58, funny I didn’t used to mind answering that question so much in the past!
Where are you from
I was born and spent most of my life in Virginia but moved to northern Michigan in 2003. Both beautiful states but very different geographically. I miss the Blue Ridge Mountains of the South, but I love the abundance of lakes up here, especially Lake Michigan.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I am married and have two grown children. My charming husband and I are both passionate about the responsible adoption of shelter animals and have two cats and three dogs. I wanted only one dog, but my husband can be very persuasive.
I worked in an administrative support capacity in various environments – schools, hospitals, manufacturing – for most of my adult life. Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with glaucoma at an unusually early age, and my vision deteriorated over the years. I’m now legally blind and no longer work outside the home. On the bright side, I have more time to write.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
After playing around with self-publishing some erotic romance short stories individually, I got serious about it. I revised, rewrote, and had them professionally edited. The end result is a collection entitled 4Play which was released on September 25.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
In the late 1990s, I spent a lot of time socializing in internet chat rooms. I met some folks who encouraged me to pursue writing and publishing on erotica websites. I had a blast doing it for a few years but eventually real life got in the way. Fast forward to 2014 when I revisited the idea. With the advent of digital readers and self-publishing, it seemed like a good way to put my overactive imagination to use.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
That’s a great question! I think it was when I received my first sale from outside the US. Up until that point, I was positive only friends and family were buying. Working with an editor also made me feel professional. I learned so much from the experience.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I’m inspired by all kinds of crazy things. My story “Second Chances” was inspired by a news story I heard decades ago about a bride killed by a drunk driver on the way to her wedding reception. “Viewer Discretion Advised” was inspired by gossip I read about the TV shows NYPD Blue and General Hospital.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I think my style varies depending on the subject and ages of the characters. I tend to write in third person, often with alternating points of view. I LOVE to write dialogue, so much so that I have to keep an eye on it or end up with page after page of characters talking.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
When I put this collection together, I had four stories completed. I thought calling it 4Play would be a cute play on words and used the tagline – “What foreplay does for your body, 4Play does for your mind…because that’s where feeling sexy begins”.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Even though 4Play is comprised of four separate stories, three of them share themes of lost love and starting over. At some point, each of us learns what it means to lose someone you love, and it changes you forever. You certainly have moments of joy and happiness, but never again that “all’s right with the world” bone-deep contentment. It’s up to us to make peace with it and move forward.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Yes, my work is full of comments people have actually said to me, events I’ve experienced, and emotions I’ve felt. For example, there is a bit at the end of “Second Chances” about a fat cat being mauled by a protective mama cat in the veterinarian’s waiting room. That happened to Buster, our 25 pound peace-loving fellow. Poor thing was scared to death when the tiny mama cat jumped him.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Two classics, The Great Gatsby and To Kill a Mockingbird, had the most lasting and profound impact on me, but there have been too many to mention. I had many fine teachers, and it’s because of them I grew into an adult with a curious mind and a thirst for knowledge
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m reading Master for Tonight by Elaine Barris. I “met” Elaine at a recent Facebook event and was intrigued by her posts describing the book. If you love an erotic vampire tale with a strong love story, check it out.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Yes, many! I’ve come to know quite a few Indie authors this past year, many of them new to me. Piper Malone, Audrey Carlan, Angel Payne, and John Tucker to name a few of the erotic romance authors I enjoy. In the Women’s Fiction genre, I recently read a debut novel by Lia Mack titled Waiting for Paint to Dry. It was so good, I was jealous!
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I am working on two novels. Xander’s Garden, a story about finding love and support in an off-Earth colony brothel set in the year 2115. For Love or Money, an erotic romance about a couple at the end of their rumbling marriage, a man desperate to help the woman he loves, and a cunning female con artist. I hope to have Xander’s Garden published in December or January and For Love or Money next summer.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
The authors I have connected with online have been incredibly supportive. I have asked endless questions, solicited advice, and even whined on occasion (gasp). The Facebook Indie Author Group has also been an incredible resource.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I do, but whether it is a profitable one or not, is up to readers. It is so easy to publish in the digital age the supply far exceeds the demand. It is very difficult to stand out in the crowd, so I focus on creating the best work I can and enjoying the ride.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Probably. I have a terrible time not editing endlessly. I still wake up in the middle of the night thinking I should have written a line differently. It’s maddening!
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I have always been a voracious reader and learned to read when I was 3. I became interested in creating characters and plots when I was a teenager but honestly, I was just too lazy to do anything about it. My daughter and I were picking up groceries one day and walked down the aisle of paperback books. She commented that I could probably write a better book than the one I was holding in my hand. When your teenager says something positive about you to your face, you should pay attention. They are typically stingy with compliments!
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Sure! Here’s a short excerpt from Xander’s Garden.
