The Bandits are welcoming Romantic Suspense author, Jo Davis back into the Lair, but this time to talk about her debut release, an Erotic Suspense from NAL Heat. So grab a pillow, make yourself comfortable and find out what's got Jo, and probably us when we read her newest book, all hot and bothered!
Suz: Hey Jo, welcome back to the Lair. WHEN ALEX WAS BAD is your first erotica for NAL Heat. Can you fill us in on all the juicy details?uh, the non-X rated ones?about the plot?
Jo: Thanks, Suz and the Bandits for having me back. ALEX explores a couple's desperation to revive their dying marriage. How many of us have been married 15-20 years and suddenly find we no longer know the person we love? That we feel unwanted and undesirable? In that situation, how far would you go to save your marriage? ALEX takes that premise and pushes the boundaries to a solution most of us would never entertain-to agree to an open marriage in order to revive our passion.
Suz: We've been friends for years and I'm always amazed how your mind works. How did you come up with the premise for WHEN ALEX WAS BAD
Jo: Believe it or not, ALEX began as a personal writing exercise as a way for me to work on something besides my contracted books, to loosen up and keep the creative juices flowing, so to speak. Nobody was ever supposed to see it-but then my editor asked for erotica from me, I sent in the first chapters, and the rest is history. I took the premise mentioned above and played the "what if" game. What if a woman pushed the envelope to regain her lonely husband's passion? What if the plan worked a little too well? What if things weren't exactly as they seemed, putting everyone in danger? I took this and ran with it, and the story exploded to life.
Suz: Not all women would use such a unique way to save their marriage, why do you think Olivia came up with her plan?
Jo: Olivia saw firsthand, painful evidence that she was about to lose her husband to a younger woman. A woman who would make Alex feel wanted and sexy again, one who wouldn't leave him alone and longing for companionship each night while Liv runs her upscale restaurant. Rather than throw in the towel, she gets creative. Why not indulge in the fantasies she and Alex used to entertain together? Liv has a lot to lose, but even more to gain.
Suz: What erotic elements did you choose to use in WHEN ALEX WAS BAD
Jo: It might be easier to list which elements I didn't use! In a word, you won't find the flavor vanilla anywhere in this story. There are multiple partners, BDSM, and male/male elements, though none of these encounters are gratuitous. Each one serves a specific purpose in pushing psychological as well as physical boundaries, propelling Alex and Olivia's metamorphosis as a couple, and cementing their relationship with their lover, Jason.
Suz: This isn't just an ordinary erotica with lots of unique sexual experiences. You've woven in an intriguing suspense plot, too. Why did you do that, and did you find it difficult balancing that plot and the sex angle?
Jo: Weaving suspense into my plots, no matter the level of sexual content, is natural for me. As an author, it's hard for me to think in terms of a storyline with no twist, no bad guys to defeat. So no, that part wasn't difficult. However, with this story I did pull the suspense forward more when the book was optioned with Mandalay Pictures. I found myself in the unique position of selling ALEX to NAL on proposal-and going book to film with Mandalay as well, only one week after the book sold to my publisher. Yes, you read that right. ALEX was optioned on proposal as a major motion picture. I had the mind-blowing opportunity to write an erotic suspense from scratch along the lines of BASIC INSTINCT for the big screen as well as for my readers. No pressure, right?
Suz: What do you see as the difference between super sexy romances and erotic romances?
Jo: To me, the difference between super sexy and erotic romance is in the author's handling of 1) the psychological mindset of the sexual situation(s) and/or 2) inclusion of alternative lifestyles. (GLBT, multiple partners, etc.) The author knows what she/he is delivering and the readers know what they're getting when they choose the book, so I have never understood why some find "erotic" so difficult to define. It's not rocket science, ya know?
Suz: As you mentioned before, WHEN ALEX WAS BAD has been optioned for a movie. What was it like going through that process? Can you tell us any details?
Jo: As I said, ALEX was optioned by Mandalay Pictures last year right after I sold the book. What some may not know is that the acquiring producer is Mandalay President Cathy Schulman, who won the Best Picture Oscar for Crash in 2006. The film is in development now, and the screenwriter is at work on the screenplay. Being optioned, especially by a producer of her stature, is right up there as one of the most thrilling experiences of my life. I got to speak with Cathy and Executive Vice-President David Zelon (CABLE GUY, THE NET, SLEEPY HOLLOW, I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, just to scratch the surface) on the phone in a long-distance conference, along with my agent and my book-to-film agent. The conversation was so surreal, words can't describe my emotions.
The writing process to complete this book was, as you might imagine, the most stressful project I've ever undertaken. Isn't it every writer's fantasy to capture your publisher and Hollywood in the same week, based on nothing more than premise? Oh, yes, without a doubt. Then you have to pull off a fantastic story, with important people on both the east and west coasts waiting to see what you produce. Not a picnic, folks. But very, very rewarding in the end.
Suz, with a mischevious grin: Big what if. IF you could cast the movie yourself, who would you put in the three major roles?
Jo: Ooh, this is fun! To play Alex, I'd have to go with Mark Wahlberg, hands down. I just love that talented man, and he's perfect for my handsome, just-turned-40 attorney hero. Angelina Jolie would be my choice for Olivia, all sultry beauty and grace. To play Jason Strickland, our hot young hero who joins Alex and Liv? Hmm. I have to admit I'm not sure who I'd go with for that part. After my readers have devoured ALEX, I'd love to hear some opinions on who could play Jason!
Suz: So what other Heat books do you have planned?
Jo: In February 2010, I'm launching the SHADO Agency series, starting with I SPY A WICKED SIN. Think of this series as BOURNE IDENTITY meets JAMES BOND and goes erotic! My spies are sexy, uninhibited, and will do anything to get their man-or woman. The first book in the series features a blind hero, Jude St. Laurent, who does not remember his life as an assassin for SHADO?and has no clue that the tempting Lily Vale has been sent to make sure he never does.
Suz: Any news about the Station Five Firefighters you'd like to tease our readers with?
Jo: I thought you'd never ask! Julian's gripping story, HIDDEN FIRE, will be released on December 1, 2009. In this installment, Sean Tanner's arc will be furthered, and readers will get a hint that someone new might come to town in the future. In 2010, Tommy Skyler's story, LINE OF FIRE, will be released in June, and finally, RIDE THE FIRE, Sean's story, will be released in December! In 2010, one of our beloved Station Five heroes will see the tragic end of his firefighting career and nope, I'm not telling who! Also, look for one of your favorite Sugarland men to take on a larger role in the action. Will he eventually get his own story? That remains to be seen?
Suz: So Jo is going to give away a signed copy of WHEN ALEX WAS BAD to one lucky commentor. Given what you know of the story, who would you cast in the movie version? And have you ever taken drastic measures to solve a problem? Did it turn out as you expected?