BBB: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Thank so much for having me, Babs! I was born and raised in New Jersey, where I still live to this day. There are a lot of people living in the area where I reside and I love being part of a very active community – coming back from a vacation, NJ always feels like home. I’m a big antique collector and on weekends, when I’m not writing I love hitting up the local (and sometimes not so local!) antique stores in search of pretty Victorian treasures. I’ve worked in a variety of jobs since college, where I’ve met a number of interesting people, several of whom have found their way into my stories. I am obsessed with 80’s music but I try to stick with classical while I’m reading and writing. I find it less distracting, and also, greatly inspiring!
BBB: Was there a certain time in your life you knew you wanted to write?
I always loved books as a child and when I was six, watching soaps with my mother I fell in love with romance. I kept the idea of one day writing for the soaps, in the back of my mind, for years. But along the way I discovered romance novels and realized that writing a full-length novel was something that I would never be satisfied until I tried. When I graduated from college and was looking for my first job I spent a lot of time asking myself what I’d do if I could do anything at all. Writing kept coming into my mind and I perused several non-fiction books about how to get started in writing. I remember reading in one of the books that writers spend their entire lives in basements doing nothing but writing. I believe the comment was intended to discourage people but I remember thinking that being left alone to just use your imagination and write for hours on end sounded like more fun than anything else I could imagine!
BBB: What are you currently working on?
I’m working on the third story in my current series, The Rabourn Theater Series, tentatively titled, A Sultry Performance. Chris Gordon, assistant to Evan Masters (hero in book 2, An Amorous Dance) believes he’s found the man who ran down his wife Evelyn seven years ago, tragically killing her and leaving him the single father of a young child. Desperate to get justice for Evelyn and his daughter, Chris hatches a plot to take down the man he suspects killed her, Oakley Sutherland, by obtaining proof of the crime through Oakley’s fiancé, Victoria. Victoria Morrow, lead dancer at the nightclub up the street from Rabourn Theater has no intention of being ensnared by the man rumored to be the town’s most notorious playboy. But as she gets to know Chris, she realizes all she heard about him may not be true. And his charm, and kisses, may be just too hard to resist.
BBB: Of the books you’ve written, which one is your favorite and why?
For years, Dangerous Proposal (the second book I published) has been my favorite story, for a variety of reasons not the least of which is that I fashioned the hero, Alec, to be exactly like the sort of man I dream of meeting myself. But my latest story, An Amorous Dance, took me by surprise. In this second-chance romance, theater owner Hannah Rabourn battles for control of the world she loves against her greatest rival and former lover, Evan Masters. Evan wishes to have revenge for an injustice done to him long ago and he plots to take control of Rabourn Theater by way of gentle persuasion…and seduction. I worked with a slightly older heroine and hero than I typically have in the past, in this story (38 and 47) and I was amazed by the way these two characters took off from the first page, battling all the way to the boardroom…and the bedroom! Their feistiness and determination blows my mind and as I was reading it for the hundredth time during the final edit, I found myself still laughing out loud at some of the nervy things that Evan says to Hannah.
BBB: What books have most influenced you as a writer?
Since finding my niche in romance I’ve read hundreds of stories, the great majority of which I’ve loved. In particular, upon attending a New Jersey Romance Conference several years ago, I was given a copy of the first story in Robyn Carr’s Virgin River Series. I expected I’d read the story and then move onto other things in my TBR pile, but I fell instantly in love with the town, and the characters and soon found myself buying the entire series. Aside from the series having very vibrant characters and storylines that truly are escapism at its best, I loved seeing the way that Carr continues to utilize the major characters in her series while she continues to introduce us to a new hero, heroine and situation in each story. The fact that there are twenty books in the series has given me encouragement, as I also like to write lengthy series in which the characters are connected and the stories can all be read separately. I’ve found the works of Amanda Quick, Catherine Coulter, Candice Hern, Shana Galen and many others to be very inspiring as well!
BBB: What do you find to be the most challenging part of writing? And the most rewarding?
I find the most challenging aspect of writing to be having the patience, sometimes, to slow down and describe things in lengthy detail. I build my books, more or less as you would build an ice cream sundae, adding the ingredients one at a time. As a plotter (one who plots the story in an outline or other such way first, versus diving right in) I work on what I find to be the easiest part of the writing first, the actual story idea, which I write very quickly, sometimes in only a few sittings. I’ve often said if I could be finished with a book after simply completing an outline, I’d have a hundred published books by this point in my short career! But alas it doesn’t work that way and I’m grateful that it doesn’t because reading would be awfully boring without all of those juicy details to help us visualize, wouldn’t it?
I find the most rewarding aspect of writing to be the gift of getting to tell a story (any story!) and hearing from a reader who’s loved it. I write romance because I want readers to envision the possibility of having romance in their own lives and never sacrifice it or give up on that dream, no matter what life throws. Knowing that I may be keeping that dream alive for any reader is the greatest gift I can imagine!
BBB: What book is on your nightstand?
I’m currently reading Fallen by Celeste Bradley. The story gets off to a most unexpected start as the hero and heroine find themselves, accidentally, in bed with one another. I was instantly hooked and I am greatly enjoying this story, the characters in which are quite deep and easy to relate to.
BBB: What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?
As with my previous series, expect, in the future, to see former villains reformed! I’m planning to write a total of five stories in The Rabourn Theater Series and afterward I’m plotting out a romantic suspense series in which a secret organization challenges a group of dangerous drug lords. As both a writer and a reader, I like danger because, aside from it being exciting, it gives the hero and heroine a world of opportunities to get close to one another. You can expect you’ll be seeing a lot more of it from me in future stories! 😉
BBB: Is there anything you’d like to share with your readers?
Today is Release Day for An Amorous Dance! It’s currently available at a special discounted rate!
I’m also excited to share that I’ve recently launched a newsletter! Sign up to receive the latest news about my new releases, sales and giveaways!
Other books by Jessica: