I’m thrilled to welcome Jeanette Grey back to Reading Reality! When Jeanette was here back in 2011, she was talking about her version of the future and her fantastic science fiction romance Unacceptable Risk. This time, she’s all about the present with her hot (very, see my review) new book, Take What You Want.
Marlene: Jeanette can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Jeanette: Sure! I’m a thirty-something stay-at-home writer. In the past, I’ve worked as a science teacher, a web designer, a technical support specialist, and an administrative assistant in an advertising agency. When I quit my most recent gig to give writing my all, my husband shook his head at me, and said, “Well, at least you have plenty of experiences to draw from.”
Marlene: Describe a typical day of writing? Are you a planner or pantser?
Jeanette: Well, this is kind of a spoiler for question 14, but I get up around noon, have a cup of coffee and read for a bit—either writing blogs, industry news, or whatever book I’m currently engrossed in. Then I spend my afternoon working on all the non-writing stuff I have to do. I look through my critique partners’ pages, write blog posts, edit my own stuff, keep up on my social networking, run errands, etc. Four to ten is family time. Then at ten, hubby goes to bed, and I write until four in the morning. It’s great—no one bothers me, and there are minimal distractions from Twitter or any of the other typical time-sucks.
I refer to myself as a modified pantser. I come up with a vague plan for a book—usually a half-page or so worth of ideas scribbled out long-hand. Working within that framework (modifying it as needed), I make things up as I go along.
Marlene: Do all of your stories have writing soundtracks? If so, what was your soundtrack for Take What You Want?
Jeanette: I always listen to music while writing, and that music varies depending on the character and the scene. While writing my heroine, Ellen, I listened to a lot of folksy chick music: The Weepies, Ingrid Michaelson, Dar Williams, Ellery. Meanwhile, writing Josh, I had a lot more indie/alt-rock going—stuff like Nirvana and R.E.M., with a little bit of newer acts like The National and Mumford and Sons mixed in.
I have a whole other playlist for the, ahem, steamier scenes. It includes Shy by Ani DiFranco, Come On Get Higher by Matt Nathanson, and Crush by Dave Matthews, among others.
Marlene: What was the story that required the gif of Chris Evans without his shirt on for “inspiration” and which hero did he inspire?
Jeanette: Mmmm shirtless Chris Evans…
I’m sorry, I got distracted for a second. What were we talking about? Oh, right. Books.
Chris Evans is a new infatuation of mine. I don’t always have actors in mind when I’m writing, but he is currently starring as a stunt double in two manuscripts I’m working on—neither of which is finished yet, sadly. In one, he plays an ex-army guy who wants nothing more than to love and protect a woman who refuses to be saved by anyone. In another, he’s a young man just getting out on his own for the first time and finds himself in an interesting situation with his new roommate, and his girlfriend.
Ahem. He’s shirtless a lot in both of these scenarios.
Jeanette: The biggest difference is in deciding how much of a story I want to tell. A short is going to be comprised of just a couple of scenes, and it’ll be centered around one or two moments of profound change for a character.
A longer piece will have a much more complex arc for the characters, with more details about how their lives were beforehand, and more insight into the kind of growth they’re experiencing. I’ll probably have two or three different plot arcs in addition to the personal growth. There’s just a lot more room to really explore.
Marlene: What can we expect of Take What You Want?
Jeanette: A sexy, emotional read about two characters who are trying decide what they want from life, from their careers and from each other. It’s a red-hot college romance with plenty of spice, but also with an intense and growing connection between two people who are just figuring out who they are and who they want to be.
Marlene: On your blog, you say “Erotic and Science Fiction Romance.” Why those two? (Not that they aren’t awesome choices)
Jeanette: There are certain kinds of stories that show up in my head. The first is sexy contemporary romances about love (aka, erotic), and the second is adventure-fueled romances set in near-futuristic imaginary worlds (aka, science fiction). I don’t know why those are the kinds of stories that beg to be told in my head. They just are. 🙂
Marlene: Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming projects? What is next on your schedule?
Jeanette: The next immediate thing on my docket is another short contemporary which I’ve just contracted with Samhain. It’s a best-friends-to-lovers story crossed with a road trip story, and it all takes place leading up to New Year’s Eve. It has a tentative release date in early December, and I’m very excited about it.
Marlene: Now can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read your books?
1) They’re real stories about real people.
2) They’re told with intense emotionality that’ll suck you in.
3) When I say they’re red-hot, I mean it!
Marlene: What is your favorite thing about the writing experience and why?
Jeanette: I love getting to tell the stories of people who are, at least on some level, flawed and alone, and guiding them to a place where they can find acceptance and love. I get to meet these incredible people, even if they spring from my own imagination. They become my friends. And I get to send them off into their happily ever after. It’s the best job I can imagine.
Marlene: Tell me something about yourself that I wouldn’t know to ask
Jeanette: I have a weird and inexplicable affection for frogs and turtles. I don’t know why I love them. I just do. They’re green and adorable and I love them.
Marlene: Tell us the title of a book you’re an evangelist for.
Jeanette: It’s not in my genre, but Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides is one of those books that changed my perspective on story-telling. I fell in love with the language Eugenides uses, and the mixing of family history, mythology, personal discovery, and even just a touch of emerging sexuality and romance inspired me. It also had such an open view on gender identity. Everyone should read it.
Marlene: What’s the book you most want to read again for the first time?
Jeanette: I’d say the entire Demonica series by Larissa Ione. Great universe, compelling characters, kick-ass heroines, and men that made me drool. Complex, interesting plots. Oh, and they were so, so hot.
Marlene: Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Jeanette: Night owl. Oh my God, such a night owl. The only sunrises I’ve seen in the last three years have been ones I’ve still be up for. I love being the only one awake in a silent world. I don’t know why, but for some reason, that’s just how I’ve always been.
When she isn’t writing, Jeanette enjoys making pottery, playing board games, and spending time with her husband and her pet frog. She lives, loves, and writes in upstate New York.
Jeanette is kindly giving away one copy of Take What You Want!