I can’t tell you all how happy I am to have author Jenna Jaxon on Nights of Passion today. I recently finished Jenna’s latest historical romance novel Only Scandal Will Do and I absolutely fell in love with her characters and the world she created. So with out further ado, let’s welcome Jenna.
Now Jenna, before we get started talking about your writing, tell us a little about yourself, what you do for a living (if you’re not a fulltime writer) what hobbies you have, etc.
JENNA: Thank you so much for having me here today, Toni! It’s great to have this opportunity to share my writing with you, especially, my current book, Only Scandal Will Do.
I’m a Virginia girl, born and raised. I live on the eastern coast, right near both the water (romantic) and historical sites (Yorktown and Colonial Williamsburg). Any wonder historical romance is what I write? J I’m not a full time writer, unfortunately, but I do get to indulge my other passions in my day job. I teach theatre at a local university. Theatre is great training for a writer because you learn dialogue, plot structure, how to describe action. Between writing, reading and theatre, my plate is pretty full.
Wow! It sure sounds like it but I can see how theatre would be such a help. So, why writing and where did Only Scandal Will Do come from?
JENNA: I’ve always been a writer–since 3rd grade. But I only started it as a career when I needed another creative outlet. I’d just finished a very successful theatre production and I wanted to do something else creative. I’d just read Everlasting by Kathleen Woodiwiss and literally said, “I can write one of these.” So I sat down and wrote a medieval romance. That was about 3 1/2 years ago and I’m just loving it!
Only Scandal Will Do is the second book I wrote. The plot coalesced out of several different things–the story behind the last peer ever hanged in England, the trope of the heroine being sold at auction in several romance I’d read at the time, and Jo Beverley’s Malloren series that gave me a love for the Georgian period. Then, I was reading the opening chapter of Mary Balogh’s The Secret Pearl, and the Marquess of Dalbury came up and started whispering in my ear. I tried to put him and Katarina off–I was already five chapters into another romance–but they yelled loudly enough I had to stop that book and switch to theirs just to shut them up!
Well good thing you didn’t shut them up! What genre(s) do you write in and why?
JENNA: I write historical romance and erotic contemporary. The historical makes sense–I was a history major, have always loved historical fiction and movies. I love looking at how people lived in centuries past–how they were different and the same as we are today.
The erotic came out of nowhere! LOL I saw a call for submissions for an erotic fractured fairy tale, thought it sounded fun and started typing.
What is your favorite part of writing?
JENNA: Plotting. I love to plot out all the points, what happens, when. How things can be tucked in to make a connection with another part of the book. This is the backbone of the novel and once I have it down, I can sit down and just start writing.
Gosh I’m jealous, I’m just so impatient to plot but I think it would make it so much easier if I could. What about your least favorite part of writing?
JENNA: Promotion. There is so much to do, so many places where you have to establish a presence in order to get your name out there. And that takes a lot of time. Time that could be used to write.
I completely agree with you there. So who was your favorite character to write in Only Scandal Will Do? Do you have a favorite character of all time (so far) and if so, why?
JENNA: That is a hard question because I loved writing both Duncan (Marquess of Dalbury) and Katarina. I guess, if you pinned me down, I would say Katarina. She’s so resourceful, so forthright and no nonsense on one hand, and very tender and loving on the other. And she has a wicked shoulder cut with a rapier
What is your typical day like? Anything you’d change about it if you could?
JENNA: That depends on the time of year. During the school year I get up, go in to class. Depending on my schedule I sometimes can write between classes. If I’m in production I write before rehearsal. I come home, write for a couple of hours and go to bed. During the summer I try to write/promote from the time I get up until I go to bed. Don’t always get to do that, but I try. What I’d change? I’d have my summer schedule year-round.
Writing is a never ending process of learning. What is an area you feel you’ve mastered and an area you’d love to improve upon?
JENNA: think I have mastered dialogue. My editor for Scandal said it was one of my strengths. I attribute that to my work in the theatre where I’ve listened to dialogue and the cadences of conversation for a very long time.
What I would improve on? Recognizing wandering body parts! LOL I have a tendency to overuse this convention, for example “His eyes flew around the room.” Eyes don’t fly, though a gaze might. Hands don’t rub a head, a person rubs the head. I’d love to be able to write without using a lot of these phrases.
Tell us about your next book.
JENNA: My next historical will be the first book I wrote, a medieval romance that’s in three parts. The book is called Time Enough to Love and is told in three novellas: Betrothal, Betrayal, and Beleaguered. It’s the story of Lady Alyse de Courcy and Sir Geoffrey Longford, betrothed in an arranged marriage. In Book One they work through the problems of their betrothal: her infatuation with his best friend, his disloyalty to her, and a meeting of the minds (and bodies) when a tournament reveals Alyse’s darkest fear.
