My guest blogger today is Jaci Burton! Jaci is a National Bestselling author of contemporary erotic romance and paranormal romance. She writes for four publishers, so her life is spent juggling deadlines and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Jaci is an award winning author of over 40 books, and has won the Romantic Times Bookclub Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Award as well as The Romance Studio’s Cupid and Psyche Awards. Jaci makes her home in Oklahoma with her husband Charlie and more dogs than she can count.
~Tell me about your writing journey. When did you begin to write? How long did it take you to publish?
My first endeavor at writing was early fanfiction way before fanfiction was born. My cousin and I used to write scripts together when we were twelve (which was a really, really, really long time ago) based on a popular tv show—a western. Very sexy romantic western, with comedy touches. We’d mail our scripts back and forth to each other (that’s how long ago it was—email hadn’t been invented yet!). I had always loved to write, but thought of it as a hobby.
I read my first romance when I was 17—Kathleen Woodiwiss’s The Flame and The Flower—and my love for romance was born. It wasn’t until many years later that I tried my hand at writing a book—a historical—but I had to put it aside as the demands of career and raising a family took precedence.
Seven years ago I met and married my current husband, and told him I had always wanted to write a book. He encouraged me to follow my dream, so I did. I started writing with an eye to publication in 2001, and in 2003 sold my first book to Ellora’s Cave. My writing career escalated after that first book and several years later sold to Bantam Dell, to Berkley and to Samhain Publishing.
~You write for multiple publishers-is it difficult to produce enough to keep them all happy? How much do you write each year?
It’s never difficult to produce enough. I’m constantly bombarded with stories in my head. I generally write about 4 single titles a year, and a novella or two.
~You also write in multiple genres. Do you find it difficult to switch gears from romance to erotic romance to your demon books?
Not at all. I love being able to switch from one genre to another. It cleanses the mental palate. If I’m worn out from writing a paranormal, I know my next book is an erotic contemporary, or a general romance, which will be completely different. Always something new and exciting awaiting me with the next book. My job is so much fun.
~As you know, this month I’m celebrating the release of my story, THE ART OF DESIRE, in the Bantam anthology, HOT NIGHTS, DARK DESIRES, with authors Stephanie Tyler and Sydney Croft. THE ART OF DESIRE is about a woman with a tattoo fetish. Tell me about your own tattoo experience-whatever you’d like to share.
I love tattoos! I think they’re beautiful expressions of body art. I got my first tattoo in my thirties and now I have four. I’d like to get one more, but I don’t know what I’ll get or where I’ll get it yet. My husband has two and he’s going to get one more also. I think it’s a beautiful way to express yourself.
~How do you think those of us who love body art are impacted by cultural perspectives?
I see more and more tattoos on people these days, young and old. Tattoos are embraced more now than ever before, as matter of fact as having your ears pierced. I haven’t really heard much negativity associated with tattoos. I suppose if your face is tattooed you might get some flak, but I think nowadays they’ve become an acceptable part of culture. Then again, that probably all depends on where you live and how extensively you’re tattooed.
~Are any of your characters tattooed? How do you think that sort of detail is important to creating a character?
I’ve had several characters tattooed, from genitalia (Bound To Trust) to wearing a symbol associated with their designation in a paranormal society (League of 7 Seas-Dolphin’s Playground and Paradise Discovery). I think a tattoo can say much about a character, who they are, how they think, their belonging within a culture, to how they function biologically.
~Do you model your heroes on real people or are they entirely constructs of your imagination?
I think to some extent my heroes are always an extension of my husband. There are characteristics of the things I love most about him in every hero I write. But every hero is a figment of my imagination.
~Tell me about your February release, RIDING WILD.
RIDING WILD is the first book in my new Wild Riders series from Berkley Heat, about sexy Harley riding bad boys who work undercover for the U.S. Government. Mac is one of the Wild Riders, and his job is to break into a museum and steal an artifact that hides a deadly virus before that artifact can be moved to the next museum and possibly into the hands of someone who wants the virus to sell to the highest bidder. Lily is a private investigator hired to check possibly lax museum security, and she catches Mac in the act of stealing the artifact, which slams her right in the middle of Mac’s undercover operation. Mac and Lily have a history together. When Mac was young and in trouble, he and Lily fell in love. Since Lily was from a rich, prominent family, the last thing Mac wanted to do was drag her down the wrong road with him, so he dumped her. Lily doesn’t know what Mac did to straighten out his life, and he can’t tell her without revealing everything about the Wild Riders and the case he’s working on, so he and Lily go on an amazing trek together, filled with suspense, secrets, romance and fun, hot sex.
~What do you have coming out next? Will we see another Demon Hunter book soon?
I have several books releasing this year. NOTHING PERSONAL releases in print from Samhain in June. DARE TO LOVE releases in e-book from Samhain in July. RIDING TEMPTATION, the second Wild Riders book, releases from Berkley Heat in October. And yes, the third Demon Hunters book, THE DARKEST TOUCH, releases October 28th from Bantam Dell.
~The cover for your upcoming October release, RIDING TEMPTATION, is hot! Do you have any say over your covers with any of your publishers?
Thank you! I love the cover for RIDING TEMPTATION! Cover input varies by publisher. With Bantam Dell, I get no input at all. My editor works with the cover art department. Fortunately, Bantam does an incredible job with covers (as you well know) and I’ve loved every cover I’ve gotten from them. With Berkley, my editor and I talk about the cover and she asks me what my vision is. Berkley has given me awesome covers, too. With Samhain, we fill out a cover sheet outlining the hero and heroine and a summary from the book, but my editor actually handles my cover art because she’s great at knowing the best covers for my stories.
~You’ve been incredibly prolific, but it seems that all of us have those days where we doubt ourselves, where we get burned out, get blocked. How do you cope with those moments?
Ugh. Don’t we all have days like that? Sometimes I just need to step away, clear my head and take a day off. It usually helps. If I’m on deadline and I really need to do the work, I push through it and write, even if it’s awful. I know I can edit it later, but you can’t edit what isn’t there. Sometimes you just have to write, even if you don’t feel like it or you think what you’re writing is pure crap. It can always be fixed. But you can’t fix what you don’t write.
~What is your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?Thank you Eden!
Don’t ever give up on yourself, and always take your writing career seriously. If you don’t, no one else will.
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PS-I'm in the Berkley Heat EXCLUSIVE anthology with Jaci and Lisa Renee Jones! You can find it on Amazon!