Before we start, how have you and your loved ones been during this COVID-19 time?
All is okay so far. It’s strange not being able to go out for a drink or a coffee. But I have a beach, and I ride my bike a lot. I live outside of the city, on the coast, so it hasn’t been too difficult for me. But seeing the long dole queues on the News is alarming. Fortunately, so far, we haven’t had high fatalities like some countries. Apart from noticing a drop in my book sales, my work isn’t affected, considering I work from home anyway. My partner’s office is allowing him to work from home, so he’s one of the lucky ones.
Please tell us a little about yourself: Do you have a nick-name? Where are you from? What do you write? Tell us something about yourself that makes you, you. :-)
I don’t have a nickname. I am from Melbourne Australia. I write Steamy Romance, generally about some filthy rich gorgeous man who’s a little damaged. His healing comes in the shape of an intelligent, “real” woman who he obsesses over and can’t take his hands off of (in the nicest of ways!)
I have a very overactive imagination. As a child I would invent stories and put on performances for an imaginary audience. In those days, as children, we didn’t have everything that kids have today. No social media. And telly, although great, didn’t offer the distraction it offers today. I would create my own little stories. Often involving my dog as a character and me doing something extraordinary like jumping off the wardrobe onto my parent’s bed, while wearing a flowing gown I’d taken out of my mother’s collection, channeling one of the many fantastical characters I’d read about.
How did you become an author? Please share a bit of your journey with us.
I was a dancer/choreographer for over thirty years and found my natural calling devising themes and stories for the stage. Writing felt like a natural flow on from that career.
I always knew I’d write one day. But as a young woman, I was dazzled by the stage. Books were my true educators. I read all of the time—from childhood until today. I have never been without a book and would panic if I didn’t have something to read. I always wanted so much to write a book. I never thought I’d end up writing ten or so. And finances allowing, I’ll continue to write. Like all art forms it doesn’t pay that well. It costs a fortune to produce a book, and with all the free books out there, and my paltry promotion budget, it’s difficult making a living. Most of the money gets gobbled up on promotion. And editing is justifiably expensive.
What are you working on now? Do you have a recent or upcoming release?
I am working on a series again. I basically can’t survive from Stand-Alones. One book costs around five thousand dollars to produce when you factor in basic promotion and a quality editor. And that’s cutting corners.
Apart from financial reasons, a series provides the reader with a sample at a cut price. The first installments are often 99c or even free. It also gives the characters room to evolve. I think that’s why Fifty Shades of Grey was so popular because the reader got to know the lead characters intimately.
What is the most challenging part of writing romance?
To avoid repeating oneself. Something easier said than done. But I’d fail to find interested romance readers otherwise. “Happy For Now” endings have become the new cliffhanger. Whereas once they were acceptable, now they can bring a flurry of negative reviews from angry readers. Now, more than ever, with the advent of the internet, readers wield so much power in deciding what a romance writer will write. It’s called writing for the market. I’m not sure if I’ve followed the path as narrowly as I should have. Being a little restless, I have dabbled in Action & Adventure, Dark Romance, Romantic Comedy, and Romantic suspense.
One thing that always remains the same: my leading men are as sexy as sin. They’re tall, buff and handsome. 80 percent Alpha with just the right hint of sensitive Beta.
A few flaws go a long way, and to be honest, perfect men are a bit dull when trying to craft an engaging read.
One thing that never changes, he’s always obsessed with that “normal,” sharp-tongued, slightly overweight girl, who, in his eyes, is curvy to the point of distraction.
I do like to throw in a few quirks here and there. That’s the true challenge: creating three-dimensional characters, and penning a story that has enough tension to keep the reader turning pages.
What kind of research do you do when you set out to write a new book?
It depends on the career paths of my characters and if there are legal issues or police investigations. I generally try to steer away from giving my characters careers I have little knowledge of. That’s why most are either musicians, or creatives since I know something about the arts.
What/who do you like to read and do you have a favorite genre/author?
This is like asking me my favorite color. I have the most eclectic reading habits. I used to read nothing but Regency and historical fiction. And for a while there, I was addicted to French literature.
