Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Gilmore Girls meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer; "Helens of Troy" Author Janine McCaw VBT Pit Stop Mar 14

Click on the image to view the Meet & Greet with Janine at VBT Cafe.

HELENS-OF-TROY was released early in 2012.  Janine McCaw is also currently developing eight other stories for novel form.  All set on the Pacific North West and in Canada’s North, they include the murder mystery A LITTLE FIRST DEGREE,  a feel-good trilogy THE INN AT HAZY WATERS (Northern Exposure meets Fantasy Island), and PUMPER an action romance that has already garnered interest as the basis for a feature film.

Today, I'm thrilled to have Janine visit with me. Help me give her a warm welcome!

Louise: Janine, welcome to my blog! I’m so excited you could join me for a chat. When did you first decide to submit your work to be published? Tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step.

Janine: This is my second novel. My first novel, "Olivia's Mine" was published back in 2006 for a local tourist attraction. It's a fictional account of the disasters that occurred at Britannia Beach, BC in the early 1900's, and has a home at the BC Museum of Mining Gift Shop, among other places. I was "challenged" by a person who said point blank, "what makes you think you can write a book?" Of course I replied "What makes you think I can't?" This conversation took place at a friend's party so you know, that pretty much sealed the deal for me. Scorpios, we like to shoot our mouths off.

Louise: Please tell us a little about your new release Helens of Troy without giving too much of a spoiler away.

Janine: It's a story of mothers and daughters and how relationships change when they are forced into situations beyond their control.  The three central characters are teenaged Ellie (a.k.a. Goth-Chic), her uptight mother Helen, and her hottie grandmother Helena. All three "Helens" live in the small town of Troy, where children are being murdered. Yes, it has a vampire in it, but I promise you it isn't a love story. It's very much a story of accepting who you are. There are some dark moments, but the Helens will make you laugh as well. They lie a little, they fight a little…probably like your family.

“The Gilmore Girls meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

Fifteen year old Goth-chic Ellie has a lot of explaining to do. She’s just moved to the small town of Troy, fought with her uptight mother Helen, met the boy of her dreams and found a dead body on her sexy “new-age” grandmother Helena’s porch. All on the first night!

But Ellie’s not alone. Helen is hiding something. Helen knows all about the kind of eerie dreams her daughter is having — the dreams that show the whereabouts of the missing children of Troy — because she’s had them herself. But she’ll never admit it. Not while Ellie’s sex-crazed friend Ryan is safely behind bars for the murders. Helen knows what it’s like to be attracted to dangerous men.

Then there’s the little matter between Helena and Gaspar Bonvillaine, the teenaged vampire who is learning to feed on young prey. Now that he’s caught Ellie, he doesn’t know whether he wants to kill her or turn her to the dark side and keep her forever. Helena should have finished him off when she had the chance.

To survive the vampire feeding frenzy surrounding them, mom Helen needs to come to terms with her own insecurities and deal with the gifts she has. Helena must learn to ground herself for the good of mankind and more importantly her own family. And Ellie has the toughest choice of all. Ellie must decide whether its time to let her own childhood go and become the woman she is destined to be, one of the ageless and timeless “Helens of Troy”

Louise: I loved both of those TV shows. Your books sounds very intriguing. Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?

Janine: I have a general idea who each of the characters are, but as they develop they begin to take on their own personality and sometimes I have to reel them in to bring the story back to where I want it to be. Especially if they have to die. Sometimes that's hard to do when you get attached to them. I had to kill a baby in "Olivia's Mine", and it took a bad day at the office before I could actually do it.

Louise: How much research do you do for your books? Have you found any cool tidbits in your research?

Janine: My first book was a toughie because it was based on actual events. I kept phoning the historian asking about this and that and in the end I still got different versions from relatives of people who had actually lived there. Luckily, I was able to remind them my book was fiction. You do what you can, but in the end it's a story.

With Helens-of-Troy being a "supernatural" piece, it was a lot easier. But I did have to check some medical and science terms and use a translating program to change "liar, liar, pants on fire" into Latin.

Louise: What is your writing process? Do you outline, write by the seat of your pants (Pantser) or a combination of both?

Janine: Both. I start with an outline to keep myself on track, and despite technology I still find using recipe cards is a good way to structure the chapters. It's easier for me to move things around that way, kicking it old school. I do some math up front and keep the chapters to a certain word count depending on how long I want the story to be. I don't necessarily write the chapters in order. Different chapters for different moods. You can see why I need the cards.

Louise: Do you write full time? What did you do before you became a writer or still do?

Janine: Travelling around in an RV with my husband doing nothing but writing and bringing wine over to my new found friends is a dream of mine, but no, I'm not there yet. I work in administration for an international courier company. I am searching for "slayer" jobs online, but coming up empty handed as of late. I'm finding they don't pay very well, your clothes get wrecked and the benefits suck.

