Jessica isn't a stranger to writing, but this is her debut foray into the YA genre. Since I usually try to offer a teaser review of the book being promoted, I sat down last night with the intention of read no more than half of the book - it's short, clocking in at 158 pages, not including the excerpt to The Demon's Princess at the back. While I'm not a fan of the shorter stories, I found myself pleasantly surprised by Heart's Desire. While the storyline felt familiar, I found myself flipping pages to see what would happen next. Because I'm used to getting more about the characters (the short story format doesn't always allow for as much exposition as a full length novel), it did manage to bring old memories of early relationships to the surface, and how it feels the first time you discover a deeper connection with someone. Life is so different when you're a teen.
But we're here to do more than just talk about the book, we've got an author to interview, so let's get to it!
ME: Speaking of taxes, are you’re taxes finished, or do you procrastinate with them? Do you do them yourself or do you have a taxman do them for you?
JESSIE: Normally I have them done before mid-February, but this year I’ve procrastinated. Occasionally I have someone else do them, but the past few years I’ve done them myself.
ME: As it says, “April showers bring May flowers”. What flowers do you hope to see the first thing in spring?
JESSIE: None in my garden. I have a brown thumb. But roses are my favorite and I would love to plant some rose bushes one of these days.
ME: Do you plant your own garden? Why or why not and where is it (are they) located? What type(s) will it (they) be and where is it (are they) located on your property?
JESSIE: No garden for me. The house came with some evergreen shrubs that partially died in an ice storm. I hope to have them removed this spring and maybe plant box hedges or rose bushes to replace them, but that’s it.
ME: If you could have a garden, what kind of garden would it be, how big would it be and what would you plant in it?
JESSIE: I would love to have a large flower garden, but I hate working in the yard so that’s never going to happen. I’d rather muck out a stall than weed a flower bed.
ME: Have you ever considered getting involved with a local community garden? Why or why not?
JESSIE: Absolutely not.
ME: For your produce, is the local grocery store just fine, or do you like to hit your local farmer’s market? What is your favorite fruit or vegetable that you do like to get?
JESSIE: I just go to the local grocery store. The farmer’s market isn’t exactly convenient to where I live.
ME: Now that we've learned a little bit about you, let's change the focus to your writing. What is your main genre (erotica, erotic romance, romantic suspense, etc.)? What was the draw for you?
JESSIE: I recently started writing paranormal YA’s. After reading Twilight, House of Night, and the Morganville Vampires, I was inspired to try my hand at Young Adult novel writing. I have to say it’s much harder than writing an adult romance.
ME: Besides your main genre we just discussed, what elements do you prefer to use in a story and why those elements over others?
JESSIE: I try to add a bit of suspense and a lot of romance, mostly because those are the elements I enjoy. I’ve found it’s easier to write about something you like than to write a sub-genre you don’t normally read.
ME: Do you prefer red roses or black roses? If so, does that show in your writing? If so, how? If roses aren’t your style, what flowers are? Do they influence your writing? If so, how?
JESSIE: I love roses, but I actually prefer hybrids (the ones that are two different colors) or blue roses. But if I had to choose between red and black, I’d say it would depend on my mood. J
ME: The jury’s still out on this question, so we’re still asking it! - Who decides what you write about, you or your muse? What kind of influence do you have over your story, or is the muse always the one planting the seeds? How do you cultivate those seeds regardless of who plants them?
JESSIE: I’d have to say my muse, who usually comes to me through dreams. I’d like to take complete credit, but I think the muse definitely plants seeds. But once I get going, I think instinct and creativity just take over.
ME: In your opinion, what author had the most influence on your writing? What about their writing did you find so influential and why?
JESSIE: That’s a hard one. I can’t really say that it was any one writer. I was reading a lot of Charlaine Harris and Katie MacAlister books when I first started writing. I love Katie Mac’s creativity and snappy dialogue! And Charlaine Harris has a way of creating a world that is easy to fall into, vampires and all.
ME: While authors can definitely influence us, inspiration can be everywhere for a writer, but specific people, places and events can inspire certain characters, personality traits or things that happen in our stories. In your current story that we’re promoting here today, Heart’s Desire, did any one particular person, place or event inspire you? If so who/what was it (were they), how did it/they inspire you and how is this inspiration reflected in your story?
