Jess Granger…An Author To Watch! Back to Blog
Hi, everyone! It’s Wednesday, so that mean’s it’s interview time! Today, Jess Granger is my interview victim.
Jess has a very sexy sci-fi romance, BEYOND THE RAIN, that will be hitting bookstore shelves on August 9th. I can’t wait to read this one! It sounds fabulous. Wait–here’s the blurb, judge for yourself:
In a universe torn apart by civil war, a warrior and a slave must fight for their freedom, for their lives, and for a love that may destroy them both…
After five years behind enemy lines, Captain Cyani is ready to retire to her homeworld of Azra as one of the Elite — the celibate warrior sisterhood that rules the planet. But first she must complete one final mission to rescue her fellow Union soldiers. The last thing she expects to find is a prisoner, chained and beaten — but radiating feral power and an unbroken spirit…
Soren is a Byralen, an enigmatic people who possess a unique hormone that they use to bond with their mates — and that is sold as a sexual narcotic in the shadow trade. For years, he has endured torture at the hands of his captors as they leeched his very essence. The last thing he expects is to be freed from slavery by a beautiful warrior woman with radiant blue eyes.
Driven by her rigid sense of honor, Cyani frees Soren even though her life hinges upon the success of her mission. But after so many years in bondage, his hormones are so unbalanced that he will die if he does not bond with a woman. Can the lovely but distant warrior be the woman he needs to survive, or will the forbidden bond destroy them.
And Jess has a gorgeous cover, too:
Definitely an author to watch.
Ready for the interview? Let’s learn more about Jess and the book I can’t wait to get my greedy hands on!
1. Please tell us a bit about yourself and the genre (or genres) that you write.
Hi, Cynthia. You know, I always have the hardest time responding to “tell us a bit about yourself.” I always feel like there’s not much to tell. I’m a debut author for Berkley Sensation. My first novel is a Science Fiction Romance called Beyond the Rain, due in bookstores this August. I guess that’s all official business, though being a debut author is very exciting. I’m thrilled to be writing dark and sexy SF Romance. I feel like it is a subgenre that is about to find its wings. SFR is loaded with high stakes, enormous conflict and sweeping adventures. For me, it is the perfect backdrop for heart-rending love stories. On a personal note, I like butterfly gardening, goofing off on the computer when I should be working, and visiting zoos.
2. Describe BEYOND THE RAIN in 15 words or less.
Warrior nun vs. chemically addictive former sex slave. Ha! That’s only eight. Do I get bonus points? (Sure, bonus is yours!)
3. LOL—okay, now use as many words as you’d like to describe your story.
Beyond the Rain is the story of Cyani, a talented and efficient warrior about to ascend to the ranks of the Elite, a celibate sisterhood of warriors who rule her home planet. The problem is Azra is a planet that suffers from a strict caste system. Cyani was born on the ground, and therefore is lower than dirt to most of the other Elite. Her position with them is precarious, and at any minute if she loses the favor of the leader of her world, she could be executed.
As part of her duty to the Elite, she must serve in the intergalactic army in a war against vicious slave trade. On her very last mission before she can return home and assume the ranks of the Elite, she discovers a lone slave chained in a rotting cell with a powerful presence and an unbroken spirit.
Soren is one of the Byralen, a rare and enigmatic people the Union knows little about. His people produce a unique hormone that helps them bond with their mates—unfortunately, this same hormone can be used as a potent sexual narcotic. For years he’s been bound and tortured as his captors leeched him of this hormone. Now his body is broken, and the only way he can balance his endocrine system enough to survive is to find a mate. The only woman around is the lovely but distant warrior that freed him. He needs to win her love to survive, but at what cost? Love is forbidden to her, and the price is death.
As they find themselves trapped behind the enemy lines, every minute is a struggle for survival and a love that can surmount the terrible wars raging within their hearts.
4. Which character do you like better from BEYOND THE RAIN—the hero or the heroine? Why?
Should I pick between my two children while I’m at it? I’m just kidding. Of course I love them both for very different reasons. Cyani is intensely driven and loyal. If Soren was tortured physically, she’s been tortured mentally, and she hasn’t cracked. She’s responded to every hardship and horror in her life with strength and honor, but while she wears the uniform of a kick-butt heroine, it chafes her. All she wants is peace, security and love. She’s a naturally giving and loving person, and it was fun to reconnect her with the softer place in her heart.
