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My guest today is Jessa Slade

Seduced By Shadows large

Can you tell everyone a little bit about yourself? 

I think I was destined to be a writer.  I’m the stereotypical writer, a la Joan Wilder from ROMANCING THE STONE: Introverted, slightly (okay, more than slightly) neurotic, prone to daydreaming.  Everything about me is less interesting than my characters—I’m shorter, paler, lazier, and wear longer skirts and shorter heels. 

Except that I’m prone to odd incidents—like the time I think I was almost sold into slavery by a Russian boyfriend’s babushka—that I tell myself will make a great scene in a book someday.  Really, there was no choice except to become a writer.

How long have you been writing? 

I’ve always written.  My grandmother assembled a chapbook of my early works, which goes all the way back to “My Pomes,” poetry from grade school, rife with unicorns and misspellings.  Which pretty much describes my writing today, too, except I replaced the unicorns with demons.  It took me almost 100 rejections over more than 10 years on nearly a million final draft words to get here.  Maybe because of all the misspellings.

What is your writing process like? 

Due to my day job and the incontrovertible fact that no one should ever have to get up before the sun, I write at night.  The hours of 8 pm to midnight are prime time, although I sometimes go until 1 or 2 a.m.  Two to 3 a.m. is my stupid hour when all systems fail, no matter how much sugar I’ve consumed.

I’m a plotter, which means I sit around a lot and stare at things.  It may look like my brain has been stolen by zombies, but actually I’m working.  After I’ve thought awhile, I fill out a bunch of charts and worksheets and graphs I’ve assembled over the years.  About halfway through that stack, I lose interest and jump into the first draft.  I write through chapter three in a passionate heat and certitude of brilliance.  In chapter four, I suddenly realize the story hasn’t actually started yet and throw out chapters one through three, keeping only—maybe—the characters’ names.  I reorganize and write through chapter seven where I notice the characters have been talking for the last fifty pages.  I blow something up.  I continue to blow things up—literally or figuratively, as needed—until I get to the end, where I remember, with a sinking heart, that I never got around to plotting that part.  I weep for a bit, consult my favorite craft books by Donald Maass, Robert McKee and Syd Fields, and then write The End.

In the second draft, I add the plot, the character arcs, a villain, the romance, the real beginning and an actual end.

In the third through seventh drafts, I try to unearth the story from the mess I’ve made.  Eventually, I send it to my mom, who tells it’s awesome, which gives me the strength to send it to my critique partners, who tell me, yeah, it needs some work. 

I go through it again.  Finally, in the polishing round, I lash myself to my chair, and delete every extraneous that, so, just, shrugged, snorted, turned, gazed, and breathed, and then delete another 2,000 to 10,000 words, depending on how much I’ve overwritten.

Er, as you might have decided for yourself, it’s not a process I necessarily recommend.

Can you tell us about your new release Seduced by Shadows?  

SEDUCED BY SHADOWS is my first published novel, an urban fantasy romance and the first in The Marked Souls series. 

From the back cover:

The war between good and evil has raged for millennia, but now evil is

winning, and The Marked Souls are caught in the middle…

After an accident left her near death, Sera Littlejohn is struggling to

piece together her life.  But when a violet-eyed stranger reveals a supernatural battle veiled in the shadows, Sera is tempted to the edge of madness by a dangerous desire.

Ferris Archer takes Sera under his wing now that she is talyan, possessed by a repentant demon with hellish powers.  Archer and his league of warriors have long risked their demon-shattered souls to stop darker spirits from wreaking havoc.  But they’ve never fought beside a female talya before, and never in all his centuries has Archer found a woman who captivates him like Sera.

With the balance shifting between good and evil, passion and possession, Sera and Archer must defy the darkness‹and dare to embrace a love that will mark them forever…

This is the beginning of a new series correct? 

When my editor called to say NAL wanted to buy the book, she asked me if it was part of a series.  I said, um, yeah?  (Because what kind of idiot says no?)  She said, great, she was meeting with the editorial board the following week, and could I have something ready to show them?  I said, um, yeah?  (Because, again, what kind of idiot says no?) 