JESSIE: Actually, Heart’s Desire was re-worked from a story I started when I was 13. It’s been so long since it began that I honestly don’t remember what prompted me to start writing it. I ran across a disk (yes, I said disk – dating myself for sure!) [You're not the only one! I have a box of floppies waiting to be put onto my thumbdrive!] not too long ago that had Heart’s Desire and another unfinished novel on it. I read through them and started tweaking things here and there … next thing I knew, I had two new novels completed.
ME: Without giving away anything pertinent to the story, tell us about the hero and heroine (s) of your story. What do they look like? How do they meet (or “did” if this is a second book with these same characters)? What are their personalities – Are they comical cut-ups, are they serious or are they a mix of the two? Please give us a little bit of dialogue from the story that can illustrate this. (Not much, but just a few lines and from a different section than the main excerpt – Thanks!)
JESSIE: Morgan is the hero of the story. Tall, athletic build, with brown hair that has golden highlights – and he has a secret. The heroine, Skye, first meets Morgan when he rescues her from her ex-boyfriend. Coming from an abusive family, Skye tends to be quiet and shy. Morgan is her exact opposite, proving that opposites attract. The sparks fly between them from the first moment they meet, but Morgan tries to be the perfect gentleman with Skye.
This excerpt (unedited) happens in the middle of the book…
“Morgan, where are we?”
Her brow furrowed. “Isn’t that the Big Black River?” she asked pointing toward the flowing water.
“So why did we have to leave our county to see it?”
“We didn’t. I just wanted some privacy.”
“Privacy? More private than your apartment?”
He grinned at her and unbuckled her seatbelt. “Yeah, more private than my apartment.”
Skye’s breath hitched in her throat, but she didn’t stop him. Once her seatbelt was undone, she let Morgan pull her closer. The armrest and cup holders were in the way, but she leaned across them, hoping he was going to kiss her.
She felt his fingers caress her cheek and slide around the back of her neck. Closing her eyes, she leaned even closer.
His lips nearly touching hers, he whispered, “Let’s climb in the back.”
Skye’s eyes flew open. “The backseat?”
He nodded. “I want to be able to hold you.”
She swallowed hard. “Um, okay.”
ME: The main characters are usually great, but sometimes, secondary and tertiary characters are known to steal the scenes. Who are the secondary/tertiary characters in your story and what do they look like? What’s unique about them? What is their relationship to the hero/heroine? Have any of these gone on to become scene-stealers? If so, who and how did they do it? (Again, please give us a small bit of dialogue to illustrate this – thanks!)
JESSIE: Lindsay is Skye’s best friend, but she doesn’t have many parts. Chris, Skye’s ex-boyfriend, has a lot of scenes, but I can’t go into details without giving the story away. Suffice it to say, he’s angry that he lost Skye and plans on tricking her into thinking he’s a nice guy, hoping she’ll give him another chance.
This excerpt is from a scene at Chris’s house:
A half asleep Chris answered the door, slowly rubbing sleep from his eyes. When he focused on the person standing on his porch, he was surprised to find Skye in front of him.
“What are you doing here?” he asked, unable to believe she was really at his house.
“I, um… I kind of needed a place to stay tonight.”
“I thought you went home earlier,” he said, still trying to sweep the cobwebs from his brain.
“I did. Mom and Dad were fighting. I had to leave before…” she trailed off, blushing and looking at her feet. She’d never told Chris about her problems at home and didn’t really want to tell him now either.
“Before your Dad decided to hit you instead of your Mom?”
She looked up, surprised. “You know?”
He shrugged. “Most of the school knows. You do a pretty good job of hiding the bruises, but sometimes you can still see them through the makeup.”
Her shoulders drooped as if the weight of the world had just landed on them. So much for my home life being a secret, she thought.
“If you need a place to stay, you’re welcome to stay here,” he said softly.
ME: Oooh! These are some pretty interesting scenes. Now let's check out the excerpt!
BLURB: Morgan Raines transferred to a new high school his senior year. Starting over doesn't bother him, but finding his mate pinned to her locker by her Neanderthal ex-boyfriend does... From day one, Morgan and Skye are inseperable, despite the fact her ex keeps getting in the way. But will Skye's feelings change when she realizes he turns into a panther every time the moon is full? Or can true love conquer all?
