Interview with Jenna Petersen

Jenna agreed to answer a few questions for me and my readers… 

Please tell us about your book(s).
Well, as Jenna Petersen I write sexy historical romance set in the Regency period for Avon Books. As Jess Michaels, I write erotic romance also set in the Regency period for Avon Red. I really like ‘the good stuff’, so I love to write books with plenty of it one way or the other. LOL I also really like dark, angsty stories, so I tend to write those, too. 

What inspires your stories?
I think something different inspires each books. I am big on character, so lots of times it’s that. Sometimes it’s some obscure research factoid that catches my fancy.  

You write under two names, does it ever get confusing?
Only when I’m signing. Occasionally I sign Jess Michaels’ books as JennaP. But maybe that makes them collector’s items?? 

What are some major differences between writing erotic romances versus writing historical romances?
For me, it’s really the core conflict. When I write erotic romance, the core conflict between the hero and heroine has some relationship to sex. This way the story moves forward and the sex is integral to the plot. I don’t want to write sex scenes that readers can or want to skip. 

What is your favorite part of being a writer?  Least favorite?
The writing is my favorite part. It keeps my soul fed. My least favorite is wondering how I’m doing when books come out. Being so hyper-aware is something I’m still working on. 

How long have you been a writer?
I’ve been writing my whole life, but I wrote my first book/romance in 1996 while I was a sophomore in college. But I didn’t get serious about writing until 1999. So that’s the date I count from.  

How many books have you written?
A lot. More than twenty, maybe more than 25 now. A lot. I should really go back and count because I’ve lost track now that I’m published. But as for books I’ve published, four erotic romances, four historical romances, with 2 more (one of each) coming in 2008 and four more (2 historicals, 2 erotics) contracted but not yet scheduled after that. I have a lot of books from my pre-published days that will never see the light of day. 

Is there anything you would like to write, but haven’t? For example, any other genre you’d like to try?
Actually, I did a lot of soul searching on this very topic over the summer and determined that the books I was most excited about that really got me going were historical romances. I don’t want to write something I have no true passion for, so unless I get an idea that just blows my mind, I’ll probably stick to what I have. 

What would you like to tell aspiring writers?
Don’t chase the market, but learn it. Don’t worry about your books being perfect the first time through. It’s called a first draft for a reason. You don’t know you can write a book until you write one. So finish a manuscript, don’t flit from proposal to proposal. And realize that the business is tough, so you have to be patient and tough with it. 

What do you hope readers get out of your books?
I hope readers get an emotional thrill, a few hours of escape, and satisfaction from my books. When my debut, SCANDALOUS, was released in 2005, a lot of people said I made them cry. I loved that! To touch someone emotionally is fabulous! 

What do you like to read?
Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn, Kathryn Smith, Elizabeth Boyle, Maggie Osborne. I don’t have as much time for reading anymore, but I keep making the resolution to read more, so maybe 2008 will be the year I really do it. 

Describe yourself in 3 words.
Driven, Smart, Optimistic (mostly. Sometimes not in the short run, but in the long run I tend to believe things work out). 

Which of your heroes is your favorite?  Heroine?
Oh man, that’s like asking me to pick my favorite kid! Actually, probably the book that is coming out in July 2008, LESSONS FROM A COURTESAN. That’s usually the way since I’m most invested in that book (the next book on the way). In it, I have a real alpha hero, Justin. He’s very dark and highly sensual. And then there’s my heroine, Victoria, who is quite strong, except when it comes to him. It’s a reunited couple story (which I’ve always wanted to do) and I really hope readers like it. dnd.jpg

Which of your characters is most like you?
Probably Anastasia from DESIRE NEVER DIES. She’s a bit geeky. LOL  

Thank you Jenna for that great interview! 

And speaking of characters, Jenna has a great character quiz on her website to find out which Lady Spy you are most like. 
I got
Anastasia, from Desire Never Dies.

Check it out using the link below and tell me, which character does it say you are most like? 

Which Lady Spy Are You? 

And don’t forget to check yesterday’s post to see how to enter this week’s giveaways.  

Check back tomorrow when Jenna guest blogs about my favorite topic…BOOKS!

Oh, and if you have a question for Jenna, feel free to ask!


26 Responses to Interview with Jenna Petersen

  1. Sandy M says:

    Great interview, Jennifer and Jenna!

    Jenna, I have your books in my TBR pile! How come there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything you want and need to do and then read a couple of good books!?!
    I hope to get to those Lady Spies soon!

