Ha! Probably All In The Family. Why? Someone's almost ALWAYS butting heads.
What’s your favorite thing to do to relax?
I'm addicted to YouTube so I'm always on there catching up on cooking shows, writer videos and montages from my favorite shows and soaps! Offline I love watching TV and reading though I don't get to do enough of either.
Now for some silly things. Do you prefer…
Public speaking or public singing?
Eeeek! Speaking if I had to pick one. I think I can carry a decent tune but there's something insanely vulnerable about standing up in front of a bunch of people and singing.
Writing in a notebook or typing on the computer?
Oh I'm totally spoiled now. Typing. Writing in a notebook is just too slow, though I do keep a notebook to jot down little snippets here and there sometimes.
Coke or Pepsi?
This may sound weird, but I can't tell the difference between the two. They both taste the same to me. Honestly!
Living without your cell phone or living without your computer?
Definitely cell phone. I hate it. If I could, I'd throw it under a bus.
Now let's find out a little about you as an author…Did you always want to be an author?
I always wanted to be both an author and actress. Went to college for theater but writing is more suited to me because acting is incredibly nerve wracking!
What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult?
One of my favorite authors growing up was Lavryle Spencer. Such emotional yet passionate romance. The Fulfillment (that one was actually made into a movie!), Twice Loved are some of my favorite romances on my keeper shelf!
These days I have many writer friends who I look up to, but outside that circle in addiction to Lavryle Spencer, I'm very influenced by writers like Paullina Simons (The Bronze Horseman series) who has such a gorgeous, powerful writing style and Nora Roberts for her insane work ethic. I would love to be as prolific as La Nora… but I love sleep too much!
Did anyone in your life influence you or encouraged you to be a writer? (teacher, family member, friend)
My family has encouraged my writing and many of my early readers from my fanfic stories have still followed me to this day into my published works. My best friend has been a steadfast butt kicker over the years and if it wasn't for her I never would have finished and submitted my first original novel Four Winds Of Heaven. She would refuse to talk to me until I finished X number of pages!
What is your favorite aspect or writing? Your least favorite?
My favorite is that feeling when you're so in the writing zone and things are going so well the rest of the world disappears and the words flow like magic. The worst is when it takes you an hour to write a paragraph!
What aspect of writing would you most like to improve on?
Setting. I have a tendency to have a bunch of bobbing talking heads in scenes because my strength is dialogue. I always have to go back and flesh things out. The exception to this is love scenes. I'm pretty good at…ahem…fleshing those out.
Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?
Noise! I need either the music or the television on. I can't write when it's quiet.
Do you have a common theme or item that appears in each of your books?
I was thinking about this the other day! It's not a conscious thing but I find that there is almost always some kind of 'infidelity' plot point which is usually a no-no in romance! But using my upcoming erotic romance Till Death Do Us Part, the heroine's first husband 'dies', she remarries and then the first husband returns and they cannot stay away from each other. I think it's the context of the infidelity that makes it palatable or not for readers. Authors have to be very careful where they want to go. Without spoiling too much, I will say that a similar context comes into play in the sequel to The Arrangement.
What have you learned the most from being in the writing business?
The business today is 20% writing 80% promotion. I wish it was the other way around, but the fact remains if you want to make any decent money in this industry, you have to be constantly promoting your work. That was a BIG surprise to me.
Tell us about your latest release...
The Arrangement is a WW2 set erotic romance and the first book in the Resistance trilogy with Rebel Ink Press. Here's the blurb for it:
Elsa Mostek is a young Jewish woman who is forced to move with her family from the Warsaw Ghetto in Poland to the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943. She immediately draws the attention of Nazi Officer Friedrich Weiss who inexplicably shows favor towards her and helps her escape harm many times thanks to the power he wields in the camp. Aware that many of her fellow female prisoners are bartering their bodies for survival and in desperation to save her starving family, Elsa makes an offer to Friedrich.
What Elsa does not know is that Friedrich is a spy with the German Resistance that has infiltrated the Nazi regime. He must keep up the pretense of loyalty to Hitler's cause as he sends secrets to those on the outside.
Friedrich doesn't want to take advantage of Elsa but can't help wanting her. As the misery of his position increases, she offers him the only light left in a world of darkness and despite his best intentions, Friedrich gives in to her offer. Passion explodes between them, giving them a reprieve from the monstrous world they inhabit, though both know it can never last.
