Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Interview with Jess Michaels + Giveaway

Today's guest is the wonderful and very versatile Jess Michaels, who has not only two, but three aliases, writing everything from snarky zombie comedies to steamy historical romances. Take a seat as we discuss romance and mistresses and you could even win a copy of An Introduction to Pleasure, the first book in her Mistress Matchmaker series (that I enjoyed a lot)!

Stella: Hi Jess, welcome to Ex Libris! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Jess: Thanks so much for having me! I have been writing full-time for 14 years and had my first book published by Avon/HarperCollins in 2005. Since then I have 37 books published (or contracted for publication in 2013). I’ve been a national bestseller and award-winner. I live in Tucson, AZ with my husband of almost 16 years and our two cats. I enjoy writing, reading, spending time with our adorable nephews, travel and all things geekish.

Stella: I’ve seen you write under three pennames, why is that? And can you tell us a bit more about the books you write as Jenna Petersen/Jesse Petersen/Jess Michaels?

Jess: The subgenres I write in are fairly different, hence the different names. Under my Jenna Petersen name I write Regency-set historical romance. As Jesse Petersen, I write snarky urban fantasy and as Jess Michaels I write highly erotic historical romance. There is a lot of crossover between Jenna and Jess, but I still keep the names separate as they both have their own audience and expectations from the readers.

Stella: Your latest project, the Mistress Matchmaker series, a steamy historical romance series got great response and is beloved by many. What inspired you to write the series? Was there any specific moment/event that sparked the inspiration for it that you could share with us?

Jess: I have been wanting to write about Vivien Manning, the notorious Mistress Matchmaker for years, since after Avon started their Red line and asked me to help launch it. They wanted more books under my Albright Sisters series, so the Mistress Matchmaker went on a shelf, but when I decided I wanted to write more erotic romance again, I was very excited to get to write these stories. Seeing AN INTRODUCTION TO PLEASURE perform so well is a pleasure!

Stella: For Desire Alone, the 2nd novel in your Mistress Matchmaker series was released today, congratulations! I LOVED it, but can you tell our readers what they can expect of the Mistress Matchmaker series, and more specifically of For Desire Alone?

Jess: Oh thank you so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed the story! I loved writing it. The Mistress Matchmaker features a courtesan who matches fallen women with “protectors”. In the first book, my heroine is an innocent, but Mariah, my heroine from FOR DESIRE ALONE, is much more experienced. She just doesn’t expect to fall madly in love with her late protector’s oldest friend, John Rycroft.

Stella: Could you introduce the main characters of For Desire Alone to us?

Jess: My heroine Mariah is a courtesan who has just lost everything and now must find a new protector. Her hero, John, has vowed never to love, but has always been wildly attracted to Mariah. And Vivien is the matchmaker who encourages them to… explore their feelings for each other. :-) With very hot results.

Stella: Was there a scene or a character you particularly enjoyed writing? (or to the contrary that writing was quite hard but the end result made it all worthwhile?)

Jess: I actually really loved Mariah. She’s a very strong young woman who has made the best of a bad situation without whining much about it. And she doesn’t mince words or pretend to be something she isn’t. I often write heroines I would like to be friends with and I think Mariah really fits that bill.

Stella: How many books are you planning to have in the series, or it depends on the number of wilful characters who’ll clamour to have their own story told? :-)

Jess: There are three books in the series, AN INTRODUCTION TO PLEASURE (June 2012), FOR DESIRE ALONE (out now) and HER PERFECT MATCH (March 5, 2013). Although there are very many interesting characters in that world, if I wrote stories for them, they wouldn’t be part of that series. I’d probably start a new series for them.

Stella: The connection point of your Mistress Matchmaker novels is Vivien, the ex-mistress who is now in the business of pairing mistresses who are seeking protectors with suitable men. Will we get to know more about Vivien and will she maybe even have her own book?

Jess: There’s definitely more to Vivien in FOR DESIRE ALONE than in AN INTRODUCTION TO PLEASURE since she and Mariah are very best friends. Vivien’s own book is HER PERFECT MATCH, which is a March 2013 release.

Stella: Could you please summarize the Mistress Matchmaker series for us Twitter-style (in 140 characters or less)?

Jess: Notorious Mistress helps friends find passion, but will love find them… and her?

Stella: Though you have been writing in the genre for some time, erotic historical romance stories seem to be the trend lately, why do you think that is?

Jess: I’ve never really worried about trends, I just write the stories that are meaningful to me. I think that’s what readers are really looking for when they buy a book of any kind, but especially romance.

Stella: You write both contemporary and historical romances. Which is dearer to your heart and why?

Jess: My zombie books/monster books aren’t actually romance. They’re more snarky urban fantasy with romantic elements. I have a few contemporary romances, but historical is where I love to write romance.

Stella: What is next on your schedule? Any future plans you’d like to share with us? What shall be on the lookout for?

Jess: My most recent release is obviously FOR DESIRE ALONE, which is available now at any online retailer. The third and final book in the Mistress Matchmaker series is HER PERFECT MATCH and will be available March 5, 2013. Then I’ll be starting a new two-book series called The Pleasure Wars. The books will be out in Summer and Fall of 2013 and are called TAKEN BY THE DUKE and BEAUTY AND THE EARL. You can find out more at my recently redesigned website.

My question to you readers is why DO you like erotic historical romance?

Jess Michaels always likes the "good parts" when she reads romance, so it makes sense that she writes erotic books. She is a nationally bestselling and award-winning author of over ten novels and novellas. When not writing, she enjoys being a geek, designing jewelry and trying to keep the cats from scratching the furniture. She lives in Tucson with her husband.

Jess Michaels is a pseudonym for author Jenna Petersen (historical romance) and author Jesse Petersen (urban fantasy).

Find her online at her website, on TwitterFacebook or Goodreads.

Book #2 in the Mistress Matchmaker series

Behind their passion lurks a dark truth that could destroy their love.

A mistress should never be foolish enough to fall in love with her protector, nor trust him with her financial future. Mariah Desmond did both, and now her dearly departed protector has left her with nothing.

Forced to seek another protector, she’s determined that this time, she’ll lead with her survival instinct—not her heart. But when she attends one of Vivien Manning’s infamous parties, the familiar face of her late lover’s best friend throws her for a loop.

A painful past taught John Rycroft that he’s not fit to be anyone’s knight in shining armor. His soft spot—make that a hard spot—for Mariah is precisely why he’s kept his distance. Yet the sight of her flirting with a bevy of men vying to become her next lover makes something inside him snap.

As John hauls her bodily away from her suitors, Mariah’s indignation melts away in the heat of the sizzling sexual chemistry. She quickly finds it isn’t easy to navigate John’s stormy emotional waters. Especially when his abusive father’s quest to get his son back under his thumb puts her life in danger.

Product Warnings: Contains intensely sexy scenes of two people falling into bed (a lot) and in love.


Jess has generously offered an ebook copy of An Introduction to Pleasure, the 1st book in her Mistress Matchmaker series to a lucky commenter!

All you need to do is leave a comment answering Jess' question: My question to you readers is why DO you like erotic historical romance?

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 16 November 2012!

Good luck!

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