A few years back, I discovered FSOG and that got me interested in mainstream contemporary romance novels. I like Georgia Le Carre, and Sylvia Day is a very poetic writer. I enjoyed the few Danielle Steel books I’ve read, and love Barbara Taylor Bradford. It’s a banquet out there. A reader’s paradise. Although sometimes finding that exciting book can be hard to discover buried among so many books, considering the huge number of books published daily.
Daphne du Maurier and Georgette Heyer are right up there for me, as is George Eliot. Last year, I read Gillian Flynn and thought her to be a seamless writer too. There are tons more that I love. These aforementioned authors were the ones that came to mind quickly. They all make it look easy when it’s anything but that.
If you could live in any time in history, when and where would it be?
The 1890s in Paris during the “La Belle epoque” – The beautiful era, as it’s known. I am in love with the aesthetics of that era. The music from Satie to Debussy. Neoclassical art and ballet. The fashion was delicious, despite the suffocating corset. I loved the lace-up boots with those darling shapely heels. I also love the early 1900s. Colette and Anais Nin were two writers who I greatly admire. I love the fact they were also dancers.
Which of your own books is your favorite?
Although I cried after completing Thornhill trilogy, simply because, after spending a year or so writing it, I was sad to see them go, it was while writing Take My Heart that I experienced tingly moments. The direction that story took surprised me. It was like a form of alchemy. Although I’d already drafted a plot before writing the story, there were so many surprises along the way.
Stephen King put it eloquently when he said, and I quote, “Writers were blessed stenographers taking divine dictation.”
That was one of those “Yes!” moments for me because writing is such a solitary process and to learn that other writers have also encountered that twilight zone while crafting a narrative was exhilarating.
I nearly headed down the paranormal romance path with Take My Heart, because as the story unfolds one gets the sense that something mystical is at play. For that reason, it holds a special place in my heart.
Which of your own characters is your favorite?
Now that’s difficult for me. While devising my stories, and immersed in their world, I fall in love with all my leading man by actually becoming the leading girl. But if I had to choose, I’d say Aidan Thornhill.
Even though Aidan returns home bearing the emotional scars of war, having fought for the Special Forces, he still manages to become a self-made billionaire. No matter how rich he becomes, he never forgets the strugglers. He’s generous and benevolent, a demon when crossed, and insatiable in the boudoir.
I used to look forward to writing every day just to be with him. I know that sounds nuts, but there’s something very real and sexy about Aidan, and the fact that he looks like Henry Cavill helped.
City, suburb, or small-town?
Alpha, beta, or both?
Romantic suspense, contemporary, paranormal, or historical?
Wine, whiskey or punch?
Hot dogs, hamburgers, or tacos?
Boxers, briefs, or commando?
Leather, lace, or silk?
Cake, cookies, or crumpets?
Novels, novellas, or short stories?
Cats, dogs, or exotics?
Dark Descent Into Desire
April 26, 2020
Contemporary ~ Billionaire ~ Spicy ~ Gothic Romance
One night would never be enough …
Blake Sinclair always gets what he wants. And what he wants now?
Everything about him screams danger. Every arrogant, sexy inch of him. A smart woman would walk away.
Apparently, I’m a fool.
I didn’t just give him my heart. I gave him my virginity.
Now I’m his new obsession. I wish I could say he wasn’t mine.
But that would be a lie.
Together, we’re fire. Even though I know I should save myself, there’s part of me that wants to stoke the flames…even if it burns my whole life to the ground.
I’m an addict.
Penelope Green is my drug of choice, and I indulge in her every chance I get.
The more time we spend together, the more I crave. I want to crawl inside her and never leave. I want—no, need—to possess her.
But my past is as dark as her eyes, and not everyone is willing to leave it buried.
Someone is out to expose me. He wants what’s mine.
Setting her free is the right thing to do.
Too bad I’ve never been any good at doing the right thing.
Dark Descent into Desire is a standalone, spicy, dark billionaire romance featuring a heroine who is stronger than she realizes and an anti-hero who wants her more than his next breath.
More About J. J.
I have been writing steamy romance for over five years, and thanks to the success of my first series Thornhill Trilogy I am inspired to write day and night. I love conjuring up slightly damaged, seductive male characters and smart sassy females who leave their men breathless with desire. Boasting chemistry that’s off the charts, my characters are insatiable in the boudoir while their souls connect deeply, and despite obstacles, of which there are often many, love always prevail, and that HEA leaves a smile.