Jen: Today we welcome another AAD author to Romancing the Book. Let’s all welcome Ann Jacobs to the blog! Ann, will you share a short bio with us?
Ann: Ann Jacobs is a sucker for lusty Alpha heroes and happy endings. Erotic romance, to her, is the perfect combination of sex, sensuality, deep emotional involvement and lifelong commitment—the elusive fantasy women often dream about but seldom achieve.
First published in 1996, Jacobs has sold more than a hundred books and novellas. She has been a nominee multiple times for Romantic Times’ Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence in erotic romance, as well as having had books nominated by RT reviewers for best erotic romance in several sub-categories. Her books have earned awards including the Passionate Plume , the Desert Rose and More Than Magic . She has been a double finalist in separate categories of the EPPIES and From the Heart RWA Chapter’s contest. Four of her books have been translated and sold in several European countries.
A CPA and former hospital financial manager, Jacobs now writes full-time. She lives in west-central Florida where her next series with Ellora’s Cave is set, with her husband, son and two very spoiled blue cats, Mr. Blue and LoverDog.
She loves to hear from readers and to put faces with names at signings and conventions.
Jen: Will you tell us about your newest release?
Ann: Right now my newest release is WILD ONE, book 3 of my Caden Kink series for Ellora’s Cave. A contemporary western BDSM series, the series is about three siblings in a powerful but dysfunctional ranching family. WILD ONE is Deidre Caden, the youngest and the only daughter who may have bitten off more than she can chew when she sets her sights on hot Creole newcomer to town, Doctor Les Fourchet. Deidre’s a would-be submissive who Les, a switch, can teach a world of lessons to about submission–and more important, about love and commitment.
As for where the idea for WILD ONE came, it flowed out of the concept of the series about a powerful family I think of as a cross between “Dallas” and “The Big Valley”, whose story line features kinky sex, feuds and inconvenient revelations of long-held secrets. The heir (Byron V), the bastard (Jack) and the brat (Deidre), whose lives are changed forever when their father’s long-time lover reveals that he fathered Jack who Deidre had had a serious crush on before learning of the relationship.
Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors and what are you reading now?
Ann: Joey W. Hill’s books always lock me down from beginning to end with the depth of emotion her characters show. Right now I’m reading an advance copy of LETTING GO, Joey’s next EC release in the Knights of the Boardroom series. We critique together, though Joey sent me this one as a special incentive to get out of a horrible writing block that’s had me down and get back into my own projects. I’ve never met a novel by Joey that hasn’t touched me deeply in some way, and it’s not only what her characters say, it’s the beautiful voice in which she tells their stories.
I also read a variety of books, not only erotic romances but also conventional romances, legal thrillers and books marketed as women’s fiction. To be honest, I don’t read as much as I used to because I don’t have the time, but I rarely am able to resist pausing to read a new release from Kate Douglas or Jaci Burton. When I can snatch away a few hours, I tend to pick up either romance novellas or thrillers by Michael Connolly or Brad Meltzer.
Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
Ann: I try, but sometimes life interferes. When it doesn’t, I get up around seven o’clock and spend about an hour reading and answering email, checking Facebook and so on. After I finish, I grab a Diet Coke and some non-typical breakfast food, bring that to my desk and open up my current writing project. I re-read what I wrote the day before, doing some editing as I go. After refreshing myself as to what my characters have been doing, I then start writing the next scene (or finishing the one I’d started earlier). If all goes well, I can write around 6,000 words in a six or seven hour day, but if something’s not working, I may only write 1,000 and spend the rest of my writing day trying to plot myself out of trouble.
The only way I can write effectively is to have complete silence. No music. No husband or son coming in my office to relay some interesting bit of information or ask where they can find their favorite shirts or whether I can take a few minutes and grab something for them at the store. S-I-L-E-N-C-E. Sometimes this is hard to come by!