Louise: Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing? Example….get coffee, blanket, paper, pen, laptop and a comfy place.

Janine: No. Probably the opposite. For me, I'll come up empty handed on a plot point for what seems like weeks, and then I'll be out riding my bike and it will come to me. So I usually have pen and paper along with me. The voice recorder in my phone is a big plus as well. Best advice I can give? Back everything up. In more than one place.

Louise: Describe a typical writing day for you.

Janine: I get every other Saturday to myself which helps. Sort of. Here's my day:

Get up early. Get distracted by facebook and Twitter. Go for breakfast. Try to focus. Need to do laundry. Somehow I find the will to sit down and write when faced with that task. Write all afternoon. Look at my husband and say "I forgot to do laundry, I was writing."

Luckily, he's okay with that.

Louise: Some of us are lucky to have a better-half who is understanding and helpful. And I know what you mean by the distraction of FB and Twitter! Please give us a sneak peek at your future books. What’s on the horizon?

Janine: I have two more books planned for "The Helens", who seem to have problems around the holidays. "Nightmare on Jacey Street" takes place at Thanksgiving, and "Boughs of Holly" at Christmas. I am also working on a story that takes place up at an Arctic Lodge called "The Inn at Hazy Waters".

Louise: What is your favorite genre to read and who is your favorite author?

Janine: Tough one. I'm all over the place. I love biographies. I love mysteries. I like Chic-Lit, but I guess when I want to escape and have a good time, I turn to Janet Evanovitch. Lately I've been filing my Kobo up with indie authors.

Louise: Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers we have not touched on?

Janine: I'd like to say thanks for stopping by. If you like to read, keep reading. If you like to write, keep writing.  Both are good for the soul. Never be afraid to bite off more than you can chew, because you can always spit some back out. It may not be pretty but it probably won't kill you.

Louise: Where can the readers learn more about you and find your books on the web?

Janine: Right now, because my webmaster apparently DOES have the type of job where he can travel around the world, the best place to keep up with me is at . I can be reached on twitter @mc_janine, or at the Helens-of Troy facebook page. You can also email each of the Helens ( but give them some time to answer because they're off fighting demons.  The eBook can be purchased at all the usual places, i.e. Amazon, Sony, iTunes, Kobo, Barnes & Noble .


Janine on Twitter and Facebook

Louise: Janine, thank you again for visiting with me. I'll let you announce the contest!

Janine: We can give away a book. Why don't we give away two? One random, and there's another one available if a Helen, or Helena, or Ellie happen to be reading, after all, this book is about "Helens".

Readers, leave your email address in your comment so we can easily contact the winners.

The rest of Janine's very interesting BIO:

McCaw’s deep understanding of compelling plots, widely appealing characters, natural dialogue and strong story arcs comes directly out of her early career in the film and television industry. McCaw’s skills as an observer started early when her family uprooted from the City to small town Ontario – and she became the classic fish out of water. Writing down her thoughts became an outlet as she scribbled her way through childhood, while she also developed her observational skills and visual eye with photography. A die-hard hockey fan, McCaw studied Cinematography at Humber College, and was headed for a career as a cameraperson covering professional sports when she landed an internship in a broadcasting services company.

McCaw excelled in the television distribution arena.  She joined Thomas Howe & Associates and moved with that company to Vancouver, where she distinguished herself with her talent for identifying the right product for the right market, and her people-skills in negotiating contracts. After furthering her professional development with several high-profile Canadian entertainment companies, she parlayed her reputation as a leading Cable Programming specialist into her own boutique firm.  Formed with a partner, Dark Horse Ent. specialized in finding, and selling, niche Canadian television series - entertainment, information and variety - around the Globe.  McCaw also acted as an independent executive producer on award-winning television Classic Car series,  CHROME DREAMS, and as a distributor for series including ENTRÉE TO ASIA, and AT HOME WITH HERBS.

In high demand as an insightful, humorous and engaging guest speaker, juror and analyst for festivals and trade forums around the country, McCaw also spent large amounts of time traveling abroad to television markets.  Writing relieved the stress of constantly being on the road.  Increasingly, she turned her main hobby into outlines for novels, and finished fleshing out the characters, plot and dialogue for OLIVIA’S MINE, a fictional account of a young bride’s struggle to make a life for herself against the backdrop of the disasters that hit Britannia Beach, British Columbia in the early 1900s.  The book was released in 2006 and continues to be sold at the British Columbia Museum of Mining.


  1. Wonderful. Thank you for hosting Janine today :).

  2. Hi Janine, thanks for visiting with me today.
    Bk, as always, you're very welcome!