I am going to tell you a story. When I first set out to try to write historical romance I found this writer. Her name was Jenna Petersen,
but the funny thing was, she also wrote as Jess Michaels and I loved her books either way because they had depth and depth is what I love.
I also loved the fact that, despite being a national best seller, she was so generous with advice on her The Passionate Pen page. It was advice that kept me going when any saner person would have given up.
You know something when she came up on twitter, you might as well have scraped me off the floor with the fish slice. So to welcome her here today,is not just a scrape me off the floor, it proves how exceptional this… author of 37 novels and novellas under three different pen names with several major publishers, small presses and via self-publishing, her erotic historical romances having been national bestsellers and winning awards from booksellers and readers… truly is.
Q. Jess, you’ve done something I see a lot of authors do, choose different pennames and identities for different genres, but you are here today as Jess and you have a new book to talk about too, Taken by the Duke, part of the Pleasure Wars Series… very smexy sounding, with a red hot cover too.
A: Actually, I’m now only writing as Jess and will be for the foreseeable future, though all my books are still available under my Jenna Petersen (historical romance) and Jesse Petersen (snarky urban fantasy) names. The Pleasure Wars is my new series written as Jess Michaels out from Samhain. It’s about a family long at war with each other, but when one sister dies as a result, her brother decides to take revenge in a very interesting way. The series is all about what happens next. It’s very dark, very sexy and very emotional. There will be three books in the series. TAKEN BY THE DUKE is the first book and features Christian, the Duke of Rothcastle, who kidnaps Lady Ava (whose brother is the Earl of Windbury) in order to ruin her as revenge. But he doesn’t expect that Ava will find a very pleasurable way to fight this war.
Q. Hmmm. Well this being a smexy blog….lucky her. Revenge stories always intrigue me though. Can you tell us a little about Christian and Ava? What they are like as people?
A. Christian was scarred by the accident that took his sister’s life, both physically and emotionally and he is very closed off in the beginning. But Ava hasn’t let herself be destroyed by the war between their families and her light starts to force itself into his darkness. It was a lovely relationship to write, all about the healing power of love.
Q. Can it be read as a stand-alone? I mean I see this and think is it coming soon and how it leaves Taken by the Duke that way?
A. Taken by the Duke can be read that way, especially since it’s the first of the series, but I hope you’ll want to read book 2 and 3 when you’re done!
Q. Jess, you’ve written 37 novels and novellas under your three names. Toughie question here but if you had to choose your favorite Jess M. book which one would it be and why?
A. Actually, now I’m inching closer to 50!
Q. What? Update your webpage girl!
A. Shocking, I know. It’s hard to pick a favorite because every book is kind of like a child. I have tender feelings about all of them. An Introduction to Pleasure relaunched my career and has been wildly successful, so I suppose it’s got a special place in my heart.
And the first book in The Pleasure Wars series, Taken By the Duke was really wonderful to write, so I’m also in love with it. But I never publish a book I don’t love and feel I’ve done the best I can on. So no real favorites.
Q. What about your favorite Jess M. hero and heroine?
A. Oh gosh, picking favorite kids again.
Q. Yeah being mean here.
A. LOL Right now I’m writing Beauty and the Earl, the last book in The Pleasure Wars series. I really like my hero, Liam and my heroine Violet. They’re very well matched and their story is emotional for anyone who has connected to the series.
Q. Might as well go for broke here and ask your fav Jess M cover….
A. The Avon Red covers were all really pretty. I think I loved Everything Forbidden the most, it’s evocative but not overt.
As far as favorite SUPER sexy cover, I’m a fan of the one we just had designed for SIN, which used to have a very boring cover. Now it’s SMOKING HOT.
Q. Anyone got a fire extinguisher? Because if they do…I am over here. Thank you. Okay…. How hard to you find it managing the three different pennames? I’m thinking here in terms of when you finish a book as Jess M, how hard is it to let go of these characters and start another? Do you shift to writing as Jenna, or is the next Jess idea already there?
A. Like I said, I have switched entirely to writing as Jess. I haven’t written a Jenna book in almost three years and I finished my last Jesse book about six months ago. It was nice to switch to a different genre, but it was also really hard to focus and grow the audiences when I was so busy with different genres. Now I’m just focusing on Jess and I’m really loving it and am excited since I have another two new series already contracted to write! So my next couple of years are going to be very busy and exciting.
Q. Well, the funny thing is I always thought the name Jess had such a ring to it.. Despite you writing mainly as Jess, when you get, or got, an idea for a book, did, or do you decide this is going to be a Jess M. book, or have you ever given that story to Jenna, or vice-versa?
A. Actually the series I’ll be starting to work on in mid-October (The Ladies Book of Pleasures) was originally conceived as a Jenna historical romance. But it’s so sexy that I’m excited to be writing it as an erotic historical romance for Jess.
Q. What did I say re the name? Are you able to tell us what’s next for Jess M? I mean immediately next release-wise. Is it….? Can it be that Pleasure Wars one about the lady…..?
A. November 19 will see the release of the second Pleasure Wars book, PLEASURING THE LADY. Then March 15 will see BEAUTY AND THE EARL come out. After that it will be the Ladies Book of Pleasures series, starting in the summer 2014.
Q. You also have a fabulous site the Passionate Pen. I have to tell you when I was an aspiring writer I may not have been on it 24/7 but there were times it was close run. Any tips for aspiring writers?
A. Passionate Pen has been quiet for a long time, but I know people still come by, which is great. I’d say keep writing, practice your craft A LOT and keep working. Writing books is how you learn to write books and the more you write, the better you become.
Q. I know the site is now part of Killer Book Marketing, you started writing in 2003 before the explosion in social media and ebooks. Anything to say about these changes?
A. My husband runs Killer Book Marketing and it just made sense to fold The Passionate Pen into his great site, which is all about marketing for writers and is FREE for them. He’s been through it all with me and is a vital part of my marketing success, so I highly recommend going to his site and soaking in the great info he has there. It’s the next level of Passionate Pen but times ten. http://www.killerbookmarketing.com
Q. What else can I say, except that if you want some of the most useful insider tips, I times twenty it. Thank you Jess, for taking time out to be here today. It is truly appreciated.
A. Thanks so much for having me! It was fun.
About Jess. Jess Michaels began writing full-time in 1999 after being encouraged by her husband to follow her dream. In 2003, she sold her first novella to Red Sage Press, an erotic historical romance about an Egyptian tomb and a very sexy curse. Since then she has published (or has contracted to publish by the end of 2013) 37 novels and novellas under three different pen names with several major publishers, small presses and via self-publishing. Her erotic historical romances have been national bestsellers and won awards from booksellers and readers.
In 2011, she and her husband moved to Tucson, AZ. There she enjoys hiking in the beautiful desert, spending time with her nephews, designing jewelry (which you can buy here), reading and spending time with her awesome husband and cats.
For more on Jess..