Friday, April 14, 2017

Promo: Q&A with Jessica Lauryn!

1.      Tell us about your release.

An Amorous Dance is a contemporary romantic suspense, set in a majestic theater in Briarcliff Manor, NY.  Though it is the 2nd story in the Rabourn Theater Series, it is also a stand-alone novel, as is the case with all of my stories that are part of a series.  In An Amorous Dance, Hannah Rabourn, daughter of Rabourn Theater's late owner, is attacked, and a surge of flashes prompts her to consider that maybe her father didn’t just die years ago, but was murdered. Hannah's antagonistic stage director insists her subconscious is merely seeking closure. But as she and Evan become close once again, Hannah's suspicions about the past deepen, and she wonders whether the man she's falling in love with for the second time knows more about what happened than he's letting on. Evan Masters's dreams were shattered when theater-owner Baron Rabourn destroyed his budding acting career. Having forged an alliance with Rabourn's former partner, Evan assumed a mission to transform Rabourn Theater into what it always should have been. Fellow conspirators believe Rabourn's daughter is the key to power, and Evan is the means by which to achieve their ends. But Evan's feelings for Hannah are stronger than he believed. And when he realizes Hannah's life is in danger, he must decide between his passion and his heart.
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2.      What makes your story special to you?

I find the idea of a second-chance romance to be a really romantic one!  As a reader, I very much enjoy these types of stories and as a woman, I’ve sometimes wondered how my own life might have been different had I been given a second chance with my first love. Hannah and Evan are young when they meet for the first time—she is a teenager, he is in his twenties, and as is often the way with young people, their initial feelings and attraction come hard and fast, kind of like a runaway train. I understand these feeling well and it was my desire to play out Hannah and Evan’s story exactly the way I imagined it might unfold between two people who’ve been in love for half their lives. Though hardened by the pains of adulthood and years of secret-keeping, the love inside of Hannah and Evan has never died and in fact it is burning hotter than ever!    

3.      When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve been writing, in my head, since I was able to hold a doll.  But it wasn’t until I had graduated from college and was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life when I realized that I am, first and foremost, a writer at heart. I spent a lot of time meditating on the idea of what I would do with my life if I could do anything at all, and the thought of writing kept coming back to me. Fiction has always been my first love and romance, my definite genre of choice. Prior to my post-grad years, I’d received my romantic fixes mainly from TV and movies but I changed that, going on to read hundreds of romance novels in all sub-genres. As I was getting started with the craft, I picked up several non-fiction books about writing and one, in particular, eluded that writers spend their entire lives in basements, doing nothing but writing. I believe the comment was meant to discourage people but I remember thinking that being left alone to do nothing but write all the time sounded more exciting than anything I could imagine! 

4.      What is a typical writing day like?

My writing day differs somewhat depending on what stage of a book I’m writing. If I’m working on something new, I’ll outline my story. I work instinctively at this stage, getting down as many details about my desired characters, scenes and storyline as possible. If I’m in the editing stages, I may reread my work from start to finish, making notes as I go along, regarding anything and everything I think should be edited, embellished or deleted.  In the final stages, I’ll read much more quickly and edit as I go, changing whatever I think I can be made stronger by saying it a different way. I do try to write at the same time every day, but of course, life sometimes gets in the way. Writing, however, is a high priority for me and if I can carve out even one hour a day to do it, weekends included, I am very happy.  

5.      Do you have an interesting writing quirk or habit?

I am a firm believer that as a romance novelist, I must fall in love with my hero to get the story told. That said, I greatly enjoy playing movie director in my mind and “casting” a particular actor to “play” the role of the hero I’ve created. I’ll develop my character’s personality, his back story and physical description, and then, I’ll envision the actor I believe would be best in my role, acting it out. This not only allows me to hear the sound of an actual voice in my head but it gives me a man I can literally swoon over!  My hero comes to life before me and I can easily fall for him, igniting a fire in me that sets the pages of my story ablaze!  

