When Jeaniene accepted Southern Magic’s invitation to be their keynote speaker, it gave me a good excuse to read a few of her books without feeling guilty for not writing on my own. Well, I’m on number nine and loving them. By the way, to help you keep up, she provides reading lists on her website. Click here.
The woman is a writing powerhouse, and I’m so happy she made time to answer these questions.
When did you start writing fiction?
Right before I turned thirty. I’d wanted to be an author since I was twelve, but while I started a lot of stories, I never finished them. Then, with that milestone birthday looming, I realized I was either going to get serious about my dream, or give it up. I wasn’t ready to give it up, so I began writing with one goal in mind – finish a book. That book turned out to be my debut novel, Halfway to the Grave.
Loved the opening scene of that book! It blew me away.
Who influenced your writing the most? Why?
I can’t pick only one author. When I was twelve, I filched my mother’s copy of Skye O’Malley by Bertrice Small. That introduced me to the romance genre, which had a huge impact on my writing. In my later teens, I read Chances by Jackie Collins, which made me fall in love with the anti-hero archetype. The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye taught me that books can be a teleportation device, because I felt like I was really there in the setting. Then Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series hooked me on first-person narratives, which is the style I am most comfortable with when writing.
That’s only a few out of countless authors who’ve had an impact on my writing. Every time I read something I love, I want to write a book that makes someone else equally happy, so other authors constantly challenge and inspire me.
Who are your top five authors to read?
So hard to narrow it down to just five! Melissa Marr, Ilona Andrews, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Kresley Cole, and Charlaine Harris are definite favorites, but I have a more complete list on my website here: http://jeanienefrost.com/links/
Describe where you are the most productive when you write.
In my office with the door shut, the internet off, and my music on. Lots of authors go to coffee shops or other public places to write, but distractions kill my productivity. I have a 12pm through 7pm “no phone calls” block for my family and friends, too. Otherwise, I’ve never finish a book.
What is your go-to book to read over and over again?
There are so many new books I want to read, and my time is limited, so I normally don’t re-read. The only book I’ve made a point to re-read is the Bible, but since that’s so lengthy, it takes me a while to get through it even once.
Tells us a little about your current book?
It’s called The Beautiful Ashes, and it’s the first book my New Adult paranormal romance series with Harlequin. I’ve had this story in my head for years, but due to various reasons, I never had a chance to tell it before now. I’m so excited to finally be able to share it with readers!
So looking forward to it!
Show us one small scene with your favorite dialogue from that book.
I’m only a few chapters into writing it, so this won’t be my favorite dialog for long, but here’s a snippet (subject to change since this is pre-edits). As a backdrop, my heroine has had the worst week ever. Her sister went missing, her parents were killed in a car crash, she’s been seeing strange things, and she just got thrown out of a police station. In other words, she’s in no mood to meet the hero, but because I am an evil author, that’s exactly what’s about to happen:
Excerpt from The Beautiful Ashes, releasing in September 2014:
By the time I returned to the motel, several days of sleeplessness felt like it finally caught up with me. I entered my room and dropped my purse as though it were a fifty pound anchor, then flicked on the light.
Everything in me stiffened. The couch should’ve been empty, but it wasn’t. A man with hair the color of dark honey sat there, his large frame taking up most of the space. I thought he was another hallucination until he spoke. Hallucinations had never spoken to me before.
“Hi,” he said, his deep voice tinged with an emotion I couldn’t name. “Sorry to tell you, but you’re about to have a really bad night.”
I should turn around, open the door, and run, preferably while screaming. That was the only logical response, but I stood there, somehow unafraid of my intruder. Great. My survival instincts must’ve secretly made a suicide pact.
“If you knew the day I’d had, you’d realize that whatever you had planned could only make it better,” I heard myself reply.
A grin cocked the side of his mouth. Whatever response he’d been expecting, it hadn’t been that. Hell, I’d surprised myself. Guess my vocal cords were in on the death wish, too.
[Clapping, clapping] I’m so excited! Thank you for sharing.
What do you believe makes a man sexy?
Honesty. Even the most ripped abs can’t make up for a liar, in my opinion. A close second to that is a sense of humor. Life is hard sometimes, and a man who can help you smile through the pain is one you want to hold on to.
Of course, both those qualities along with a ripped set of abs doesn’t hurt, either ;-).
Amen, sister! Thank you so much for answering my questions. Looking forward to seeing you in Birmingham on November 2.
I [Carla] will be giving away an e-format copy of any of Jeaniene's books. Winner's choice - USA or International. Be sure to comment by September 30.
In the month of September, we’re celebrating our Romance Readers Luncheon by giving away books and other goodies, including the grand prize of a Kindle Fire HD 7" Tablet. To win the tablet, be sure to comment throughout the month. On September 30, we'll draw from everyone who commented (exception: Southern Magic members and international commenters are ineligible - sorry) and announce the grand prize winner.
If you wish to attend the luncheon, be sure to register and pay before October 27 at southernmagic.org.
When: November 2, 2013, Saturday, 11 a.m.
Where: Harbert Center in downtown Birmingham, AL (free parking)
Who: The keynote speaker is NYT bestselling author Jeaniene Frost! The welcome speaker is NYT bestselling author Christy Reece who also writes as Ella Grace.
Why: We’ll be giving away lots of free books, and you’ll have opportunities to take home a basket full or more. Plus you’ll have a wonderful lunch with a published author. The list of authors can be found at www.southernmagic.org.