Jen: Today we welcome Janet Nissenson to Romancing the Book. Janet, will you share a short bio with us?
Janet is a lifelong resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, and currently resides on the northern California coast with her husband Steve and Golden Retriever Max. She worked for more than two decades in the financial services industry before turning her focus to producing running events. She is a former long-distance runner, current avid yoga practitioner, is addicted to Pinterest, likes to travel and read. She has been writing for more than three decades, with her first book in the Inevitable Series – Serendipity – published in December 2013. The series will include six full length, standalone novels plus additional novellas.
Jen: Tell us about your newest release. Do you have an excerpt to share with us?
Janet: My most recent release is Shattered, and is the third full length novel in the Inevitable series. Each of the novels is a standalone, and can easily be read separate of the other books in the series. My idea for this book evolved from a plot I had toyed with more than a dozen years ago – that of a woman completely obsessed with the man in her life, to a point where the obsession was an unhealthy one for her, and how her life fell apart when he ended their relationship. I was able to tweak this plot a little and thus base the story around Angela, who was introduced in the first book of the Inevitable series (Serendipity).
It was typical for her to keep both the door and the blinds to the outer window of her office closed, as they were this morning. Doing so helped her focus and blocked out any distractions, and since Cara was almost fanatically efficient at handling all the incoming calls and emails, they tended to communicate largely via instant messenger during the workday.
There was no way, therefore, when it happened, for her to have ever seen it coming. And for all the times she’d envisioned how she might react should a situation like this ever actually occur, her response was nothing like her previous imaginings had been.
With a cursory knock at best, the office manager – Paul McReynolds – opened the door and strode inside her office briskly, followed by the tall, dark-haired, and thoroughly intimidating man who’d shattered her life and haunted her dreams for too many months to count. But instead of reacting in one of the many and varied ways she’d imagined over the years – scorn, tears, anger, indifference, outrage – or, God help her – joy – she’d never expected to just feel the same sort of blissful numbness she’d enclosed herself in for so long.
Paul McReynolds was speaking, but for all that Angela could care he might as well have been babbling in Klingon. And then he was stepping over the threshold, invading her territory, her corner retreat, and the perpetual iciness of her extremities seemed to spread through her entire body.
“Angela, come and meet the newest member of our team. Though you’ve probably already heard of the legend that’s Nick Manning.”
Looking back at that particular moment later in the day, Angela was never quite sure how she’d prevented herself from recoiling at the mention of that name. Or how she didn’t faint dead away when she looked into those keenly intelligent dark brown eyes for the first time in almost four years. Or how she managed – by some inner, hidden strength she sure as hell wouldn’t have thought she possessed – to hold out her hand as he took a few slow, precise steps towards her desk.
“Hello, Nick. It’s been a long time.”
Angela didn’t know who was more shocked at that moment or why. She couldn’t quite believe that eerily calm, almost disembodied voice had come out of her mouth, or that she could just stand there, cool as a cucumber, and offer to shake hands as though they’d been nothing more than the most casual of business acquaintances.
Nick, on the other hand, paled considerably beneath his normally swarthy complexion, and he didn’t even try to conceal the shocked look that crossed his compelling features. His big hand reached out instinctively to clasp hers, and she could see his very visible reaction when he felt how icy cold her skin was. But instead of hastily breaking contact as most people did, Nick only tightened his grip.
For one brief, tantalizing second she’d thought he would call her by the name no one else but he had ever used. But that had been another lifetime ago, it seemed, and she was no longer his “Angel”, if in fact she had ever truly been so.
Paul McReynolds looked puzzled as his gaze flicked between the pair of them.
“You’ve met before?” he asked, and then answered his own question with a smile. “Ah, of course you have. I’d forgotten that Angela used to work at Jessup Prior. Though I’m surprised you remember her, Nick. She couldn’t have been long out of college when she was there.”
“I remember her very well,” replied Nick in the deep, husky voice that Angela had once been enthralled by. “She’s not a woman you’d ever forget meeting.”
She should have fallen instantly back under his spell with those words, should have found herself staring back at him with an entranced look on her face, the way she’d done for all those months. After all, he’d always had that effect on her, from the very first time she’d seen him.
But, shockingly, she only felt anger now. Hot, vicious, aggressive anger, and if Paul McReynolds hadn’t been in the room watching them curiously, she might have given in to the overwhelming urge to smack Nick as hard as she could across his devilishly handsome face.
Jen: Who are your favorite authors? What are you reading now?
Janet: My favorite authors really run the gamut from “old-school” romance writers such as Barbara Delinsky (no one can create a character quite like she can!), to paranormal romance writers like Nalini Singh (love her Guild Hunters series) and Richelle Mead (huge fan of her Age of X series). Right now I’m re-reading all of the Original Sinners series by Tiffany Reisz and counting down the days until The Queen is released (and hoping that really won’t be the end of it!) Other favorites include Christina Lauren’s Beautiful series, Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series, and the two series that I always recommend to contemporary romance fans – Sylvain Reynard’s Gabriel’s Inferno and the exquisitely beautiful Spiral of Bliss series by Nina Lane.
Jen: At what age did you discover writing?
Janet: I attended Catholic schools, and the nuns and teachers always emphasized writing skills in every English class. I probably wrote my first original short story when I was around twelve years old, and continued to develop my writing skills and style after that. I think what really solidified my writing was taking an Advanced Placement English class during my senior year of high school, where we were reading and analyzing a book every three weeks or so, and then writing papers on them. Finding the discipline to write about books like Crime and Punishment or An American Tragedy more or less forces you to dig deep and develop your writing skills. I probably hated writing those papers at the time, but am grateful now for the skills they helped develop.
Jen: How do you come up with character’s names?
Janet: I have a book of baby names that I bought when I was pregnant with my daughter back in the 1980’s. I’ll flip through that a lot to get inspiration. Other times, if the name is somewhat ethnic in origin (Italian, British, etc.) I’ll look online for common names in that country. I try not to use names that are currently overused or too trendy, and I also keep a database from my own books to make sure I don’t use the same name twice (at least for a major character).
Jen: How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
Janet: This is a cause of frustration at times, because I am definitely one of those writers who is constantly daydreaming about her characters, plots, bits of conversation, etc. I’ll be walking the dog, driving in the car, in the middle of a workout, etc., and something clever will come to me. But more often than not if I don’t write the idea down quickly then it disappears. Fortunately, I’ve been able to remember a lot of the good ones. For future books, I’ve been known to scribble ideas down as they occur to me, as well as bookmark photos for future character inspirations.
Jen: What’s been the highlight of your career?
Janet: Definitely the devoted readers and bloggers. I don’t have a big following, but the fans I do have are wonderful and have written some of the most beautiful reviews. When I’m having a bad day, thinking about just throwing in the towel (especially after I’ve received a not so nice review), I’ll make myself go back and re-read messages or reviews from my most devoted fans and suddenly everything is okay again.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Janet: My next book in the Inevitable series is titled Sensational, and will be released on November 10, 2015. This is the story of Lauren, the twin sister of Julia who is the heroine from Serendipity. Lauren has been featured in all of the novels and the novella, and now it’s her turn to have her story told. She is by far the feistiest and boldest of all my heroines thus far, and her story is both humorous and touching at the same time.