Rose pushed the door open and entered with a tea tray. Janis watched the exquisite younger woman as she poured two cups. Her hair fell in gleaming brown waves to her shoulders and framed a flawless complexion set off by the blush pink gown she wore.
“One of your employees?” she asked after Rose departed.
“Yes, she has been here for a few years. She manages the merchandise shoppe and serves as my assistant.”
“You never were one to surround yourself with ugly girls,” she laughed wryly.
“You were the only beautiful girl I ever wanted.”
“Xander…that was another lifetime ago. We were young and foolish and spoiled. Life on Terra IV was too easy, and we believed we could do whatever we wanted. Your parents sent you to Terra III to study to separate us. Remember?”
“I remember. I remember you were going to wait for my return.” His eyes flashed, and he pushed a hand through his silver hair. His voice was gruff as he asked, “Janis, why are you here?” I have been on Terra VI for ten years, and this is the first I’ve seen of you.”
She took another sip of tea. “As good as it is to see your face again, and it is good, Xander, would that I did not need to be here now. I had an appointment at Medical this morning.” She put her teacup down, took a deep breath and looked directly into his eyes. “I have a cancer. There is no treatment and I have weeks, maybe three months left.”
Xander slumped back in his chair. “What? No…no. It cannot be.”
“It can be. It will be. I can handle it, but there is something I cannot bear and that is why I’m here. I need you to take in my daughter, Xander.”
What did she just say? “Your daughter?” he repeated stupidly.
“Yes, her name is Betta. She has nineteen years and is graduating in three days.”
“And you want her to…live here? Work here?” He was dumbfounded. Surely Janis knew what employees at a sex shoppe did. Unless she thought her daughter might work in janitorial or the nursery.
“I will leave it up to you to determine what she does or does not do here. I only know that she will not be safe at home after I…die.”
“What do you mean, not safe?”
Janis looked away from him, her face suddenly full of pain. “It’s her stepfather,” she said flatly. “He wants her. I’ve seen it in his eyes, more and more as each year passes. I think she knows it too and despises him. As soon as I’m not there to protect her, he will take her, and it won’t matter to him if she wants it or not. He will hurt her, Xander, and she will never get over it.’
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I have a tough time adhering to a steady work routine. Evidently I am easily distracted by bright shiny things and the Internet. I know authors who can knock out several thousand words every single day, but I’m not one of them.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I am a big fan of George R.R Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series (Game of Thrones). I love the way he advances the story using a different character’s point of view each chapter. He is so ruthless at killing off main characters!
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, not yet but I can dream!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The covers for 4Play and for the single story copy of Interview with Mistress A were both designed by Julie Nicholls. She is fabulously talented in both stock photo manipulation and digital painting.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I struggled to stay true to my original visions of each story. I realize my plots are not reflective of current popular trends in erotic romance – shapeshifters, vampires, menage, billionaires, etc. I write primarily about everyday people, the type you meet on the bus or live next door.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned a lesson about myself. In my original version of “Viewer Discretion Advised”, I wrote a sex scene that I considered to be “dubious consent”. My editor calmly informed me that the activities in the scene clearly met the legal definition of rape. No matter how much I loved the emotional gut-punch of the scene, I couldn’t publish it. I would never want to be perceived as condoning or self-pedaling rape. I rewrote the scene and was happy with the revision.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Yes, surround yourself with supportive and knowledgeable people. Be patient. Set realistic goals. Hire an editor, or at the very least, a great proofreader. No one can effectively edit their own work.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Please share your feedback with me. I love, love, love to hear from readers about what they liked AND what they didn’t like in my work.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The elementary school textbook Fun with Dick and Jane. My grandmother taught me to read from it.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My husband makes me laugh; it’s why I married him. Reports of cruelty to animals or children make me cry. I cannot fathom how people are capable of it
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I’d like to meet Ozzy Osbourne. I want to talk to him about recording an album with an orchestra backing him.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
No headstone, I wish to be cremated. However, I’d like to be remembered as exemplifying my favorite literary quote – “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” from The Little Prince. I try to always lead with my heart.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Before my vision loss, I used to do crafts, sewing and cross-stitching. I still enjoy watching ice hockey; my favorite team is the Detroit Red Wings.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love quirky and funny shows –The Big Bang Theory, Fargo and Archer. The same is true of films. Some of my favorites are Juno, Lars and the Real Girl, The Station Agent.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I love Mexican food, never tire of it. My favorite colors are black and purple. I enjoy all music with the exception of country. It’s just not my thing.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Own a small hotel at the beach. Any beach. There is something wonderful about being near water.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I write The Erotica Writer Blues blog. www.eroticablues.blogspot.com
Amazon author page – http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00TY06PLK
Facebook author page – https://www.facebook.com/JordanBAuthor?ref=hl