Jen: Today we welcome Jessie Lane to Romancing the Book as her blog tour makes a stop with us. Jessie, will you share a short bio with our readers?
Jessie: Jessie Lane is the writing team of Crystal Leo and Melissa Pahl. The two sisters-in-law share a passionate love of naughty romance, cliff hanging suspense, and out-of-this-world characters. Crystal lives in the rolling hills of Kentucky with her husband, two crazy little girls, and her father. She grew up an Army brat, and probably because of that has an unhealthy lust – err LOVE – for men in uniform. Although she’s lived many places, she considers Woodbridge, VA and Swansboro, NC (where she met her hubs) as her hometowns. Until her husband’s recent job switch to a 911 dispatcher, she was also a proud law enforcement wife (it’s all about the uniforms ladies).
Melissa currently lives in Washington state with her husband and giant furry Rottweiler baby, Yuffie. She grew up on the beautiful southern coastal shores of North Carolina. Also a military child thanks to her father being in the USMC. While Crystal drools over her man in uniform, Melissa gets the man whose uniform is a set of old faded jeans, a black tee, and some work boots.
Their first YA novel, The Burning Star, was released in May 2012. It features a world of faeries, werewolves and magic. Starring two young women who, with the help of others, will find out the truth about where they’re from, and might just save the hidden fae world on the way. Big Bad Bite was their second novel, but their first adult paranormal romance, and was released in January 2013. Filled with snark, shifters, and steamy tension, it introduces new evolutionary concepts behind the paranormal world. Filled with sexy alphas and strong heroines, the cast of characters in the Big Bad Bite series are on a mission to take down those who would expose their existence to humans, and in doing so, endanger them all.
Secret Maneuvers is their third book, but first adult contemporary romance, and will be the start of a new series, the Ex Ops Series. This series will explore the personal lives of men and women who are Ex-military/government agent, and are recruited for a top secret Special Ops team run unofficially by the United States Department of Defense. Each book will feature a new couple as the team completes missions assigned to them by their CIA handler, Uncle Sam. Secret Maneuvers is a second chance love story with two former high school sweethearts who have mistakes, insecurities and a heartbreaking secret between them.
The idea for the Ex Ops Series originated with Annabelle and Bobby’s story in Secret Maneuvers. Once I started to type out their gut wrenching scenes, the idea for the team formed and I kind of fell in love with it. The idea that you could have a group formed out of some many backgrounds was intriguing to me. Not to mention it gave me an outlet for my unhealthy obsession with men in uniform.YUM. I’ve also read some really great books with similar settings from Lora Leigh, Katie Reus, Jaci Burton, and Maya Banks that I loved.
After finishing Secret Maneuvers, they are now working on their next three novels, Stripping Her Defenses (Ex Ops #2), Walk On The Striped Side (Big Bad Bite Series #2), and The Frozen Star (YA Star Series #2 – tentative release goal of Dec 2013/Jan 2014). Crystal is waffling as to which adult romance will be the next one released (hopefully before the end of 2013). Decisions, decisions, decisions.
Jen: How do you come up with characters names?
Melissa: Some of our characters names come to us so easily others not so much. For a character in our previous book Big Bad Bite, his name was the outcome of a hilarious chat conversation where I was actually on a new headache medicine and had no coffee in my system, so I was acting totally goofy. Our conversation still makes me laugh and I do believe we posted it on our Facebook page.
Crystal: Let’s clarify here. She wasn’t just acting goofy, she was high as a kite on her meds. It made for a seriously entertaining conversation. As for character names, I think for me I’m one of those people that when I met a person, or read a book, and they have an interesting name that I like, my brain kind of stores it. Later it may emerge with the creation of a character. Other times I’ll research names based on the characters cultural background.
Jen: Who has influenced you as a writer?
Crystal: I’ve read so many wonderful authors over the years. It always amazes me the kind of talent that is out there in the world. If I had to choose a few individuals that I would say I look up to, they would be Karen Marie Moning, Kresley Cole, Shelly Laurenston and Jill Shalvis. Those are four women that inspire me to become a better writer.
Melissa: Maya Angelou, Anne Rice, and definitely my college English/Urban Mythology professor.
Jen: Is there a genre you’d like to write? Is there one you’ll probably stay away from? Why?
Crystal: Now that I’ve dabbled in both YA and Adult Romance, I’ve learned that I prefer the adult romance genre. It allows me to be more of myself, instead of constantly worrying about needing to censor a storyline. I don’t know that I’ll ever stray from the romance genre, but I do love that I can go back and forth between paranormal romance and contemporary romance. Bouncing between the two gives me outlets for all of my ideas. As much as I love to read historical, I’ll never be able to write it. I’m sure I could never give justice to the proper terminology or how life was in that time period. I also have no inclination to do anything like horror. That’s more Mel’s speed. I’d be interested in science fiction.
Melissa: I personally like suspense/drama/romance. But I do have a love for horror. I’m not sure on what genre’s I would shy away from just yet, maybe Historical Romance. I kind of want to keep an open mind and try everything and if it doesn’t work then I will know to stay away from that one.
Jen: Describe your writing in 3 words.
Melissa: Emotional, Chaotic and Funny.
Crystal: Snarky, Passionate, and Touching. (At least that’s my goal when writing.)