Here's an excerpt that I hope will intrigue your readers!
Elsa jumped when Friedrich came back into the living room and handed her a towel.
“I drew you a warm bath. You’ve had a terrible day and I just want you to rest. I don’t expect anything from you today. You can sleep if you like and then we’ll discuss the terms of Ania’s release.” He gave her shoulder a slight squeeze and brought her to her feet. He took a step back and looked at her. “What happened to your hair?”
“Oh.” She touched her hair and shrugged. “Just got into it with one of the other women. Nothing important.”
He turned her around and gasped, his fingers going over the cut on her nape. The blood was dry now but she still hissed when he touched it. “What the hell…?”
“Really. It’s nothing.”
“Don’t say that. You’ve been stabbed for God sake.”
“That’s just being dramatic. She just nicked me. That’s all. Anyway, I handled it.”
“Oh, you did?” he asked, cocking an eyebrow. Then his eyes grew angry. “This was because of me, wasn’t it? Because of us?”
She went quiet, not bothering to deny it.
He shook his head. “Give me her name.”
“No, Friedrich, really. It’s not important.”
“Yes, it is.” Without another word he left her to take her bath.
Her mouth was dry as she soaked in the tub that she was too frightened to enjoy. He didn’t expect anything from her. Was he tiring of her already?
Had she not done a good job the first time? She had been an innocent but surely with time she would get better.
Did he not care enough to give her that time?
Friedrich had left a robe on the door knob and she wrapped the pale yellow terrycloth fabric around her. She went to the bedroom and found him inside, hanging some clothes in the closet.
He turned and nodded at her. “I’ll get out of your way and you can take a nap.”
“Oh no!” Elsa urged, her fists tight to try and stop their trembling. “You can stay. I’d rather…be with you.”
He looked at her in surprise. “What do you mean? You want…”
“I want you to…Yes,” she said, her voice cracking. Her heart was pounding so hard her chest hurt. She could do this. She liked it enough the first and second time and she had some idea of things she could try to do that might please him.
He shook his head and walked over to her, cupping the side of her face. He looked down at her in concern. “What is it? You’re shaking like a leaf, Elsa.”
She tried for a light laugh. “I suppose it’s just the change in temperature from the warm bath to the cool room.”
“You’re tired. What you endured this morning…”
Elsa lifted up on her tip toes and pulled him down to kiss her. He was so warm and tasted so wonderful that for a split second Elsa just wanted to forget everything and just burrow against him, but then fear slithered back under her skin, into her chest, and she whimpered.
He groaned and cupped the back of her head, deepening the kiss, his tongue seeking out hers.
Elsa’s hands went to his shirt and she quickly undid the buttons, pushing the material off his muscled shoulders then reaching for his belt anxious to join herself with him so that he could slake his lust in her body and remember that he wanted her.
Maybe they could do it again and again so that he could see that she always wanted to be with him in that way and hopefully with every time she would get better and better.
She struggled with the button of his trousers, trying to get his pants off and whimpering in frustration when her fingers were trembling too much to do it.
“Hey, hey. Slow down. There’s no…”
Elsa captured his mouth again and moved her hands up under his undershirt, pushing it upwards and breaking the kiss to push the undergarment up over his head.
He grabbed her hands and looked down at them and then back at her. “Good God, your hands are like ice, Elsa.”
Elsa swallowed and looked away. “I told you, I’m just cold. That’s all.”
“No, you’re terrified. What’s going on here? I thought we were past this.”
Again, she tried to laugh it off. “Don’t be silly. Of course we are. I want this.” And really, she did. She just wanted it to be like it was before. Before this morning. Before Hoess. When Friedrich had been with her in Cologne and they could just pretend they were different people.
She reached for him again but Friedrich stepped out of her embrace. “No. You don’t. Something happened this morning…”
“I don’t want to talk about that,” Elsa insisted, crossing her arms over her chest.
“I do,” Friedrich snapped. He cupped her face again, more firmly than before. “Look at me. What did Hoess tell you?”
“What does it matter? I don’t want to think about this morning. I just want it to be the two of us here. Just you and me, remember?” she urged. She gripped the straps of his undershirt.
