"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
Jaci Burton is a national bestselling author of over 30 books, written for multiple publishers, in multiple genres. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband and multiple dogs, and spends her days chained to the computer trying to meet multiple deadlines. (Do you get the whole ‘multiple’ thing going here?) Currently, she writes mainly paranormal romance and contemporary erotic romance for Bantam Dell, Berkley and Samhain Publishing, but that’s likely to change at a moment’s notice, with those multiple ideas rolling around in her head.
An Interview with Jaci Burton
PNR: Have you always wanted to be a writer, what led you to pursue writing as a career?
Jaci B.: No, I hadn’t always wanted to be a writer. I dabbled in it when I was younger, mostly as a hobby, something fun to do, but never took it seriously until about six years ago when I married my second husband. It was through a conversation with him about my dabbling in writing in my past that got me interested in it again, and he encouraged me to give it a try. So I did, wrote a book, then another, and really fell in love with writing and decided to make it a career.
PNR: How do you manage to balance your writing and personal time? What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
Jaci B.: Balance isn’t easy because writing will take over your life if you aren’t careful. It’s easy to get lost in a story, your characters and the world you’re creating, to the detriment of home, husband, and family. You have to carve out time to have a real life, turn off the computer and step away. I try to stop working at a certain time every day unless I’m on a deadline crunch. My husband and I have a Harley so we enjoy bike riding. I love to read, I love watching movies and just hanging out with my husband. Sometimes doing nothing at all is the greatest adventure—and it feeds the muse. ;-)
PNR: What are the greatest challenges to you as an author? The greatest rewards?
Jaci B.: The greatest challenges are often those multiple deadlines. It’s sometimes difficult to juggle, to multi-task so many projects at once. But the greatest reward is seeing my book on the shelf with its beautiful cover and my name on it, knowing my characters have been brought to life, and that hopefully readers will enjoy the story within.
PNR: Which author(s) is your favorite? And who has most influenced your work?
Jaci B.: This is always the most difficult question to answer, because I have so many favorite authors, and I never like leaving anyone out. Some of my favorite authors are Linda Howard, Nora Roberts, Elizabeth Lowell, Judith McNaught, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Julie Garwood, Carly Phillips, Lara Adrian, Larissa Ione, Stephanie Tyler, Kristan Higgins, Lora Leigh…see, I should never make a list because there are so many favorites I’ll forget to list. I was probably most influenced by the first romance I ever read—The Flame and The Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss. It made me fall in love with romance and I was never the same after that.
PNR: You have received awards and a great deal of reader admiration for your writing. How does it feel to have such positive recognition for your work?
Jaci B.: Thank you! It’s pretty awe inspiring to receive an award for something I enjoy doing so much. And getting reader mail is the best. I love hearing from readers who’ve enjoyed my books. It’s the highlight of being a writer, knowing I’ve created a story that touched someone. There’s nothing better than getting feedback.
PNR: What do you consider to be the key elements of a great story?
Jaci B.: Characters! The characters are first and foremost in my story. I can’t create a decent story without them. I have to develop them, figure out who they are, what their background is, then create the plotline around them. I love my characters and I think without great characterization, my story sinks. The characters have to have heart, emotion, they have to come alive for me. If they don’t, then I’ve failed.
PNR: Reviewers and readers are excited about the September 07 release of HUNTING THE DEMON, the second title in your new Demon Hunters series; could you tell us where the idea came from and a little about your vision for the project?
Jaci B.: After I finished the first book in the Demon Hunter series – SURVIVING DEMON ISLAND—I was really excited to dive right into HUNTING THE DEMON because it continued right where Surviving Demon Island left off. The demon hunters go in search of Derek’s brother Nic, who may or may not be a demon, and may or may not be on the side of the Sons of Darkness, the evil Lords. In charge of baiting and watching over Nic is Shay, one of the demon hunters. Nic and Shay are both complex, multi-layered characters, both harboring secrets. I love when characters are so multidimensional and Nic and Shay were both that way. I hope readers enjoy the story. It was truly fun to write and quite a challenge.
PNR: Your epublished erotic romance is enormously popular with readers. What inspired you to write erotic romance?
Jaci B.: I had also written hot love scenes. When I discovered Elloras Cave, I found a home for my style of writing and was thrilled to publish my very first book with them because I could explore the kind of love scenes I wanted to write without the restrictions I found in other publishing houses. Now, fortunately, many publishing houses are open to the style of love scenes I like to write—hot and steamy, so I can push the envelope even in my mainstream romance, though not quite as heavily as I do with my erotic romance.
I just think that sex is fun, it’s romantic, it’s hot, and I really enjoy exploring it with my characters.
