Sunday, April 27, 2008

Special Guest Buzz... Mr. Romance Runner-Up Jimi Gaskin!

Confession Time: At first sight, I figured Mr. Romance contestant Jimi Gaskin would be one of those totally-full-of-himself hotties. I mean, tall, well-built guys with a beautiful face and gorgeous eyes are only softies at heart in the romantic world of fiction, right? Wrong!

When Steph and I accosted--er, approached him after the Vampire Ball at last week's Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, he was totally sweet. After posing for several pics with us, I asked for his email addy so we could let him know when they went up on the blog. And he totally gave it to me!!! Then, my critique partner Sharie Kohler suggested we have Jimi as a guest on the blog. And he totally agreed!!! As soon as I got home from the conference, I emailed him my questions. And he totally answered--even though he should be on a mega ego trip after taking runner-up in the Mr. Romance contest at the convention and WINNING the online competition!!!

Suffice it to say, he's currently on my list of favorite people. After reading this swoon-worthy interview, I bet he'll be on yours, too.

Jimi with Steph on the dance floor of the Vampire Ball

TLC: How did you get nominated for the Mr. Romance competition?

Jimi: My sister asked me if I wanted to be 1 of 10 guys surrounded by 2,000 women, Jo Carol would sponsor me. I said yes before she could finish.

TLC: A huge thank you to your sis! Congratulations on winning second place at the convention and taking first in the online contest! Had you ever considered a career in modeling or specifically as a cover model?

Jimi: Never. I always liked having scars, and that doesn't go so well with modeling. If I was a car, I would be a Land Rover. They're classy, elite, and can go anywhere, but ultimately look better when they're scratched and dinged up.

TLC: I'll bet there's a good story to go with every scar. This was your first Romantic Times convention, right? (Mine too!) What did you think?

Jimi: I went into RT believing it was going to be total chaos. But once I was there, I had an incredible time. Every single person I met was so passionate and nice, that you couldn't help but enjoy yourself.

TLC: Agreed--barring the occasional life-before-the-eyes moment. Steph and I got trapped in an elevator for an hour with a crazy bellman. What was the craziest/scariest/nastiest thing that happened to you at the convention?

Jimi: Craziest--Being randomly marched into "Wet and Wild" and having to answer any intimate questions that arose from a hundred women. I still wake up in the middle of the night shivering.

TLC: Therapy might cure that.

Jimi: Scariest--Being trapped in an elevator for an hour with some crazy women who thought I was a bellman.

TLC: We didn't know it was you, swear! If we did, we'd have sent away the Otis repairman!

Jimi: Nastiest--The food at the convention. Good thing I was on a diet.

TLC: Yeah, convention food always leaves something to be desired. Truth time. Dish on your fellow Mr. Romance contestants. Who was your best bud? Who was a total diva?

Jimi: This is tough. I went in expected it to be like a women's beauty pageant, where everyone was cutthroat. But, nothing could be further from the truth. We actually helped out each other throughout the whole competition, fixing each others outfits and what not.

TLC: (picturing scenes from Miss Congeniality, with less lip gloss)

Jimi: Every contestant at the Mr. Romance competition brought something valuable and unique to the table. Honestly, the whole competition was anybody's game.

TLC: Brilliantly diplomatic answer. (But I think we all know the truth! Haha.) All the girls will want to know ... are you taken?

Jimi: Unfortunately, no. It's tough to find a girl who loves the water or likes traveling as much as I do. I probably spend about 6 hours a day in water, whether its from surfing, diving, or sailing. And when I say traveling, I don’t mean going to another country just to stay in a 5 star hotel. I mean, actually traveling and getting to know the culture of another country. Staying with a host family and only eating what that unique culture eats. Traveling for me is not just about going to a different location and looking at buildings, it's about becoming a different person by experiencing new experiences.

TLC: After that answer, you're going to get plenty of volunteers! (nominates self) Since you're Mr. Cyber Romance, do you have any thoughts on cyber-dating? Ever tried it?

