Author Interview with Jess Russell

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Book Description:

Rhys Merrick, Duke of Roydan, is determined to be the antithesis of his depraved father, repressing his desires so severely he is dubbed “the Monk” by Society.  But when Olivia Weston turns up demanding payment for gowns ordered by his former mistress, Rhys is totally flummoxed and inexplicably smitten.  He pays her just to remove her from his house, and mind.  But logic be damned; he must have this fiercely independent woman.

Olivia’s greatest fear is becoming a kept woman.  She has escaped the role of mistress once and vows never to be owned by any man.  Rather than make money in the boudoir, she chooses to clothe the women who do.  But when a fire nearly kills her friend and business partner, Olivia’s world goes up in smoke and she is forced to barter with the lofty duke.

As their lives weave together, Olivia unravels the man underneath the Monk, while Rhys desires to expose the lady hiding behind the dressmaker. Will his raw passion fan a long-buried ember of hope within her? Can this mismatched pair be the perfect fit?

Excerpt:

“Could you move, please?”

Was it her imagination, or was his voice higher than usual? Then what he actually said registered.

“Move?”

“Yes. Could you move across the room? I find to judge a garment, or anything properly, one must see it in motion.” Her face must have been reflecting the horror she felt, for he hastened on, “You would not expect me to buy a horse simply by looking at its lines would you, Mrs. Weston? I would wish to see it run as well. I’m sure you understand.”

Blast him and his bloody horses. She strode forward, happy to vent some of her anger in movement; however, she realized a split second too late there was nowhere to move. The receiving room was not large and was mostly taken up with the cutting table. The only area with any appreciable room was at the far end of the shop where the huge paneled mirrors stood. He was standing directly in the path that would be her best direction. Consequently, she found herself almost flush up against him.

She knew he was tall. Any fool could see the man was at least two or more inches over six feet, but from this vantage point—directly beneath him—he was so very tall. She could smell the starch of his shirt mixed with a faint whiff of smoke and possibly brandy? She slid her gaze over the shirt and waistcoat to his cravat—a conservatively tied Oriental—to the firm, slightly cleft chin, moving on to the lips, very swiftly past those, and finally resting on his eyes. Pure molten gold. Yes, exactly like those of the Burmese tiger she had seen at a menagerie in Paris. His bearing was just as predatory.

“It would appear, sir, in order for me to move, as you require, you will have to bestir yourself as well.”

She thought she saw one side of his mouth shift ever so slightly upward into what might have been the merest twitch of a smile. She could not be one hundred percent sure because, to do so, she would have to look at his lips. The duke shifted his weight and made a small bow. Her shoulder brushed the superfine of his midnight blue jacket as she hurriedly squeezed past him.

She strode almost to the mirrors before wheeling around and giving him what she hoped was an accusatory look.

“Well, Your Grace. I hope you are satisfied”

“Satisfied, Mrs. Weston?” He raised that infernal eyebrow. “Oh no, madam, I am very far from satisfied. However, I am hopeful I will be, in the not so distant future.” Again his gaze raked over her.  “Yes, I do live in hope.”

Author Interview:

1. Would you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

I am a writer, actress, seamstress, batik artist, handyman, mom, wife, in no particular order.

2. Which project are you currently promoting?

My Regency, The Dressmaker’s Duke.

3. Can you tell us what the book is about?

Blurb:

Rhys Merrick, Duke of Roydan, is determined to be the antithesis of his depraved father, repressing his desires so severely he is dubbed “the Monk” by Society.  But when Olivia Weston turns up demanding payment for gowns ordered by his former mistress, Rhys is totally flummoxed and inexplicably smitten.  He pays her just to remove her from his house, and mind.  But logic be damned; he must have this fiercely independent woman.

Olivia’s greatest fear is becoming a kept woman.  She has escaped the role of mistress once and vows never to be owned by any man.  Rather than make money in the boudoir, she chooses to clothe the women who do.  But when a fire nearly kills her friend and business partner, Olivia’s world goes up in smoke and she is forced to barter with the lofty duke.

As their lives weave together, Olivia unravels the man underneath the Monk, while Rhys desires to expose the lady hiding behind the dressmaker. Will his raw passion fan a long-buried ember of hope within her? Can this mismatched pair be the perfect fit?

4. How did you come up with the title for this book?

The title says it all. I like that. I also like the alliteration. Funny story, I was at an awards function and my book won a publishing contract that evening. A very famous romance author was in attendance. I gushingly introduced myself telling her how much I admired her writing. She was very gracious but she said I must change the title of my book. I can’t remember the reasons (I was so nervous) something about being too literal? Not sure. It was one of the first times I had to decide if I was going to cave into other people’s opinions or stick to my guns. I’m glad I stuck.

5. What inspired you to write this book?

I am dyslexic. I never thought of myself as a writer. I do a lot of creative things but writing was not one of them. When I turned a certain age—Ok, let’s not be coy—when I turned 50, I decided a wanted a new challenge. I always loved reading historical romance. An idea for a story had been brewing for a while so I faced that scary white page and began. After all, I told myself, I had nothing to lose. Taking baby steps I finally finished my book. Now it’s a best seller!