Just to be fair and actually answer the question, while I respect and admire Cyani, I’m so in love with Soren. He makes my heart melt. I know there are people out there who see “Hero as a sex-slave” and get the wrong impression of him as a person. His enslavement wasn’t about being physically intimate with anyone. In fact, he’s a virgin hero. How’s that for a wacky situation? He was brutally tortured for his narcotic blood, and yet he survived that torture with power, always resisting. They may have bled him, but they never broke him.
He’s strong and a little feral. He has been in survival mode for so long that he tends to think of things in their most primary terms. Pleasure of any kind should be savored, because it can be fleeting. Pain can be endured with strength. Nothing is more sacred or important to him than life and the human connection he’s been denied so long. He is fair, gentle, protective and self-sacrificing. He is absolutely a hero in every way. And he’s sexy as anything, very exotic. I think about him and get chills sometimes. Let’s just say I’d like to have him look at me with violet in his color-changing eyes.
5. What is the most challenging part of being a writer?
Time is always my enemy. People asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and I just wished they could find a way to give me time. It feels like so much is on our shoulders as writers, and the struggle never stops. Every hurdle you manage to leap over, there’s another one right there waiting for you. It seems like the race never ends. In so many ways I’m lucky. I try to manage my time as best I can, but I know there are others out there who juggle a whole lot more than even I do, and do it with perfect grace. I applaud you. This job isn’t easy.
6. In a fight, who would win…Dracula or the wolf-man?
Wolf-man, all the way! I’ve got a little bias against vamps. I know that makes a large group of people want to hurl rotten tomatoes at my head, but there you have it. I’m deathly afraid of bleeding, hence my trouble with finding vamps alluring. Blood should remain in one’s body, and if at any time it starts leaking out, do something to stop it, please. I laugh because I tend to get a little bloody in my own writing, but my critique partners have noticed that after every battle I have, I take the time to heal my characters. I never leave them bloody for long.
Now werewolves. Yummy. Granted, you asked who would win a fight, not who is sexier, but I’ll still put my money on the wolf-man.
7. What’s your favorite scary movie? Come on, spill. No explanations—just name it. Let everyone else guess why.
8. Tell me the one thing you wish you’d known about being a writer, um, before you became a writer.
I wish I had known how long things take. Writing is an exercise in patience. It reminds me of the old saying, “Hurry up and wait.” I do my best to stay on top of things and work quickly, but then I have to let it go and move on, or the waiting would drive me crazy.
9. What is your writing schedule like?
I wake up and in that brief time between caring for the kiddos, I try to clean out my messages and do a little blog surfing to see what is going on in the Romance community. Then during “quiet time,” which is barely an appropriate name for my toddler’s afternoon ritual, I’ll look over any critiques from my CP, and read through her work. Once I’ve gone over that, I set to work and write as much as I can before my toddler comes back out of his room. Then in the evenings, I do my best to write new material, and after that, I manage my blog posts. My new chapters are due to my CP every Monday. I try hard to keep to that deadline. This month, I’m going to really bust out and attempt two chapters a week. I didn’t do much over the holidays. I needed the break but now I have to catch up, or I won’t be able to fit my newest project into the lineup this spring.
10. Tell me anything you’d like to tell me.
I love writing Romance. I love a slow and teasing build up of sexual tension that grows in intensity as the characters become friends, then lovers. I haven’t found that slow build in a lot of books I’ve read lately. It feels like the trend is to have the romantic arc shoot straight to the top of a plateau and stay there. I like the climb. I like characters who deny themselves and really torture us. The decision to be intimate with someone should have a healthy amount of gravitas and weight. Otherwise I feel let down. It’s a lot of fun to write the stories I’ve always wanted to read, and I love that the Science Fiction background gives me endless possibilities. I can create wicked conflicts, because I’m not constrained by anything but my imagination.
At the same time, Science Fiction is a lot of fun because I take great pride in building worlds that feel real. If a planet has a certain culture, that culture’s quirks have arisen organically from the geography and resources that planet has. I want people to believe that my worlds aren’t outside the realm of possibility, and so they can be swept away to rich and exotic places filled with danger and adventure.
Thank you for taking the time to interview me, Cynthia. I’ve had a great time answering your questions. I’ve started a fun interactive adventure on my blog called The Many Adventures of Ethel the Space Pirate. While the title is a little tongue-in-cheek, the story is a fun and high-flying adventure. You can read the entire story from start to finish on the “fun stuff” page of my website. The story continues every Wednesday morning.