First of all, thank you so much for having me on your blog. I live in a cabin in Alaska, eleven miles outside of the nearest town. It’s frontier living with a 21st century twist. We have no running water, but excellent Internet access through a 14-foot mast on our cabin. When my sweetie wanted to move here, I insisted that Internet had to be part of the deal. Running water’s in the works too, thank goodness. I’ve been writing erotic romance for about three years, and before that I was a TV writer in Los Angeles, so I’ve gone through a pretty major lifestyle change. I love the peace and quiet here, it’s great for writing.
What do you have published and where?
My red-hot contemporary “Doll” just came out from Samhain Publishing. My first book is called “The Extremist,” from Liquid Silver books. In March 2010, my second Samhain release is coming out, called “Training the Receptionist.” Here’s the blurb for “Doll.”
Even a plaything can be pushed too far…
Chloe Barnes thought her marriage to a wealthy politician would be the stuff of fairy tales. Instead, he took advantage of her naiveté and used her as a plaything to fulfill his twisted sexual needs. Ten years is enough. She returns to Bellhaven Island to sell the summer cottage she inherited, hoping the money will buy her freedom—and custody of her daughters.
Fisherman Dustin McDougal never forgot the childhood crush he once had on the fairy-like Chloe. The woman she’s become has a haunted look that brings his feelings back, stronger than ever…with a mature edge. Along with all his protective instincts.
Their passion blows stronger than a Maine nor’easter, awakening Chloe to the joy of true love. Yet it may not be strong enough to free her from the past…
When did you get started writing and what motivated you to write?
Here’s a partial list of my writing jobs over the years: encyclopedia update writer, PSA writer, radio feature writer, news promo writer, screenwriter. I always, always saw myself as a writer. But I didn’t know I could write novels until about three years ago. I wrote everything else, but not novels – because it was what I most wanted to write, and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to. So finally I basically dared myself. Write 50 pages, and see where you are. Now write 50 more. And so on, until I had a book. It was an amazing experience, because I loved it so much, and all those years I’d doubted I had that many words in me. I’ve written quite a few books in the past three years – maybe to make up for lost time. I feel the most “myself” when I’m writing.
Are you a plotter (plots and outlines) or a pantzer (by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer)? Why?
I’m kind of a hybrid, but mostly I’m a “rewriter.” My first draft is a “figure out what I’m doing and who these characters are” draft, then it takes at least two, usually three more drafts before I’m happy enough to send it out. I love rewriting. For me, that’s when the real magic happens. I love seeing it get better and better, closer and closer to what I envision. My erotic romances tend to be novella-length, which lends itself more to “pantzing,” at least for me. For longer books, I do better with a plot. But there are good things about both methods -- I like the freedom of pantzing, and the security of plotting, and knowing what happens next.
Do you like writing your hero or heroine better? Which POV do you prefer?
That’s a great question, and I recently wrote a blog about it. When I first started writing, I naturally tended toward the female POV. But with the last couple books, I enjoyed the male POV more. It’s fun getting inside the head of an alien species! (Just kidding, men.) Now I think I prefer writing my heroes, whether from their POV or not. So much of writing is wish fulfillment. I fall in love with every one of my guys. Luckily, I love my heroines too, so I don’t mind when they get the man, and not me!
How do people react when they find out you’re an author?
The most common response: “You should write the story of my life.” It’s true! When I tell them I actually write romance, sometimes they tell me their own love story. I love hearing people’s real-life love stories. When I tell people I write erotic romance … well, that can be a conversation-stopper. Or they ask how I get my ideas for sex scenes. ;)
Do you use a pen name? Why or why not?
I use a pen name for my erotic romance for two reasons. The first is that I also write mainstream romance and I don’t want to create any confusion for readers. The other is so I wouldn’t embarrass my family, but that’s gone out the window by now. They’re not embarrassed after all, thank goodness. In fact, they’re kind of proud, or at least that’s what they’re telling me.
Is there a genre that you haven’t written that you would like to?
I’d like to know what some of these genres are! Steam punk, space opera … they sound so intriguing! I want to write one of those, as soon as I know what they are. Seriously, I’d love to try lots of genres. So far I’ve focused on contemporary, although I’ve been exploring historical and I do have one paranormal under my belt. One thing I love about e-publishing is the freedom it offers. I want to take full advantage of that.
Do you belong to any writer’s chapters or groups, like RWA?
I belong to RWA and to the local Alaska chapter. I love RWA, it’s a great, supportive community. My local chapter has a wonderful critique group. I don’t know if I would ever have gotten published without RWA – they helped me learn how to be a romance writer in the professional sense: polish your manuscripts, write queries, write synopses, enter contests, submit to publishers, all the essentials of starting a career. I was pretty clueless about those things before I joined RWA.
Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers?
Join a professional organization such as RWA. They will help you take yourself and your writing goals seriously. Develop a good support system, because it could be a tough road ahead. Get your work out there. Remember that rejection is part of the process. We all deal with it. And most of all, Keep Writing. That’s the best way to improve. And keep hope alive! You never know what’s in the cards.
What do you think about the future of epublishing?
In my opinion, the future is bright for epubs, but probably brightest for those that are more established, and those with a handle on marketing and promotion. I look forward to the day when epubs get the same respect as print publishers, when it’s the same quality product, delivered digitally rather than on paper. I think that day is not far off.
Where can we find you on the Internet?
I’m all over the Internet. My website is http://juniperbell.com/. My blog is http://authorjuniperbell.blogspot.com/. I’m also on Facebook and on Twitter (@AuthorJuniper.) Come friend me!
Thank you so much for having me, Jeanne!