Monday, August 11, 2014

Interview with romantic suspense author Jesse Pearle

Today's hot seat is occupied by romantic suspense author Jesse Pearle. She's touring her newest novel, Second Skin, with Goddess Fish Promotions.

Jesse will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to two randomly drawn winners. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit other tour stops and enter there, too.

Jesse Pearle grew up in the mountains of Western North Carolina in a place where there was no danger in dancing naked in the moonlight at the top of a mountain. Always possessed of a creative mind, but never quite the right amount of focus, she wandered for decades. She received a degree in fine art which she put to poor use working an uneventful desk job for an engineering company when she started writing her first really ambitious piece of fiction. She lives in sunny Southern California with her ever supportive husband and four attention-whoring cats.

Welcome, Jesse. Please tell us about your current release.
Second Skin is part love story and part coming-of-age story. It’s a love triangle, and there are three main characters. Pilar Flores is the daughter of a drug lord, eighteen at the beginning of the story and trying to find her place in her father’s business. Leo Reyes is one of her father’s employees and the leader of an LA street gang who becomes her father’s right hand later in the story. Sam Blanco is a boy in the neighborhood Leo’s gang holds dominion over, whose goal is to make enough money selling tattoos after high school to get the hell out of dodge and away from his abusive father. The three characters’ worlds collide in unexpected ways, from Pilar’s first encounter with the tragic hero, Leo, to the complicated entanglements that occur when the young tattoo artist, Sam, comes into the picture. While the love story is most definitely between Pilar and Leo, every love story has its obstacles to overcome. Sam is one of those obstacles for Pilar and Leo, but in truth he may be the catalyst that allows the two lovers to understand each other more.

At its heart, it is Sam’s story, even though the “happily ever after” isn’t his. At least not yet.

What inspired you to write this book?
I wrote a fan fiction back in 2012 that needed a fresh, original character to play a small role—the role of a rough and world-weary tattoo artist approaching his 50s. The character sprang to life so vividly in my mind at the time that I just had to know what his life story was, so I began writing it. The teen-aged Sam came first, then the other characters gradually began to evolve out of my imagining of the story of this young artist who aspires to be a famous tattoo artist like his idol. Sam’s little sister, Celie, came next, followed by Pilar and Leo, then Benny, then the rest of the cast of characters came to life, one by one. They each told me their stories as they evolved.

My plan for the Second Skin series follows Sam through significant milestones in his life, every event shaping him into that older, wiser, but still rough around the edges and incredibly sexy man.

(Leo’s POV)

The small plane touched down on the runway of the airfield outside Los Angeles. After taxiing to the hangar, Leo powered down the engines and pulled off his headset. He felt like a weight had been lifted, but anxiety twisted in his gut as he worked through his explanation to the old man.

Gustavo had needed to be taken care of, that fact had been clear to him for months. The only reason he hadn’t gone to Arturo Flores about Gustavo’s consistent series of fuckups was because of his promise to Pilar to leave her father out of it.

The deed was done, the memory of the corpse he’d left behind in the little shack in the Sonoran desert still left him ice cold to his core. He’d had to ignore the spark of memory of another pair of eyes whose light the same gun had extinguished two years earlier. Two years to the day, he thought.

Leo no longer regretted any of those bullets, starting with the very first one from his brother’s gun that had pierced his own chest. Each had brought him closer to her. Now all he had to do was claim what was his.

The phone at his hip buzzed as he made his way across the tarmac to the parking lot. He settled in his car and started the engine, turning the AC on full blast while he checked his messages.

911! Call me when you land!

It was from Pilar. Goosebumps rose up on his arms in spite of the hot August air that baked the interior of his car.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I have too many projects to count at the moment! I have a series of paranormal erotica novellas in progress that are written under a separate pen name to protect the innocent (or guilty?). These novellas feature dragon shapeshifters and their human lovers.

I am also planning a short series of romantic suspense novels with a tough female protagonist dead set on revenge against a man who wronged her. During her quest for vengeance, she develops a deep connection with a man who works for her, and it grows into an intense love affair neither party expected. All they were after was a casual fling, but it turns into love. Who’d’a thought? There are tattoos involved in that story, too… (you might be noticing a trend here).

And, of course, the sequel to Second Skin is in progress, along with the rest of that series. I am planning five books for the series, each one exploring a different segment of Sam’s life and his ties to his past that somehow keep haunting him even from thousands of miles away. He’s met a new woman, but will she be his happily ever after?

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve been writing my whole life, though not to the degree that it monopolizes my waking hours. It wasn’t until November 2011 that it really hit me that writing was my true passion and something I needed as much as I need air to breathe.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I do write full-time. My work day is a lot of struggling to avoid the internet and stay on track. I actually turn off my wi-fi if I’m on a deadline (which I set for myself) and I use a Pomodoro timer to segment my work time vs break time. I have 25 minutes of concentrated writing followed by a 5 minute break. Every two hours I take a longer break to eat/exercise/clean house or whatever else needs doing. Before I wrote full time I tried to squeeze writing in wherever I could, which was generally after work and late into the night. I can’t say I get more sleep now than I did when I had a full-time day job.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I like adding Easter eggs in my writing. In particular, I like to include a dragon somewhere in every story, even in my non-dragon related stories. I’m just a little bit gay for dragons. There’s one in Second Skin, as well as each of the following books in the series. I don’t always manage to find a good spot for it in my shorter stuff, but I try.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an architect, but once I got to college I completely lost focus. I even dropped out, once I found the internet (this was the early 90s, too… so my internet options were limited to chat rooms. Read into that what you will). It took me seven years and three college transfers before I finally graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (summa cum laude, even… who knows how I acomplished that!) and I still had no idea what I really wanted to do.

Now I finally know at the ripe age of 41 and it’s incredibly liberating!

Second Skin is a pretty steamy story as it is, but if anyone’s interested in steamier (and shorter) stuff, there are links to my alter-ego on my website’s main menu. I also have several Pinterest collections that I add to when I find inspiration and I love getting new pin recommendations!

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Mary Preston said...

A great interview. I'll be on the lookout for dragons.

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Unknown said...

Lisa, Thanks for hosting today! I'll be off & on to say hi to folks, too.

stacey dempsey said...

Thank you I enjoyed the interview the upcoming dragon shapeshifters stories sound great too

Serena S. said...

Nice interview. The book sounds great and what a hot cover! Thanks for the giveaway. =)

Unknown said...

@stacey glad you enjoyed it!

@serena I'm a little in love with my cover as well. :D

Andra Lyn said...

What a cool inspiration! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Always good to see good books getting attention!

Unknown said...

Thanks Andra and Kate :)

Unknown said...

I loved reading about the time to write. It is hard work and not easy to stay away from distractions.

Unknown said...

@Librarian Lavender It's definitely a challenge! I think setting yourself daily goals that you can realistically meet is crucial. Also, don't beat yourself up if you don't meet your daily goal for some reason. Just try again the next day.

bn100 said...

Nice interview

Rita Wray said...

I enjoyed the interview.