Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday Morning Chat: #Interview with @jennafoxrox

John Satisfy:  Today I’d like to welcome Jenna Fox to my blog.  This little vixen caught my attention almost a year ago on twitter.  When I checked out some of her stories I knew she was a little firecracker I had to share with the world.  Please, tell me a little bit about who you are and what you write.

Jenna Fox:   First of all, thank you John for hosting this interview.

I was born in a small Eastern Tennessee town and raised in a strict religious home.  My mother was a Sunday school teacher and we never missed a church service.  Sex was never discussed in our household because it was considered dirty, and my parents never gave me the birds and the bees talk.  Needless to say, I learned about sex from the public education system and the girl’s bathroom.

On Saturday afternoons, my mother would happily drop me off at the public library.  And why wouldn't she be happy?  Her daughter was a book worm instead of traipsing around the mall chasing boys.  Little did she know I was squirming through the card catalog for erotic reading material.  Momma thought those novels I was bringing home were teenaged romances.

As I read, the writing styles and the emotions they evoked were intriguing, powerful.  It turned on a light and opened up a whole new world.  Sex wasn't taboo and dirty.  It was natural and beautiful.  By the time age sixteen blossomed into twenty-two, I only got hungry for more.  I picked up a pen and let it all hang out.

JS:  Sounds like you've got some personal motivation for writing these stories, almost as if you’re trying to pay back the universe for all the wonderful things erotica gave you earlier in your life.

JF:  Writing erotica not only frees me, but it helps me free others.  One of the best moments I’ve had as an author was when a reader thanked me for enriching her sex life.  She was on a flight from New York, and read my title Dirty Little Games. By the time she got home, she said she was so turned-on that she gave her husband the romp of his life.

I felt like a rock star!  This book worm had accomplished the sole reason for becoming a writer...touching someone else’s life.  I was able to take my imagination, put her in my world, and give her an unforgettable moment with a loved one.

JS:  Awesome!  I think every writer wants to touch their readers and well your story certainly made touched a few people that day. So just what is in that Dirty Little Games of yours?

JF:  Dirty Little Games (DLG) has a more rounded plot than its prequel, The Escape.  I wrote The Escape to titillate and stimulate...plot be damned.  DLG is a mix of characterization, back story, and sex.  It was an accident because I had no intentions of writing a sequel.  The protagonists, Chief Martin and Roxanne Morgan, took on 3-D personalities after I daydreamed about them.

JS:  Sounds interesting.  How is DLG different then its prequel?

JF:  DLG was the first project I wrote from the male point of view (POV).  I’ll admit, I shy away from writing in male POV. For me, it takes tons of extra creativity.  To accomplish my goal, I looked at a lot of pictures of nude women and admired the female body from a man’s perspective.  I asked myself:  how would a guy describe breasts?  How would a guy describe all the caveman-like emotions that run so deep when he stakes his claim?

I guess I rose to the occasion.

Through the experience, I realized that I enjoy writing from the male POV, but quite honestly, I enjoy reading from a male POV much, much better.  It’s pretty darned hot!

JS:  It is always fun to expand your writing comfort zone.  Changing up POV or a different genre, etc can be wonderfully liberating.  Hopefully you can give me an Excerpt of DLG’s to leave tease my readers.  Besides POV, is there another way you’d like to expand your writing boundaries?

JF:  Although writing erotica has definitely opened new and exciting opportunities, my first love is horror.  Fear is just as compelling as sex, and there's a good market for horror, especially with the current zombie craze going on.

In my next release, "Sealed in Blood", I took the opportunity to try my hand at writing some horror.  Sealed is a romantic thriller, but I plugged in some gruesome scenes that really appealed to one of my CP's who specializes in erotic horror.  She pointed out that she thought I had a real talent for the genre.  I'm a big Stephen King fan, and I can definitely see myself writing a horror novella someday.

JS:  You love to get the blood pumping, don't you Jenna?  What has been the hardest scene or type of scene for you to write?

JF:  I know this seems ironic, but I really struggle with romantic scenes.   I find it difficult to break down those emotions and describe them on paper.

Fear has always been something I easily relate to.  I love describing the feeling of blood pulsing through veins while someone is trailing closely behind, or the moment a character has their hand on a door knob, and they struggle with the decision to open it for fear of what could be lurking on the other side.  For me as a reader, those scenes keep the pages turning.  

JS:  When you're not crafting your own tales, what do you read?  What are your favorite books?

JF:  I read everything from crime fiction to William Shakespeare.  My book shelves are packed with novels by Patricia Cornwell, Stephen King, Kathy Reichs, and Dan Brown to name a few.

I also enjoy non-fiction.  Recently, I read Area 51-America's Top Secret Military Base by Annie Jacobsen.  On my to-read list is Stephen King's 11/22/63.  The JFK assassination has always fascinated me with all the conspiracies that have floated around throughout the decades since that fateful day in American History.

As far as steamy romance, Lora Leigh tops my list.  In my opinion, Leigh rocks the charts with her talent for writing from the male POV.  Smoke rises from the pages when I crack open one of her novels.

