Howdy, Delighted Readers!
We have a special guest with us today. I’ve roped author, Jaye Frances, into stopping by for a ‘Get to know you’ session. This may be Jaye’s first visit as a guest author, but she is no stranger to Delighted Reader. I have been privileged to review several of her books beginning with The Possibilities of Amy back in May of 2012 and continue to enjoy reading and reviewing her writing. Jaye is one of those fearless writers who is not afraid to genre hop and go down the darker path with her stories. When I think of books and stories with ‘tone’ and ‘atmosphere’, hers come to mind.
I’m eager for her to share about herself and her latest writing venture, the erotic suspense series, “World Without Love.”
Greetings, Jaye! Glad you could be with us today.
Thank you, Sophia, and I appreciate your always gentle hands on the reins of that rope . . .
I’m honored to be here today on The Delighted Reader, and many thanks for your continuing support of authors by providing an incredible resource of information and an open-forum for readers.
Can you believe it’s been four years since the first time we reviewed one of your books on Delighted Reader? What are some bookish milestones that have occurred since your first book was published?
It’s hard to believe it’s been that long, but as they say, time flies when you stop counting the minutes and begin savoring the momentsJ
A lot has happened since I released my first book, “The Kure,” in 2011. One of the best decisions I made was to self-direct my publishing—an easy choice after a disappointing tug-of-war with traditional publishing venues. Since then, it’s been a wonderful journey, providing me the opportunity to engage a wide spectrum of bloggers, readers, and reviewers on all platforms. The explosion of social media has also granted a much broader exposure for all authors, for which I’m very grateful.
A few bookish biggies:
The paperback versions of “Betrayed and “Reunion” (and soon, “Redemption”) are carried and sold in all Fairvilla stores, a specialty chain with seven locations in Florida. Fairvilla specializes in all things sexy, pleasurable, and erotic—in other words, a perfect fit.
I’ve been offered (and have accepted) three invitations to sail aboard themed Caribbean cruises to do book signings at sea featuring the “World Without Love” series. I’ve done two so far, with the third scheduled this fall. For me, it was exciting to realize passengers weren’t the only ones purchasing the books. Many of the ship’s crew and staff snagged their own copies to read later in their cabins. I have to admit, it was a thrill to see people lying in their lounge chairs, turning the pages of something I had written, especially when I noticed more than a few couples snuggling together as they shared a particularly exciting—okay, let’s be honest—erotic passage . . .
I’ve also been fortunate to have one of the local boutiques in our area, “Under the Sun,” stock all six of my books in their store. I like to drop in and visit, chat with patrons, spend time with the store mascot, Coco, and of course, sign books (and yes, the rumor is true—I seal each one with a kiss).
Recently, the “World Without Love” series was featured on a podcast done by Pure Orgasmic Love, (you can check out their site at www.pureorgasmiclove.com and Podcast #30, where I’m interviewed by Dragonfly, a somatic sex educator and hostess extraordinaire .) Pure Orgasmic Love is dedicated to the exploration of love, relationships, and sex. Dragonfly is an incredible woman with an open mind and joyful spirit—and eyes that melt my heart from twenty feet away . . .
Since you’ve become a writer, have your writing habits changed? Do you have a special place that is set up for your writing?
Typically, my writing habits are set in stone—scheduled for a specific time of day (late evenings are best), working in the same environment (a comfy, overstuffed chair with chocolate and wine within easy reach). And while these criteria are important to maintaining discipline with my writing, more often than not, the spark of an idea will strike when I least expect it. It might be a conversation between characters I’ve been struggling with, the description of a seedy backstreet and its suspicious inhabitants, or that twist in the storyline that solves a piece of the puzzle that kept me up the night before. I’m sure some of the folks who pass by my car in the grocery store parking lot and notice me frantically scribbling notes are wondering why I didn’t write down my shopping list before I left home.
Now, I noticed some fun things about you in your bio- for example, dark chocolate and lots of shoes. What brand of dark chocolate is to die for? Favorite pair/type of shoes?
So about the chocolate thing . . .
The other day I saw a post on Facebook with a picture of a Good Humor truck. For those of you who have never seen one or tasted the sweet delights behind the heavy steel doors, the big white trucks were especially popular during hot summer months in the Midwest town where I lived. Driven by a constantly smiling man in a white jumpsuit and cap, the Good Humor truck usually parked at the end of the block, where it blared out a tinny, circus-midway tune with enough volume to penetrate the thickest of windows. To grownups, I’m sure it was irritating as hell. But to us kids, it was a siren song, prompting us to stop whatever we were doing and run home to scrounge our mother’s purse for a quarter to buy, in my case, a frozen chocolate éclair. An obsession was born . . .
Favorite shoes? This question makes me wonder how parents feel when they’re asked which child they most prefer to spend time with. I will say each pair has a prominent place in my closet, and if I had to pick the type I gravitate to most often, they would be described as black, strappy, and extremely elevated.
I also noticed that you started out in the Midwest- Shari and I are both Midwesterners at the moment. I’m curious. What was your favorite thing about the Midwest (dig deep if you have to, lol)? What quirky Midwesterner habit did your Floridian neighbors notice from you?
Now you’re asking me to really reach back into the memories. In no particular order, here are some of my favorite things about growing up in the Midwest:
Throwing a tarp over a clothesline to make a tent, and catching fireflies in a glass jar to use for a camping lamp at night.
Lying in the grass on warm summer nights and listening to the crickets sing.
Family vacations spent in a rustic cabin at the edge of a glassy lake in northern Wisconsin, including waking up at 5:00 AM to go fishing with my dad, and especially, that first time he let me handle the Evinrude motor to steer us back to the pier.
Fourth of July block parties, when everyone had their own stockpile of firecrackers, cherry bombs, and sparklers, and the party went on ’til way past midnight.
