of them). I have, however, driven from one side of the country to the other, does that count?

    FWIW, my GH manuscript last year was very sexy, bordering on erotic romance. And there’s actually an ER RITA finalist this year, Roni Loren. Which is a first, I believe.

    • Jane O'Hanlon says:

      The hotter stuff is definitely becoming more mainstream. I like that there is variety out there. See you Atlanta!

  11. Leslie Lynch says:

    Jane, thank you again for a great interview! I appreciate your time – especially when I saw how many edits and meetings you are buried in for both your fiction and nonfiction works!!! Thank you for sharing your journey with us. It’s been fun getting to know you better.

    Wishing you the very best in your publishing career!


  12. Jane O'Hanlon says:

    Thanks for having me Leslie! It has been so fascinating following everyone’s paths to the Golden Heart. Yes, edits are….icky.

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