Today bestselling author Jacquie D’Alessandro makes her first appearance in the Lair. Jacquie has a new release, Touch Me, from Blaze Historicals.
Thanks, gals—I’m very excited to be here!
We love call stories here in the Lair. Will you tell us yours?
After several years (which felt like decades), I got my agent after winning the Romancing the Novel contest sponsored by the Washington DC RWA chapter. She was the finalist judge and after reading the first chapter I’d entered, she asked if the book was done. I told her it was, and after she read it, she called me and said, “I can sell this.” Sounded good to me! She asked for some revisions, which I did, then sent it back and held my breath. About two weeks after submitting the manuscript to multiple houses, she phoned me and the call went like this:
Her—I have an offer on your book.
Me—What does that mean?
Her—It means someone wants to buy it.
Me—Oh my God—did my mother call you??
She laughed and assured me no, Mom hadn’t called, but an editor had. That was in September of 1998, and that book, Red Roses Mean Love, came out in September of 1999. At that time I never dreamed it would be ten years and 30 books later!
I notice that the heroine of Touch Me is a courtesan. We also love courtesans here. Tell us a bit about the book and the Blaze Historical line.
The heroine, Genevieve Ralston, was a secondary character in one of my earlier historicals entitled Love and the Single Heiress. I’ve wanted to write her story since she first appeared on the page. She is my first courtesan heroine, and is a woman who has experienced great pain--both emotionally and physically. Coming up with a hero worthy of her took a lot of thought because not just anyone would do for this unique woman Touch Me is my first historical for Blaze, and while I really enjoyed writing it, it presented a challenge because all my other historicals have been 100,000 words while the word count for the Blaze line is only 60,000 words. There isn’t a Blaze Historical line—but happily for both Blaze authors and readers, the senior editor of the line is a woman of vision who is open to new ideas and expanding the line to include select stories featuring such things as paranormal elements and historical settings. If the historical Blazes sell very well, my guess is that Blaze would feature more of them in the future.
How did you become interested in writing for this line?
I came to Blaze through a rather winding road. My first HQ book was for the Duets line. When that line folded (not my fault, I swear!), I began writing for the Temptation line. When that line folded (again, not my fault, I swear!), I became a Blaze Babe. In addition to the full length books I’ve written for the line, I’ve also done a number of holiday anthologies. I enjoy writing for Blaze because not only do I like writing about strong contemporary (and now historical!) heroines, I also love the shorter format—especially after writing a 400 book!
What’s the biggest problem the hero and heroine have?
In Touch Me, I’d say the biggest problem between Genevieve and Simon is trust. Both have very compelling reasons to be suspicious of the other and their motives. I loved peeling away those layers of mistrust and allowing these two lonely, disillusioned people to discover the hidden goodness in each other.
Will you give us a peek inside Touch Me?
Absolutely! Here you go:
She wore only a chemise. A wet chemise.
Simon’s breath halted, and for several seconds he completely forgot he was in hiding. Forgot what was at stake. After all, this woman might have been involved in a conspiracy to commit murder. It was imperative he learn all he could about her.
And God knows he was learning plenty given the way that drenched material clung to her. Clearly Mrs. Ralston had indulged in a dip in the hot springs. It was well documented that taking the waters was good for the body, and she absolutely was testament to that.
She moistened her lips and his gaze was drawn to her mouth. Were her lips naturally so plush or were they kiss swollen? Had someone joined her at the hot springs? An unexpected mental image flickered through his mind...of her, standing in the gently bubbling water...and of him, joining her--
Suddenly the object of his fantasies moved toward him. Simon’s breath halted--partly due to the great risk of discovery and partly because the sight of her rendered his lungs incapable of functioning. He’d seen many alluring sights in his life, but he’d be hard pressed to name any that could compare to the sight of a wet, nearly naked Genevieve Ralston. His gaze flicked down to the erection straining against his snug breeches.
And speaking of hard...
The entire first chapter is posted on my website at www.JacquieD.com. Hope you enjoy it!
After that, what’s next for you?
My first Victorian historical will be coming out in December 2010 in an anthology entitled A Victorian Christmas with Betina Krahn and Hope Tarr. I’ve recently contracted for my first two single title contemporary novels, the first of which will come out in May 2011. And I’m excited to announce that there’s going to be a follow-up to last year’s New York Times bestselling anthology It Happened One Night with Stephanie Laurens, Mary Balogh, and Candice Hern! This one is entitled It Happened One Season, and the plot we are all going to write will be decided by readers via a contest! Prizes will include signed books and the readers who submit the winning plot points will have the book dedicated to them. I’ll be posting details on my website and Facebook as they become available—near the end of this year.
Since you were kind enough to invite me to your Lair—tell me about YOUR Lair. Where do you call home, and what’s your favorite spot to curl up with a book? (mine’s my comfy recliner in the family room, wrapped in my cozy blanket). And how about sharing the last good book you read curled up in that favorite spot? I’m also happy to answer any questions that will not require me to reveal how many Doritos/oreos/other fattening snacks I can devour while sitting in my comfy recliner!
Jacquie's giving away a book to one commenter today.