Jimi: Having a relationship is all about trust and finding a connection with another person. I believe it is possible to trust and make a connection without seeing the other person or even hearing what the other person sounds like. Just ask my vision and hearing impaired friends, they date all the time. Having said that, cyber-dating does make it tough to trust what the guy on the other end's real intentions are, and that can be dangerous.

TLC: Or if it even IS a guy! There is danger in anonymity.

Jimi: Have I ever cyber-dated? No, but I'm definitely open to the idea. Cyber-dating allows me to share my creative side easier with someone else. Like being able to share photos, favorite songs, and other kind of media in an instant.

TLC: BuzzReaders will be relieve to hear that, considering your current locale. You're from Hawaii, one of the most romantic places in the country. What do you love most about living on the Big Island? And (because my blog sister Tina will want to know) have you visited any of the LOST filming sites?

Jimi: What I love most about the Big Island are the daily tropical warm showers, diving in crystal clear water, swimming with wild dolphins, listening to the whales sing as I spearfish, being able to watch lava flow into the ocean, gazing up at the Milky Way under the clearest skies in the world. I love the freedom, the islands give you.

TLC: Sounds dreamy! The Milky Way bit did it for me--I'm an armchair astronomer! (Note to self: plan trip to Hawaii)

Jimi: Have I ever visited any of the LOST filming sites? I have been to a couple of the places that have been used in LOST and I have actually met a couple of the LOST actors. Hawaii is made up of islands in the middle of the biggest ocean. Eventually, you will see and run into everything and everyone. :)

TLC: (Note to Tina: no you may not stalk Jimi) What is your definition of romance?

Jimi: Romance is passion, love, wonder, exhilaration... it can be epic, blazing, even dangerous, but yet, is so often sweet, fumbling, and pure. For me though, more than anything else, romance consists of those little details--the way she twirls the ends of her hair with her fingers, or the way she smiles when she is asleep--the simple gestures that strike you still with the realization that the world would not be worth anything if she were not in it.

TLC: Let the swooning begin! Have you ever read a romance novel? If so, which ones? If not, now that you've met so many romance authors, will you?

Jimi: I have to be honest, reading romance was the last thing on my list of "things to read." But, after meeting all these writers who are so passionate about writing romance, has motivated me to. Currently, I'm half way through with "The Scorpion and the Seducer," by Bonnie Vanek. :) After, I plan on reading a vampire romance by J.R. Ward, and then....

Jimi, Steph, Luke Walsh, and yours truly at the Vampire Ball

Show of hands, who's ready to swoon? (raises hand) Seriously ladies, Jimi's the real deal. Sweet, romantic, gorgeous! Is it any wonder he placed so well in the Mr. Romance contests? And he's agreed to bring his romantic self over here and respond to comments! Get your questions in early.

Thank you, Jimi, for trusting strangers with your email address and for following through with this awesome interview. Maybe we'll see you next year in Orlando.

OH. MY. GODS. -- Dutton, available like NOW!


Simone Elkeles said...

are you on any romance covers? If so, which ones? If not, have you now been approached to be on the cover of one? old are you?

My fans want to know. (Okay, I want to know, too)

Trish Milburn said...

Hey, Jimi. It was nice to meet you at the RT conference. Hope the physics is going well. :)

You mentioned that you hadn't read romance before. What are some of your favorite types of books to read? Favorite authors?

TinaFerraro said...

Okay, TLC, while I get the part where I can't stalk Jimi, how about if I just follow him around Hawaii? Is that different from stalking???

Jimi, wonderful having you here with us at the Buzz Girls Blog! My question for you is about books. Aside from taking a stab at reading romance, do you have a favorite author or series?

TinaFerraro said...

Trish slipped in the same question while I was typing! You know what they say about great minds...

stephhale said...

James (I know u like it when I call u that),

If only you would have been the one in the elevator with us. Sigh.
Thanks for spending time with the Buzz Girls.


AuthorM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AuthorM said...

