Me-ow! In honor of my favorite holiday, Halloween, my treat to all of you is my lovely guest, paranormal romance writer JESSICA SIMS.
Jessica Sims lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with her husband. She hates writing a bio, so something cool will undoubtedly go here later when she actually thinks of something interesting to write. She has some cats, but what writer doesn't? She plays video games and confesses to reading comic books. And she likes writing, but that one was pretty obvious.
R: Hello, Jessica, and welcome
R: Tell us about your new release, DESPERATELY SEEKING SHAPESHIFTER (Just released yesterday!)
J: Well, for those that read BEAUTY DATES THE BEAST, this story is Bathsheba’s younger sister, Sara, and the ‘muscle’ of the Paranormal Alliance, Ramsey Bjorn. If you didn’t read BEAUTY DATES THE BEAST, that’s okay too! This book stands totally alone.
The story is that Sara’s been hunted by the local werewolves, since she’s pack-less and unclaimed. She doesn’t want them, so her goal is to have someone pose as her ‘mate’ to lay a claim first. Ramsey gets volunteered, and Sara gets more than she bargained for. Ramsey’s a bear shifter, so even human, he’s enormous, forbidding, and just a wee bit scary. Sara is tiny, and fragile and scared of the world…or so she thinks. The story’s about her learning how to cope with being a werewolf, finding her own inner strength, and romancing the pants off of Ramsey. Literally.
R: You’ve recently contributed to an anthology, The Undead in my Bed. How much of a challenge was it to write a short story vs a novel, and which do you enjoy more?
J: I like both equally, really. It all depends on the idea you run with. Some ideas need a novel to explore, and some can be told with just 30,000 words. It just depends. I don’t try to cram a novel-length story into 30,000 words, though, because then it feels unfinished. And I’ve had some stories that I planned as novels, but when I got down to the ‘meat’ of the story, there was really only a novella there. Ruby and Michael’s story was one that was always a novella in my mind.
R: You also write under other nom de plumes. Tell us a bit about those, and how they came about.
J: I do! I write as Jill Myles for my Succubus books and for self publishing. I write as Jessica Sims for my shifter books, and I write as Jessica Clare for erotic contemporary romance. I started out as Jill, but when I began a new series for Pocket, they wanted a new name, so Jessica Sims was born. Then when I sold to Berkley, they wanted a new name too! So Jessica Clare was created.
R: What or who, inspired your love of books and your desire to become an author?
J: When I was younger, I found seventy type-written pages of a story my mother had began to write when she was in her twenties. She never finished it, but I was fascinated at the thought of people writing their own books. It was inspiring! From that point on, I began writing my own stories. I’m happy to say that now that my mother is retired, she’s taken up writing again and finally finished that book!
R: You write paranormal HOT! Why did you choose this genre, and have you considered any others?
J: I’ve always been fascinated by the paranormal. I love the thought of ‘what could be’ versus what’s actually out there. So paranormal seemed natural to me. When I was a teenager, I read and wrote a lot of fantasy, and when I first started writing full-length novels, I wrote a few fantasy books that were very heavily influenced by paranormal romance elements (shape changers, romance) before PNR was even a genre. My books slowly wiggled in that direction as paranormal really became a ‘thing’.
R: Which of (your character) adventures was the most fun for you to write? Were any of them the least amount of fun?
J: I think every book has to have elements of ‘fun’ in it for the writer, or else it’s just a pain in the ass and feels like homework. So every book that was the most fun to me is the one I’m currently writing. And every book that is the least amount of fun is the one I’m currently editing. I hate editing. Hate hate hate. I do it, but I do it very grudgingly. ;) But I will say that I love all the characters equally.
R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?
J: My Macbook Air! I love that thing SO much. I also need a good pair of headphones and a nice, unobtrusive music soundtrack to write to.
R: What are you working on at the moment / next?
