Meghan: Hi, J.P. Welcome to Meghan’s House of Books. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
J.P. Choquette: Thanks so much, it’s wonderful to be here. I’m a huge nature-lover, tea drinker, and of course, bibliophile.
Meghan: What are five things most people don’t know about you?
J.P. Choquette: Hmmm, let’s see. I’m eclectic in my music tastes, a huge craver of chocolate in all forms, created a gothic garden that features all white and black flowers/plants, still compose handwritten letters to select people, and have my motorcycle license.
Meghan: What is the first book you remember reading?
J.P. Choquette: There’s a Monster at the End of This Book, a Sesame Street story featuring loveable, furry Grover.
Meghan: What are you reading now?
Meghan: What’s a book you really enjoyed that others wouldn’t expect you to have liked?
J.P. Choquette: I’ve loved all the books I’ve read by Rosamunde Pilcher, who was an incredible storyteller, though her books fall outside my usual genre.
Meghan: What made you decide you want to write? When did you begin writing?
J.P. Choquette: I know it’s cliché, but I’ve been writing stories since I could hold a pencil. My early “books” were held together with tape or staples. I would say that it’s harder for me to NOT write, than write.
Meghan: Do you have a special place you like to write?
J.P. Choquette: I usually write at my standing desk in my office. Kinda boring but it works. I like to listen to thunderstorms while writing fiction.
Meghan: Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?
J.P. Choquette: I’m really a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type, so no, other than making a commitment to write 5 days a week.
Meghan: Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?
J.P. Choquette: Probably balancing everything. I write for a living (nonfiction work for clients) so I have to make it a point to complete my fiction writing first thing which isn’t always easy.
Meghan: What’s the most satisfying thing you’ve written so far?I’d have to say my first novel, Epidemic because it took such a long, long time and I doubted myself so much through the process.
Meghan: What books have most inspired you? Who are some authors that have inspired your writing style?
J.P. Choquette: Oh, so many books have inspired me! I love Lisa Unger, Ruth Ware, Jennifer McMahon, and many “vintage” authors like Daphne du Maurier and Mary Roberts Rinehart who mesmerize me with their prose.
Meghan: What do you think makes a good story?
J.P. Choquette: I love a story full of atmosphere, suspense and relatable characters.
Meghan: What does it take for you to love a character? How do you utilize that when creating your characters?
J.P. Choquette: I think characters that are as flawed as myself and people I know in real life. Personally, I’m bored by “perfect” heroines/heroes and can’t relate to them at all.
Meghan: Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?
J.P. Choquette: The character Sarah Solomon in my second book, Dark Circle, in many ways, because at the time I wrote it, I was anxious, neurotic and doubting myself like she does for most of the book. Luckily, my circumstances weren’t as extreme as hers!
Meghan: Are you turned off by a bad cover? To what degree were you involved in creating your book covers?
J.P. Choquette: Yes, I am turned off by a bad cover. I’m very picky about that actually, and have been known to shy away from a book that has a cover that doesn’t impress. I’m involved in my own cover creation to the point of offering suggestions and moods, but leave the rest up to the talented designers I’ve worked with. I wouldn’t work well having someone hovering over my shoulder and basically let the designer work his or her magic.
Meghan: What have you learned creating your books?
J.P. Choquette: So much! I’ve learned a lot about the importance or writing/designing/marketing what the READER wants, not me. I’ve also learned that marketing (or “outreach as I call it), takes as much or more time than writing new things much of the time. Without an audience, why publish more books? I will always write—if for no one but myself—but I wouldn’t continue to publish necessarily if no one were reading.
Meghan: What has been the hardest scene for you to write so far?
J.P. Choquette: Ugh, there have been a lot of these too. Rape scenes—even though told in past-tense—are difficult to write. Certain character’s deaths have been hard. Sometimes the most challenging thing of all is writing my character into a corner and then having to figure how the heck to get them out of there.
Meghan: What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?
J.P. Choquette: My books are an interesting blend of gothic suspense, modern day storylines and lots of flawed characters. There are plenty of twists and turns too, as I don’t know how any of my books will end before I write the ending.
Meghan: How important is the book title, how hard is it to choose the best one, and how did you choose yours (of course, with no spoilers)?
J.P. Choquette: This is a hard process for me—along with writing the synopsis. I do the best I can, get reader feedback, research other titles in the marketplace and then choose the one that feels best for the book.
Meghan: What makes you feel more fulfilled: Writing a novel or writing a short story?
J.P. Choquette: Definitely writing a novel. I’m not a fan of writing short stories. I actually find them more challenging than writing a full-length novel.
Meghan: Tell us a little bit about your books, your target audience, and what you would like readers to take away from your stories.
J.P. Choquette: An ongoing message that shows up in my books (unintentionally), is that of hope and of overcoming challenges that the main character(s) feel is completely out of reach. I love that theme. Women make up the majority of my readers, particularly those who like a lot of edge-of-your-seat suspense without a lot of gore/torture/dismemberment, etc.
Meghan: Can you tell us about some of the deleted scenes/stuff that got left out of your work?
J.P. Choquette: Yes, I keep these actually. I have them in a folder called, “Deleted Scenes”—some I may use in the future, others probably not. This likely happens more often because I don’t make a very detailed outline.
Meghan: What is in your “trunk”?
J.P. Choquette: I have a trilogy that I’m hallway through, which is a historical mystery. I’m not sure how/when it will be published, but look forward to that time. I may end up publishing it under a penname because it’s quite different than my usual thrillers.
Meghan: What can we expect from you in the future?
J.P. Choquette: I’m about halfway through my current series, Monsters in the Green Mountains, which features a different folk legend from Vermont in each book. After that, I’m not sure. But something else deliciously creepy!
Meghan: Where can we find you?
J.P. Choquette: Thanks for the chance to connect. Feel free to connect with me on:
Meghan: Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you’d like to say that we didn’t get to cover in this interview?
J.P. Choquette: Just to thank you again for all the hard work you do to connect readers with authors and vice versa. It’s a wonderful service you take on and much appreciated. Thanks again!
J.P. Choquette is the author of thriller novels set in Vermont. Her books, “turn pages, not stomachs,” and frequently tie in the themes of art, nature and psychology. A lover of Gothic books and movies, J.P. enjoys being in nature with her family, spending time in old cemeteries and visiting junk shops.
In 1917, four friends and photojournalists set out in the woods looking for answers. Why have so many hikers and hunters gone missing in the area of Shiny Creek Trail?The two couples anticipate a great adventure, one they’ll tell their kids about someday. No one imagines the evil lurking in a remote cave. A horrifying discovery leaves one person dead and two others missing.Two months later, Paul, one of the four, returns to the forest to find his wife. But will he find her before someone—or something—finds him?