Officer Joey O’Neill is committed to his job, so after the beautiful redhead accuses him of the contrary, he takes offense. When Madeline informs him they’ve met before, he insists she’s mistaken. Although his family wants him to settle down and judges his carefree bachelorhood lifestyle, it doesn’t mean he forgets the people in his life. Past or present.
Like years before, people begin to whisper about her when things go missing in the school. Joey starts to wonder if what they say is true. As the past comes back to haunt Madeline, she struggles with a secret that jeopardizes her job and hopes she can trust Joey. Has he finally out grown being a wise-cracking jock?
Wild Women Authors is pleased to have author Elizabeth John who brings with her, Madeline White, female protagonist from Judging Joey a recent release from Soul Mate Publishing. As usual, we'll start things off with Madeline.
Where are you from? A small town in upstate New York.
Tell us a bit about Judging Joey. This is my story, really. I moved back to New Jersey to help my elderly uncle take care of my sick aunt. After she passed away, I knew I had to stay and be there for him. They had taken me in when I needed family, and I could never abandoned him. My best friend Sabrina helped me get a teaching job at her school. Part of me hesitated when I signed the contract because Joey O’Neill was the school’s Safety Officer. The last time I saw him, he broke my heart. He was the main reason I went away to college, far enough away where no one knew me and I could start over. Ten years later is where my story begins. I am grown woman now and I have to move on. To do that, I need to come face-to-face with Joey and speak my mind.
What did you think the first time you saw Joey? The first time I saw him, I was writing an article about a football game for the high school newspaper. Being new to the school, I had made one friend, and she had convinced me to join the paper. Joey was the team’s star. He later became the captain. I thought he was the coolest, nicest, cutest guy. Major crush on my part, especially when he went out of his way to help me once.
What was your second thought? I knew he barely noticed me, you know, and not in the way I wanted. A girl could dream, right? Then something happened that I could never forgive him for and I will never forget. Ever.
Oh my. Did you feel it was love at first sight? No way. Like I said, he barely noticed me back then with my mop of curly red hair and string bean legs. He was a super-star to me. Untouchable. Recently, we had a fall carnival at the school where I teach. Joey was getting hit in the face with pies for the fundraiser. Even whipped cream in his hair couldn’t mask that he looked even better ten years later. When I approached him and he didn’t recognize me or seem to remember what he had done, I knew we had a problem.
Other than a face full of whipped cream, what do you like most about Joey? He enjoys life and he’s awfully charming. He has a gift for not taking life too seriously.
How would you describe him? Joey is incredibly handsome, and I melt when he smiles at me. He’s protective of others and seeks out the truth. I guess that’s why he’s a great cop.
All well and good, but how would Joey describe you? He tells me all the time that my eyes remind him of the green waters of the Cayman Islands and my hair is the perfect shade of auburn. So I guess that’s the first thing he would say to describe me. He’d probably also say that he’s the jokester and I’m the serious one. Ying and yang.
What made you choose teaching as a career? When I was little, the only people in my life who gave me comfort and stability were my teachers. Neither of my parents possessed the nurturing gene. I didn’t even realize what normal parents were until my uncle and aunt took me in. After a while, I knew I wanted to be like all of them and take care of children. I love being a teacher.
What a lovely tribute, Madeline! What is your biggest fear? It is that I’ll lose my uncle and be alone again. He’s the only family I’ve got unless I marry and have children.
How do you relax? I take my dog Rusty to the park, jog, and read books.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Little Orphan Annie. Joey called me that in high school. I was an orphan and had curly red hair. My Uncle Mark came into my life like “Daddy” Warbucks. Little Orphan Annie’s life turned out okay just like mine did.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Uncle Mark has lots of expressions that I adore and use in my conversations. My peers find these words amusing because I sound old-fashioned. However, my favorite one is when he says, “An apple doesn’t fall far from its tree, but sometimes one rolls down the hill and escapes.” Both my aunt and uncle made me believe I was not like my parents and wasn’t destined to end up as they did. They were so right!
Absolutely. Thank you so much for sharing your insight and hope. Now it's time to talk with Elizabeth.
What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer and why? I admit to being a TV and movie junkie, so to pick even a couple of titles would be impossible for me. What I can say is that writers learn the craft from good story telling. Sometimes we learn what not to do from bad story telling, too. The same applies to books. Although I write romances, I read different genres. I judge contests. The more I read, the better a writer I become.
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? By day, I teach elementary school. Although all the characters and events are fictional, I based Madeline's experiences on circumstances that could happen. I also have police officers in the family, so in this case, I wrote what I knew.
Good for you. Using what you know always shines through in your work. Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? My publisher is Soul Mate Publishing. I had heard my editor speak at the New Jersey Romance Conference. I enjoyed her workshop and connected with her philosophy on the editing process. After I queried her, she asked for the full manuscript, and I was beyond ecstatic to get “the call” via email. Of course I did my research on them, too. A fellow author had sold to Soul Mate and was happy to be one of their authors.
What project[s] are you working on now? The book I’m working on now is about one of three sisters whose family owns a bridal dress shop. Each sister will have her own story and each one is a romantic suspense.
What's up next for you? I’m looking forward to attending RWA National in New York City. Since I’m off for the summer, I’m concentrating on writing and finishing my next book.
We wish you much luck, Elizabeth and hope you have a great time at RWA this summer. Kat and Veronica.
To learn more about Elizabeth John and the stories she creates, go to:
Link to Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00V596R2A