>HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!! Today is the biggest romance holiday of the year. Only on Mother’s Day are more flowers sold and delivered throughout the year. So what could be more special than me providing you with a major sweet bouquet on the best romance holiday of the year.Today is the beginning a two-part interview with Jayne Ann Krentz. Part 2 will be posted this coming Sunday. So without further ado, here’s Jayne in her own words for today’s Pleasure Me With Romance post.
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I am a major fan girl of Jayne Ann Krentz’s historicals (Amanda Quick). I’ll never forget my first AQ book. I even remember where I was. I was in the Kroger store, on West Main Street in Salem, VA picking up a few items, and I just happened to pass by the small book stand. This white book with a Cinderella coach on it caught my eye along with its single word title. MISTRESS.
That was it, just Mistress and that wonderfully fragile looking carriage. I can’t remember if I read the blurb, although I’m sure I did, but what I do remember was going home and after dinner I devoured that book. It was exquisite writing, and I’ve been a devotee of Jayne’s writing ever since.
Several months ago, I polled readers for questions they would like to ask Jayne, and I compiled them and forwarded them to Jayne. In total, I sent her more than 40 questions, telling her to pick and choose about 20. She answered them ALL! How awesome is that! So I’m breaking up the interview into two posts. The first set of Jayne’s Q/A is today, and this coming Sunday, I’ll post the second half of the interview. I hope you enjoy reading her answers as much as I did.
Q: from Keziah Hill (author): In your 1992 essay you stated that there were four elements to romance stories that critics disparaged. These were: the centrality of the alpha male hero, the aggressive seduction scene, the virginal state of many heroines, and the use of core or timeless stories as themes in romance (such as Persephone or Beauty and the Beast). Are these elements still as common in romance today? Do you see a softening of the contempt from critics?
A: Well, I don’t see a whole lot of virginal heroines in today’s stories so some things have definitely changed. And the aggressive seduction scene has become politically incorrect when done with the hero as the aggressor. Interestingly, it is now often reversed with the heroine doing the forceful seduction. But the archetypal stories are still there, just as they are in every genre. And so is that alpha male. True, he has been toned down in historicals and contemporaries but he’s flying high in paranormals.
Q: from Julie Hall Ortiz: You always say the Arcane Society believes there are no actual mind readers out there. Will there eventually be one in your books?
A: Nope. I’ve made a few core rules for my Arcane world and that is one of them. Which is not to say that some of my heroes and heroines are not very, very intuitive.
Q: from Julie Hall Ortiz: You write in so many genres, do you have a favorite?
A: I love all three of my worlds (historical, contemporary and futuristic) and would hate to give up any of them. Each landscape allows for different plots and different stories.
Q: from Julie Hall Ortiz: My Mom wants to know if you do lots of research into paranormal abilities or is it mostly from your imagination?
A: Tell your Mom I said “hi” and the answer to her question is that almost all of the paranormal elements in my stories come from my imagination. Hey, why else write paranormal?
Q: from Valerie Cozart: Do you find it harder to write one time frame or do you find that the focus is really on the character development and the rest is just minor details?
A: The time frame or period setting is the “landscape” of the story to me. Variations in the landscape allow for variations in the plot but character development is where the real action is at in writing.
Q: from Valerie Cozart: What was your life like before becoming an author?
A: I was (and still am) a reader of romantic-suspense, preferably with a psychic twist. To pay the rent back at the beginning, however, I worked as a librarian. I started writing because there came a point where I wanted to tell the story my way.
Q: from Valerie Cozart: What sparked the idea for your trilogy spanning your Dreamlight Trilogy?
A: I have been seeking a way to unite all three of my worlds (and all three of my names). No one can remember three names but I’m hoping they will remember one word: Arcane.
Q: from Valerie Cozart: What is your writing routine?
A: I’m a morning person. I write from 7 am until about noon. That’s my most creative time. In the afternoon I do other things like research, the laundry, shop at Nordstroms….
Q: from Valerie Cozart: Which comes first? The character’s story or the idea for the novel?
A: I don’t know. It all comes packaged in a ball of chaotic psychic energy.
Q: from Valerie Cozart: Many authors find music inspiring and have a soundtrack for their books, do you find music helps you get in to the right writing zone? If so, is it different tracks based on the time period you are focused on?
A: Sadly, I can’t focus on writing when there is music going on in the background. It doesn’t inspire me, it distracts me. I can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, I guess.
Q: from Valerie Cozart: Are any of your heroes, especially your earlier heroes, based on your husband?
A: While my heroes do not physically resemble my husband they are endowed with similar character traits, including a sense of honor, integrity and the ability to love.