PNR: I have to ask, are you planning to continue the League of 7 Seas series? I loved Jaz and Trey. What has been your favorite series to write so far? Single title? Why?
Jaci B.: Thank you! You know, there’s so much fun in series. The bad thing is that I went crazy with starting so many series, and now I really need to pick up where I left off. Unfortunately, I’m contracted so far into the future with so many books, that a lot of the earlier series I started have been put on hold. I do hope to someday continue the League of 7 Seas series as well as others.
My favorite series so far is probably the Demon Hunter series that I’m currently doing for Bantam Dell, probably because it’s so incredibly challenging for me. There are so many layers to this series, so many subplots and so much to weave with the characters and worldbuilding. But I love a challenge so I’m really having fun with it.
PNR: You have written two books with your husband, CJ Burton, could you tell us about how these projects came about? How does a man’s perspective differ from a woman’s in regards to erotic romance? Do you have any future collaborations in the works?
Jaci B.: Charlie (CJ) has always been involved with my books. He reads and helps me edit, and he also helps me plot. So I asked him to write one with me, and he did. And then another, and he did. He’s such a great guy and I couldn’t have done this without him. He’s great with the male point of view in my books, telling me what a man would and wouldn’t say or do in a given situation. As far as the erotic romance, he’s helpful with the love scenes, but his perspective isn’t much different than mine, actually. It’s more male POV where his expertise comes in handy.
No future collaborations at this time. Our lives are just too busy right now. But someday hopefully we’ll do another book together!
PNR: Do you feel your writing is character driven or plot driven? How do you balance these two elements?
Jaci B.: It depends on the book, but really, for me it’s all about the characters as I mentioned earlier. Some books rely more heavily on plot, but the characters are still a prominent part of the book.
I think you can’t have a great book without great characters. Conversely, you can have awesome characters in a book, but they still have to be doing something, so if you don’t give them a decent plotline, even the best characters are going to fall flat. You need both, and you need to strike a balance between the two so one doesn’t overwhelm the other.
PNR: You are known for your multi-faceted characters that readers really connect with, could you tell us a little about the development of your characters? Who has been your favorite character to write? The most challenging?
Jaci B.: I try to think of my characters as real, fully developed people, not caricatures. Making them real gives them life, and as I write them, it’s like watching them in a movie, feeling their emotions, seeing what they do. It helps me guide their actions and reactions to each other and to the plotline.
I’m not allowed to name a favorite character. They’re all way too competitive and they’d be unhappy with me if I did. ;-)
PNR: With the recent reader interest in erotic romance, print publishers have entered a market niche that was formally covered by the epublishers. What do you feel accounts for the shift in attitude toward erotic romance; reader and publisher?
Jaci B.: I believe there’s simply more of an openness toward sexuality, more of a freedom to express, in print, what was formerly suppressed or only alluded to. Though I think many print publishers have been moving toward this trend for years, testing the market, seeing how readers will respond to more hot and steamy sex scenes. And readers responded well, asking for more and the publishers responded. There will be readers who buy and readers who don’t, people who prefer their sex scenes behind closed doors, and those who want theirs shown in all their explicit glory. The wonderful thing about the romance genre is that there’s something for everyone.
PNR: Like a growing number of print authors, you started out in the e-publishing market. How does being contracted with a print publisher differ? Are you planning to continue e-publishing?
Jaci B.: In epublishing the books come out faster. Print publishing is a much slower process. Other than that, the production is nearly the same. Books are written, turned in, revisions are sent to the author, then copyedits/line edits for the author to review. It’s much the same thing from epublishing to print publishing, other than time wise.
I do still write for epublishers and hopefully will continue to be able to do so. I enjoy the freedom to write what I want, and I have great admiration for epublishing. It opens doors for me and brings me new readers every day. I wouldn’t be where I am right now without the epublishing community.
PNR: How do you feel the sensual/erotic genre has affected the romance genre in general, the paranormal genre specifically? In your opinion, how far can you go with erotic content and have it still be considered romance?
Jaci B.: I think paranormal romance has gotten hotter, but hasn’t a lot of romance?
I know my paranormal romance is hot and steamy, but not quite what I would consider erotic. It does push the envelope as far as the sexuality. The only thing missing that would make it erotic would maybe be choice of words used during the sex scenes. But really, it’s up to the characters and what happens to them during the love scenes. Each character is different, how they react and relate to each other. Some are more intense than others, some more playful, some hotter. No wait. All my characters are hot! Heh. ;-)
And I think it’s all romance, no matter how erotic it gets. At least with my stories. I don’t write anything erotic that isn’t also romance.
PNR: How would you describe the sensuality level of your books; do you find it challenging to write the hot love/sex scenes that readers demand?
