Name – Jacintha Topaz, aka JT
Age – old enough to have some modicum of computer savvy
Where are you from – I grew up in the SF Bay Area, the perfect hotbed of diversity for me to out the closet writer within. I had no idea that I’d even write about LGBTQ characters until a certain bisexual female protagonist made her way into my head. You can check out the first part of her story in Purr Scent I: The Meeting in the Purr Billionaire BDSM Trio series.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My latest release is The Invitation, an interracial lesbian erotic bondage romance that kicks off the DykeLove Bound series. This series is a spin-off of DykeLove Quickies, which are short stories featuring the first meet-and-greet of feisty females. All of my characters are strong and require a certain finesse to get them to click on the page. Never ceases to fascinate me how they actually get over themselves and fall into each other’s arms.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing because of the compelling characters. I figure that if I find them intriguing then maybe someone else would, too. I had no idea that I’d sell enough books to make a steady yet nominal income. I’m grateful for every sale I make, because that tells me that my stories do have a place in the world. That encourages me to continue chugging along, even if what I make right now is far from paying the bills.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Something a fellow writer told me stood out in my mind: Writers write. I can’t call myself a writer if I do not write. As long as I keep writing, then I can keep calling myself a writer. I first considered myself a professional writer in 2013, when I actually carved out desk space in my home and set a regular time to write no matter what happened around me. Writing is a discipline and as such is part of my daily routine, something I strive to do regularly. Of course, if I fall ill or get struck by some other crisis, I do give myself leeway. However, my computer is never far from me.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I’m an organic writer. So the characters are the ones to speak to me. The plot is secondary. If a character and their story or back story is compelling enough, then I write the book. That’s how every one of my books have come out.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I can only repeat the organic part of my approach to writing. I write when a story grabs me. If I get stuck, I let it sit and pick up on another story. At any one moment in time, I’ve got multiple stories on my plate. For example, right now, I have about five works in progress. What I do may feel scatterbrained to those who focus on churning out stories in one series in a set world. I’m not like that. I go where my muse takes me, even if it’s across worlds and in different series.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Titles come to me at odd times of the day. I don’t reject any title that comes to me. I record them. Sometimes, I have an idea of what genre the title would be suitable for. Other times, I leave it open. I have a working list of over two hundred titles at this point in time. That’s far more stories than I can possibly write in one lifetime. I am and will be a very busy lady.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Every story I write consists of some sort of problem that the protagonists have to go through. I want my characters to win, to get past their stuck points, their pain points. Whatever they learn in the process is their lesson. Whatever the reader gets from their lesson is whatever they choose to integrate into their own lives. Those are very personal choices.
If I have to pinpoint a message, then I need to stick with the main premise of the whole romance genre: Love is a powerful, life-changing force that brings people together.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic ?
The whole DykeLove Quickies series came about because I was quite tired of nice girls, good girls, and doormat girls who have learned to put others first and forever negate their own needs/desires. So when Kaylee Hall came busting through with that strong libido of hers, I knew she was the perfect character to kick off the series. I didn’t know at the time that five more stories would follow hers in that series.
So much of what I write is fueled by erotic fantasy. Yes, they can happen in real life. Kind of. Yes, I’ve heard of lesbians getting together and the next thing you know they’ve rented a U-Haul so they could move in together.
Then there are the stories with characters who are paranormal, like the gay werewolf characters in my Black Storm Pack series. I’ve also got some gay and trans characters in the Man X Chronicles sci-fi serial. Then there’s the menage serial starring the bisexual female and her lesbian domme and alpha male dominant in the Purr Billionaire BDSM Trio.
If I were to derive some sort of overarching thread that ties everything together, then I’d point to the emotional aspect of the characters that make them seem human or realistic. Everything else is world creation.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Every character is a blend of imagination and some real-life detail that worked its way into the story. The detail could be from a person I know, from something I’ve experienced or something I heard of and had needed to look more into it.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life? a mentor?