Luckily, it was a three-day weekend and my XY was out of town.  I brainstormed those three days solid, hopped up on cookie dough and various high fructose corn syrup beverages (did I mention I have a sugar addiction?), and at the end of the three days, I had nine books—three interlocking trilogies, with each book and each trilogy strong enough to stand on its own plus an overarching plot line for the whole thing. 

I fancy myself a very analytical, methodical writer (anyone who’s seen me in the throes might disagree, but I always mean to have a plan) and I have never before had a story—let alone NINE stories—emerge so organically.  I typed it all into a spectacular (if I do say so myself) spreadsheet and, I swear, the thing looked like tablets straight from the muse.  If the muse used Excel.

Book 2, FORGED OF SHADOWS, will be out in June 2010.

What are you currently working on? 

I’m hard at work on Book 3 of the Marked Souls, tentatively titled VOWED IN SHADOWS.  And, of course, I’m reveling in the upcoming release of Book 1 🙂  Someone asked me recently how I felt about my long-time dream coming true, and I wondered, can you really call it a dream when it’s so much work?  I never work that hard in dreams.  Usually I’m too busy running around without socks.  Or drowning.

Where or how do you get ideas for your books? 

Ideas pop up like toadstools.  And I live in the Pacific Northwest where toadstools don’t even bother waiting for the rain.  They (ideas, not toadstools) sneak in at night as I’m falling asleep, and they’re jumping around impatiently in the morning when I get up.  They come in the shower (ideas AND toadstools, depending on when I last scrubbed the shower), while walking the dog, when driving to work, while talking to clients (don’t tell), when I’m doing the dishes.  Mostly, they intrude when I’m struggling with the work in progress.  Nothing like a shiny new idea to distract you from a WIP.

Like the name of your blog, Greta, most ideas want to be gotten to NOW.  I think most writers have more ideas than they have hours to write, which is insanely frustrating.  I find that if I give them a folder on my computer and the start of a file, usually I can get them to lay quietly until I can work with them.  But it’s maddening to think how many unused ideas are no doubt sitting in the hard drives of my favorite authors!

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

Yup, I’m a book addict in addition to the sugar problem.  I read a bit of everything, but I always return to romance, science fiction, fantasy, YA, and thrillers.  My XY is a big non-fiction reader, so I steal his books too.  I have a lot of auto-buys, too many to list, but just to name the ones I can see from my desk right this second, Gena Showalter, Patricia Briggs, Dean Koontz, Jeaniene Frost, C.L. Wilson, Jeri Smith-Ready, Jessica Andersen, Maggie Stiefvater.

What books are on your keeper shelf? 

I have lots of keepers, but there are a few I keep and read repeatedly.  Frank Herbert’s DUNE, Patricia McKillip’s THE FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF ELD, Jacqueline Carey’s KUSHIEL’S DART, Ann Maxwell’s FIRE DANCER, and of course Tolkien.  I think they all have in common an intricacy of worldbuilding and a beauty of language to which I aspire.

What was the first romance book you read or the one book that has stood the test of time for you?  

My first was my mom’s copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss’s A ROSE IN WINTER!  Here it is, the passage that sealed my fate as a romance writer: (This is after the hero teases the heroine into going to the ball with him; he had promised her wouldn’t pressure her for lovin’ at the ball and this is on the carriage ride home.)

         A throbbing pressure grew in the man’s loins. He had played out his hand with patience, but now it was waning before the tumult of his passions… [His] hand came up to cup the fullness of her breast…

        A shocked gasp caught in Erienne’s throat… She held him at arm’s length and confronted him in a breathless whisper… “[You] gave your word!”

        “Aye, madam, that I did,” he whispered back.  “But listen well, my love, and mark the bounds.”  He leaned closer.  “Sweet Erienne, the ball is over.”

Oh delighted sigh!  “Listen well, my love, and mark the bounds.”  Throbbing tumult indeed!  It was my first romance and still, I think, one of the best. 