I just wanted to tell you I'm totally making my next hero (or the one after...or maybe the one after him, but someone, sometime!) a seismic processor. I think that's what you called it.

But I need to research it a bit more...

So nice meeting you at RT and thanks for letting me accost you at the EC party with all my questions!

"So. What do you wear when you're doing this...?"



Heather Davis said...

Nice interview, TLC!

Jimi, what do you do when you're not being paraded in front of rabid RT fans? I'm picturing fire fighter or surfing instructor...


Cindy Holby said...

Hey Jimi!

It was great having lunch with you at RT and I love reading the interview. It kind of covers all the things we did not dicuss at lunch. And just so everyone knows besides being terribly handsome, and a real sweetie,(and obviously romantic from his post) Jimi impressed me with the fact that he's gone back to school to get another degree. So Jimi, tell everyone what it is exactly that you do because it sure did blow me away. I have trouble spelling it.

Emily Marshall said...

Great interview and congrats to Jimi on placing 2nd and 1st online. Okay, my question has nothing to do with books or Mr. Romance. I want to know how you can travel like that? Staying with a host family and immersing yourself in their environment sounds like so much fun. But how does one go about meeting people that will "host" them?

Jimi Gaskin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jimi Gaskin said...

Aloha everyone:)
First of all, I just want to thank all the wahines at for inviting me onto your website. How could i say no, especially when you guys surround me like that.:)

Hi Simone,
Have i ever been on a romance cover?
No I haven't, but I've been asked by Bobbi Smith to pose on one of her covers.
How old am I? My driver's license says I'm 28, but really, age is a state of mind. The real question is, "How old is my state of mind?" :)

Hey Trish,
Favorite books to read? I actually enjoy reading travel guides. My goal is to be able to travel anywhere and have it feel like home.
Favorite author? Frommer :)

Favorite series? That would have to be the Harry Potter series. I started reading them as a way to relate to someone i was tutoring, and got hooked. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.:)

Steph, actually i do prefer James sometimes. It shows my serious side. Jimi is more of my playful side.:)

Aloha Megan,
Thats right, seismic processing. You remembered. Since i work online, i pretty much just wear my boxers.:)

Hi Heather,
What do i do when I'm not being displayed as meat?:) I actually clean up seismic data for oil companies, and I go to school. If i behave, they'll let me out by the end of the year with a Computer science and Physics degree.:)

Hey Cindy!
What do i do exactly?? Alright, pay attention, there will be a quiz after. I'm a seismic processor. One of the methods for finding oil is by using sound waves. Kind of like how a dolphin "sees" in murky water. Since we know sound waves travel differently through different materials, we can roughly guess whats underneath the ground if we study the sound/seismic waves. My job is to tell people what i "see." :)

Hi Emily,
That's a good question. I believe there are websites dedicated to meeting "host" families for that purpose. For me though, I lucked out. Since i was 8yrs old, my family has been part of Rotary exchange program. Every year, we have at least 3 exchange students who live with us and become part of the family. I have over 35 "host" brothers and sisters from all over the world that have promised to return the favor.:)

Trish Milburn said...

Hey, Tina, great minds do think alike, huh?

Jimi, you'll find a ton of Harry Potter fans among other authors. Jo is so fantastic at world building and characterization. Personally, I can't wait until the The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park opens in Orlando. Oh, and funny on Frommer being your favorite author. Actually, I'm about to dive into a thick travel guide on Alaska since my next teen book is going to be set there.

Me said...

Thanks so much for stopping by, Jimi! Clearly you had the same affect on many authors at RT! Seismic processor, huh? Physics and computer science, huh? Color me suitably impressed! =)

Trish--I didn't know about the Harry Potter theme park in Orlando! Will it be open by RT next year?

Trish Milburn said...

Tera, I learned about the park, which will be part of Universal rather than Disney, on Pottercast, a Harry Potter podcast I listen to. Unfortunately, the park isn't slated to open until late 2009 or early 2010. You can see more, including some of the really cool concept art, here: