Thank you, Jax, for this opportunity to learn more about you and your books.
1. Please start by giving us some background about yourself. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Thanks for having me. I write contemporary erotic romance for Parker Publishing, Amber Quill Press, and Phaze Publishing and have previously written under the pen name Cassidy Kent. Iâ€™m also Co-Founder of Romance Divas, an award winning writerâ€™s resource and discussion forum.
When Iâ€™m not inundated by deadlines and promo work, I love to travel. Heck, I make excuses to take a trip even if itâ€™s an hour away! Iâ€™m a major caffeine addict so I spend a great deal of time at cafÃ©s. I also enjoy painting abstracts for future art shows or hide out at spas. But my one true love is working with local and national charities/causes, whether itâ€™s for the environment or pitching in to help a friend in need. During these hard economic times, giving of my time is therapeutic and makes me feel like Iâ€™m contributing in some small wayâ€¦
2. Why did you become a writer? Who influenced you?
I canâ€™t remember when I ever didnâ€™t want to be a writer. Iâ€™ve spent my entire life weaving stories and it was a natural progression to write professionally. Iâ€™ve been fortunate that I met many incredible people who helped guide me in the course of my career, but I can honestly say my mother has been my greatest influence. Sheâ€™s such a strong woman and sheâ€™s endured more adversity than any person ever should. Yet, she managed to instill strong morals and values that I hold dear in every aspect of my life and career.
3. As a multicultural author, did you have stumbling blocks placed in your way or was there a fresh market for your books?
I was fortunate that I began writing multicultural romance when the demand for it was growing. However, my writing doesnâ€™t exclusively place me in the multicultural box where race issues are the primary story arcs. I write strong multi-ethnic characters without focusing heavily on the color of the skin or differences in cultural background because the underlining theme of all my stories is love. I normally write about emotionally scarred individuals who must overcome their fears in order to find love in a committed relationship. I will always write a story of my heart and I’m not going to settle to conform to what is the ‘trend’. I think writers have to carve that career for themselves even when people are whispering in her ears to go with what might sell. I’m not out for the instant gratification; I’m out to find a long lasting readership. One in which readers will follow me no matter which direction I go because I will continue to write the story of my heart.
4. What do readers learn to expect from your books, ie style, genre etc? You also write under the pen name Cassidy Kent; how are these books different?
Being a total romantic at heart, I try to write emotional love stories that provide both entertainment and a bit of inspiration. With my Eastern influences, there is a spiritual aspect to my thought process and I sprinkle this element throughout my writing. I am mainly pulled to the idea that fate exists and often brings two lost souls together to complete one another.
When I wrote under the name Cassidy Kent with a co-author, it was more of a learning process. Those stories were light-hearted, mainstream erotic contemporaries and possessed a tinge of my current writing style. During this time, I was feeling my way around the romance industry and hadnâ€™t fully developed my voice. There are pros and cons to having a co-writer. In my experience, I felt collaborating benefited me by our ability to churn out projects faster. On a learning curve, I was stifled and didnâ€™t think I could move to the next level. Basically, you get into a rhythm and, in a sense, you become complacent and a little too co-dependent on one another. I donâ€™t regret it one bit because, if not for that opportunity, it would not have shaped me as a writer today. I only decided to go solo because I needed to prove I could complete a project by myself and I needed to discover my true voice. When you have only yourself to rely on, you are in charge of every aspect of your story: from creation to editing. Over time, you learn a lot about the writing process and you are able to strengthen your weaknesses with continued efforts. These days, in every project Iâ€™ve completed, I can see the growth in my writing and I will never stop trying to learn and improve.
5. Please tell us about your current release, ART OF SENSUALITY.
Hereâ€™s the official blurb:
Art was not only a passion of Machiko Barrett, but also a destiny- a way of life she has known since her talent was discovered at 3-years-old. Caught in a turbulent storm of celebrity, scandal, and corruption, she disappeared from the art world only to re-emerge 15 years later. Her sheltered existence is disrupted when she is lured back to her one true passion: painting.
