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Please welcome Jess Granger

Beyond The Rain

Jess, Thanks for agreeing to be a guest on my blog.

It’s a pleasure to be here.  Thanks for having me.

Can you tell everyone a little bit about yourself?

There’s really not much to say about me.  I’m a little bit goofy.  I twist balloon animals.  I have a vast well of completely useless knowledge that always seems to come back to haunt me.  I smile way too much, and I like to create butterfly gardens.

How long have you been writing?

Let’s not count the attempts at writing when I was eight.  It was pretty pathetic.  I enjoyed writing as stress relief and as an outlet in high school, but ignored it until my last semester in college where I took a fiction writing class for fun.  After I graduated in 2000, I decided I’d pursue a career.  So officially, it’s been a lifetime, or nine years, depending on how you count.

What is your writing process like?

I start out by just thinking.  I observe all sorts of things with a potential lead character in mind.  I’m searching for anything that will spark a little inspiration.  Once I’m interested in the story, I figure out the conflict and the main plot arc.  After that, I interview my main characters to get to know them and what drives them a little.

After that, I start the plotting process.  I write out the story as if I was telling it to myself in an old green notebook.  I write out anything that comes to mind that I want to add in the story and try to work out the emotions, cause and effect, plot arcs, romantic arcs, subplots, and how everything comes together.  After that, I use that messy jumble of handwritten junk to write the formal synopsis for my editor.  Then I take it and I break it down into chapter chunks and look at the pacing of the novel.  Once all that is done, I sit down and write, using the sloppy synopsis and the chapter break-down as a guide.  I write straight through passing chapters back and forth with my critique partner as I finish them, and eventually I have a really clean book to turn in to my editor.

So I guess I’m a plotter.

Can you tell us about your newest release Beyond The Rain?

Beyond the Rain is a story of sacrifice.  On the outside, it is a dark and exciting space opera.  In it, a warrior nun gets caught behind enemy lines with an unlikely compatriot, a slave forced to endure terrible torture as his captors leeched his hormones to create illegal sexual narcotics.  As they fight to find a way home, the forbidden ties between them grow, until the consequences of their love become deadly.

I loved the two main characters of this story, because I created each one to break the stereotypes of typical paranormal romance characters.  The heroine is a kick-butt heroine, but she never wanted to be.  It does not define her, and it is not the core of her being.  She hasn’t been so corrupted by darkness that she can no longer be a pure and caring person, she’s just trapped in a position within her society that gives her no freedom and no choice.  She is warm, caring, loving, and sensual, but expected to fit into a mold that is hard, cold, and completely free of personal connection to anyone or anything.  She is a soldier by occupation only.  It was fun to use the romantic arc to break her open and reconnect her to the true core of her soul.

As for Soren, the hero, well, you’ll have to read the book to discover what makes him so special, but I’ve never run across another hero like him.

This is your first published book correct? Excited, Nervous, Anxious, Relieved, or All The Above?

Wow, yes this is my first book.  I’ve run the gamut of emotions.  When I signed my first contract, I was relieved to move to a new stage in my writing career.  Now most of the time I feel a little overwhelmed but excited.  It is surreal to think people are out there reading my words, but I love that thought so much.

Do you have any other books coming out this year?

Beyond the Shadows, the sequel to Beyond the Rain should be out in May.  It is hot and thrilling.  It was such a fun book to write, and I can’t wait for it to hit the shelves.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently writing the sloppy synopsis for a third book in the series, then turning my attention to an idea I have for a YA novel.

Where do you get your ideas for your books?

Oh man, that’s a fun question.  I get them from everywhere.  Parts of Beyond the Rain were inspired by the mating habits of African weaver birds I saw in an aviary at the zoo.  The third book was inspired by the greenhouses in Epcot.  Vicca and Tuz, my two scouts, were inspired by my cat Suki, and my aunt’s cat Jackhammer.  I never know where the inspiration for things will come from.  I’m a very curious soul, and that helps.