  2. Jane says:

    I took the quiz and it said that I’m most like Anastasia. Does this mean I’m intelligent? I hope that’s what it means. Is “Lessons From A Courtesan” part of series also?

  3. Good morning everyone! I must go write, but I figured I’d pop in here first and answer a few questions and say hi! 🙂 That was a fun interview, Jennifer, thanks for doing it!

    Okay, questions. First, I’ll answer Sandy’s from the earlier blog:

    “Everything Forbidden sounds wonderful, Jenna!

    Have you been writing erotica as long as you’ve been writing historicals? What prompted you to start writing erotica?”

    Thanks Sandy! I hope you’ll enjoy it. I had a great time writing it. I have not been writing erotic romance as long as historical, although I did publish in erotic romance first. I wrote my first erotic romance story, “Ancient Pleasures” (Secrets, Volume 11, December 2004 from Red Sage Publishing) because I’d just parted ways with my agent, I had a huge backlog of historical romance that no one seemed to want to buy and I wanted to write something different and fun for me! I wrote the story in a week, submitted it to Red Sage in July and it sold in November 2003 as my first sale. So it was a gamble that paid off. And I found I really liked writing super-sensual stories, too! I was already writing pretty hot, so it was an easy transition. 🙂

    “Jenna, I have your books in my TBR pile! How come there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything you want and need to do and then read a couple of good books!?!
    I hope to get to those Lady Spies soon!”

    This is the question I suffer with, too. I wish I had more time!!! LOL But I am starting to make some headway through my TBR pile. Slowly but surely.

    “Is “Lessons From A Courtesan” part of series also?”

    No, actually, although there are characters in that book that could be pursued for other books. But LESSONS stands entirely on its own. I’m actually writing my next historical now and it is in no way related. After writing a series for the last year and a half (Lady Spies), I wanted to have a few stand alones before I locked myself in again. However, like I said, there are some characters in both LESSONS and the book I’m writing now who could have their own books at some point. I think I’m more interested in creating a world where the characters could reoccur than a series right now. So you might see Justin from LESSONS poke his head into another book or something.

    I’ve been doing that with my erotic romances lately, actually. For instance, a character is introduced very briefly in EVERYTHING FORBIDDEN who is about to be a heroine in the next erotic romance I’ll start writing next Spring. And in SOMETHING RECKLESS, you’ll get to see John and Arabella from “Fallen Angel”, my novella in PARLOR GAMES. That’s been really fun for me.

  4. Lois says:

    Hi again! 🙂 I don’t really have any questions since I see you around anyway. . . LOL 🙂 But ah, I could always suggest do we have to wait so long for the next book? 😉

    And alas, I didn’t precisely guess who Lady M was, but at least was on the right track. LOL

    Oh and yep, another Anastasia here too! 🙂


  5. Rhonda Barnes says:

    Jenna/Jess is one of my favorite authors and I absolutely love her historical romances! Happy Holidays!

    Rhonda 🙂

  6. Thanks Lois! Unfortunately, I don’t have much control over my release dates. I can write faster than they publish me, but they have many authors to fit into a limited number of slots each month. But if you enjoy the books and would like to see more, you can always contact and let them know! I’m sure it can’t hurt! LOL

    And thanks Rhonda! It’s so sweet of you to say that! I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed the books! 🙂

  7. Melissa K. says:

    Hi Jenna/Jess,
    It’s Mel your favorite ARC collector. *g* I’m mostly like Anastasia. I love historical romance and your Lady Spies rock! JJ, are you going to Pittsburgh?

  8. LOL, hi Mel! I have had a few ARC people. Seems like they just get lucky over and over to win ARCs! I know that the Avon Romance Blog is going to be giving away an ARC of my May 2008 erotic romance, SOMETHING RECKLESS in the next three weeks, so be sure to check there to continue your collection. LOL I don’t think I’ll be in Pittsburg any time soon. 😦 I did so much traveling in 2007 that I’m just burned out. But you never know!

  9. Susan Leonard says:

    Great interview and awesome answers. It’s great to learn more about how an artist thinks and some of the things she likes. Love reading your historical romances.

  10. Jennifer Y says:

    Jenna, I LOVED your novella in Parlor Games…can’t wait for the upcoming book!

  11. Thanks Susan and thank you Jennifer! I hope you’ll like EF as much! And I’m really excited about SOMETHING RECKLESS because it’s a little different than anything I’ve ever done before, so I’m curious how people will respond!

