Justine Davis was born during an Iowa blizzard. In response, she’s been a West Coaster since before she was a year old, and intends to stay that way. She has a history of staying, starting her first full time job right out of school—
“Excuse me? There was that brief sojourn at a concrete plant where they made, among other things, burial vaults. The reasons for and mechanics of which I could have gone my entire life without knowing.”
Ew. Yes. May we proceed now? Where were we? Ah, staying. Justine spent 21 years at that first job. Was married to her first and only husband also for 21 years. Lived in their first house for 17 years. Has lived in her current house in the Pacific Northwest for 12. Is it dedication, inertia, laziness, or—
“Laziness?? Do you have any idea how much junk you accumulate in that amount of time? How many dumpsters we filled moving? Think I want to do that again? Not a chance.”
Right. Now then. You’ve had two lengthy careers. Again, dedication, inertia, or laziness?
“Laziness again? You try working two full time jobs. Graveyard shift at the PD. Home and to bed by 9AM. Up at 2PM. (yes, that’s five hours sleep) Write until 9PM. Get ready for night job. Lather, rinse, repeat. For six years, I did both. Hmpf. Lazy indeed.”
All right, all right, no need to get snarky. So, which job did/do you hate more?
“Sheesh. Neither. I’ve been wonderfully fortunate to have two jobs I’ve loved. Some people never get one. My time in law enforcement was many things, exciting, nerve wracking, and irritating, but most importantly never, ever boring. It was fascinating enough that I didn’t think about writing seriously for several years. I kept a journal, and wrote long letters, collected quotes, mentally rewrote movies and TV shows, and still made up those stories in my head, but never dreamed of actually writing for publication. I was having too much fun helping to catch bad guys, and being continually amazed at the situations people get themselves into. And eventually I walked away with a wealth of background and story ideas, and knowing some truly great people who work very hard to keep all of us safe. I’m proud to have been one of them.
But writing is my life now. It’s the greatest joy I have, to tell the stories that live in my head. (not to mention clearing out some of these people—they say writer’s block is when your imaginary friends won’t talk to you. Mine never shut up!) ”
Has your writing career gone as planned?
“Um...plan? The extent of my plan was I wanted to sell a book by the time I was 30. I didn’t quite make it, but it was close enough. After that, it was all pretty much seat of the pants stuff. I know writers who have actual plans, X books in X number of years, be on radio or TV by book number X, hit the USA today list by book X, then the NYT list by book number X. While I’ve done all of those except for the last, it certainly hasn’t been because I planned it that way.”
Now that you’re back on the grid, as they say, can readers expect to hear from you?
"Absolutely. They’ll probably even get some groveling about my lengthy absence, if they want it. Because despite my dropping off that grid, they’ve stayed with me, buying books and wanting more."
And now, the official stats:
Justine Dare Davis sold her first book after meeting her editor in the line for the ladies room at a conference. And no, she didn’t commit the great faux paux of pitching it there; the book was never mentioned in the conversation, which centered mostly on horses. Her first four books were published in 1991, and she saw all reach the finals for either the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award or the Romance Writers of America prestigious RITA Award. She has since won the RITA award four times, along with several Reviewer’s Choice and Career Achievement awards from Romantic Times. Justine has also been inducted into the RWA Hall of Fame, making her one of a very select group of writers. She had four titles on the Romantic Times "Top 200 of All Time" list, and her sales now total more than 60 books. She has been featured in several local newspapers and nationwide by Associated Press, has appeared on CNN, and on two episodes of a cable television series on romance. She has given workshops for many chapters of RWA, has spoken at several regional and international conferences and has taught at the UCLA Writer’s Program. She is also featured in North American Romance Writers, an academic reference on the romance genre.
Her limited free time is spent reading, knitting (often simultaneously), and on photography, trying to catch the perfect shot of the bald eagles, deer, bear, raccoons and blue herons near her home. In the summer she can usually be found driving her restored 1967 Corvette Roadster—top down, of course—with her beloved dog as passenger.