This interview is part of our Paranormal Romance Author series of interviews where we interview some of today's top paranormal romance authors! Be sure to check out our past Paranormal Romance Author interviews to learn more about various authors working in this growing genre!
Today we have an interview with Jenny Schwartz, a multi-genre author of such paranormal romance titles as Denying the Dragon and Up In Flames, and such series as The Collegium Series, Old School series.
In this interview, Jenny talks about life in Australia, her multiple paranormal romance series, what inspires her to write, what she does with her free time, and about her newest release which includes an excerpt!
For those who are new to your work, tell us a little about yourself.
I’m Australian. My big dream is to live by the sea. It’s a fairly common dream in Australia. You can see that our cities tend to cluster along the coastline. Hell on earth for me would be having to live somewhere where it snowed. Ugh. How do people live with snow? It’s so cold and wet and icky – and I’m going off-topic.
Apart from being Australian, I’m also recipe-averse, in the sense that I prefer to make up my own concoctions rather than follow instructions. Sometimes the results are delicious. Other times, not so much. Mostly I love being Australian, but recently I discovered cornbread and I am ashamed –ashamed, I tell you! – that this heavenly yumminess isn’t common here. This is my favourite recipe and it is proof that I can follow instructions when the pay-off is delectable!
When not cooking, eating, and contemplating the next meal, I write. Mostly romance, since I insist on happy ever afters in my stories.
About those stories. I write paranormal romance. In 2017, I’m working on The Old School series. Each novel is a stand-alone read. “Phoenix Blood” kicks things off with an incredible road trip filled with magic, love and second chances paid for in agony. There are six more books in the series. I’ll talk a bit about “Fantastical Island”, out yesterday, later in the interview. Don’t miss its flying pigs!
I completed my Collegium series last year. If you’re a fan of shifters, mages and modern magic, it’s unmissable – also free in Kindle Unlimited!
On a personal note, could you tell us a story (or some random fun facts) about you that we wouldn’t otherwise know?
There, I’ve said it! Of course, being lazy and being an author is pretty difficult to juggle. Writing takes a huge amount of time (and dreaming), and since I’m also self-published, there’s a lot of other stuff, including promotional activities, that I have to do. Still, I can prove I’m lazy.
I love old houses and renovation projects and the incredible places around that world that we can travel to and explore – but as much as I love these activities, I do none of them. Instead, I imagine that I do! And that’s why being an author is perfect for a lazy person.
Instead of having to earn the blisters, broken thumbs and sore muscles of real home renovation work (the broken thumbs are because I’m a klutz), I imagine the houses of my dreams and then have my characters live in them. That is sooo much easier than creating my dream houses – cheaper, too.
Cheaper is a big reason for my armchair travelling (that and I get travel sick). I’m a bit weird because I actually like looking at people’s holiday photos. I use online resources like Google Maps to imagine living in exotic places like New York – hey! I’m Australian: New York is exotic to me. It lacks kangaroos and red back spiders and no one walks down the street saying “G’day” (actually, no one does that in Australia, either. We mutter “hi”). Being a writer enables me to call all this dreaming-of-travel stuff “research”.
We all know how time-consuming writing can be. How does your family feel about your writing? Are they supportive of all the time you have to spend at your keyboard?
Family are like cats. You try and train them, but it doesn’t always work! LOL I’m totally kidding. But yes, sometimes you need to gently persevere despite crises and other distractions. In the end, my writing time has become part of ordinary life. It’s not the most important thing in the world, but it gets respected.
Considering the nature of the sexy scenes in paranormal romance, do you get any of your family or close friends read them? How do you feel about that? How do they?
My mum reads all my books – and that’s kind of taught me not to use the big f-bomb. But as for the sexy times, my books aren’t too out-there (I shock easily), so that’s kind of okay. Bottomline: we don’t discuss those scenes!
Is there a certain type of scene that's harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?
Oh gosh, yes! Fight scenes. I’m a coward. The Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz has nothing on me. Trouble in view? I’ll run, or hide, or you know, just pretend it’s not happening. So having to choreograph a fight scene is incredibly challenging.
I go out to lunch with other romance authors a few times a year. You would not believe how many of them are black belts in karate! I kid you not! There we were, eating chocolate desserts, and for some reason the topic of martial arts came up and three or four of them confessed to black beltery (or whatever such scary competence is called). Lesson of that lunch? Never, ever under-estimate romance authors. Kapow!
What inspires you to write? Is there a specific place, person or thing that makes the words flow from your soul to your keyboard?
I have to be boring yet honest here. The best inspiration for writing that I know is routine. At this time and place words will happen or I won’t leave the desk until they do gets words flowing. They’re not always brilliant words (heck, look at my atrocious grammar in this interview), but they’re words.
I’m not rigid about routine. Life and family happen. So does being tired. But on the whole, if I can’t get words flowing, I know there’s something wrong with the book’s plot; that is, I’ve written myself into a blind alley. A quick check, some boo-hoo’ing as I cut words, and then, I’m off again. Committing myself to publishing deadlines keeps me accountable.
