Is a job a job? By author Jill James

Happy Saturday everyone! I’m pleased to have Jill James on my blog today talking about the career choices our heroes make. Take it away Jill.

A job is a job…
Or is it? In most romance novels these days it seems like all the cool jobs; cop, firefighter, Navy SEAL, Sheik, are taken. What’s a writer to do? I say, go back to basics.
Sometimes a hero is an accountant or a house painter. Your strength of character, your moral fiber, is not defined by your pay check. Your job is not who you are on the inside. A hero can be waiting in an office worker or pizza delivery guy.
In Tempting Adam, my hero is the CEO of a Hollywood movie studio because originally I was writing the story to send to Silhouette Desire, and they wanted high-powered executives. In Divorce, Interrupted I mention that Todd Miller works long hours and ignores his family, but I don’t really mention what his office job really is. The reader can imagine a CPA or pencil pusher. In Someone To Trust, my new book, Brady Jackson is a carpenter with a construction company. He is very much blue-collar, down to earth, and mostly truthful. He has some skeletons in the closet that will wreak havoc with his budding romance with Evie Grimes, antique store co-owner.
Any job can be exciting for your characters if you dig deep and make it real. Any small detail can make the story brighter, bolder, more lifelike. Show the difference between their job and their life. Why they did or didn’t choose their jobs says a lot about a man.
Readers: do you like characters with exciting jobs in your reading? Writers: how do you make your characters jobs exciting?

And now here’e a little bit more about Someone to Trust: Book 2 – Second Chances series

Evie Grimes doesn’t trust men. She’s been lied to and deceived too many times before. Happily single, the last thing she needs is a man.

Brady Jackson is a former Marine. Now a carpenter, he is as honest as the day is long. What you see is what you get.

When Brady falls for Evie he will have to prove he can be trusted with her heart. When danger arrives at her door he will have to prove he can be trusted to protect her. When everyone turns against him, he will have to prove he is someone to trust.

And in case you’re wondering who came up with such wonderful stories, here’s a bit about Jill. Jill has loved to write since she first began putting on puppet shows in her garage for a nickel a person. Her first love was poetry until she picked up her first romance novel, Lily of the Valley, after that it was all romance. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense and paranormal romance. She is a member of RWA since 2004 and a member of the From the Heart chapter, Black Diamond chapter, Kiss of Death chapter, and ESPAN chapter. She has been writing romance for a few years with a few poetry contest wins and a published short story, Lunch Break. She lives in Northern California with her husband, the inspiration for all her heroes.
She is a published author with The Wild Rose Press and as an Indie. Her books include Tempting Adam, Divorce, Interrupted, and Someone To Trust.

About Linda Andrews

Linda Andrews lives with her husband and three children in Phoenix, Arizona. When she announced to her family that her paranormal romance was to be published, her sister pronounce: "What else would she write? She’s never been normal." All kidding aside, writing has become a surprising passion. So just how did a scientist start to write paranormal romances? What other option is there when you’re married to romantic man and live in a haunted house? If you’ve enjoyed her stories or want to share your own paranormal experience feel free to email the author at She’d love to hear from you.
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11 Responses to Is a job a job? By author Jill James

  1. Jill James says:

    Linda, thanks for having me at your lovely blog.

  2. Roxy Boroughs says:

    Love the “Divorce, Interrupted” title.

    Interesting topic. My favorite career choice for a character is found in Dean Koontz’s “Odd Thomas”. The psychic hero is a short-order cook. Because he’s very much an Everyman type and, with ghosts talking to him all the time, he needs a flexible job. But he does aspire to sell tires.

    Quite different from our romance heroes. We expect them to be tycoons, or in dangerous occupations. Money, power, and strength — all things we women are hot wired to fall for.

    • Jill James says:

      Roxy, thanks. That was the hardest title for me to come up with. Usually they come to me first, but that one took a while.

      I’ve read newspaper articles which say with our current economy the #1 trait women are looking for in men is security. Doesn’t have to be a high-powered job, but it does have to be a secure job.

  3. Karen Cote says:

    You are so right on the job-stigma! Great post. I do consistently write about law enforcement though. Not because they are ordinary but because I believe they are extraordinary. Most anyway…few bad apples and all that. Cops have that certain special way about them that set them apart. I believe there is no greater person than that who lays down their life for someone else. It defines what my perception of a hero is. Someone who wakes up, ready to risk everything for a driving need inside to protect. Conjures up all my romantic insticts. Basically, I’m a sucker for a man with a badge…lol. If that weren’t so true it make a perfect cliche, huh? Thanks again. I love that you write Romantic Suspense too. 😉

    • Jill James says:

      Karen, so right about law enforcement. I think I fell in love with my husband the day I saw him in his uniform, asking me out for our first date. Gotta love a man in uniform!!!

  4. Since I write romantic suspense and my novels are action- rather than character-driven, I always start a novel with the storyline. Then I find the characters who are right for the circumstances, so the character’s jobs are integral to the story. Different job and those circumstances wouldn’t occur. Those people wouldn’t meet. That doesn’t mean the jobs won’t be ordinary non-glamorous careers.
    I do agree that not ever hero or heroine has to be a Navy SEAL or an actress, but I remember the days (oh so many years ago) when contemporary romance heroines had to be teachers, nannies, nurses, or live at home with their parents. I found them so boring! I’m an architect and didn’t want to read or write about teachers and nannies. Unfortunately, the publishers at that time didn’t want heroines who were motocross racers or architects. Times have changed.

  5. Lucy Francis says:

    What a great topic! My first book has a more high-powered hero (targeted for Silhouette originally, too!) but the next one has a hero who helps run the family construction company. I also have a former Marine/accountant and a car mechanic in upcoming books. Sometimes it’s fun to play with the rich boys, but there’s something special about a heroic regular guy, don’t you think?

  6. Jill James says:

    Linda, thank you for hosting me on your lovely blog.

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