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

Hmm, for Ferris Archer, I need someone tall, dark and handsome.  Not too boyish.  Intense, focused, and dangerous.  Joaquin Phoenix?  Christian Bale?  Guy Pearce?  I’m thinking seriously about Joseph Fiennes, now showing in the new SF show Flash Forward.  But I haven’t quite decided.  I’m sure I’ll know when I look him in the eye.  What?  Yes, I DO need to be there for the casting.

And if we cast one of the men above, I suppose I could trouble myself to play Sera Littlejohn.  But if I’m busy, I could reluctantly turn over the part to Charlize Theron.

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

Are you kidding?!?  I wouldn’t be caught dead living their lives.  The things that happen to them…  Eesh, it’d probably kill me.  Sure, it’s my fault they’re going through all that, but I created them to explore tough questions like where does evil come from?; does it matter if you are good?; how do immortal demon fighters get demonic ichor stains out of their trench coats? (24-hour dry cleaners, turns out.)  I figure if my characters survive, they deserve whatever happiness I can give them.  That’s the promise I make and I wouldn’t take that away.

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

What means this ‘spare time’?  Must be one of those futuristic concepts like ‘paperless society’ and ‘personal jet packs.’  But when I can, I like to hike and garden because it gets me outside and gives me a chance to convert sunshine into Vitamin D.  I also like to bead—mostly jewelry—because that’s a project I can finish in an afternoon and wear, unlike a book which takes waaaay longer to make and looks kind of funny hanging around my neck.

Where can readers find you on the internet? 

I blog fairly regularly at my website http://jessaslade.com and I post every Monday at http://www.silkandshadows.com.  I’m also on:

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/jessaslade

MySpace http://www.myspace.com/jessaslade

Twitter at http://twitter.com/jessaslade.

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

I’d ask, ‘What’s the last book you recommended to a friend, and why?’

Thanks for inviting me, Greta!  I’ll be checking in throughout the day, so if anyone has any questions or wants to make fun of my dubious bathroom cleaning skills, fire away.

***Leave a comment answering Jessa’s question and one lucky commenter will win a signed copy of Seduced by Shadows. Good Luck 🙂


47 Responses

  1. Hm, last book, oh yes it was teh Black Dagger Brotherhood series by JR Ward 🙂

  2. Great Interview! Hi Jessa!

    You are a new to me author but this looks GREAT! If I don’t win I am putting this on my TBR list ASAP!
    For the question I would have to say Highland Dragon by Kimberly Killion. I was lucky enough to do an early review and the book is just captivating and brilliant!



  3. That was an excellent interview! I loved The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, too. 🙂

    The last book I recommended to someone was Love and Loyalty, an m/m romance by Tere Michaels.

  4. I would love to read your book. The last book I recommended to anybody was Close Encounters Of The Sexy Kind by Karen Kelley.

  5. I recommended Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas and Bridefinder by Susan Carroll.

  6. Great interview! As most of my friends do not read romance of any kind, the last book that I recommended “Casanegra” by Blair Underwood and Tananarive Due which is on my keeper shelf.

  7. I recommended Bad Moon Rising and the rest of the Dark Hunter series to some of my friends because I think the story, plot lines and characters make some of the best books I’ve read!

  8. It sounds like Seduced by Shadows is a labor of love. A book I would recommend would be The Imortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole. The Marked Souls series sounds awesome.

  9. Okay, I admit, my ulterior motive for asking the question was adding to my TBR pile 🙂 Thanks for the great suggestions. A few of those are new to me.

  10. What a great interview! Book sounds like its right up my alley.

    I recommended Intertwined to my nephew because it is an excellent story and Gena Showalter wrote it.(love her) I also recommended The House of Night Series by PC Cast and Kristen Cast to a woman at the book store. She was actually trying to get assistance from the book clerk and just didnt seem interested in what she was suggesting(Charlaine Harris books) so I told her about the series. I’m no longer in the YA catagory but they did such a good job with their vamps. I like how they arent vamps to start, they are marked and eventually turn or not. This series hooked me from the start and I would recommend it to you if enjoy YA and anyone else.