As an author, you must be an avid reader. What books do you enjoy reading? Who are your auto-buy authors?

I used to be an avid reader, and was a Comparative Literature major in college.  I deeply love reading, but I sink so deeply into it, I don’t come up for air.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t mix well with young children afoot.  When they are both in school, I’m hoping I’ll be able to read more again.  I enjoy lots of romance, especially historicals that really capture the honest tone of the time instead of a fantasy of what the time was like.  I love reading YA novels, and middle grade novels.  I can finish them quickly and they are always entertaining.

Right now, my only auto-buys are anything by J.K. Rowling, Nalini Singh, and Susan Grant.  Since J.K. Rowling is rolling in her dough and not exactly writing, I’m down to Nalini and Susan.

What books are on your keeper shelf?

Julie Kenner’s old superhero novels, and The Cat’s Fancy, everything Susan Grant has ever written, Elizabeth Hoyt’s “Prince” trilogy, Christine Feehan’s first five Carpathian novels, autographed with the original covers, and a couple of books that really struck me as awesome.

What was the first romance book you read?

I don’t know if it was the first one I actually read, but it is certainly the first one I re-read over and over, and hid under my bed, and kept until it was in tatters.

Savage Thunder by Johanna Lindsey, with the Fabio cover.  Oh yeah, baby!  That was awesome.  I’m not entirely sure some of the antics were physically possible, but they were certainly entertaining.

If one of your book was made into a movie which actors would like to see as the lead characters?

Shoot, I’m not good at this game.  Hmmmm, probably Sean Bean (Boromir from Lord of the Rings) for Soren.  I know he played a semi-bad guy in that, but he looks like Soren to me, and he had such a great tormented element to his acting I really enjoyed.  He turned a character I never liked into one I understood and empathized with.

Cyani’s a little harder.  There aren’t enough women cast as strong soldier heroines.  I think she looks a little like Catherine Zeta-Jones.  Perhaps she could pull it off.

If you could switch lives with one of your characters who would it be & why?

Tuz, the war cat.  I’m terrible to my characters.  I don’t think I have a single one who isn’t tortured in some way shape or form, except Tuz.  No matter what sort of Hell is raining down around him, he manages to come out unscathed and ornery as anything.  If turning into a war cat with attitude is a stretch, I’d like to be Lai, a Makkolen queen.  She’s powerful, she’s sexy.  She ages so beautifully and she uses her matronly elegance to enhance her power and allure.  Yeah, it would be nice to be Lai.

When you are not writing or reading, what do you enjoying doing in your spare time?

I enjoy working in my butterfly garden.  I just moved to a new house, so I’ve got a new challenge.  The weeds in the flowerbed I’m going to turn into my new garden are almost as tall as I am, so cleaning out and replanting should be interesting.  I also like going to amusement parks and zoos, making beer, and I’ve got an itch to do some cross-stitching.

If you could ask readers any one question, what would it be?

What makes you keep a book and read it again?

To find out more information about Jess Granger and her books please visit her website at: http://www.jessgranger.com/ or http://www.myspace.com/jessgranger

***Leave a comment answering Jess’s question for a chance to win a copy of Beyond The Rain. Good Luck 🙂

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47 Responses

  1. Hi Jess,

    You are a new to me author and I have to tell you this looks awesome!!! If I don’t win, I am def. going to be buying this baby! Ok, for the question, I would have to say first the book MUST captivate me by chapter one, else all is pretty much lost, I want to feel as though I am inside the book, living the moments with them, all the highs and lows, intertwinded into their world. If that sucks me in, I am a goner and it is on my keep shelf to be read over and over again!!

    bjwaldron(at)gamil.com

  2. Great interview! You are a new author to me, but I am so interested in this book!

    In answer to the question, a big deal for me is the emotions that I get from the characters in the book. No matter what the emotion is, anger, fear, love, confusion…so long as I get it and feel it, I generally am hooked. I am a super emotional person, so I love to get lost in someone else’s world for a while, and I can do that when I feel like I get what they are feeling or going through.

