"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
Lisa Renee Jones
Lisa Renee Jones is an author of paranormal and contemporary romance. After she sold her first novella to Avon in 2006 she followed up by selling four novels to Harlequin as well as selling a novella to Kensington, Berkley, and Pocket. You can find her sizzling romances at Ellora’s Cave as well.
Lisa lives in Austin, Texas where she spends her days writing the dreams playing in her head. Before becoming a writer, Lisa lived the life of a corporate executive, often taking the red eye flight out of town and flying home just in time to make a little league ball game.
Her award winning company LRJ Staffing Services had offices all over Texas and in Nashville and was recognized by Entrepreneur magazine in 1998 as one of the top ten growing women owned businesses.
Over the next year Lisa plans to move to New York just in time for a busy year of book releases.
An Interview with Lisa Renee Jones
PNR: Can you tell us a little about how you started writing; was it something you have always wanted to do?
Lisa Renee J.: I always had a creative side but I never considered writing until a few years ago. As a teen I did quite a bit of acting and even became involved in Austin’s hopping film industry by way of some independent films. But I had a child young and I didn’t want to end up struggling to take care of him as my mother had struggled to take care of me. One thing led to another and I ended up in the staffing industry. Being highly driven, I embraced the industry, and next thing I knew, I owned my own company. Deep down though, I needed that creative energy. Somehow, that manifested into writing years later. I was traveling a lot and really ready to end the 80 hours work weeks. I was ready for a chance. Once I let go of the corporate clutter in my head, writing just seemed to insert itself into my world.
PNR: Are you able to write as much as you would like? Could you tell us about your writing schedule? What do you enjoy doing when not writing?
Lisa Renee J.: I don’t know if any writer ever thinks we have enough time to write! I write from ten until about three and go to the gym to clear my head. I start back up about 8 and work until I am too tired to do otherwise. Movies and reading are favorite things to do in off time. They stimulate creativity and usually come with popcorn and candyJ Who can beat that?!
PNR: Being a new author, who or what has been your biggest influence? Who has been your biggest support?
Lisa Renee J.: I have a great man at home who told me I could do this over and over despite rejections and my own doubt. He kept me going in the hard times. Still does! As far as influences go I have so many favorite writers I love for different reasons. Nicole Jordan for the magical way she weaves words. Lori Foster for those hot men and wonderful romances that got me hooked on the genre years after I’d let it go – and look where becoming a reader again took me! Nora Roberts for inspiring while paving the path for others. She knows how to be a professional and I admire that in her. There are many other favorites for different reasons. I love television and movies which never fit into the corporate life I led. They help you to think past your limited exposures. And so does travel! Every place I traveled in my corporate days became experience I could draw on when writing.
PNR: What are the greatest challenges to you as an author?
Lisa Renee J.: The hurry up and wait aspect of the business is hard. You write the book, wait to hear what editors think, wait for release, wait for sales numbers and reader response. I’ve gotten better at this though. I like lots of deadlines that allow me to stay focused on my writing not the waiting. With demanding deadlines, time ticks by much faster and the feeling of completing a book delivers a sense of accomplishment I embrace.
PNR: What do you feel are the essential elements of a great story?
Lisa Renee J.: Characters that feel real, and respond to life the way we would expect a real person to respond. Though I want to read for the ultimate happy ending, part of the joy of that happy ending is seeing how hard the characters worked for it. That makes me feel that when things are tough, if I push harder, I can get my happy ending too.
PNR: Congratulations on your six book contract with Silhouette Nocturne. How does publishing with a print publisher differ from epublishing? Do you plan to continue epublishing as well as print?
Lisa Renee J.: Thank you! I am very excited about Nocturne. I love the line and the series I am writing for it. Print is different in that it is slower. Everything we do now hits shelves at a much later date. In epublishing the turnaround time is often quite short. Epublishing was a great experience and I would eagerly do more with some of my past publishers. Right now, it’s a timing issue with deadlines. I hope to write another book in my Underground Guardian series for Ellora’s Cave soon. I’ve plotted it, but haven’t written it yet.
PNR: Readers are excited about the November 2007 release of THE BEAST WITHIN from Silhouette Nocturne; this is the first in your new Knights of White series. Could you tell us what inspired this intriguing fantasy series and a little about your vision for the project? What direction will the series be taking?
Lisa Renee J.: The inspiration for this series came during a road trip to Brownsville, Texas to visit a family member which took us through King Ranch. I had no idea a ranch could be the size of a city but this one is! Brownsville is a border town to Mexico and I started hearing the stories about Matamoros Beasts that attack humans – a long time legend in that area. That sparked the idea of this huge ranch being a cover for Beast hunters aka DEMON hunters.
As for the direction of the series, I have been shocked at where each story has taken me. Each book has challenged me as a writer but the characters themselves really told the stories. Each book is stronger than the prior book too. I think by the end of book 3, readers will be amazed at how much the series evolves from book 1 to future books. That first book is the most simplistic of the series, a love story that sets a critical foundation for the mythology that drives the series to new places in future books.
PNR: Readers are captivated by the fantasy world you have created. Tell us about the challenges you face in world building and making it work with the ideas you have in mind for the progression of your characters and the series? What are the difficulties you face writing paranormal elements in a contemporary setting, and making it believable for the reader?
