Jenna Petersen has taken time from her busy schedule to share with us.

Jenna, the ladies promise not to tell, do you sleep in....? Just kidding. We'll get into that later.

What was your first published book and to whom?
My first published work was the novella “Ancient Pleasures”, which was published in SECRETS, Volume 11 by Red Sage Publishing in December 2004. It was published under my Jess Michaels name and was an Egypt-set Victorian historical.

My first book was SCANDALOUS and was published by Avon in October 2005.

How many books did you write before selling one?
SCANDALOUS was my tenth book. However, I had written five or six more books AFTER I wrote SCANDALOUS but before I sold it. So… like 15ish? A lot. Bigger than a breadbasket.

How many books have you published?

As of today, eleven, but with twelve, thirteen and fourteen scheduled for publication in 2009 and fifteen contracted and in the process of being written (probably a 2010 publication date).

You have been one busy lady!

Jenna, what themes go through your books?
I think my most pervasive theme is probably the healing power of love. I write a lot of dark, rather brooding and damaged characters, mostly heroes. But in the end, they grow and are healed by loving and being loved by the heroine. I think that’s a theme that most people can relate to.

How would you best describe your books?

Dark, highly sensual and emotional.

How did you write with deadlines?

Since I set my own deadlines, it’s not been a problem. There are definitely times when I’ve wanted to tear my hair out, but one of the best things I ever did for myself before I published was learning exactly how much I could write and putting deadlines on myself that I stringently kept. That taught me how to write to deadline and it wasn’t much of an adjustment when “the call” came.

Many writers have other jobs while they build their writing careers. Which other jobs have you had?

Actually my mother and I were talking about this the other day. This is it. In college I had some retail gigs, a little mystery shopping, the usual… but writing is the only post-school, full-time job I’ve ever done. When my husband and I talked about it and I decided to pursue my dream, we decided that if I was to work a full-time gig and then at some point wanted to write full-time, we knew we would miss the money I was making. So instead, he said to go for the writing and we’d just make it work on one income until I succeeded. So yay for supportive spouses. There’s no way I’d be where I am now without him.

What do you love most about writing and do you not like?
I love the actual writing. It’s an amazing release and safe place for me. The things I don’t like are almost all publishing related. They are out of my control, infinitely frustrating and often depressing. LOL I love being published and having my work out to the world where readers can find it, don’t get me wrong. But parts of the process of it can be upsetting.

What are you writing now?

I’m currently working on a full-length erotic romance that is untitled. It features characters from my “Albright Sisters” series that started with EVERYTHING FORBIDDEN and SOMETHING RECKLESS. I’m guessing it will be out some time in the first quarter of 2010 (though that’s just a guess).

What would you write if you could do write anything you wanted to write?

What I’m writing now. Honestly, I love writing Regency-era historical romance that is very sexy and emotional. I don’t get many ideas outside of that genre and nothing that I’ve ever been driven enough to seriously pursue.

Why do you write?
Because I’ve tried to stop and I can’t. Honestly, I love writing and I feel “off” when I’m not doing it.

How do you write?

I’m a plotter, so first I create detailed character sheets (you can find an example at my site for writers, The Passionate Pen http://www.passionatepen.com). Then I write a detailed synopsis which I turn into my editor for approval. Once that is done, I’ll start doing what I call “scene sketches”, which is really a pre-writing process where I lay out the bare bones of every scene in the book. Often that will include dialogue that pops into my head and exactly what must happen in that scene to drive the book forward. I generally do about half a book’s worth of scene sketches before I get so excited that I have to start writing.Then I sit down and usually spill out a first draft in 6-8 weeks, let it sit a few weeks and then edit before I turn it in. That seems to be the process that is best for my creativity, sanity and work

Do you write what you know?
Emotionally, sure. I think everyone has felt pain or desperation or passion or love. I just put those deep feelings into a story. Now have I ever lived in Regency England? No. Posed as a courtesan? No. Been a boxer in the underground until my twin tragically died and I took his place as Viscount? Not really. So as far as “knowing” those things, no. But the feelings, I understand and know. And those feelings are what I think readers connect to more than the situation itself.

What’s next for you?

Well, I have four books out in 2009. In January, I had a story called “By Valentine’s Day” in the A RED HOT VALENTINE’S DAY anthology. That was under my Jess Michaels name. On March 31, my next Jenna Petersen book, HER NOTORIOUS VISCOUNT, will be on shelves. Then just a few weeks later in April 21, my next full-length Jess Michaels book, TABOO, will be out. Finally, in November 2009, I’ll start a new Jenna Petersen series called The Billingham Bastards with the release of WHAT THE DUKE DESIRES. So I’m very busy getting ready to see all those books hit shelves. I’m very excited and I hope readers will be too!
In addition, this entire year is very busy for me because my site for writers, The Passionate Pen, is turning 10 years old. I can’t believe a decade has gone by since I first put the site up, but somehow it has. Every month we’re celebrating with terrific industry guests, top ten lists and HUGE contests for writers (and readers). January my winner got a first three chapter read from my literary agent Miriam Kriss.