    Thanks!
    Amy M

  3. That’s funny – I’ve often thought the dynamics of some loves scenes I’ve read were impossible too.

    To reread the story has to hit me emotionally. A lot of times its not the whole story that I reread but just parts of it. Sometimes it is just the phrasing that makes a scene stand out, or maybe what the character is doing that just makes me go, “Wow”!

  4. Hi Jess,

    You are a new-to-me author…that’s one of the things I like about blogs list this one. I hear about so many authors and their works!

    Anyway, I have to comment on one of your comments: Savage Thunder was indeed an entertaining book. If I remember right, one of those scenes involved love on horseback! And I agree, it sounds physically challenging and gives horseback riding a whole new meaning!

    I don’t really have ‘keepers’ because I have such a huge TBR library of over 800 books waiting to be read the first time. But I just recently parted with my copy of Gone With the Wind…the ONLY book I have actually re-read.

  5. Hi Jess!

    Girls, I was lucky enough to win a copy of Beyond the Rain from Jess on her blog. I’m about a third of the way through it, and I can’t recommend it enough – If you like Susan Grant, or Catherine Spangler, or Linnea Sinclair, or any of their cohorts, you will love Jess’ work!

    And you need to check out her ongoing blog story about Ethel the space pirate – and pay attention, cause there is a sot of an android whose name just might be familiar LOL.

  6. Some books are great, I love them beyond words, but I still don’t read them again. For me to read it again, it doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. but it has to have a great story that I will never get tired of hearing

  7. Great interview. I love the idea of inspiration from the zoo and Epcot. 🙂

    I only have 2 series of books that I have re-read. The Harry Potter series and the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.

    HP is darkly fun and intriguing with it’s good vs evil magics – and I was invested in the characters and what was going on with them and around them. 🙂

    The Outlander series is just a great story. Claire and Jamie Fraser are the ultimate couple to me because their love survived a separation of 200 years. I am so looking forward to the new book due out in September. I am eager to find out how this series is going to end.

    So I guess the easiest answer would be that I have to be invested in the characters – they have to come alive for me. 🙂

    Thanks,
    Michelle
    kweenmg at yahoo dot com

  8. What makes me keep a book and read it again?

    Layers. Of worldbuilding, plot and characterisation. I love it when I have read a book and the characters have been sooo strong I can’t stop thinking about them and I just want to pimp it to my friends!!

    When the worldbuilding and plot is carefully layered that on a second read you pick up lots of nuances that you missed the first time – Nalini Singh’s book are like that. YUM!

  9. The book has to strike a chord with me emotionally.

  10. I usually keep books by authors that are my auto-buys and favorite series I collect and save. Reads that take me away to places I wouldn’t normally be able to visit are great and characters that are new and something I’ve not already come across also peak my interest. Enjoyed you being here today!

  11. Hi Jess!!

    I have to agree, this book sounds awesome and I love the cover!!

    I have to feel a connection when I’m reading a book, some type of emotion that draws me in and makes me want to stay!!:)

  12. I keep books that are in a series that I love. I keep ones that are emotionally well-written. And since I’m disabled, I keep books that feature disabled characters.

  13. I will love stories that suck me into their world. I love when I’m drawn to the charcters and I feel like I’m right there with them in the book. Happy endings are a must for me too.
    I have to check out the cover of Savage Thunder now…lol. What ever happened to Fabio????

  14. I keep books that I have an emotional attachment to the characters because I have never come across anything like them in any other books. The Outlander series and Scandalous Lovers are such books.

  15. I have a keeper shelf for books that I re-read because I have such an attachment to the characters. Such books as OUTLANDER, SCANDALOUS LOVER, LADERS TUTOR.

    Jess, congratulations on your release, BEYOND THE RAIN.

  16. Hi, Jess! Generally what makes a book a keeper is the characters and the story arc to the HEA. Also, I tend to keep books that can make me smile or laugh on the way to “the end”–that’s all part of my enjoyment of the story, too. And yes, I do tend to keep a series I love, even if I don’t love every single book in it–they’re all part of the whole, so I generally can’t break those up!