Q: from Valerie Cozart: Do you have a favorite hero/heroine match up?
A: My favorite couple is always the one I’m working with at any given moment.
Q: from Valerie Cozart: What is your favorite book?
A: The one I’m working on at any given moment. I never look back. Once a story is told, I’m ready to move on.
Q: from Valerie Cozart: What’s your next adventure?
A: I’m currently in the middle of the Looking Glass Trilogy. Just out: IN TOO DEEP (JAK), in April QUICKSILVER (AQ) and in August, CANYONS OF NIGHT (J.C.)
Q: from Kris Bloom: I know you’re doing some things with steam punk. Can you go into more detail about what steampunk is? How it works and what your future books will be like in this new world.
A: Steampunk Romance is still in the process of defining itself so it is impossible to pin it down. But it usually has a Victorian setting and sensibility combined with an “alternate history” twist. Check out Meljean Brook’s THE IRON DUKE for a fine example of Steampunk Romance.
Q: from Kris Bloom: While I’ve read books under your other pen names, I prefer your Jayne Ann Krentz books. Which of these genres do you prefer to read and write in?
A: I love each of them for different reasons. Moving through my three names and landscapes is very refreshing and invigorating for me as an author.
Q: from Kris Bloom: How many spread sheets/ notebooks does it take to keep all your characters straight and still know who they are in the next time period?
A: It’s getting complicated! But I do keep detailed notes on each book. Doing the trilogies has simplified things, in an odd way.
Q: from Kris Bloom: How did you decide which pen name to use for which time period?
A: I developed my three current pen names for various reasons at different times in the past. AQ has always been used for historicals. Jayne Castle was the one I used for futuristics. And JAK was the one I have used for a long time in contemporaries. So, no decision making was required. It all just happened.
Q: from Kris Bloom: I switched in my reading from historical to contemporaries because know I prefer your JAK books, you do them all so well. What era would you rather research? Past, present or future?
A: The future. I get to make up everything that way.
Q: In Too Deep, Book #10 in the Arcane Society series and the first book in the Looking Glass trilogy, was just released this past December. Can you tell us what you like best about the Arcane Society world, and what plans do you have for more books beyond this new trilogy.
A: I love the Arcane world because it allows me to combine the three story-telling elements that I have always enjoyed working with the most: romance, suspense and the psychic vibe. I don’t know where the future will take me but for now I will continue to do the “Trilogies Within Arcane”. I am having a blast linking all three worlds.
Q: One of the hottest topics in the book industry at the moment (aside from the antics of B&N and Borders) is the growing impact of digital books. Where do you think this movement is going and how does it affect you as an author as far as your readers are concern.
A: I see digital books as just another format. We have had a variety of formats for years: hardcover, paperback, audio, serialization in newspapers, etc. Now we have one more option. A book is a book, regardless of the format.
Q: So many outside the romance genre view Romance derisively. Do you think it’s possible to change those who view the genre negatively? Is it necessary? What do you think it will take to make people adjust their views of the romance genre?
A: The prejudice against the romance genre is just an extension of our culture’s overall bias against popular fiction in general. Talk to any mystery or suspense or science fiction writer and you’ll see what I mean. Trust me, they complain loudly about not getting any respect! So, frankly, I’m not really worrying about that kind of stuff these days.
Q: You’ve accomplished so much in your career. One hundred twenty plus books, NYT bestselling author, Romantic Times Choice Award winner, RWA Honor Roll and other prestigious accomplishments, is there anything you’ve not done that you want to do?
A: I didn’t get into this business to win awards. I got in it because I am addicted to storytelling. I couldn’t stop writing if I tried. It’s a compulsion, not a choice. I tell the stories first and foremost for myself and hope like heck that some readers will be able to get into the fantasy with me. That is the only thing that drives me.
Q: Writers tend to write what they know. There are strong threads of spiritual enlightenment ideals running through your books. Do you see this as an extension of your own thoughts or is it simply your imagination hard at work?
A: I have an abiding interest in metaphysics and in that within us which seeks to live up to the old fashioned heroic virtues: courage, integrity, honor and a belief in the healing power of love.
So what question would you have asked if you’d been able to ask Jayne?
That’s it for today’s post! Tune in this coming Sunday for the rest of Jayne’s Q/A. To celebrate both my love for JAK and Pleasure Me’s upcoming release, I’m offering up today’s giveaway.
and One copy (1) Pleasure Me by Monica Burns
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She earned a B.A. in History from the University of California at Santa Cruz and went on to obtain a Masters degree in Library Science from San Jose State University in California. Before she began writing full time she worked as a librarian in both academic and corporate libraries.
She is married and lives with her husband, Frank, in Seattle, Washington.