6.      What was one of the most surprising things you learned as a published author?

An author friend of mine once said that she spends 50% of her time writing, the other half marketing.  We were in a room full of writers when she said this and everyone’s mouth dropped.  Upon becoming an author myself, I was surprised to learn that a very good amount of time does go to marketing—not a full 50% perhaps, as all of our situations are unique, but more time than you’d probably expect is required when building an author brand and reaching out to new readers.
7.      What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?

A number of romance authors influenced me both before and when I was just getting started with writing—Nicola Cornick, Candice Hern and Roberta Gellis, to name only a few. Though these authors all write historic romance while I’ve been focused solely on romantic suspense, they all have beautiful voices and tell emotionally-compelling stories that have both kept me glued to the pages as well as inspired me to write stories that are equally exciting. I’m also a member of Romance Writers of America and my local chapter New Jersey Romance Writers. The advice, industry knowledge, support and friendship that I have found through these organizations has been truly invaluable!  

8.      What does your family think about your career as a published author?

Prior to my becoming an author, I don’t believe my family thought this was in the cards for me.  They saw my creative side, knew that I was a storyteller but I can’t really say that anyone—myself included—really put two and two together until it actually happened.  When I did begin to write, and later got the call my family was ecstatic for me and they are extremely supportive of me with regards to my writing, what they known I love to do more than anything.

9.      Besides writing, what other interests do you have?

I’m a huge antique collector! I got into antiquing a few years back and on weekends when I’m free I love to check out local and not-so-local antique stores for cameo necklaces, perfume bottles and anything else that grabs my attention.  When the weather’s nice, I love to swim, kayak, go hiking and/or spend time in my favorite place in the world, the White Mountain National Forest. 

10.  Can you tell us about what’s coming up next for you writing wise?

The excitement continues for the gang at Rabourn Theater when stage manager Chris Gordon suspects his wife’s tragic hit-and-run was never an accident. Chris believes the man she was having an affair with, Oakley Sutherland, was her killer and he devises a plot to bring Oakley to justice, working through the man’s fiancé.  A well-known exotic dancer by night, Victoria Morrow has been fighting to make a better life for herself, and she won’t be taken advantage of.  But when the most handsome man at Rabourn Theater takes an interest in her she slowly begins to soften.  Can Victoria resist Chris’s charms?  Or will both of them fall prey to the danger that lurks in the wings?  I hope to release book 3 of The Rabourn Theater Series later this year!

11.  How can readers connect with you online?

I love to chat with readers!  I send out my Newsletter every few months, with my latest releases, sales and exclusive giveaways!

My website is the place to check out all of my titles and author appearances!

I’m very active on Facebook and Twitter!  I post daily and I share pics, interview and guest post links and giveaways!

About Jessica:
At two years old, Jessica became a devoted fan of both listening to and reciting the books her parents would read to her at night. When she was a little older (about four), she sought a greater challenge in her life and began making up stories of her own, acting them out with her dolls. “When the dolls got boyfriends,” she says, “I knew I was getting too old for dolls!”

A lifelong lover of romance, Jessica took several writing classes in college, and told her professors she was one-day going to write soap operas. When graduation came, she joined a critique group, and on a whim, decided to write a romance novel. That first attempt will forever be staying under the mattress...

Then, on a train ride to her internship in the fashion industry, Jessica finally cracked open her first romance novel. That hot August morning, she fell head-over-heels for the genre, and has been writing it ever since. Jessica is most intrigued by dark heroes who have many demons to conquer but little trouble enticing female companions into their beds! She feels that the best romances are those where the hero is already seducing the heroine from that first point of contact. “Isn’t it the hero’s job to seduce?” she says with a grin. Jessica loves to see the sparks fly when a stubborn, domineering hero crosses paths with a bold, feisty heroine, and uses the combination frequently in her stories.

When she is not writing, Jessica enjoys listening to as much 80s music as possible, watching the same reruns of Smallville over and over, shopping for exceptionally unique cameos, and taking long walks in nature where she can daydream about anything romantic. Though she resides in central New Jersey, her heart belongs to the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire.

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