Lisa Renee J.: The biggest issue to me in a paranormal series is making sure each book sticks to the mythology and that you the writer really know that world inside and out. I think the writer has to really know the world they are writing intimately, not creating it as they go. They have to believe it exists to make the readers believe it exists. That means creating it in your mind, and on paper, in a way that firmly sets it in place. As the series continues I find I need to really consider how the new elements I introduce work for past and future. Amazingly though, once you get into the world and feel you own it, the things that are created seem to automatically mesh. Creativity seems to funnel into the corners of that world in a natural way because you are so comfortable living there. Then, you pray you’ve made your reader comfortable too!
PNR: Do you feel your writing is character driven or plot driven? How do you balance these two elements?
Lisa Renee J.: Book 2 and 3 of the Knights books have complex plots but when I worked on the books the characters really drove so much of the plot. I really think the balance is 50-50. How the events played out had everything to do with how the characters would respond to each action taking place. These stories are very rooted in each character overcoming an inner darkness and finding their way to faith again. So the exterior conflict is often driven by the enemy knowing this and using that to drive them away from faith. I love that deeper message in this series.
PNR: Could you tell us a little about how you develop your characters? Who has been your favorite character to write? The most challenging?
Lisa Renee J.: The way I know a story is going to be good is that while I’m writing the story those characters feel like my favorite. After I wrote book 2 of the Knights I didn’t think I could like the characters in book 3 enough to give them life. I ended up loving them more. As for how I develop the characters, I delve into their history in detail before I ever start writing. I keep character sticky notes taped to my desk while writing the book. That has all kinds of notes about the character and their history I can reflect on when I am thinking of how that person would respond to a situation. Sometimes I rewrite scenes several times because even though what is on the page is okay it doesn’t feel right for that character. I know when it’s off. I get stuck on a page and tortured by the fact I can’t seem to move on! That is always how I know something is broke and I have to figure out what it is.
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?
Lisa Renee J.: To me sexual desire is a part of falling in love. It’s natural to feel that sizzle from a look or a touch. I love writing about new love and the fire that comes with it. I don’t shy away from the sex at all. I don’t enjoy writing it just to write sex though. It’s always ultimately about falling in love for my characters, even if they don’t know that at first.
PNR: There is something about a knight in shining amour that makes romance readers weak in the knees, and captures our imagination. Why do you feel the icon of the chivalrous knight holds such a broad appeal and are such a popular theme in the romance genre?
Lisa Renee J.: We all want a happy ending. I think Knights have become symbolic with happy endings. There might be a battle, but there will always be light.
PNR: What is it about the paranormal romance genre that captures your imagination? Is there a genre you haven’t written but would like to try?
Lisa Renee J.: I love the challenge of writing a suspenseful story and with paranormal there are so many places to go besides serial killers and kidnappings. I’ve written a bit of everything! Suspenseful stories with romance really call to my creativity.
PNR: Could you tell us about your current projects, what can readers expect to see in the coming months?
Lisa Renee J.: Beast of Desire March 08, Beast of Darkness July 08, Damned, Delicious, and Dangerous (Anthology from Kensington) June 08, Alluring Tales 2 (Avon anthology) November 08. I do have another Blaze that is not scheduled yet so that date is uncertain – I hope maybe late this year. Book 5 and 6 of The Knights of White will be in early 09.
PNR: Thank you, Lisa, for taking time out to talk with us. Where can readers find out what’s new and how can they contact you?
Lisa Renee J.: I am on the web at www.lisareneejones.com and I love to hear from readers! I run regular contests on my blog as well.
Thanks so much for chatting with me!
Featured in this issue: ~Chivalry Themed Romance ~SCIONS Trilogy from Silhouette Nocturne ~PNR Coming Attractions 2008
Lisa Renee Jones
November 1, 2007
Knights of White: Book 1
Known only as ‘Jag’, he leads an army, the Knights of White, in the battle of good over evil, fighting the soulless Darkland Beasts who took his wife and his life. Saved by an immortal of mystical powers, he, too, is now immortal, destined to live with the vengeance he feels in his heart. He is torn between the beast stirring his soul and the goodness his mentor presses him to embrace.
But soon the true origins of the war being fought will become clear. For this is a battle of angels; Raphael, a protector of humanity, against, Cain, the fallen one, from the Underworld.
Cain will stop at nothing to take down his adversary, even bringing Jag’s wife back to life in the form of forbidden temptation. His plan…to destroy the Knights and conquer good with evil.
Now, Jag will find the one he lost, and their love will either lead him to the light or the ultimate darkness.
March 1, 2008
Knights of White: Book 2
The Journal of Solomon has been discovered, and it’s being transported to the Dallas World Museum. Inside that journal is a map to a treasure box which holds a list of angelic bloodlines. If the Darkland Beasts get their hands on that list, they will kill off those who are a part of those bloodlines.
Des is the second in charge to the Knights of White’s leader. He is also the Knight who embraces his beasts while most work to suppress their dark side. Des has an agreement with his beast. During battle, during sex, the beast is given full control. The rest of the time, the man rules. The situation works well for Des until he is given the assignment of saving the Journal of Solomon from the beasts. In doing so, he meets Jessica, the Business Development Manager for the Dallas World Museum. Soon, Des realizes Jessica is his mate, the woman who can calm his beast for all of eternity. But the beast doesn’t want to be calmed and Des must face facts – he may well have allowed the beast too much power. For each time he touches Jessica, the beast flares to life with dangerous intensity. To claim her as his mate, to seal their bond for all of eternity, he must taste the blood that flows through her veins. But can he do so without the beast stealing the very life that she is destined to share with him?
When the Journal lands in enemy hands, Jessica and Des go on the run, trying to find the treasure box before the Journal leads the beasts to it. Des must find a way to defeat, not only the beasts who want to destroy those bloodlines inside that treasure box, but the beast who lives within himself.
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