  11. Suzette, yay you for hand selling! I’ve had that happen when I’m standing in a book store aisle (was actually a baking book, not romance, surprisingly) and I knew it must be a good book becuase the woman was sooo excited, she just HAD to hand me the book.

    That sort of enthusiasm is definitely contagious.

  12. I told my friend about the Stephanie Plum series and now she’s hooked!

  13. I recommended some authors not books to a friend at work. I recommended Lynn VIehl, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Lora Leigh, Jeannine Frost amoung others. She and i both are reading Karen Marie Morning’s Fever series and both of us are cussing the 3rd books ending. lol She said to watch out for the 4th one ending too. So I probably join her in cussing this afternoon when i finish that one. Love these stories but man she leaves the heroine hanging at the end

  14. Really looking forward to this series! The last book I recommended to anyone was the Darkyn series by Lynn Viehl. A friend was looking for something with a different spin on the vampire tale and since she liked Kenyon, I thought this series would fit. Also Elizabeth Vaughn’s Borderland trilogy…She loved them!!

  15. This new series sounds interesting, I’ll look for the books!

    The last book I recommended was Wild Card by Lora Leigh. I love her Elite Ops heroes!

  16. Hi Jessa!
    If you are interested in weather I can recommend you the Warden Series by Rachel Caine starting with Ill wind – I loved this world and I think there is nothing equally to find!
    mhh, what else? Do you know Jennifer Lyon? My love for angels started with her (and Nalini Singh *grin*).
    oh, and don’t miss the Sons of Destiny Series by Jean Johnson – the guys are hot!

  17. There are 2 really.

    I constant push The Hunger Games on people I run into. It’s just a brilliant book. My husband is reading it now and he doesn’t read. Ever. I did get him to read the Twilight Saga though so I am making progress! 🙂

    But recently it’s been Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate) by Gail Carriger. I LOVED that book. I just reviewed it because it just released!

  18. The books I last recommended were the Demonica series by Larissa Ione. Sexy heroes and a creative look at the otherworld.

  19. Hi Jessa and Greta!

    Great interview and I love the cover!

    I would recommend these two books I just finished reading:

    1. One Scream Away by Kate Brady
    2. The Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell series by Chelsea Cain (HeartSick, Sweetheart, Evil at Heart, etc.)

  20. Pamk, you know, I think Stephanie Plum was the last one I recommended. My neighbors are long haul truckers and she was looking for a new series. Although she reads more toward the thriller end of the spectrum in fiction, my evuhl plan is to inch her toward romance. Bwu-ha-ha.

    Terri W, Chelsea Cain is a local-to-me author. I think Gretchen is awesomely horrible 🙂 What would the love child of Gretchen and Hannibal Lecter be like? Shudder.

  21. The last “story” I recommended to anyone was Jessa’s short story prequel! Before that, I recommended the Dune series to a friend, because I thought they would find the format interesting (following the history of family lines and the path of humanity, vs. following a specific character or group of characters).

    ❤ Rebecca.

  22. Great Interview! The last book I recommended was The Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning. I had my friend go and buy all of them. It was really kind of selfish on my part, I wanted her to read them because after Dreamfever I was driving myself mad with the books. I needed someone else to talk to about them. See if she had the same theory’s I did. Plus I needed someone to go nuts with me while waiting for Shadowfever.

  23. Lol, Lisa. Hooking someone else into your addiction is wonderful, I agree. Makes me feel less crazy anyway 🙂

  24. […] posting at I Do Not Want to Wait Greta invited me to post at I Do Not Want to Wait I Want the Book Now, which is IMO the best name for a blog.  I realize it takes authors a long time to write their […]

  25. Thanks for letting us look into your life. I’m always recommending books to my friends and they either have to read the books or hear me babble about them for days. The great thing about books are there are always more to be read. Keep them coming!

  26. Well, it’s a series of books. The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I enjoyed the books so much, I wanted to share.