While she struggles to discover her own identity through her art, she encounters a man who opens her eyes to the art of sensuality, and awakens the woman buried deep inside the broken girl.
This book is my debut single title with Parker Publishing and it’s a story that’s been swirling in my head for a long time. It’s a complex tale and a personal journey for my heroine Machiko aka Mac Barrett. I’m delving into the world of a child prodigy and how she reacts when she breaks free after years of living in a mental incarceration. When she takes chances, she is able to mature emotionally, and allows herself to love and be loved. I purposefully showed her angst, internal turmoil, and roller coaster personality because that was her character arc. Because of this choice, most of my reviewers either loved the book or hated it. In the end, the story resonated with them. Yes, it was a risk, but I took chances with ART OF SENSUALITY and I wouldnâ€™t have written it any other way.
6. What was your favorite book or character to write?
I would have to say that ART OF SENSUALITY was my favorite book because I wrote it during a very difficult time in my life. In truth, I wasnâ€™t sure if I was going to continue being a writer. I wrestled with the decision but Iâ€™m not a quitter so I continued writing. When I finished the story, I had an epiphany, and I realized I loved writing too much to give it all up. Sometimes the toughest projects to write are the ones that are the most special.
7. Do you have any up coming projects that you would like to share?
I have two novellas in upcoming anthologies for Parker Publishing slated for November 2009 and early 2010. The first is a young adult story called UNMASKED (under a different pen name), and the other is an erotic contemporary, LOVEâ€™S HEALING GARDEN, which is for the fourth installment of the Lotus Blossom Chronicles. Iâ€™ve got a few other projects in the works and itâ€™s too early to discuss, but Iâ€™m also trying my hand at straight contemporary romances, paranormal, and YA urban fantasies.
8. What is a typical writing day like for you?
Iâ€™m up at 6:30 AM and pump myself full of caffeine before I can start my day at around 7:30 or 8:00. Recently, I forced myself to get on a writing schedule and itâ€™s been really effective. I spend about two to three hours doing online promotions and then I do my research and write for about 5 â€“ 10 hours. Like any full-time job, my workweek is Monday through Friday and I take evenings and weekends off. However, sometimes I deviate from the schedule by going to a cafÃ© to write or take care of personal errands. I can say that Iâ€™ve been blessed to be able to write full-time the past year. Iâ€™m not saying that itâ€™s all peaches and creams. It takes a lot of discipline to keep your own hours and you have to crank up the motivation to get through those days when youâ€™re just plain lazy. I think Iâ€™m harder on myself because I hold myself accountable.
9. I read about your stand against human trafficking, how can your readers find out more, what can we do?
Iâ€™ve been working with a close friend in Los Angeles for the past few years trying to create our own version of a non-profit that focuses on educating people and stopping human trafficking. Itâ€™s a slow process and involves a great deal of time and effort to get this launched. There are certainly a lot of organizations involved in these same efforts so we are targeting a specific region, mainly the underprivileged rural areas of Vietnam. Of course, weâ€™re only a handful of people and there is so much we can do, therefore we are taking baby steps until we meet the funds we require to start up these efforts full force. The most common factor contributing to human trafficking stems from poverty, based on this fact, we decided to turn our attention toward this direction.
Until weâ€™re ready to help put donations to work, your readers can go to these sites if theyâ€™d like to learn more about human trafficking and ways to help:
10. How may we, as readers, learn more about you and your books? (Websites, blogs, etc.)
For more information about me, my books or to download free reads and excerpts, you can visit my website at www.jaxcassidy.com .
I am a serial blogger so if you would like to know whatâ€™s swimming in my head, you can visit me at all these places:
THANK YOU for the opportunity to answers these tough and well thought out questions!
Jax, thank you so much for taking time out to talk to us at CataNetwork.
posted Wednesday, February 18th, 2009 | filed under Interviews
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