Something must have clicked in Friedrich’s brain because he let go of her so quickly that Elsa smacked the back of her head against the door. “I’m going to ask you again, what did Hoess tell you?”
“Please, I only want to forget this morning ever happened. Why can’t you let me do so?”
“The list from those sent to the gas chambers. I saw them at the meeting. Hoess’ mistress was on it. Is that what he told you?”
Elsa didn’t move.
“Answer me!” he yelled at her and Elsa wanted to disappear into the wooden door. “He told you that…what? I would do the same to you?” he demanded, placing his hand over his mouth and staring at her incredulously. When she didn’t answer, he grabbed her. “Is that what you believe?”
“Don’t shout at me!” she cried, crumpling into sobs. “I know what will happen. I know it.”
“You don’t know a damn thing,” he snapped at her and threw her onto the bed. “You liar. You damned liar.”
“Me?” Elsa asked, incredulous as tears streamed down her face.
“You promised me that when we were alone that the rest of this world would fall away. That it would just be the two of us, and it was all a lie.”
“You forced me to…”
His eyes went wild then and he grabbed the front of her robe and hauled her up against him easily with one hand. “Don’t you dare. Don’t you fucking dare. You think you’re the first, you stupid girl? You think I haven’t had other women throw themselves at me with the same offer? I never wanted them. Not a one. I wanted you. I wanted you from the moment I saw you. It was like this burning, raging thing inside of me and I thought I would go mad with it. But to you, it’s nothing more than a business transaction. I knew that. I know it. But yet I had hoped that in Cologne we had reached some sort of a…I don’t know. A mutual desire to just for a few moments forget where and who we were. I suppose I shouldn’t blame you for that. I’m the one that was the fucking fool here.”
Wow. Powerful! Now I want to read more! How did you decide on your story plot?
I read a book many years ago called Days Of Eternity by Gordon Glasco that is set in WW2 and one of the most heartbreaking, emotional romances I've ever read. I can't recommend it enough. The story of a Nazi Officer and an Italian woman stayed with me through the years. Then I read The Bronze Horseman trilogy by Paullina Simons, also set during WW2 which I try and re-read every year and I just fell in love with that era. I knew I wanted to set a romance in that time but I knew the subject matter would be a bit controversial for some so I didn't gather the courage to write it until a few years ago. I needed to get to a place where my love for the story would become more important than what people thought about it. It's a philosophy I fully believe in now. Of course, you want your readers to love your work and you want to sell books but love for the story as YOU want to write it has to come first, has to come above all of that or in my opinion, you're a fraud as a writer. 99% of my feedback for this story has been positive with one exception where someone wrote and said that 'genocide was not romance'. Honestly, I didn't put much stock in that comment because if someone can't be bothered to actually read the story and see that in NO way do I romanticize what happened during the Holocaust, well, I can't be bothered to give credence to their opinion.
How did you choose your characters names and location for your story?
God bless the internet! I was looking for a strong German name for the hero, but nothing too harsh…not easy in the German language but I think Friedrich is strong enough while still sounding romantic. Elsa was inspired by Ingrid Bergman's character in Casablanca. There's even a little nod to it in the sequel to The Arrangement that I'll be working on polishing up very soon. As for the location, that came to me after watching the WW2 miniseries Uprising about a group of Jews who fought against the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto. Then I had Elsa moved to Auschwitz with her family.
Do you have a favorite scene? Why?
I love the passionate scenes between Friedrich and Elsa, because they're more about desperation and fighting to live for both of them than about just sex but barring those, I would say the interrogation scene between the two of them. Elsa has given up at that point, having lost just about everything at that point and Friedrich is forced by his superiors to get her to reveal the name of a man who orchestrated an escape from the camp.
Do you have a character that you identify with? Who and why?
I don't know about 'identify' but I definitely think Elsa is one of the strongest women I've ever known. Strongest and most flawed as we'll see as the saga continues. I would love to have that core of inner strength that she has!
Please let readers know how they can get a hold of you…
Come say hi on my blog: www.ejamiesmuse.blogspot.ca
My website: www.ejamie.net
Thank you so much, Melissa, for letting me play in your sandbox today! I hope your readers pick up a copy of The Arrangement and let me know if they love it!