The Mistress of Pennington's Tour

Friday, 22 June 2012

Welcome BookStrand author, Jessica Lauryn!

Happy to have you here today, Jessica! You are a new author to me and also the first BookStrand author I have hosted for a very long time so it's great to 'meet' you. Really looking forward to finding out more about you and your books :)

On with the questions!

 1)   When and why did you decide you wanted to be a published author?

I’ve always loved to write, whether I was writing books for the “Young Author’s” program at my grammar school, or playing out a self-written dramas with my dolls.  But it wasn’t until I was an adult, out of college and wondering what I was going to do with the rest of my life that I realized I wanted to be a published author. 

After becoming aware that my fantasy of writing for the daytime soaps was years away from becoming a reality (if in the cards at all!), I joined a critique group and, on a whim, decided to “write a romance novel.”  (I’d never even read one!)  My love of romance had always been strong and I wanted to write a story that could reflect that love.  So, after one attempt at writing a so-called “romance novel,” I realized I needed something of a guide.  I went to the library, picked out my first-ever romance-novel-read and fell head over heels in love with the genre.  It was from that day forward that I knew I wanted to be a published author, and I didn’t stop until I made that dream a reality.

2)   What is the best and worse thing you have learned from an editor/agent?

For me, both the best and worst thing I learned from an editor were one in the same.  That was, in my earlier days of writing, I was “telling” versus “showing.”  Simply put, I was narrating my stories, where I should have been bringing them to life with in-the-moment action and dialogue. 

(Of course, I blame this on watching too many narrated shows as a kid.  Television programs such as Welcome to Pooh Corner were a blast for a child of the 80s, but they don’t hold a candle in a world were readers and viewers expect-in-the-moment action and lots of it! ;) )

Learning I was “telling” my stories was the “worst” thing I learned from an editor, because it essentially pointed out me that my technique was out of whack, and I had a heck of a lot of clean-up work to do!  But, it was also the best, because it was the single, most important critique that led me to publication!

3)   Favourite author/s?

Jessica Trapp and Nicola Cornick.  Jessica’s stories are amazing!  As you read them you are transported to a world that is completely unlike the present day.  Heroes are warriors, and all of them are brave, domineering, and sexy!  Nicola, too, paints a very realistic picture of historical times, the regency era in particular.  Her heroes are sweet, heroines feisty, and her villains send chills up your spine! 

4)   What is your typical day?

I work a day job as an accountant, so I work hard at scheduling my writing time, and I fight for every moment I get to spend at the keyboard.  I come home, exercise, catch up on the soaps, (you gotta love the soaps!) then I write until I’m too tired to continue.  I should probably reverse that order one of these day, but I need to have my mind clear when I write, and the only way I can really achieve that is by having everything else out of the way.

5)   Share your blurb or short excerpt from your latest release with us.

 Clutching the doorknob, she jolted as a hand touched down on her back.

“A moment of your time, Miss Gallagher.”

Alec was right behind her, their bodies practically touching. She didn’t dare turn around out of fear that she might fall straight into his arms—exactly where he wanted her. He placed his large, warm hand over hers and turned the doorknob, urging her into the hall. Moving steadily behind hers, his body forced her to either walk forward or risk bumping right up against him.

Moments later, Lena found herself in a dimly lit corridor—a place she was certain no one else in the hospital even knew existed. Though, the darkness didn’t make it any easier to hide her trembling hands. Her heart beat wildly as Alec circled her, caressing her body with his sinful blue eyes. She moved back a step, coming against the wall. 

A mischievous smile formed on Alec’s lips. Putting his hand against the tile behind her, he barricaded her exit.    

“Lena Gallagher.” He shook his head, making a tsking sound with his tongue. “Imagine that. Allowing an innocent child to fall from a tricycle. What sort of a negligent caregiver does a thing like that?”

Lena’s face burned. “Negligent caregiver? I—”

“It’s certainly a good thing I was there to come to the rescue. But then that’s just the kind of man I am, you see. Lucky for you. Otherwise”—he lowered his voice—“you’d be in an awful lot of trouble right now. Wouldn’t you?”

