I’ve begun a Wednesday weekly post to present interviews with authors across all romance genres. Although I’m primarily an historical romance writer, I do read outside my genre and suspect a lot of you do as well. And what’s more fascinating than finding out more about either your favorite authors or new ones? I plan to change up my questions (most of them at least) every three months or so, just to keep the interviews lively.
So now gather round the tea table, grab a scone or cookies, and a cup of tea or coffee and discover a new friend in the writing world.
This week on Be My Guest, as promised, I am interviewing…me! My latest historical romance, Only A Mistress Will Do released yesterday, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to let you know a little more about me–some things you might not have known before from other interviews.
Author Bio :
Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical in all time periods because passion is timeless. She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise. She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She’s a theatre director when she’s not writing and lives in Virginia with her family, including two very vocal cats.
Jenna is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as Vice-President of Chesapeake Romance Writers, her local chapter of RWA. She has three series currently available: The House of Pleasure, set in Georgian England, Handful of Hearts, set in Regency England, and Time Enough to Love, set in medieval England and France.
She currently writes to support her chocolate habit.
So, my standard first question:
Who is your favorite romance hero or heroine and why? What qualities do they possess that make them memorable?
Jo Beverley’s Beowulf Malloren, Marquis of Rothgar and Diana, Countess of Arrandale from the Malloren series, set in Georgian, England. The whold series has them in it, but their book is Devilish, my favorite romance novel. I absolutely love these two characters together, hot, sexy, determined, crazy fighting skills. They remind me vividly of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in Mr. and Mrs. Smith, although Rothgar is a good deal hotter than Pitt!
Who or what inspires your writing?
It depends on the project. I get inspiration from everything from a song (my upcoming release, To Woo A Wicked Widow, was inspired by The Weather Girls song “It’s Raining Men), to a chance word or sentence in another romance novel, (Only A Mistress Will Do was inspired by a single sentence in a Mary Balogh novel), to the Cinderella fairy tale (a sweet novella, Heart of Delight).
Which of your own books is your favorite and why?
I do hate to play favorites, but at the current moment it’s Only Scandal Will Do, although Only A Mistress Will Do is running neck and neck with it! But I love Scandal because I love the heroine (my alter ego), I love the dynamics between the hero and heroine, plus I think the story and setting are cohesive to produce a rather stark, gritty feel to the book that was what I was aiming for. I also see that in Mistress, so that makes sense it’s tied for favorite. I think recently that Mistress may be pulling ahead. 🙂
What is your favorite holiday and why?
Halloween, hands down. I’ve always loved that holiday (felt it was mine for some reason) and still decorate the house and yard to look like a graveyard for the Trick or Treaters. I love making all the cool themed treats and the wonderful costumes everyone wears. It’s a very theatrical holiday, so that may explain it some.
Are you a pantser or plotter? What is your process?
I am hands down a plotter. I can’t do anything, once I have my story idea, if I don’t come up with an outline. Detailed, outline, usually about 10 pages long. It’s a road map to keep me straight on where I’m eventually going to end up. Of course, along the way, as I’m writing, I add some stops occasionally, make a detour here or there. But generally I follow the map, I have a very poor sense of direction (in life and in writing) and the few times I’ve tried to “wing it” I’ve lost all kinds of time because winging it without thinking of latter repercussions almost always made me have to backtrack and continue down the path I’d originally set.
Who is your favorite non-romance genre author? What is your favorite book of theirs?
Another easy one. Stephen King. Love, love, love his books. When he was writing his Dark Tower series I used to fear either he would die before finishing it, or I would die before I finished reading it. And although The Drawing of the Three is my second favorite King book, my absolute favorite is It. Scared the bejesus out of me, but I’ve read it about 8 times.
What is your favorite cuisine?
My absolute favorite cuisine is Indian. I’m not a fan of spicy, but I love the exotic tastes of Indian food and it has the distinction of being the most gluten-free cuisine I’ve run across because they use a lot of lentil flour in their dishes. Usually I can order almost anything off the menu or take from the buffet because everything except the breads don’t have gluten.
Now, tell us a little bit about your newest book.
Only A Mistress Will Do released yesterday (Hooray!) and it’s Book 3 in my House of Pleasure series. It’s about a woman, Violet Carlton, who, because of the death of her brother, eventually is forced to become a prostitute. She is saved by a good Samaritan (who buys her at the House of Pleasure) and they attempt to find her respectable employment or marriage. Along the way, they manage to fall in love, which is unfortunate because he’s already engaged to another woman through an arranged marriage. He also has a secret that he’s desperately trying to conceal, but some secrets simply cannot be kept.
What was your inspiration for this story?
This is the story I spoke of earlier that was inspired by a Mary Balogh novel, A Precious Jewel. That book is about a prostitute in a brothel who becomes the mistress of one of her customers and falls in love with him. The book talks briefly about how she became a prostitute and mentions that she won’t think about her first week in the house. Which got me to thinking, what would it be like for a gentlewoman to have to become a prostitute? How horrifying would it be? How did she steel herself to go through with that first customer? And Mistress was born. (While I was on vacation with my family at Disney World, of all places!)
Are the character names special in any way?
Violet Carlton’s name had been in the back of my mind ever since I wrote Only Scandal Will Do. I stuck in a reference to they type of woman Lord Trevor might marry and described her as a “shy violet,” who the heroine of Scandal says she will transform into a “tiger lily.”
Do you have plans for a sequel to this book?
The hero and heroine will figure in the remaining books of the series and will also have a supporting role in the companion series I’m planning, Captivating Countesses.
Now, the Infamous Lightning Round:
What is your favorite amusement park ride?
Splash Mountain at Disney World!
Tea or coffee and how do you take it?
Tea in the mornings or very late at night with raw sugar and milk; coffee at work and in the theatre, half and half only.
Hot dogs or hamburgers?
Hot dogs–with mustard, chili, and onions!
Chocolate or vanilla?
Chocolate is my drug of choice.
Favorite all time movie?
How many states have you lived in?
Three: Virginia, Maryland, and Tennessee
Cats or dogs?
Cats. Although I like dogs, I’ve always been a cat person as was my family. We had tons of cats when I was growing up, but only 3 dogs.
What’s your favorite Starbucks drink?
The Smoked Butterscotch Frappe they had for a while. But that is now gone, so back to Skinny Mocha Latte.
Who is your favorite cartoon character?
There’s a lot to choose from, but I think I will go with Bugs Bunny from my childhood.
The man of her dreams . . . belongs to another woman.
Destitute and without friends, Violet Carlton is forced to seek employment at the House of Pleasure in London. She steels herself for her first customer and is shocked when the man rescues her instead of ravishing her. A grateful Violet cannot help but admire the handsome Viscount Trevor. But she must curb her desire for the dashing nobleman she can never have because he is already betrothed to another . . .
Tristan had gone to the House of Pleasure for a last bit of fun before he became a faithful married man. But when he recognizes the woman in his bed, he becomes determined to save her instead. Now, his heart wars with his head as he falls for the vulnerable courtesan. Unable to break his betrothal without a scandal, Tris resolves to find Violet proper employment or a husband of her own. Still, his arms ache for Violet, urging him to abandon propriety and sacrifice everything to be with the woman he loves. . . .
Next Wednesday my special guest is Elf Ahearn, a fellow historical romance author. Hope you return to you favorite Wednesday spot to meet her!