My next book coming out is 7 Days of Seduction, another erotic contemporary. It’s about a girl named Ashley who parties too hardy one Friday night and wakes up the next morning to discover she’s slept with a guy she doesn’t know. She’s about to start looking for him when he shows up–in her shower! He’s Hunter Hopewell and he’s determined to introduce Ashley to all sorts of sexual experiences over the course of seven days, seducing her out of her inhibitions and into agreeing to a final experience that may just be too much for her. It should be out this fall.
Wow, those sound great and I definitely can’t wait to read your next historical as I completely agree with your editor. I felt transported back and time just reading the dialogue. Thanks so much for your time here today and for sharing the blurb and excerpt for Only Scandal Will Do below:
He has the woman of his dreams, but what price will he have to pay to win her heart?
Kidnapped and sold at auction in a London brothel, Lady Katarina Fitzwilliam squelches an undeniable attraction to the masked stranger who purchased her, pits her wits against him, and escapes him and the scandal that would ruin her life.
Unable to resist temptation in a London brothel, Duncan Ferrers, Marquess of Dalbury, purchases a fiery beauty. She claims she’s a lady, but how can she be? No lady of his acquaintance in polite society is anything like her. Then he discovers she is who she says, and that this latest romp has compromised her reputation. He knows how that is. One more scandal and he’ll be cast out of London society, but he needs a wife who’ll provide an heir to carry on his illustrious family’s name. He seeks out Katarina, intending only to scotch the scandal, but instead finds his heart ensnared. He’s betting their future he’ll capture her heart, but does he have what it takes to win the wager?
WARNING: A blade-wielding heroine who crosses swords with a master of sensuality.
“I assure you, there was never a night like that before.” Lord Dalbury spoke quietly, and Katarina sensed a tension in him. “I had never done such a thing before. Never participated in such an auction. Never tried to take a woman unwillingly to my bed.” He stopped speaking. Just stopped. Then his breath hissed as though he’d slowly released it.
“I cannot find the words to tell you how deeply I regret I was not a better man that night.” He paused, and she held still and waited. “What I tried to do was madness, without thought, without honor. I do not even have an excuse other than my base desires, and that your abundant charms overwhelmed me.” His face was shadowy in the scarce light of the sickle moon, but he sounded contrite. “I have no right to ask for your forgiveness. I have no right to expect it. But I would ask you to allow me to attempt to remedy the situation.”
Kat shook her head slowly. “What on earth do you believe you could do, Lord Dalbury, that could even come close to a remedy for the terror and humiliation you put me through? Do you think now that I have met you, heard your feeble attempts at an apology, and rejected them, the memory of that night will magically disappear?” She fought to control her anger, though she yearned to blast him with it. “What magic potion would you have me take that would erase the memory of you pinning me to the bed? Because if you have such an elixir, then yes, I will gladly take it from you and obliterate you absolutely and irrevocably.”
He stood silent at her words, then said simply, “I have only myself to offer, my lady.”
“You would have me kill you, my lord? In that, too, I agree I would oblige you, but not at the cost of my own life. I understand the English law punishes those who do murder quite severely.” Kat was astonished when he lurched backward, as from a blow.
“No, my lady, I would not have you kill me,” he said, sounding grimly amused. “Though indeed that would probably give you most satisfaction. I meant I would have you marry me.”
His words surprised a laugh out of her. “Marry you?” The laughter grew. “I see, my lord, you think me both a whore and a fool.”
“I think you are neither, Lady Katarina.”
“Then you are the fool to believe I would put such a man as you in control of every aspect of my life.” That he thought she would even entertain the suggestion was insulting.
The pale moonlight shadowed his face, but she could read displeasure there just the same. “You judge me solely on one act that, I assure you, was grossly out of character for me. You cannot possibly know what kind of husband I would be.”
“And never will, Lord Dalbury. I can swear to you that I would not marry you if I were in Hell and you were my only hope of Heaven.”
He inclined his head toward her, a faint smile touching his lips. “I believe you made a similar claim about dancing with me, Lady Katarina. Yet we have indeed enjoyed a dance together despite your words.” His tone was soft, the sensuous, cajoling one he had used to seduce her that night in the House of Pleasure.
Kat trembled, recalling the incredible sensations of his hands, his mouth on her body. Damn. He could not do this to her again. Not just with his voice.
“Is there nothing that would entice you to leave your Hell for my Heaven?”
She struggled to answer, opened her lips to deny it, only to find her mouth completely sealed by his.