Interview with Jeanie London

SR: How did you get started writing, and how long was it before you were published?

Jeanie: Technically, I began writing when I was around eleven years old, right after I'd finished J.R.R. Tolkien's LORD OF THE RINGS. I'd fallen in love with Aragorn, and Boromir, and Faramir, and decided my calling was to write sweeping fantasy sagas that would capture readers' hearts and imaginations just like my heart and imagination had been captured. I didn't start writing to sell until I was pregnant with my second child and planning to give up my day job to stay home and rear my girls. I joined RWA and my local chapter, spent about a year writing and rewriting the first chapter of a still-unfinished fantasy historical and then decided I'd never make it in this business unless I got linear. Start small and work my way up. I published my first romantic short story in Star Magazine about six months later, my first SECRETS novella just a few months after that.

SR: Did you start out writing erotic/sensual romance? What attracted you to the sexier side of romance?

Jeanie: Boy, did I just stumble into the sexier side of romance! When I began writing romance, I decided to write those metaphoric two-paragraph love scenes like Kathleen Woodiwiss had in all those classics I loved. Published my first romantic short story without so much as a kiss. Then Red Sage advertised launching the SECRETS line and it just so happened that plotting at novella length was my next writing hurdle to tackle. Without giving much thought to the sensuality level, I wrote a synopsis and ten pages. The editor called me three days later and asked for the story. ("The Gift," SECRETS Volume 1) I wrote it and thus began my rather unexpected career with writing sensual romance. Who knew I'd have a knack for it?!

SR: You have written for both Harlequin Blaze and Red Sage. How does writing for these publishers differ, and which do you prefer?

Jeanie: Wow! Interesting question. Though both publish sensual romance, Harlequin and Red Sage are very different from each other. These houses stretch me in different ways as a writer. With Blaze, I have more room to grow my characters, develop their romance and play with their storyline--lots of challenges! With Red Sage, I don't have the boundaries I have with Blaze and can push the limits of what's erotically acceptable--lots of thrills! Both Blaze and SECRETS force me to write tight--Blaze because of the series' parameters and SECRETS because of the word count. Both also share the sexy premise and I cut my teeth on sexy premises with SECRETS, which has served me VERY well with Blaze. I can't honestly say I prefer one more than the other. Writing for Red Sage gets me published in hardcover with Doubleday, while Blaze puts me on mass market shelves everywhere. Apples and oranges, and I like both.

SR: Please tell us a bit about your current release, SECRET GAMES.

Jeanie: Maggie and Sam were a first for me. I'd written red-hot before, but never red-hot romantic COMEDY. What a trip! I let Maggie and Sam have their way and giggled at their antics while discovering a lighter side of my imagination that I hadn't realized existed. With its romance superclub and unlikely matchmakers, SECRET GAMES led me down a new path of my writing journey and I've had a blast exploring the zanier, skirting-the-borders-of-fantasy scenarios that Blaze is buying from me.

SR: How did you come up with the idea of the superclub setting, and how did you research it?

Jeanie: I stand in front of a computer all day writing about fantasies, so my imagination is constantly spinning with all sorts of possibilities. The idea of a resort catering to romance sounded like exactly the place I'd enjoy taking my own romance hero for a weekend away from reality. The research was drawn straight from life--a temporary stint I did in hotel sales. After a pre-child career spent on the road, working within the confines of a hotel office was a whole new experience for me. There were so many different personalities all pulling together toward a unified goal and so many unpredictable twists and turns involved in running a large property. Every day was an adventure and I was fascinated. I wanted to bring these qualities to my superclub. Using sex and a quirky supporting cast seemed exactly the way to do it.

SR: What are you working on at the moment?

Jeanie: My fourth Blaze, which is a continuing character story from my second Blaze, ONE-NIGHT MAN. I've coined the phrase "red-hot pursuit" for this book, which is VERY aggressive seduction. My heroine doesn't believe in romance heroes and my hero is determined to make her believe in him. It's set to a cozy mystery in an antebellum plantation and is proving to be hot, hot, hot!

SR: What should readers look for next from Jeanie London?

Jeanie: A very steamy June Blaze titled ONE-NIGHT MAN. This story is set in equally steamy New Orleans and plays with the submission fantasy, a liking for which takes my characters quite by surprise. My hero, Josh, is a grand passion waiting to happen. Of course Lennon isn't looking for grand passion. She's looking for marriage--nice, respectable marriage. But Josh is too bold and too sexy to be ignored. She thinks if she shares just a hot night-or two-with this one-night man, she'll get grand passion out of her system. Of course, like my first Blaze, I've written a cast of quirky supporting characters who alternately try to convince these two of the merits, and the offenses, of grand passion;-)

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