  12. Nathalie says:

    I love your historicals… it must be hard to see books on the shelves that will never be published, but I guess the ones that are a success must bring you a lot of joy 🙂

  13. brownone says:

    Hi Jenna,
    Just stopped in to say Hi! You know I think you rock! LOVED the lady spy series along with “Everything Forbidden”. I thought I posted earlier but something fishy was going on in computerland over here! Keep up the good work and I’m looking forward to your next Jess release, “Something Reckless”. (It’s already on my Word list of books to be bought in 2008)

  14. Hi Nathalie, actually it’s not so bad. I wrote all those books early in my attempt to be a writer. I learned a lot from them and liked the stories as I wrote them, but I’m not sure I’d WANT them to see the light of day as they are now. I think I’ve grown quite a bit as an author since that time. The nice thing is that they’re there and if I ever wanted to put the effort into revision and Avon had the space to publish them, they’d be closer to ready. For now, though. I’m really excited and happy to be working on new stories and building new worlds.

    Hi brownone! Thanks for coming by! I hope you’ll like SOMETHING RECKLESS! 🙂 I’m really getting excited. I just did page proofs for it, which are the last stage before they are bound into ARCs and eventually into books.

  15. Amy S. says:

    Great interview! I love series and this one sounds very good.

  16. Hi Jenna and Jennifer. Great interview. Jenna, I particularly enjoy your Jess books, and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on your latest release. I loved your Egyptian setting in the first Secrets story.

    How much time do you tend to spend on research and what would be one of your favorite resources?

  17. fedora says:

    Hi, Jenna (and Jennifer!)–thanks for taking the time this week to let us get to know you better! Quite the treat!

    Apparently I’m most like Anastasia, but since I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading these, I’m sure the comparison will make more sense after 🙂

    I have read your contribution to Parlor Games and liked that very much!

    What sort of writing regime do you keep, or are you more spontaneous? And do you do all your writing on the computer? (I imagine everyone does these days, right?)

  18. Thanks Amy! 🙂 I hope you enjoy the Lady Spies series if you do pick it up!

    Shelley, I have a pretty good Regency era base, so it’s mostly specific research. Though I do like to read more general references to spark ideas. Right now I’ve got WHAT JANE AUSTEN ATE AND CHARLES DICKENS KNEW by Daniel Pool, THE REGENCY REFERENCE BOOK by Emily Hendrickson, 1811 DICTIONARY OF THE VULGAR TONGUE and THE PRINCE OF PLEASURE AND HIS REGENCY 1811-1820 by JB Priestley by my desk.

  19. Hi Fedora, I hope you’ll enjoy “your” book when you get to it. 🙂

    I do write very strictly. I feel I must in order to make deadlines and to stay disciplined. I write about 10-15 pages a day (right now I’m on a 10-page daily output). I sit in the chair until the 10 pages are done, whether that takes me two hours or ten. And I do do all my writing on computer, although I do know of writers who still do long hand. 🙂 I have been known to do that when I’m stuck.

  20. See you all tomorrow for more fun! 🙂 Don’t forget to comment to be entered in the contest!!

  21. fedora says:

    I’m sure I will–you mentioned that Anastasia’s a bit geeky. Well, I’ve got to love characters who have a little (or a lot ;)) of inner geek…

    And wow–how do you decide what your output goal is? Is it related strictly to upcoming deadlines? Do you sometimes get in a groove and just fly through more than your goal? (And then do you relax your goals for the next day or so?) Or just keep powering through? (To the delight of your readers, of course!) And with the volume you write, it would be pretty hard to do it all longhand!

  22. Eva S says:

    Thanks Jenna! Another Anastasia here, I love your historicals and I hope you will publish all your earlier books, too!

  23. Crystal B. says:

    Great interview. According to the quiz I am most like Anastasia. I love your books. Everthing Forbidden was fabulous. 🙂

  24. Melissa K. says:

    “Seems like they just get lucky over and over to win ARCs! ” LOL! What are ya tryin’ to say? Huh, huh! LOLOLOLO!
    Thanks for the tip about the ARC giveaway. Why don’t you just send me one for my collection? Oh, that would give me such a warm fuzzy. :-)~

  25. Cherie J says:

    Great interview! I got Anastasia as well!

  26. Kimmy L says:

    Great interview. I love reading your books.

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