  17. What makes me keep a book and re-read — its the emotional connection I have to the characters and the story. Such books are The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, Scandalous Lovers by Robin Schone, The Prince trilogy by Elizabeth Hoyt, Highlander series by KMM, and SEP’s Chicago Stars series.

    Congratulations, Jess, on you your release. Sounds like a wonderful book.

  18. Wow Jess, love the cover and congrats on your first published book.

    I love Nalini too. She is an auto buy no matter what book it is. I also love Lora Leigh.

    I honestly don’t read my books multiple times. I have 6 or 8 series that are my keepers (in case I ever did want to read them again) but there are just so many great books out there that I’m afraid that I’ll miss one of them if I spent time re-reading books.

  19. The books on my keeper shelf grabbed my interest by the first chapter, gave me an emotional romance between two interesting characters who had amazing sexual chemistry, great dialogue, maybe a wee bit of humor, and had a HEA or HFN ending.

  20. Awesome interview! Books that are my keepers and that I read again are those that usually have stories that catch my attention and characters that are humorous and interesting. i always love the books that have happy endings and make me feel that the book fulfilled my expectations.

  21. Great interview, Jess! And congrats on your first release!

    And I’m so jealous that you have a butterfly garden! I’ve always wanted one 🙂

    As for the question– I don’t really know. I have many keeper books that I re-read all the time, and some of them have no similarities at all. So I guess its just random books for different reasons that make me want to visit them often 🙂

  22. Wow, what a smart and sophisticated bunch! My TBR pile is going to tip over if I keep adding books from here. Thank you all for your great welcome!

    Book Junkie, I do have the first chapter up on my website at http://www.jessgranger.com/books You can read it there and see if it hooks you.

    Amy and Lisa, I’m also a really emotional person. I can’t read Harry Potter without crying somewhere. I connect and feel with characters very deeply, so I had fun writing my own novel where I could really pull out the emotion that leaves me breathless.

    Karen H, yeah, that horseback scene. Boy does that one stand out in the old memory. I still can’t believe they didn’t fall off, or the saddle horn didn’t bump her rump. I guess that is just a testament to the awesome force that is Fabio’s thighs. LOL

    Yay L2! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the book! Good to see you.

    blodeudedd I also rarely reread things. I keep things because I can’t stand to let them go, but I reread stories that can maintain an intensity to the story even after the first read. And Michelle, HP is the top of that list. I’ve read that series so many times, it’s almost embarrassing

    Here here Willa, and absolutely, Llehn.

    Theresa, Jody, Fedora, Jeanette, Heather, and Blanche, I absolutely agree. I love series, but what makes or breaks them are the characters and the emotions.

    Jody F, keep an eye out for the potential third book in the series. I think you’ll like it. *wink*

    Oh, and Armenia, I also love Elizabeth Hoyt.

    I think that’s everyone! I’m thrilled to talk with everyone.

  23. […] I Do Not Want to Wait I Want the Book Now! […]

  24. The only book that I’ve read several times is Outlander. I just can’t get enough of Jamie!!!

    mitzihinkey at sbcglobal dot net

  25. Diana G is an amazing writer. I’ll give her that.

  26. Hi Jess! I have a tendency to be a book hog and seem to keep most of my books. Although over the years, my tastes have changed. I went through the books that I have, and had not read yet and I donated the books I no longer wanted to either the Library or the Salvation Army. I very seldom read a book that I can’t stand and just flat out want to get rid of. Great post!

  27. Great interview! As for books…. a book that haunts my dreams (in a good way) is a definite keeper.

  28. I won a copy of this in ARC format on Jess’s blog! I need to read it!!!

    Great interview!

  29. That is a rare rare copy, Jessica. There are only two signed galley copies out there in the entire world, and one is yours. How cool is that?