EXCERPT: (unedited – haven’t received the final copy back yet)
“Who said that we were friends? I remember telling you that I never wanted to see your face again. So, why are you in front of my locker?” she asked. Why wouldn’t he go away? Where was a teacher when you needed one? she thought as she glanced down the hall.
“Okay, I tried to be nice, but maybe you prefer guys who just take what they want,” he all but growled at her.
Chris advanced on Skye until her back was against the locker. He put an arm on either side of her, pinning her in place. She had no way of escaping. Just as he started to lean in to kiss her, he felt someone tap him on his shoulder.
“What?” he asked turning to face the interloper. He pierced the intruder with a glare.
“I believe she said no,” Morgan answered quietly.
“And just who the hell are you?” Chris sneered, eyeing the new guy from head to toe. “In case you weren’t aware, Skye and I are an item.”
Morgan grinned. “Are you sure about that?”
Skye used the distraction to slip under Chris’s arm. She quickly put some distance between them, moving to stand beside the new guy. She didn’t know who he was, but he had excellent timing. If he hadn’t come along right then, Chris would no doubt be pawing her at this very moment.
Morgan reached out and took Skye’s hand, a current running through both of them at the contact. If Morgan was surprised, he hid it well.
“Come on, I’ll walk you to your class,” he said, giving her hand a gentle tug.
Skye smiled her thanks and walked off with him, leaving an angry Chris glaring after them.
“Thanks… for what you did back there,” she said after they were a few feet away.
“No problem,” Morgan murmured.
“I’m Skye by the way. And the jerk back there was Chris,” she jabbered, trying to fill the silence. Her body was hyper aware of the hot guy holding her hand, more so than it had ever been of any other guy before.
Glancing at him from the corner of her eye, she almost stopped breathing. He was easily the most gorgeous guy she’d ever seen. He topped her five-foot-one inches by over a foot. He was tanned with sandy brown hair shot through with golden highlights. His chiseled features made her mouth water.
“I take it you used to date,” Morgan commented.
Skye nodded, pulling her gaze from his face before she was caught staring. “Until I caught him making out with one of the cheerleaders. I told him it was over, but he refuses to listen. He thinks he’s god’s gift, or something along those lines.”
Morgan grunted in response.
“He wasn’t like that when we first started dating,” Skye said, trying to explain away Chris’s behavior.
Morgan gave her a skeptical look. It was his experience that guys didn’t change. She could delude herself all she wanted, but Morgan would bet money that Chris was the same guy he’d always been. She’d just been blind to his faults.
“Where exactly are we going anyway?” Morgan asked, looking around the hall.
“Oh, um, two doors down on the right. I have English next,” Skye answered.
Morgan grinned. “That makes two of us.”
He continued holding her hand all the way to the classroom. While he might have seemed impervious to the contact, he felt as if he’d been struck by lightning. He’d been warned that it would feel like this, but it had still taken him by surprise – she had taken him by surprise. Her fiery red hair, pale complexion, and bright blue eyes drew him in. He wanted to run his hands through her hair to see if it was as soft as it looked. Her scent beckoned to him, making him want to breathe her in.
As they approached the door, he dropped her hand and motioned for her to go in ahead of him, her scent teasing him again as she passed. Morgan fought the urge to pull her back into the hall, pull her into his arms, and kiss her senseless. The moment he’d caught her scent he had wanted to claim her as his mate. Seeing her pushed against her locker by her Neanderthal ex-boyfriend had made Morgan see red. He’d wanted to rip the guy to shreds and had barely contained his anger, holding back a feral growl he had barely contained the animal lurking within him.
Following Skye into the classroom, he grabbed the empty seat next to her. Setting his books down on the desk, he glanced her way and caught her watching him – again. He’d been hyper aware of her during their walk to the classroom, had seen every glance, every smile. It was flattering that she was as drawn to him as he was to her. Did she feel the pull too? Or was he just an oddity – the new guy in school?
He flashed her a grin and faced forward as the teacher stepped into the room.
Want to learn more about Jessie? Check out her website www.jessiecolter.webs.com