I see books as mentors. Some works take my breath away and I find myself going back to reread it again and/or look more into what other works that author has written or are releasing in the coming months. I have plenty of favorite writers, many of them in related genres and some in entirely unexpected genres. As long as we are open to learning, we will always learn from the works that exist out there. We only stop learning when we stop reading and stop appreciating what’s out there.
In particular, Kallypso Masters, Sylvia Day, and Cecilia Tan have influenced my writing. Kallypso Masters’ Masters at Arms series was my first fore into the erotic romance genre. (Yup, it was not E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey.) Then I immersed myself into the Day’s Crossfire series and obsessed over the release dates so much that I checked out one of Day’s video interviews in which she mentioned her character-inspired writing style. I felt as if I found a name for my writing approach. I felt validated. So by the time I got to Cecilia Tan’s kinkier tales, I saw even more possibilities for my current queer and kinky tales.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
LOL! I knew this would be the next question! I happen to be reading Anya Byrne’s Lone Wolf Pack gay erotic romance series for more inspiration and direction for my own gay werewolf shifter series. Sometimes I read within my genre for research. Sometimes I read beyond my genre as well. I need to remind myself to go back to my writing, though, because sometimes I indulge too much in the research.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I went to the second annual 24 Hours of Kink Facebook Event recently and posted a giveaway of a few of my ebooks. One of the ways to qualify for the drawing for the ebooks was to provide either the name of some authors and/or their books that reflect LGBTQ characters or some kinky tale out there. I added some new authors to my To-Read list. Among them are … (need to look them up) … Nicholas Bella, Jade West, and Scott Hildreth.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Well, most of my projects are in the works.
DykeLove Bound series features kinky lesbians. Although the first book has been released, at least five more stories are to follow.
Bi Girls Do It series features a college freshman awakening to her bisexuality. The first part is out. I’m aiming to get the second part out this year.
Black Storm Pack series features gay werewolves in Colorado. The prequel was published a couple months ago. The next book I plan to release this year.
Man X Chronicles serial touches on the futuristic space opera stuff and features gay/transgender characters. I’m planning a release date for the next episode this year as well.
In the Purr Billionaire BDSM Trio series, a couple of stories are in the works. I’m working on a prequel as well as a more in-depth novella that features the lesbian dominatrix’s initiation into domination and submission.
I began several stories in 2014 and had to put them on hold. I’ve got a lesbian fantasy series on hold, an MC thing on hold and many more stories that I just don’t have the time to write. I’m looking forward to having a little bit more time later this year.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
School. While my young ones are in school, my energy gets freed up to write. So the institution of school is invaluable to a writer. My props go to writers who homeschool. I have no idea how you do it. I wouldn’t be able to juggle those two worlds—educating my children in a formal manner and pursuing my creative writing.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
That’s my goal—to have my writing be a livelihood, to have it support me and my family, to have it pay the bills and leave plenty behind for savings and retirement. I’m no way near that baseline yet. However, I at least make something consistent on a monthly basis. With more and more works out, making a steady but nominal income from my writing gets easier and easier.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Nope. Every book reflects where the characters lead me, my writing abilities to bring their inner and outer life onto the page, and how our mindsets merge on paper. I wouldn’t change anything. If I have any extra time at all, I’d use it to produce new work.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I grew up fascinated in other worlds, especially fairy tales, myths and legends. I didn’t need to pack, save money, travel, unpack, and worry about accommodations to go to all these places. All I needed to do was just find a place to sit or lay down and flip open a book. How’s that for a cozy and creative laziness-inspired luxury vacation?
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Since I can’t afford hiring cover models at this time, creative use of stock images help. Bigstock has a good deal right now – 14 days, 5 images per day, so up to 70 images free trial. I’ve downloaded a lot of images there for future books. It helps to look up some images and send them to your cover artist to play with them. Even if you’ve got graphic design skills, it helps to keep your pulse on the market in your specific genre and for someone to have experience designing for that particular genre.
For my latest work, The Invitation, a fellow author by the name of Giselle Renarde created the cover. Because I wanted the erotic bondage implied, all I added was the rope bordering the vertical edges of the book. I like to think that every cover is better than the last.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?