6. What made you decide to become a writer?

I never decided. It just sort of happened. As I said, I began writing as a lark, for myself, and then it sort of blossomed into contest wins and contract offers.

7. What genre do you generally write?

Historical Romance. However, my WIP, Mad for the Marquess, is more of a Gothic Romance and may be part of a series. I have an idea for a Contemporary but that will be a while in coming. I am not one of these writers who can crank out a ton of words a day. I wish I was, but I know that’s not how I work. Yet.

8. Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?

I wanted to be a ballet dancer. I studied during the summer at the Maryland Ballet and in NYC. But I lived in Tullahoma, TN-a wonderful small town, but not optimum for serious study. I got more and more interested in drama and ended up attending a well-known acting conservatory, The North Carolina School of the Arts. Then I moved to NYC to be an actress. Marriage and a child came and now I act only every now and then. Writing is my new challenge.

9. When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?

Oh, wow, I guess when I held my book in my hands, smelled it, and flipped through the pages and saw my name on the cover.

10. What character out of your most recent work do you admire the most and why?

11. How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to the culmination?

12. How do you deal with negative reviews?

I cannot please everyone. This is something you constantly run up against in life. Writing is no different. I write the best I can and hope my story resonates with readers. Most of the negative reviews I have gotten I dismiss, but with a few I actually learn something.

13. What other projects are you currently working on?

As I mentioned, my Gothic, Mad for the Marquess. Another secondary character in M for the M seems to be insisting on having her own story and its working title is, Captivating the Countess.

14. When you begin a new MS, does it start with an idea, concept, or both?

Characters. Being an actress I love delving in to how people think and what makes them choose a certain path.

15. Is there a message you’d like to get across through your story?

Love is not perfect. It’s a kind of dance with miss-steps and even stumbles, but ultimately it is what sustains us.

16. Is there a genre you’d never consider writing? If so, why?

17. What is your least favorite part about getting published?

Marketing. Sigh. I am a techno-weenie. (For example, I have a flip phone with a plan of 10 texts a month. And I often forget to turn it back on after yoga class.) However, I have been surprised by some aspects of marketing. It can be very creative. I did a whole “Say Yes t the Dress” for the launch of The Dressmaker’s Duke. I created and hand-sewed a Regency gown by asking folks to select the next design element in the gown. By the release I revealed the finished dress. It was a lot of fun.

18. Was the road to publication a long one for you?

Yes and no. The Dressmaker’s Duke is the first book I have ever written. But I spent about three years writing off and on, taking on-line classes and learning as I went. When I first started writing I purchased, “Writing Romance for Dummies.”Apparently I had it all wrong. I didn’t have my H &H meeting until 40 or so pages in. I had no idea what POV was, or even HEA. I scrapped that story and went with my number two idea. I decided to “write what you know.” I have been sewing and designing for years. The idea of a heroine as a dressmaker was the first spark for my story. Having a lofty duke invade my heroine’s workroom in the middle of the night was the flame! I am incredibly proud of this book.

19. Do you use a pen name? If so, why?

I do use a pen name. I’m not sure if I would now, but at the time I started writing I wasn’t sure I wanted anyone to know about my little secret”. I also have a sixteen year old son. Of course he knows I am a writer, but I am not sure I want his friends to know. :o)

20. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Growing as a writer. Being creative. Traveling.

21. What is the best advice you can give to a new author?

WRITE! That blank page can be terrifying, but jump on in and write anyway. (I need to take this advice as well!)

22. Where can the readers find more information about you?

I would love to hear from folks! My web site is: http://jessrussellromance.com twitter; @jessrussellove Facebook; jessrussellauthor@facebook.com E-mail: jessrussellromance@gmail.com 

About the author: 8985413

Jess Russell, Multi-Award Winning and Best-selling author!

As a girl Jess escaped the world of rigorous ballet class and hideous math homework into the haven of toe wriggling romance novels. She never imagined in her dyslexic brain she would ever come to write one, but one small scene grew into 359 pages, and contest wins, and multiple contract offers. Dreams sometimes do come true, just like the happy ending in the stories she loves.

Jess lives in New York City with her husband and son and disappears to the Catskill Mountains whenever she can. She is a sometime actress, award winning batik artist, and accomplished seamstress. Along with her sewing machine, she loves power tools and, what’s more, she knows how to use them.

Jess is currently working on revamping her Manhattan kitchen as well as writing two other stories, (working titles), Heart of Glass, and Mad for the Marquess. Please check them out in BOOKS.

Jess Russell is a member of RWA, as well as the Beau Monde and the NY chapters of RWA. THE DRESSMAKER’S DUKE came in first in the Fool for Love Contest, Golden Apple Awards’ Secret Craving Contest, the Indiana Golden Opportunity Contest and the Golden Rose Contest (also winning the best of the best). And finaled in the Great Beginnings, Emerald City Opener, and the Lone Star Contests.

Author Links:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Email

Buy Links:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

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