    I recently went through my book collection as well, Barb, I know how it goes. However, I’m one of these twisted people that has to finish a book once I start it, no matter how much I dislike it. Sometimes it gets a little painful.

  30. You are a new author to me, Your book looks great.
    A book has to be very, very good for me to reread it.

  31. I think characters makes want to read the book.

    Jess, your books looks good. Can’t wait to read it

  32. keeper books are usually one of my favorite genre’s and make me want to be in that world. I also keep series to do rereads especially if there is a long time between books.

  33. Don’t include me…but this book rocks! Just wanted to put that out there for everyone. Halfway through and it’s knockin’ my socks off!!

  34. Wow, thanks!

  35. Hi Jess, I’ve heard good things about your book from other sites and it’s on my TBB list. For me, a keeper would be one wherein the characters have this chemistry between them that makes for a satisfying read, that makes you sigh with satisfaction upon reaching the last page, then open the book to the first page and start reading it again. A keeper for me is also a comfort read.

  36. It is in how well I connect with the characters, if I truly come to understand, like, and sympathize with them. If when I read a book I feel like there’s something special about the character, I will want to reread the book again and again. So far, only one book has done that for me. But I am always on t he lookout!

  37. It’s the characters, usually, that make me keep coming back. There are certain books that I love so much that I can pick them up, open to any random page, and know exactly what is going on.. but still sit there reading it for hours because I love the characters and don’t want to leave them.

    It also helps if the hero is exceptionally hunky.

  38. Great interview and I’ve heard some great things about this book. It on my TBB list. A keeper for me is one that makes me feel along with the characters – it doesn’t always have to be the good happy, happy kind of feelings either. A book that has characters that I connect with, that makes me miss them once there gone – that makes a keeper for me.

  39. I have been hearing some great things about this book.

  40. I’m so thrilled people seem to really like the book out there. I love it. Every time I think about this book, this little place inside of me melts a little.

  41. I love finding out about new authors in the futuristic genre and being endorsed by Susan Grant as well means I have to put your book on my wishlsit.

    I would have put it on there just from the blurb though as it sounds like a great story 😀

  42. Wow, Jess! I confess, you are a new to me author but I can see it will not stay that way long! This looks awesome!

    OK, so, what makes me re-read a book? (I TRY to keep all of them, but living in a an apartment makes it hard). I think it’s when I really lose myself in the world and when I really care about the characters. Like when the author makes you feel like you’re a fly on the wall — whether the wall was 600 years ago or won’t happen for another 600 years.

    Great, thanks for the great interview!
    ~bella

  43. Great interview! I keep and re-read books for specific scenes. So when I *re-read* a book it’s more of a skim to get the feel of the book and then read the scenes I enjoy. For example, In Christine Feehan’s Dark Desire it’s the beginning where Jacques is calling to Shea to come save him and again when the other Carpathians come but can’t reach Jacques. Then I’d do some major skimming until the showdown at the end.

  44. Hi Jess~

    There are lots of things that make me keep a book. Sometimes, it is the author, if it is a part of a series, but mostly if the story grabs me enough to make me want to read it again. There are some things on my keeper shelf that I just cannot get rid of even if I wanted to like Linda Howard’s Mackenzie’s Mountain.

    I am looking forward to reading Beyond the Rain.

    Have a great weekend.

  45. I have all of J.D.Robb’s books and I go back and read them again every once in a while. Love the storyline, don’t think I’ll ever tire of it.

  46. Great interview.

    To be honest with you, I have never reread any of the books I loved except for Harry Potter and that was just to refresh my memory when the movies came out. Now don’t get me wrong, there are many books which I have truly loved and enjoyed but for me, once I read it and finish it I’m done. Trying to reread a book is very difficult because I know what is going to happen and that takes the joy out of it. I may be one of few who dont reread but thats just me. Mind you, I’ll keep a book in my shelf just wont read it again.

  47. Just wanted everyone to know that the Kindle version of the book has just been released. Happy reading!

    http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-the-Rain-ebook/dp/B002MQ87ZK/

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