Jill Blake Interview

Does this book have a special meaning to you? i.e. where you found the idea, its symbolism, its meaning, who you dedicated it to, what made you want to write it?
This book addresses an issue that is particularly close to my heart. Specifically, the difficulty of achieving work-life balance.
Doctors spend years in school and then in training before becoming full-fledged attending physicians. During this time, we often work 80-120 hours a week, sacrificing our personal lives and relationships in the process. In some medical fields, this kind of brutal work schedule persists well beyond the training period.
Oh, Baby! deals with the consequences of this unforgiving lifestyle. The heroine, Lena Shapiro, is a successful surgeon who suddenly realizes that she’s thirty-nine, single, childless, and facing a very lonely future if she doesn’t do something drastic to change her life. Assigned to mentor a visiting colleague, she finds herself falling for the man instead. But Adam Sterling is all wrong for her: he’s too young, too arrogant, and too willing to push personal and professional boundaries. And he’s leaving town in a few months to pursue a job on the opposite coast.
This is a romance, so Lena and Adam eventually get their happily-ever-after. But how they get there is a whole other story…

Where do you get your storylines from?
Ideas are all around us: everyday events and challenges that would keep me up at night if I didn’t write about them. My characters likewise draw inspiration from people I meet in real life. The process of putting my hero and heroine into situations where they feel uncomfortable, or where there are no easy solutions, helps flesh out both the characters and the plot—with often surprising results.

Was this book easier or more difficult to write than others?  Why?
More difficult, but mostly because of circumstances. As a mom of three and a physician with a busy medical practice, I find it hard to carve out writing time. It was especially hard while writing this book, because that’s when I joined 23 of my colleagues in leaving our hospital-owned practice. We re-formed a private medical group, which involved lot of time- and labor-intensive administrative work: setting up new offices, hiring new staff, negotiating new contracts, and so on—all while still seeing patients.
There were long stretches when I simply couldn’t find any time or energy to write. Looking back, it’s a minor miracle that I even managed to finish this book.

Do you only write one genre?
As a teenager, I cut my teeth on Johanna Lindsay—so of course I had to try my hand at writing historical romance. That didn’t work out too well. All that buttoning and unbuttoning…
Then I moved on to Nora Roberts, Jill Shalvis, Jennifer Crusie. I started writing contemporary romance, and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.

Give us a picture of where you write, where you compose these words…is it Starbucks, a den, a garden…we want to know your inner sanctum?
My bedroom. I have a comfy bed with lots of pillows, and a laptop desk tray large enough to fit a computer, phone, and notebook.

Was there any specific event or circumstance that made you want to be a writer?
Yep. It was all those old reruns of “Bonanza” that I watched as a kid. Seriously. Even at age seven, I got annoyed over the fact that all the women seemed to move away or get killed off within one episode. None of them ever came back for a recurring guest role, so no “happily ever after” for the Cartwright boys. I rewrote the scripts, with yours truly in the starring role, and for several seasons I lived a double life:  by day, elementary school kid, by night, daring and heroic foreman (forewoman?) running the Ponderosa ranch in 1870s Nevada.

Fast-forward a few decades, and I had accumulated several large, heavy boxes of miscellaneous writing—most of it unfinished manuscripts. With each move due to job change and/or growing family, those boxes came along. At my husband’s repeated prompting, I finally pulled out those moldering pages, and started reading. I remembered how much I loved the whole writing process. I enjoy it even more now that research can be done online, and storage requires no more than an itty-bitty flash drive, or some nebulous thing called “the Cloud.”  So here I am, back to scribbling (typing) away…


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