This month the interview is with Harlequin editor Mary Theresa Hussey (who is amazing and fabulous) and the contest winner will receive ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) for life of my Jenna Petersen books. So there is something for everyone. And the site has all kinds of resources for writers beyond the anniversary, including a publisher list, agent list, articles for writers and my diary toward and beyond publication. I hope everyone will come by and check it out at http://www.passionatepen.com

And to find out more about my upcoming and backlist books, you can go to http://www.jennapetersen.com . I’m also on Facebook and MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/jennawrites) where I answer questions from readers and writers on a weekly basis.

Thank you so much for having me here at the Fuzzies! It’s been great fun!!

26 comments

  1. Jane // February 3, 2009 at 1:46 AM  

    Hi Jenna,
    I'm looking forward to the release of "Her Notorious Viscount" and excited that you'll be starting a new series. I loved your Lady Spies trilogy. Dark and brooding heroes are my favorite. Do you think we'll ever get to read those books that you wrote before you were published?

  2. Arkansas Cyndi // February 3, 2009 at 8:37 AM  

    Hi Jenna! Good to see you here!

    I was shocked, shocked I tell you, when I read you've never posed as a courtesan! Or been a viscount in the Regency period! LOL I guest it's because you write that period so well.

    Thanks for visiting PFSW. I adore your books (as you know) and your agent (who is fantastic). I wish you years of writing success.

  3. Joanne // February 3, 2009 at 9:09 AM  

    Welcome, Jenna, to our Fuzzies blog.
    You are a wonderful writer and best wishes for your continued success.

  4. JennaPetersen // February 3, 2009 at 9:15 AM  

    Hello! I'm so glad to be here and I'll be around all day (I'm stuck in the house waiting for my new water heater, so I'll definitely be at your beck and call). So ask questions and I will answer!

    No, I'm not a real "sleep in" kind of girl. I just tend to get to the computer after my husband leaves around 8ish. But yeah, even on weekends I don't really sleep in.

    Hi Jane! You know, I'm not sure that anything I wrote in the past will ever come out. Only a handful of the books are ones that I would want to pursue again (and that's only reluctantly). They would likely take so much work that it would be more fun to me to write something new. You have to remember that I wrote all those old books more than five years ago, so hopefully my writing has developed since then.

    But never say never. I suppose under certain circumstances I might consider it.

    Hi Cyndi! :) Nice to see you too! And thanks! I'm glad the Regency world I create "works" for you.

    And thanks Joanne! :)

    Okay, off to open the dreaded revision and work on it for a while. I'll be back!

  5. Beth Trissel // February 3, 2009 at 12:03 PM  

    Wow! Thanks so much for being with us on the Fuzzies. You are an amazing writer. I love the story of your road to publication too.
    You plotters always intimidate me because I'm not. But to each his or her own. I try to be more of a plotter.

  6. Mary Marvella // February 3, 2009 at 12:15 PM  

    PJ's, gowns, T-shirts or birthday suit? Just kidding! Or not.

  7. JennaPetersen // February 3, 2009 at 12:27 PM  

    Beth, you know that's the wonderful thing is that there's no wrong way to write. If you work best as a pantser (one who does not plot if anyone doesn't know the term), then that's awesome! If it works for you, do it and don't let anyone convince you it's "wrong". Tons of published, bestselling authors write that way.

    Mary, um it depends. It's freaking FREEZING here right now so I've been sleeping in flannel pants and long sleeve shirts. But I've been known to do all of the above. LOL

  8. Edie // February 3, 2009 at 1:17 PM  

    Great interview. Jenna, you're an inspiration! I'm so jealous that you can plot. I wish I could, but plotting doesn't work for me.

  9. Mary Marvella // February 3, 2009 at 1:30 PM  

    Jenna,
    You know I had to ask! Couldn't resist.

  10. Arkansas Cyndi // February 3, 2009 at 1:47 PM  

    Jenna - Can you explain what Lady Jane's Salon is and what you'll be doing there in March?

  11. JennaPetersen // February 3, 2009 at 2:11 PM  

    That's a really new development (the Lady Jane's Salon). It's part of the Share-The-Love charity that a few romance authors have set up. The proceeds go to women in transition. Part of what they do is host readings from romance authors in a club called Madame X in Tribeca. So I'll be doing that on March 2. I believe it starts at 7pm, but since I get into New York that night, I'll be reading second and sneaking in late. Anyway, Hope Tarr is one of the authors creating the event, so you can probably find more there:

    http://www.hopetarr.com/

    They did their first event last night and it sounds like it went great!