Jaci B.: The love scenes are always challenging, mainly because I want to do them right. I want to make it perfect for the characters. When I write a love scene, it isn’t based on market, or reader demand. I don’t have a checklist of sex toys or positions or orifices that have to be penetrated. Sometimes my sex scenes are pretty graphic. Others are quite vanilla. It’s all about what’s right for the characters in that book, and nothing more.
PNR: What is it about the paranormal romance genre that captures your imagination?
Jaci B.: It’s magic, it’s creating a world that I’ve made up, with my rules, my imagination, and being allowed to play within that world over and over again. What could be more fun than that for a writer? J
PNR: You have written in the contemporary genre as well as paranormal; what is your favorite genre to write? Is there a genre you haven’t written but would like to try?
Jaci B.: My favorite genre is whatever I happen to be writing at the moment. One of the nice things about writing in multiple genres is that I get to switch around. Things never get stale. I don’t get tired of paranormal because the next book I write will be contemporary erotic, and vice versa.
Nothing comes to mind as far as what I might want to try. AT least not today.
PNR: What is next for the Demon Hunters series? Will we see favorite characters returning in future titles?
Jaci B.: Next up is THE DEMON’S TOUCH, coming in Fall 2008. Favorite characters will always pop up in future books. You’ll see four characters featured prominently in The Demon’s Touch.
PNR: Could you tell us about your current projects, what can readers expect to see in the coming months?
Jaci B.: Releasing December, 2007 is UNWRAPPED, a contemporary erotic romance from Samhain. In February 2008 I’m releasing RIDING WILD, the first in my new Wild Riders contemporary erotic romance series from Berkley Heat. I have two print releases coming from Samhain in 2008—NOTHING PERSONAL, a contemporary romance, and UNWRAPPED in print together with Lauren Dane’s To Do List. The next Demon Hunters book releases in the fall, then the second book of the Wild Riders series from Berkley in fall 2008, too.
PNR: Thank you Jaci, for taking time out to speak with us; where can readers find out more about your work?
Jaci B.: Thank you for asking such thought provoking questions! Readers can find me at http://www.jaciburton.com
October 1, 2007
Mia Logan is a hypnotist with futuristic Earth's Alien Crime Enforcement Unit. Her specialty—hypnotizing suspects into confessing their crimes. Ric is a M'Loran who hunts down alien criminals. Ric and Mia are hot on the trail of the notorious Vad, a ruthless killer who has escaped his Earth prison.
While hunting for Vad, Mia gives in to her secret desire for Ric and challenges that she can hypnotize him. Her ulterior motive - having the sexy M'Loran under her control.
Ric knows he can't be hypnotized and lets Mia believe he's under her control. He's completely mesmerized by Mia without benefit of hypnosis and caters to every one of her sexual desires.
As their feelings escalate, so does their guilt about the lies they've told. The truth catches up to them at the same time they find Vad. They must fight to capture and subdue Vad, and face the truth about their feelings for each other.
August 28, 2007
Demon Hunters: Book 2
IN A WILDERNESS SEETHING WITH SIN AND SEDUCTION, THE CHASE IS ON.
Hunting demons for a living can have its moments. Especially when Shay Pearson's latest quarry is the gorgeous bronzed surfer who just stepped out of the sea. Uncovering Nic Diavolo's devilish side could prove Shay's toughest assignment yet. Because while she's acting as bait to snatch this sexy bad boy, Nic's got a plan of seduction no woman, earthly or otherwise--can resist.
Caught between two warring realms, Nic needs to stay alive long enough to figure out who his enemies are. That includes the beautiful hunter who won't let him out of her sight. And something far worse: A force of evil with an almost unimaginable goal - possessing Nic's very soul. But the hunt really heats up when a guy who's hotter than Hades and a woman who's afraid to love join forces, igniting an inferno of lust and longing that could send them into mortal danger...or straight into each other's arms?
December 26, 2006
Demon Hunters: Book 1
She's all curves and combat
What's America's top female action star doing on a tropical island shrouded in secrecy? To Gina Bliss, competing in a survival-type reality show is a nice change from fending off on-screen villains. Until she meets real-life action hero Derek Marks. A survival specialist in a tight black T and sexy stubble, he's arousing every bad-boy fantasy she's ever had . . . and testing her survival skills to the max.
Martial arts, jungle warfare—Derek's done it all. But his latest mission is more dangerous than a stick of dynamite. Try telling that to the sexy, adrenaline-pumped actress who's got his libido racing off the charts. As the heat rises between them and real-life violence erupts, suddenly Derek and Gina are on the run . . . and when they uncover a secret so explosive it could blow the lid off their so-called reality show, these two unlikely heroes are about to discover what surviving's really about.
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