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Monday, January 12, 2015

The Story Behind Whatever It Takes by JM Stewart

Hi Brenda! Thanks so much for having me! Since I have a new release out, I thought I’d share a bit about how the book came to be. WHATEVER IT TAKES is book 2 in my Morgan Family Romance series. And it took a while to come into being. At one point, I didn’t think I’d finish it.
Becca and Jackson’s story began over eleven years ago now. I met Becca while writing book one, Risking It All. In the original writing of RIA, Becca loathed her ex-husband, but there was an undercurrent of love there too she was trying not to feel. It intrigued me. I had to know…could I make their relationship work again? In other words, this book began as a challenge to myself. ;)
In truth, I got about five chapters into the book (then titled…dun dun dun…Second Chances) and quit writing. I stopped writing altogether for a period of about six years. So the book sat, unfinished, on my hard drive. It was a bunch of little things that all heaped on top of me at the same time. Something had to give.
About that time, I’d submitted Risking It All (under a different title) to Harlequin. It earned me a revision request, but ultimately got turned down. For whatever reason, this particular rejection hit me really hard.
I also hit a snag in my personal life. Something cropped up (which is a story in and of itself but one I won’t talk about, because it still has the power to sink me—I’m also not sure you’d believe me *wink*) that triggered my PTSD, and I spiraled into what I now call flashback hell. This is kind of an aside here, but I’ve been writing a war veteran lately and I’m reminded I’m not the only one who suffers from this disorder. One thing all those websites about PTSD don’t (and can’t) really tell you is that PTSD takes your reality…and skews how you view it. Flashbacks aren’t always straightforward. Imagine your worst fear. Now imagine that fear has a voice and it’s screaming in your face. Despite knowing it’s not real, when it hits you, you still feel the pain.
What it amounts to, though, is my writing had to take a back seat for a while. I missed it though. In fact, part of my motivation to get better…was to get well enough that I wanted to write again. When I did, the first book I picked up was Risking It All (b/c it was already written).
Whatever It Takes didn’t actually get completed until I’d gotten the rights back on Kyle and Ceci’s story. Like RIA, I decided one day to see if I could make something of the story. I’m glad I did, though, because I fell in love with Jackson in the process.
The story did get a little help from my editor at Berkley during the revision process. That scene in chapter 3 or 4, where Becca goes back to her burned out house, was born out of a note my editor made. The ending I’d originally written also got changed. The changes my editor had me make meant that the ending I’d written no longer made sense.
This whole process taught me a lot of things, though. Namely, never give up and crap can be fixed. :) Oh, and I hate revisions. lol

She’s been dying to hear the words…
Walking away from her husband was the hardest thing Becca Morgan has ever done, even if it was the only way to save her heart from being broken by a loveless marriage. Still, when a terrible accident forces her to stay at her ex’s house, emotions she thought she’d buried for Jackson Kade long ago start coming to the surface—and, to her surprise, seem to be reciprocated…

…he just doesn’t know how to say.
Jackson Kade has never known love like he knew with Becca, but his cold upbringing left him unable to show her how deeply he feels. When Becca winds up under his roof once more, he knows it’s his only opportunity to prove his devotion—and passion. But old habits die hard, and even one mistake could shatter their last chance at love…

About the author:
JM writes passionate, heartfelt contemporary romance. She’s a wife, a mother, a spiritualist, and lover of puppies, and happily addicted to coffee and chocolate. She lives in the rainy Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. She’s a hopeless romantic who believes everybody should have their happily-ever-after and has been devouring romance novels for as long as she can remember. Writing them has become her obsession.
Find Joanne here:


  1. Good morning, Joanne. I overslept this morning so just now checking in! Have a great day.

  2. This is a tough business, and the other challenges you obviously face must have made it very hard. Good for you for sticking with your story and with writing.

    1. Thanks, Mary. It's a challenge, but I don't like to let that stop me. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. This is so tough to read, what you've been through and why you quit writing. I, too, quit writing for a long time, but I never faced PTSD. You should be very proud of overcoming such tough obstacles to write again.

    1. Thanks, Hebby. I am proud. It's honestly become motivation on the hard days. This business can be tough, and when I want to give up, I think of that time and simply refuse to go back. :) Thanks so much for stopping by!

  4. It's my firm belief that creative people also have personal demons of one kind or another. Just look at actors, musicians and authors who open up about their fears, their hang-ups, their addictions, etc. Jimi Hendrix, for example, loved to talk about the guitar and music, but not about himself as a musician. He became shy and sometimes belligerent because he never felt he was good enough. Many writers, myself included, never feel I measure up to what I can be. I'm proud of you for digging back into it as part of your healing. Delving into a made-up world with realistic emotions can be a helpful experience. I mean, look at you and all the books you've produced. Awesome!

    1. I think we must be the sensitive souls in the world. Robin William's death comes to mind for me. The happiest man on the planet had something eating him up nobody could help him with. You nailed it. That's what I do when I write, as I'm sure most authors do. I take that emotion and use it to fuel the stuff on the page. I actually did end up writing a book where I poured all my pain onto the page. It comes out in March. It's the one with the revisions that had me pulling my hair out. lol Thanks so much for stopping by and for the encouragement, V!