“Are we through here, Dr. Westwood? I wouldn’t want to be taking up anymore of your precious time.”

“Now, now, Miss Gallagher. That isn’t any way to speak to the man who just saved your little girl. Not to mention job, I’m sure. Correct me if I’m wrong. That makes the score two to zero. Does it not?”

“Is that what this is to you? Some sort of sick game? Trista could have died! No doctor with any true ethics would try to take advantage of something like that. Just how big of a jerk are you?”

He grinned. “Don’t you wish you knew?”

She put her hands against the front of his jacket, shoving him back as hard as she could. “I’m leaving.”

She started forward, but he caught her by the arm. Her eyes came wide open as she turned around. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“Perhaps you ought to think more carefully before making bets you have no chance of winning. I let you walk away from me once. This time, I don’t intend to make it quite so…easy.”

“What do you want from me?” she asked in a whisper.

“You know what I want, Lena. And I know that you want this as much as I do.”

6)   Who would you cast to play your hero & heroine in a movie?

As Alec Westwood, I’d cast Dylan Fergus.  Dylan portrayed the handsome and mysterious Noah Bennett years ago on the NBC soap Passions.  He’s witty, sarcastic and charming and I pictured him easily in my mind as I spent the hours it took to perfect Dangerous Proposal.

As Lena Benson, I would cast Kristin Kruek, best known for playing Lana Lang on the CW’s 10-year drama Smallville.  Kristin is a multidimensional actor, who I believe could well-portray Lena, a heroine who is both timid and bold alike.  Also, she looks the way I envisioned the pretty, petite young brunette woman.
7)   Did you plan this book? Or write it as it came?

I’d say it was a mix of both.  By nature, I am a plotter, meaning that ordinarily I have to write the entire story out as an outline before I can lay one finger on the keyboard.  But with Dangerous Proposal, I changed my mind several times with regard to the way the story should play itself out, particularly the beginning.  In the original version, the book opened to show Lena on the run from her psychotic fiancĂ© (Lucas, hero in Dangerous Ally).  I changed the opening scene two more times, before finally deciding on the prologue, in which we see Alec at nineteen years old, in the thick of the assassin mission he is supposed to complete.  I shifted around many other sections as well, before arriving at the finished piece.

8)   What surprised you the most when you became a published?

I think what surprised me the most was that publication, for me, came relatively quickly.  I’d heard so many stories from fellow writers who had been trying to get published forever, maybe 20 years.  When I got published, I’d been writing exactly 5 years.  It probably shouldn’t have surprised me, as I hardly go anywhere without my laptop, but it did!  It was very much a surprise to get published so early in the game, and a wonderful one indeed!

9)   Do you have a dedicated writing space? What does it look like?

My writing space has changed over the last couple of years, more or less to suit my latest whim.  Beach blanket in the yard…desk chair…living room couch…the couch seems to be working for me at the moment, so I’m planning on keeping that space going for a while!  There, I’ve got a fireplace view and my trusty notebook on the table beside me ;)

10)What’s next for you?

I’m currently writing the third story in the Pinnacles of Power Series, Dangerous Proposition, which come after Dangerous Proposal but before Dangerous Ally. In this story, Julia Dyson, Lena’s roommate in Dangerous Proposal, learns that her father has been abducted, and she believes her teenage crush, Colin Westwood, may be responsible.  Colin, determined to keep Julia from learning his true involvement in her father’s abduction, makes the red-headed temptress an offer he hopes she can’t refuse.  In exchange for helping her retrieve her missing father, he wants Julia to be his mistress.

 Finish with details of where readers can find you – website, Facebook, Twitter etc


Great interview, Jessica - I am proud to say that one of your favorite authors, Nicola Cornick, is a personal friend of mine! She is a member of our local Romantic Novelists Association chapter and so generous with her knowledge and experience. She is currently training a new puppy to work with the blind - she's fabulous!

Okay, Jessica is waiting for your questions & comments!

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