Did I mention the Good Humor truck?
Hmm, a quirky Midwestern habit noticed by my Florida tribe . . . no one has mentioned anything in particular, but maybe they’re just being polite . . .
Now this latest series, “World Without Love.” What about it will captivate readers?
When I started the series, I was concerned how readers would respond to the genre, as it’s a bit of a departure from my previous books. And while most of my other stories are written for a mature audience, this series leaves no doubt about the adult nature of the theme. But I want to be clear about the often-graphic sexual and erotic tone of the series. These aspects of the storyline were necessary (at least, in my opinion) to motivate—and even force—the heroine, Jewel, to discard her fairytale visions of love and romance in order to survive her desperate situation. That being said, Jewel eventually learns she can hold her own in the most challenging circumstances—even when pushed to the limits of physical exhaustion, the mental constraints of her sanity, or far beyond the boundaries of polite sexual behavior. For her, sex becomes as subjective as the men—and women—she encounters, with her own sexuality the catalyst to discovering her power as a woman on a much larger scale.
What was the easiest part about writing this series? Hardest Part?
The easiest part . . . a tough question, but I’d have to say it was the development of the relationship between Jewel and her would-be cohort, Annie, a woman Jewel meets after being kidnapped and enslaved. The evolvement and synergy between these characters tugged at my emotions in a profound way, leading me down paths I’d not expected. Hopefully, this relationship will connect with the reader, perhaps motivating them to consider and even explore their own hidden secrets and curiosities.
The hardest part, aside from the tremendous amount of research for the series (for which I thank my hubby/manager/bed warmer), was to entice the reader to remain fully engaged through the uncomfortable scenes—to give them a reason to make the transition from their warm, cozy illusions of reality into the despicable world in which Jewel is forced to survive. While the main goal was to keep the characters, issues, and settings authentic—despite the deceitful nature and contemptible behavior of some of the characters—the series took me to some unexpected places, some of which left me needing a scrub brush and hot shower. It would’ve been easy to soften the story, dilute the impact, or to conform to more conventional expectations. But as you may know, I’m all about treating—even confronting— the issues in such a way that will persuade the reader to find the courage to overcome their own fears and judgments.
Was there a scene that gave you chills (made you emotional) as the writer when you were writing it? Can you share about it?
Writing the three-book series has been a very emotional experience for me, significantly more than any of my other works. There were times when I found myself completely engaged, as if I were remembering—reliving—the events Jewel was experiencing. In many ways, I transferred her fictional world into memories that were difficult to discern from the fantasy that created them.
I thought about this question for a long time, and rather than try to describe the feelings that were going through my mind as I wrote the following excerpt from “Reunion,” I’d like to share the actual passage, hoping to translate the desperation and emptiness in Jewel’s heart:
I hadn’t slept much, only a couple of hours. The walls between the rooms were thin and the conversations loud. Sometimes the voices were exclusively male. Other times, the breaking voice of a young girl was unmistakable. On the floor below me, the activity was constant, with footfalls and slamming doors frequently co-mingled with the sucking draw of a toilet.
But it wasn’t only the noise that kept me up. As I laid there on that foul, tattered mattress, my mind had raced back to years before, to another tearful and sleepless night. Although the circumstances were different, the hurt was the same. Back then, I’d been cut to the quick by a thoughtless question about the sudden death of my parents—someone wanting to know if the impact from the collision had killed them instantly or if they were alive—still aware—when the fire swept through the car.
The question had come on the morning of their funeral, making the situation even more unbearable. I’d barely held myself together through the service and reception that followed, reminding myself to thank friends and neighbors for their condolences, pretending to admire the flowers, and enduring the predictable words of encouragement offered by departing guests.
At the time, I couldn’t have felt more alone. But I got through it. And as the months passed, I found the comfort that came from a lingering hug or a heartfelt note from a friend. Eventually, those who truly cared about me restored my faith in the world, reminding me that life was still worth living.
But here, I had no one. And as I reached out with both hands, I found only the edges of a thread-worn mattress on a single bed There was no space for compassion, no room for hugs, no place for someone to sit next to me and give me hope.
Looking out into the darkness through tear-filled eyes, it was easy to imagine Annie’s ghostly image at the end of the bed, her spirit unable to speak, her outreached hand unable to touch. I would have given anything to hear her voice, to take strength in her promise—No matter what, we’ll get through this . . . together.
And before we let you go, what’s next for Jaye the writer?
The “World Without Love” series will be completed with the release of Book Three, “Redemption,” in July. But Jewel’s story doesn’t end there. She’s a rather insistent and resourceful heroine, continuing to whisper her thoughts and desires in my ear at the most inappropriate moments. Apparently, she has a few more adventures—and relationships—to pursue.
Thanks for stopping by, Jaye! Enjoyed getting to know you and your books better. Personally, I am in dire need of the third book in Jewel’s ongoing story. Badly. Just saying.
Patience, Sophia, patience . . .
Delighted Readers, Jaye has not come empty handed. Leave a comment or question on our interview to be entered in a giveaway for an e-copy of “Reunion.”
Jaye Frances is the author of “World Without Love,” a suspense thriller series with an erotic edge, including Betrayed, Reunion, and Redemption. Her other books include The Beach, a sci-fi supernatural tale about the possibilities—and horror—of wishful thinking; The Kure, a paranormal-occult romance novel; The Possibilities of Amy, a coming-of-age story of first love; and Love Travels Forever, a collection of poignant short stories. When she’s not consumed by her writing, Jaye enjoys cooking, taking pictures – lots of them—and sipping a glass of merlot with a side of dark chocolate. Jaye lives on the gulf coast of Florida, sharing her home with one husband, six computers, and several hundred pairs of shoes.