I get up every half-hour or so to stretch and get water or a soft drink, and I usually take a break around noon and change from PJs into casual clothes of some sort. I have lunch and run any errands that can’t wait until later before going back to work. Sometime between three and four o’clock I quit for the day unless my characters are really on a roll, in which case I’ll take another break, go to the gym and fix or order dinner for the family before going back to work and keeping on until the muse deserts me or my eyes start aching from staring at the screen.
Jen: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Ann: I’m sort of a hybrid between a plotter and a pantser, I suppose. With most books, I work from a good understanding of my characters and their backgrounds–or what I thought before starting to write was a good understanding–and a general idea of the conflict and eventual resolution. Sometimes this works really well, but sometimes it doesn’t. When something that doesn’t feel right brings me to a grinding halt as I’m writing, I turn in desperation to plotting, sometimes grasping out to Dramatica Pro for help in putting a recalcitrant story together.
Jen: Who has influenced you as a writer?
Ann: I cut my teeth on some of the great contemporary romance writers of the ’80s and ’90s. Sandra Brown, Linda Howard and Elizabeth Lowell impressed me because they didn’t shy away from the sexuality that’s an inherent part of romantic love which many authors of category romance of the time cloaked in sometimes hilarious euphemisms as they tended to slam bedroom doors tightly closed. These three moved away early from boy-girl-happily ever after category romance to women’s fiction and romantic suspense, and I followed them along.
Historical romance–the sexy, sometimes bawdy but always richly described–tales set in England and czarist Russia by Virginia Henley, Judith McNaught, Anita Mills, Kathleen Woodiwiss and Susan Johnson–was my first love once I discovered the genre when a friend gave me a dog-eared copy of Bertrice Small’s SKYE O’MALLEY. My first efforts at writing were historical romances that will never see the light of day, but I have written three medieval erotic romances and two erotic fantasies set in a quasi-medieval time period.
Probably the person who most influenced me as a writer was another romance writer who also was a fantastic teacher of Dwight V. Swain’s TECHNIQUES OF THE SELLING WRITER. The late Cheryl Anne Porter gave me more about how to write a romance in two classes at Hillsborough Community College than I’ve received before or after by attending other workshops and reading shelves full of books on writing craft. I’m sure I’m only one of many writers who miss Cheryl and mourn that she was taken from us in Tampa way too soon.
Jen: Is there a genre you’d like to write? Is there one you’d probably stay away from?
Ann: I’d like very much to write an erotic category romance series, one man, one woman with happily-ever-after endings, plenty of heat but more conflict than kink. Not just category romances that toss open the bedroom door with abandon and trade believable language for euphemisms, but a meatier character-driven series whose story people also have to cope with real issues and conflicts that are rarely spoken of, either in typical erotic romance or in current category romance.
Having written so many books, I haven’t totally missed many subgenres of erotic romance, but I probably will stay away from futuristics in the future. Paranormals, too, although I probably will make an exception at some point to do a few more vampires in contemporary settings. I doubt I’d ever feel compelled to write a cozy mystery, a YA book, a legal or medical thriller or a long historical. I know I will never try to write any book in first person, which would also let out gothic romances.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Ann: Courthouse Connections, a four-book, contemporary series that’s a little BDSM, a little suspense and a lot of steamy sex under a blistering Florida sun, is tied together by secondary characters that I introduced a long time ago in the bestselling Lawyers in Love series. These books will feature clients and associates of the heroes and heroines of the earlier books. The first three of the books will stand on their own and feature heroes and heroines with different but serious issues that require the services of a skilled legal team to help unravel; the fourth will go full-circle and feature the latest associate in the Winston-Roe firm in a story that ties more closely in type to the original Lawyers in Love books.
I’m working now on TOO HOT TO KILL, whose heroine is involved in an open marriage that goes wrong when she falls in love with a casual lover while tied to her powerful husband by old secrets that could ruin her present and future. When the husband ends up dead, she is accused of his murder, and it will take not only the skilled legal defense team at Winston-Roe but also the support of her lover to rescue her from the complex rope of circumstantial evidence that threatens her very life.