  27. I told my sister to read Jaye Wells’ Red-Headed Stepchild because it’s a great story. She has a great herione and the story is a great departure on the whole vampire mythos. I loved it.

  28. Great interview. I love the answer to how long you’ve been writing. Misspellings at that young age only seem to make me nostalgic for my own writing from grade school.

    The last book I receommended was Ice Hunt by James Rollins. My oldest brother was looking for something of mine he might enjoy reading and given what I know of his reading habits, that’s what I suggested for him.

  29. The last book I suggested was “The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker” to my sister. I think she would really enjoy it.

    Morning Glow

  30. Hi Jessica! I just recommended Sharie Kohler’s Moon Chasers Series. All 3 books in the series have been fantastic. To Crave a Blood Moon was the last one out. I have also recommended Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series. Fantastic post!

  31. Congrtas on your first book, Jessa! (and I totally love your name 🙂

    And the last book I recommended to a friend was The Love at Stakes series by Kerrelyn Sparks. Why? Because shes one of my favorite authors who writes with a mixture of romance, humor and vampires; which are three of my favorite things:)

    I hope you have much success!

  32. The last book I recommended was Red Fire by Deidre Knight. At the time, she was a new-to-me author and the book made such an impression on me, she went straight to my auto-buy list. Really, how can you go wrong with loin-cloth wearing immortal Spartans who fight demons?

  33. The Wicked series by Gregory Macguire. Its a great set of books and doesnt matter if you are a Wizard of Oz fan or not. There are so many other meanings in them.

  34. Karin, speaking of grade school nostalgia, I’ve recently embarked on a campaign to improve my handwriting. I realized it had gotten so bad, even I couldn’t tell what I was writing. Unfortunately, it’s slow going so far. At least when I mistype “teh” people still understand me.

  35. I would recommend The Chosen One by Carol Williams.

    Great read.

  36. Hi Jessa~

    Seduced by the Shadows sounds really great and I love hearing that it is part of a series as I love a good series.

    The last books that I recommended was the Ann Aguirre books…I cannot limit it to just one title when it comes to Ann…I told them to read them all!

  37. I last recommended the assassin family series by Leslie Langtry starting with ‘Scuse Me While I Kill This Guy.

  38. Hi Jessa, your book sound like an awesome read and I would love to read it.!

    I am reading ONE RECKLESS SUMMMER right now and I am loven it! I would recommend it to any avid reader!

  39. I had a friend (who knows I love anything paranormal), ask what the deal was with the True Blood tv series. By the time I ended our very lengthy conversation, I had recommended the whole Sookie Stackhouse series, and even lent her my copy of Dead Until Dark.

  40. I last recommended Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series.

    Your book cover is HOT! I can’t wait to read your first novel. Congrats!

  41. I think the last series I recommended was the Dead Girls Series by Molly Harper. I’m excited ot check out your new series!

  42. Love the inteview!
    The last one was The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Why? – ’cause it’s a great book 🙂

  43. My friend at work is a Twilight freak. She knows reading is an addiction for me so she asked if I could recommend a book to her. I told her some of my favorite authors and books but nothing grabbed her attention. I told her to try Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series. I have the first book but haven’t opened it yet. I’ve heard such great things about the series and thought she’d enjoy it.

    I told her it’s nothing like Twilight… she went out and bought the first three yesterday. She’s almost done with the 2nd when I saw her at work earlier today. =D I’m very glad she likes them.

    Thanks for the interview and the chance to win Jessa’s book =)

  44. Great interview and congratulations on your new release. The last book I recommended to a friend was PLEASURE AND PURPOSE by Megan Hart

  45. That would probably be Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series, which was a favorite of mine well before the inception of the HBO series TrueBlood.


  46. The last book that I remember recommending was Rita Herron’s Last Kiss Goodbye and her Demonborn book to my friend Keeshe. It holds elements that I know she’d love

  47. […] impatience is rewarded I’m guest posting at one of my favorite named blogs I Don’t Want to Wait I Want the Book Now, interviewed by Greta where she asks who I think should play Ferris Archer in the movie version of […]

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