...by Olivia Kelly
Jessica Lemmon, author of the upcoming Tempting the Billionaire, has dropped by to hang out with us today! She has graciously agreed to allow me to grill...er...ask her some questions about her book and how she got to where she is today.
Metaphorically, I mean. I'm assuming if you are at Starbucks that you got there the same way we all do—in a stretch limo with heavily tinted glass. ;)
Okay, enough of my hilarious commentary. On to the good stuff! *cracks knuckles*
1) When did you start writing? Do you remember the first story you ever wrote? Want to share any of it with us? Just a bit? A little? A smidge? (The idea, I mean. I won't ask you to actually dig through the back of your closet, pull up the carpeting and find that old lockbox where it's hidden!)
Woo-hoo! Thanks for having me, Olivia! I’ve been to Lady Scribes a few times before but only as a reader/commenter. Never as a guest. What an honor! *waves at everyone*
I love to draw, so my creative path started there. Though I did write poetry at a young age. Cute-rhymey stuff when I was younger, then I moved on to the required teenage-angst-emo stage later on. At eighteen, I wrote an EPIC vampire poem. Epic as in LONG. Not as in good. :-P Which reminds me…I should probably buy a lockbox, because that poem is within reach from where I am sitting.
Side note: I considered jotting down the first line here. But…I just…can’t. It’s. So. Bad. *shiver*
Ooo. I totally get that. I wrote the same sort of painful, hideously emo, sad-sack poetry when I was a teen too. I feel ya, sister. *fist bump*
2) Besides contemporary romance, is there another genre or subgenre you write or would consider writing? Did anything in particular draw you to your genre, or is that just what happened when you set fingers to keys?
Great question! I would love to attempt paranormal/fantasy but in a very real-life way (like Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson series). I have an idea for a paranormal tucked away but right now I’m loving the contemporary genre.
(Olivia butts in. "Darynda! Squeeee! Okay, I'm good. Really. Sorry. Carry on.")
Contemporary appealed to me because I love love. And I love the struggles that everyday people go through on their quest to find love. For example, in Tempting the Billionaire, Crickitt is struggling with no longer having a career, or a husband. Both of which have defined who she was for over a decade. Her armor, and confidence, are chinked. And exploring that is what I find most interesting about writing her.
3) On your website you mention that in the beginning you thought publishing was easy-peasy: write and publish, no big deal! Then you found out there were many, many other steps involved as a book makes its way from your computer to a bookstore. What was your favorite step? The funniest? The most horrifying/frightening?
Yeah. I was *so* sorely mistaken. But hey, we all have to start somewhere, right? I think I’m horrified by the first query letter I ever sent. My “book” (I use this term lightly) was 32,000 words.
32,000. You guys. That’s not a book, that’s…half a book!
And in the query letter, I waxed poetic about what inspired my story based on a ten-year reunion. (Which was, unimaginatively, my ten year reunion.) And then I included a sentence the bottom that said something about how even though I knew I was falling under the word count, I was confident I could add enough words to meet their requirements.
Oh, I’m cringing! I can’t believe I just told you that.
Ha! I think most author's have at least one embarrassing query letter story under their belt! Which makes for great cocktail hours at our wirting confrences...
4) Can you tell us about your upcoming debut with Grand Central, Tempting the Billionaire?
|Olivia here. I love this sexy cover. Understated but powerful. *zing!*|
Business or Pleasure?
Crickitt Day needs a job . . . any job. After her husband walks out on her, she’s determined to re-build her life and establish a new career. When swoon-worthy billionaire Shane August hires her as his assistant, she jumps at the chance to prove herself. Despite her growing attraction to her boss, she vows to keep things strictly professional. No flirting. No kissing. Definitely no falling in love…
Shane August is all business, all the time. He’s a self-made man who’s poured his heart and soul into his company, and he’d never allow himself to get involved with an employee. Then he hires sweet, sexy Crickitt—and he can’t keep his mind or his hands off her. But no matter how much he wants Crickitt, Shane fears that painful secrets from his past will always come between them. With fate working against them, can these two lonely hearts learn that sometimes mixing business with pleasure is the perfect merger?
5) I love the heroine's name—Crickitt. How did you come up with it? Can you tell us something about her that isn't in the book? Maybe something from her childhood, her dating past or one of her secret likes or dislikes?
Thank you! I wish I knew how I landed on her name. My notes from 2010 say “Crickitt – story idea.” She’s always been Crickitt, with that spelling, in my head.
Secret likes? Well, it’s hinted at in the book, but Crickitt loves yard sales and Goodwill stores. She’s choosy, but knows what she likes the moment she sees it. Though it may take an entire weekend of sifting through framed art or home decorations before she lands on that “special something.”
Once, she came across a pair of monkeys…oh, well…now see? I’m going to ruin the book for you if I go on.
6) Now the hero, Shane, sounds pretty yummy. A hot, young, filthy rich guy with a painful past that makes him wary of relationships? Yeah. Pretty hard for any girl to resist! Can you tell us a (fun) secret of Shane's or something he likes or dislikes that we wouldn't read about in the book?
He won’t like me telling you this, but I’m going to anyway. (Stop looking at me like that, August.)
When Shane found what is now known as the August Industries building in downtown Osborn, Ohio, he wanted to be sure it was “the” building before he plunked down the insanely high amount of money being asked.
Alone on top of the roof, he took in the downtown area sprawled before him, a maze of one-way streets and tall buildings and sun glinting off glass windows. There, at the edge, he leaned over a flimsy railing and considered what the future might hold. Whether he deserved all that he had. Whether he’d keep it, or if it’d be stolen from him as things—and people—had been in the past.