JS:  Quite a diverse list you have there.  Sometimes you find inspiration in the most unlikely places.  Where do you find your inspiration comes from?

JF:  Life experiences.  I've always heard to write what you know, and that is how I started out.  I've found creativity flows much easier during times of stress.  Writing is the magic potion that whisks me away.

Anytime I get a story idea, I always let it marinate inside my head for a really long time.  The characters have to talk to me and tell me who they are.  Most often they take on dark personalities.  I'm very partial to creating dark, dominating alpha male characters.  They tend to have mysterious qualities that can be a real turn-on.

JS:  If there was something you'd like to change about your writing, what would it be?

JF:  I would like to write in first person, present-tense more often.  It's more intimate and engaging.

I've only written two pieces in first person-a short story and a poem.  All my other work has been written in third person past-tense.

JS:  Are you currently working on anything new?

JF:  Aside from putting the finishing touches on Sealed in Blood, I am letting another story marinate inside my head.  I'm having a struggle as to which direction to take it.

I've toyed with the idea of making it horror, but I'd also love to make it a novella containing heavy BDSM-heavier than I've ever written.   I'd like to craft something dark so that I can have some fun with another dominating alpha male character.

Of course, I could mix the two, but I can't be sure my idea will work until I start the drafting process.  I never write anything over 10,000 words without a first draft.  If I'm not pleased, it's back to the drawing board...again.

JS:  Is that your writing process?  You come up with a story and then write a 10k first draft before fleshing it out?

JF:  I have a ritual.  First, I kick the story around in my head for as long as it takes to feel comfortable with the path I want to take.  Next, I ask myself:  how can I flaw my characters to make them more interesting?  How can I shock the reader?  Usually I throw in some kind of unexpected twist or an ending you could never anticipate.

My drafts (long ones over 10K) are critiqued as they are written.  After I'm satisfied with the draft and plot issues are fleshed out, I rewrite.  After I rewrite, I have it HARSHLY critiqued again and then beta read.  I know all of these steps seem OCD, but that's my confidence level.  I need to feel absolutely sure that I have every piece of the puzzle in place.  I don't like leaving unanswered questions.  I'm firm in leaving a satisfying ending for the reader.

JS:  So you mull the story over for a while before you fully invest yourself in it.  Do you do that with more than one story at a time, or are you pretty focused on one plot at once?

JF: I definitely mull over one story at a time.  I've never started a new project while I was in the midst of an unfinished one.  I like to fully invest myself in one thing at a time because I can't give a story what it really needs if I'm dabbling in a slush of other things.

I really admire prolific writers who can work on 3 different stories at a time.  Who knows?  Maybe someday I'll switch gears.

JS:  Well as long as you don't sacrifice your high quality works.  They are worth the wait.  How invested do you get in your characters?  Do you ever consider them friends? 

JF:  I believe one of the most important things a writer can do is know their characters.  How can you breathe life into someone if they are a stranger?

Before I wrote Sealed in Blood I sat down and wrote a complete biography on each character-everything from their favorite food to their sexual orientation.  It made constructing dialogue and plot easier because I knew what the characters would say.  I knew what they would and would not do in a particular situation.

It would be very difficult not to invest myself in my characters.  They're like children.  Each of them are special.  They are my creation from head to toe, body and soul.

JS:  Complete biographies can really help bring life to your characters.  If my readers would like to follow you on social media, where can they find you?

JF:  I'm on twitter and Facebook.  Please don't be shy, I really LOVE hearing from readers!

JS:  Is there anything else you’d like my readers to know about?

JF:  My next release, Sealed in Blood, is my biggest project and will be out this spring.  Sealed is a romantic thriller of 27K words and will be available in paperback through Amazon.

and can be downloaded on Kindle and Nook.  The introductory price will be $2.99USD.

JS:  Thank you so much Jenna.  This was really fun and informative.  I'm looking forward to Sealed in Blood and whatever else you have in store for us.  I hope my readers check you out.

Excerpt from Dirty Little Games:

"I love your breasts, they're so beautiful," Martin whispered against her skin as his lips found each pink nipple.  Hunger, nearly uncontrollable, ate at him as he gripped each one with his teeth making them pointed and erect, although careful not to hurt her.

He pressed his pelvis tight against the inside of her thighs, the moist heat radiating between them had his cock harder than petrified wood.  The slight inexperience in her eyes tore into him, filling him with guilt that he'd tried to suck her into his twisted world.  He couldn't take her in the ruthless way he wanted, but he couldn't leave her in need.

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  1. Great interview John and Jenna. I love how you described getting in touch with your characters. Head to toe, body and soul.
    I also like how you mentioned letting your stories marinate in your head. I do that too :D.
    I just added you on twitter. I can't believe I didn't have you in my list until now.
    Best of luck in your upcoming release 'Sealed in Blood' I love horror as well and will be on the lookout.

    1. Yes, it's always fun to hear about how attached we authors are to our characters! Glad you enjoyed the interview.