What has been your single most rewarding/exciting experience as an author?
Reader feedback. When people find things to value in my stories and take the time to tell me how much my writing has touched them, that’s gold.
How about the opposite? What has been your most horrifying experience while writing?
When a book releases and doesn’t strike a chord with readers. That’s disheartening.
A couple of years ago I wrote a contemporary romance that was published with Harlequin Australia as a digital book. I put my heart and soul into “Kiss It Better”. I believe there really is a quarterlife crisis that happens when we’ve felt ourselves to be grown up and living our lives a while, and then, realise they’re not the lives we want. Or that our dreams are being thwarted. “Kiss It Better” was about how new dreams develop if we take a risk. As much as I believed in the story, it just didn’t reach readers.
And now for the silly… if you could choose Hollywood actors to play the lead roles in your latest release, who would you choose for the hero and heroine, and why?
In my new release, “Fantastical Island”, Naomi is an Australian marine biologist studying fantastical creatures on Catalina Island so she’d have to be played by an Aussie – maybe Margot Robbie. As for my hero, Corey, who is a Hollywood special effects artist. It has to be Scott Eastwood!
Can you share an excerpt of your upcoming book, or recently released one?
“Fantastical Island” was just released and is 99c for a short time or free to read in Kindle Unlimited. The excerpt gives you Naomi’s first visit to Corey’s special effects studio.
Work halted as Corey entered. Or maybe work halted because he entered with her? Certainly the four people—three men and one woman, all in their thirties or early forties—stared at her. “Hi, Corey.” Their gazes said, who is she?
Naomi realized his hand remained at her lower back in a subtly possessive gesture. And just possibly, her nearness to him indicated her own sense of possessiveness. Hmm. Seemed they were both staking a claim.
He made introductions, finishing with, “Naomi caught the ferry with me from the island. She has the freedom of the studio.” And to her. “The security code is ‘pegasus’ typed into the keypad on the side door.” The one currently propped open with a bucket of sand. In some ways the special effects studio wasn’t so high tech.
In other ways, it was a modern alchemist’s lair; a magician’s workshop without magic. Strange and marvelous things lent from shelves, hung suspended from the rafters and were stacked along the left side wall. Some were metal skeletons of unidentifiable purpose. Perhaps they were the innards of Hollywood ghosts? But mostly it was a storehouse of parts and projects underway.
Corey led her away from the four workers and up the broad metal staircase to the mezzanine level. Set against the back wall were three small rooms and a wide open space in front of them that stretched to the railing. This space was filled with models of theatre stages and movie sets displayed on low coffee tables. Some were of balsa wood. Others of plastic. One appeared still under construction with a floor cushion abandoned beside its coffee table.
“Computer graphics are useful, but actual models tend to spark better discussions, especially with customers. Viewing them, touching and turning them, often reveals practical considerations and constraints not immediately apparent in virtual reality. We’re experimenting with 3-D printing.” He guided her past the models to one of the rooms. “This is one of our quiet spaces. It’s not soundproof, but close enough. You’re welcome to hang out here, wander around, think of ideas for how to identify the hunters. My meeting with Blake should take about an hour. Two, tops.”
The room was basic: a wide table, two chairs, and a window looking out at the warehouse behind them. It was an uninspiring view and she understood why he’d transformed part of the shopfront into the staff lunchroom rather than leaving people shut away all day.
“If you have other plans…” Corey raised an interrogative eyebrow.
“No, this is great. Clean and functional.” She hadn’t intended this trip to the mainland, although now that she was here, she might do some shopping. She was curious what he thought she’d gain from being in the studio—although the ferry ride alone with him was totally worth a day away from Catalina Island.
They clattered back down the stairs.
Three more workers had arrived. These were in their early twenties, clutching cups of coffee. The two women looked frankly intrigued at her presence, their eyes darting between her and Corey before looking questions and commentary at the other workers. The boss has a girlfriend practically rose like a thought bubble above them. But they didn’t appear in anyway personally affected, which meant that Corey kept his romantic life separate from his business one.
She’d have expected nothing less. He would never take advantage of a woman who worked for him. But she also liked that he’d brought her to his studio. It was a vital part of his life, and he’d invited her into it.
“Let me grab some of our past project files,” he said to her. “They’ll give you an idea of what I can do.”
One of the young women choked on her coffee.
A hint of color darkened the skin over his cheekbones. He was aware that his staff watched his apparently inept courtship of Naomi. Offering to show a woman your project designs had to be the equivalent of the Victorian line, “come up and see my etchings”.
Naomi bit her lip. He was trying to give her the information she needed to help plan how to tackle the hunters, but she couldn’t resist teasing him. “I’d love to learn more of what you can do.” She made her voice Marilyn Monroe breathy.
A couple of guys snorted a laugh, proving that they were observing the interaction just as much as the women.
Corey one-upped her tease. He stepped in close. “I’ll show you when we don’t have an audience.”
Where can our readers find you online?
I love to chat, so don’t be shy!
Many thanks to Jenny for taking the time for this interview! Be sure to leave us your thought and/or questions for Jenny in the Comments below!