  12. Cyrano // February 3, 2009 at 2:21 PM  

    Jenna,
    It's great to hear you on the PFSW's blog.
    It's interesting to see that you actually wrote 15 books before getting published. It's sometimes hard for an unpub to listen to stories about an author who writes her first novel and is published soon after.
    I'm also interested in the way you plot. Plotting for me is very hard and I often avoid it like the plague, but on the rare occasion I do plot, it's soooo much easier to write the novel. I intend on trying out your system. Hope you don't mind. It really sounds like a do-able way to go about getting the story on the page.
    Thanks again for taking time out of your busy schedule.
    Have a nice week,
    Tamara

  13. Helen // February 3, 2009 at 2:41 PM  

    Jenna

    I am so happy about all of your books being released this year you are an auto buy author for me I have all of your books and am always eager to read more of your books
    Thanks for some wonderful adventures
    Have Fun
    Helen

  14. JennaPetersen // February 3, 2009 at 2:56 PM  

    cyrano, I think it's great to try out all kinds of ways to write. I did that a lot at the beginning. When what I was doing wasn't working, I read other people's methods and tried them. I took what worked and left what didn't. So if you want to try how I do it, it's cool with me! Hopefully some of it works for you. LOL

    Helen, you are a sweetheart! I'm excited about all these releases this year, too! Now HER NOTORIOUS VISCOUNT is really close and I'm starting to get excited for it. And since I'm actually in the midst of revising WHAT THE DUKE DESIRES even as we speak... I'm sort of getting excited about that, too, although it's out there a ways still. I am just lucky to be on anyone's auto-buy list so early in my career! I appreciate that!!

    JennaP

  15. JennaPetersen // February 3, 2009 at 3:10 PM  

    P.S. -- I hope everyone will come enter my two contests this month. At JennaPetersen.com you can win Valentine goodies (enter before 2/13). At PassionatePen.com the prize is HUGE. ARCs (Advanced Reader COpies) for LIFE of my Jenna Petersen releases! That will start with an ARC of HER NOTORIOUS VISCOUNT that I'll mail out as soon as I pick the winner!

    So come by and enter!

    JennaP

  16. Jane // February 3, 2009 at 4:03 PM  

    How many books will there be in The Billingham Bastards series?

  17. JennaPetersen // February 3, 2009 at 4:07 PM  

    Right now I'm planning on three books for the series, but there could be up to five (or even more, you'll see why in the first book). It will really depend on how much readers connect with them and love them.

    Things are always changing, though, so you never know! :)

  18. JennaPetersen // February 3, 2009 at 6:27 PM  

    Hi everyone! It's been really quiet for a bit, but I'm still checking in. So if you have any questions or comments, I'm happy to respond! :)

    JennaP

  19. Mary Ricksen // February 3, 2009 at 8:24 PM  

    Sounds like you have one heck of a good support system. A husband who stands behind you is a jewel.
    You wrote fifteen books before being published? Well you sure have exploded upon the scene now!
    Thanks for taking the time to be one of the reasons our blog is becoming so successful.
    Maybe there is something back in those other books worth finishing?

  20. JennaPetersen // February 3, 2009 at 8:33 PM  

    Hi Mary! Well, like I said I don't really see much value in going back. I'm much more excited about writing new projects than trying to rework something from five-ten years ago. But like I said, you never know. :)

  21. Mary Marvella // February 3, 2009 at 9:08 PM  

    Hope you've warmed up a little, Jenna!

  22. JennaPetersen // February 3, 2009 at 9:12 PM  

    Yeah, it's better now. It's just a frigid day here again and you know... it sucks. LOL

  23. JennaPetersen // February 3, 2009 at 9:29 PM  

    Well, guys this was really fun today! Thanks again for having me. I'm going to sign off now and watch a movie with my husband! I'll check comments again in the morning and answer anything that comes up over night! :) Good night!!

    JennaP

  24. Scarlet Pumpernickel // February 4, 2009 at 4:00 AM  

    Jenna, thanks for visiting the Fuzzies and sharing your story with us. It is so uplifting to hear of someone whose success is the result of perserverance. Those of us who have been at it for a while, but haven't sold yet, can find great inspiration in your story. Can you give us a few hints as to your favorite sources for historical data? How do you set the mood to write a Regency? Do you need any special props or encouragement or do you just flip into the mode automatically? I love Regency period historicals and anything related to Napoleon.
    Again, thank you for taking time to visit the Fuzzies!

    Mary, you are awesome, another outstanding interview!

    Scarlet-

  25. Mary Marvella // February 4, 2009 at 12:37 PM  

    Thanks, Scarlet, isn't she a great guest?

    Janna, Many thanks!

  26. JennaPetersen // February 4, 2009 at 1:07 PM  

    Scarlet, hi! Sorry I didn't answer sooner. Right now there are grunting, pained sounding men installing my new water heater and I'm slightly distracted (though not in a good way).

    I have a few basic books on Regency-era history (JB Priestley's THE PRINCE OF PLEASURE AND HIS REGENCY is wonderful if you can find it). Now though I mostly depend upon resources to find something very specific for my story; A little fact here a detail there and those can come from really wide sources, you know?

    As for how I get myself in the right frame of mind, I just have written so long and so many books that I think it's like Pavlov. I sit down at the computer and my body says, "Oh we're working." Some days it does it better than others, of course.

    LOL

    JennaP