In answer to his silent pondering, a complete sense of purpose and destiny crashed over him. And lingered. Lingered long enough for the realtor to come up and check on him since he’d been hanging out up there for the last thirty minutes. “Mr August?” she’d asked.
Shane straightened, but didn’t turn to face her. He tugged at his collar and gave the city below a curt nod. “This,” he confirmed to both of them, “is my building.”
Aww. He's got a gooey, sentimental center, with a brusque exterior. I like him already!
7) If we ask nicely, can you give us a sneak peek at Tempting the Billionaire? Pretty please?
Oscillating red, green, and blue lights sliced through the smoke-filled club. Men and women cluttered the floor, their arms pumping in time with the throbbing speakers as an unseen fog machine muddied the air.
Shane August resisted the urge to press his fingertips into his eyelids and stave off the headache that‘d begun forming there an hour ago.
Tonight marked the end of a grueling six-day workweek, one he would have preferred to end in his home gym, or in the company of a glass of red wine. He frowned at the bottle of light beer in his hand. Six dollars. That was fifty cents an ounce.
The sound of laughter pulled his attention from the overpriced brew, and he found a pair of girls sidling by his table. They offered twin grins and waved in tandem, hips swaying as they strode by.
“Damn,” Aiden muttered over his shoulder. “I should have worn a suit.”
Shane angled a glance at his cousin‘s T-shirt and jeans. “Do you even own a suit?”
Shane suppressed a budding smile and tipped his beer bottle to his lips. It was Aiden who dragged him here tonight. Shane could give him a hard time, but Aiden was here to forget about his ex-wife, and she‘d given him a hard enough time for both of them.
“This is where you‘re making your foray into the dating world?” Shane asked, glancing around the room at the bevy of flesh peeking out from the bottom of skin-tight skirts and shorts.
“Seemed like a good place to pick up chicks,” Aiden answered with a roll of one shoulder.
Shane tamped down another smile. Aiden was recently divorced, though “finally” might be a better term. Two years of wedded bliss had been anything but, thanks to Harmony‘s wandering eye.
Shane couldn‘t blame Aiden for exercising a bit of freedom. God knows, if Shane were in his shoes, he‘d have bailed a long time ago. This time when Harmony left, she‘d followed her sucker punch with a TKO: the man she left Aiden for was his, now former, best friend. At first Aiden had been withdrawn, then angry. Tonight he appeared to be masking his emotions beneath a cloak of overconfidence.
“Right,” Shane muttered. “Chicks.”
“Well, excuse me, Mr. Moneybags.” Aiden leaned one arm on the high-top table and faced him. “Women may throw themselves at you like live grenades, but the rest of us commoners have to come out to the trenches and hunt.”
Shane gave him a dubious look, in part for the sloppily mixed metaphor, but mostly because dodging incoming women didn‘t exactly describe his lackluster love life. If he‘d learned anything from his last girlfriend, it was how to spot a girl who wanted to take a dip in his cash pool.
He‘d only had himself to blame, he supposed. He was accustomed to solving problems with money. Problem-free living just happened to be at the top of his priority list. Unfortunately, relationships didn‘t file away neatly into manila folders, weren‘t able to be delegated in afternoon conference meetings. Relationships were complicated, messy. Time consuming.
“I can pick up a girl in a club,” Shane found himself arguing. It‘d been a while, but he never was one to shy away from a challenge. Self-made men didn‘t shrink in the face of adversity.
Aiden laughed and clapped him on the shoulder. “Don‘t embarrass yourself.”
Shane straightened and pushed the beer bottle aside. “Wanna bet?”
“With you?” Aiden lifted a thick blond eyebrow. “Forget it! You wipe your ass with fifties.”
“Hundreds,” Shane corrected, earning a hearty chuckle.
“Then again,” Aiden said after finishing off his bottle, “I wouldn‘t mind seeing you in action, learn what not to do now that I‘m single again. Find a cute girl and I‘ll be your wingman.” Before Shane could respond, Aiden elbowed him. “Except for her.”
Shane followed his cousin‘s pointing finger to the bar, where a woman dabbed at her eyes with a napkin. She looked so delicate sitting there, folded over in her chair, an array of brown curls concealing part of her face.
“Crying chicks either have too much baggage, or they‘re wasted.”
Says Aiden Downey, dating guru.
“Drunk can be good,” he continued, “but by the time you get close enough to find out, it‘s too late.”
Shane frowned. He didn‘t like being told what to do. Or what not to. He wasn‘t sure if that‘s what made him decide to approach her, or if he‘d decided the second Aiden pointed her out. He felt his lips pull into a deeper frown.
He shouldn‘t be considering it at all.
This book sounds like a fun, sexy read, and it's definitely going on my list for books to buy in the New Year! Thank you so much for joining us at Lady Scribes today, Jessica. Since we have pelted you with questions, it's your turn now. Is there anything you would like to ask our readers?
Thank you SO much for having me, and for adding Tempting the Billionaire to your TBR list. My to-be-read list is a toppling tower of precariously placed paperbacks (say that ten times fast!), so I know how careful I am about what I add to the top!
I do have a question for today's readers!
Crickitt garners Shane’s attention despite her boxy wardrobe and square-heeled shoes. And he finds her undeniably attractive despite the fact she’s not wearing a low-cut blouse or a super short skirt, even if he is a bit perplexed by that fact. Crickitt is herself, through and through, and she dresses for comfort.
What about you? Do you dress to impress? Do you torture your feet in uber-high heels? Or do you wear what feels best, secretly wishing every day was casual Friday?