J: Well, as of this weekend, I’m editing a book for Pocket, outlining a book for Berkley, and drafting two different stories (one novel and one novella) for two different projects. I, uh, like to keep busy.
R: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
J: I started out as a pantser. Hardcore, dyed-in-the-wool pantser. I firmly believed that writing out the story ahead of time killed the magic for me. Then I got a contract, and my editor wanted firm outlines of books ahead of time. She needed to approve them before I could begin writing the book. That was shocking to me, but her advice was always great and she saw plot holes before I did. I also noticed that when I had a firm, scene by scene outline? The book wrote itself that much faster. Now I’m about ten books (turned in) into my New York publishing career and I can’t imagine writing something without a detailed outline first. In fact, I just spent yesterday ‘interviewing’ my characters. I know. I’ve become one of THOSE people.
R: What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks? :)
J: Um, I go to my day job and make money so we can eat. ;) Oh! And I like cooking but I confess I’m really not that good at it.
R: Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
J: I’d say the biggest piece of advice I have is one that I wish someone had told me. Don’t join a critique group until you’re ready to have your story ripped apart. And when I say that, I mean it. If the thought of someone criticizing your characters/plot/setting makes you defensive, you’re not ready yet. A critique group WILL find something to tear apart in your book. That’s their job. So unless that fills you with a giddy sort of joy that someone will point it out so you can fix it? You’re not ready yet. Write another book and wait until you’re ready. The worst thing you can do is join a critique group when your writer soul is still fragile and not ready for tough feedback. It can kill a beloved project or change your vision, and you don’t want that.
R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
J: I’m a huge dork and love video games. Wait, no one would be surprised about that.
R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done?
J: Gosh, I’m really not a crazy, chance-taking sort of person. I’m actually pretty risk-averse. I got nothing, sorry.
R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
J: I just want someone to sit down and enjoy the read. That’s all. My goal every time I sit down with a book is to have a few hours of pure enjoyment, and that’s what I want readers to have.
R: Just for Fun, your favorite:
J:Night or Day? . Day!
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully) Cat, of course. (ME-OWWW!!!)
Beach or Pool? Pool. Nothing is alive in the pool (hopefully)
Steak or salad? Steak.
Favorite Drink? Coffee. Mmmm, coffee.
Favorite Book? Oh my lord, I have to pick just one? Um…These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Wait! Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati. Wait! Dark Needs at Night’s Edge by Kresley Cole…wait! Demon Bound by Meljean Brook! Or Archangel by Sharon Shinn. Or Dragonsdawn by Anne McCaffrey…
Favorite TV Series? Survivor. NERD ALERT!
Favorite Movie? Jurassic Park. I love horror movies and I love dinosaurs and I love paleontology. It’s like the nerdy trifecta for me in that movie.
R: Where can we find out more about you and your work?
J: My websites! www.jillmyles.com or www.jessica-sims.com . I’m also on Facebook as Jill Myles. I’m also on Goodreads! And on twitter (as @jillmyles). I try to link everything back to my Jill account, so if you follow me there, you’re good.
J: Thank you, ROCCO!
Folks, Jill/Jessica will give away a digital copy via amazon of either Beauty Dates The Beast, Undead in my Bed, or Desperately Seeking Shapeshifter to one lucky reader. Y’all know the drill, but for anyone new, here it is:
Leave a post in the comments section, specifying which book you'd like to win along with your email address (those without email addresses will be disqualified, sorry). The winner will be chosen at random using random.org. for extra entries you can:
Follow this blog
Follow moi on Twitter @RoccoBlogger
Tweet about the contest
Friend the Human (Toni LoTempio) on Facebook
Like me on Facebook
Mention the contest on Facebook, Twitter or your own blog (3 extra entries for this)
Now!!! Get goin! Contest runs until midnight, November 6 - winner announced Wednesday, November 7!
Coming in November: Roxanne St. Clair and Stephanie Bond…and Janet Evanovich! Wow!