LRP: I just read Market For Love and I was impressed by your details of the work atmosphere. Granted I have no background in finance America, you could have said anything and I would probably buy it, but that’s not the point. What you did write was entirely believable for me as a reader. So my question for you is how do you go about researching topics like corporate America to be able to include it into your writing?
Jamaica: —–I actually worked in Corporate America as a professional writer and editor for many years—including in Chicago’s LaSalle Street financial industry—-so it is actually very easy for me to write books in that setting. I mostly wrote Market For Love based on my own experiences as a single woman working in the man’s world of finance, so very little independent research was needed for this particular book.
LRP: There were some pretty hot and heavy sex scenes in Market For Love in which your writing never faltered. I take it you’re pretty comfortable writing about it. In your opinion what makes a great bedroom scene?
Jamaica: —-I think a great bedroom scene (or sex scene, since very few of the sex scenes I write take place in actual bedrooms) involves three major things. First, there has to be a lot of dramatic and sexual tension leading up to the scene itself, and you have to establish that through the story’s plotline and characterizations. Second, you need to describe the sex acts in great detail, frankly, and without embarrassment. Third, there needs to be a payoff—-and not just in terms of giving the characters orgasms. There has to be a satisfying sexual payoff for the reader as well. A well-written sex scene is really a ménage a trois between the man, the woman, and the reader.
LRP: That’s a very savvy statement! I’ll back you up on that one! Now Miranda and Max are some pretty solid names, easy to get behind because they’re not so far off the wall. Plus the alliteration helps I think. How did you decide their character names and naming characters in general?
Jamaica: —-You know, I usually just name my characters at random. Whatever names pop into my head are usually the ones I use. I also am pretty lucky in that I seem to have a talent for writing characters that live up to their names, too. On the rare occasion that I find myself looking up names in a baby book or something, it’s usually to name minor characters. I never have any difficulty naming my heroes and heroines.
LRP: I like to ask authors this question about the genre: what do you think is the most abused aspect of or in romance novels?
Jamaica: —–I think a major weakness of most “sweet” romance novels is the fact they leave the sex out. One reason I’m so drawn to writing erotica is because it leaves the sex in without asking the reader to fill in their own details. Don’t get me wrong—-I still like a good non-erotic romance novel—-but there still needs to be at least some sex and/or sensuality in order for it to appeal to me. Even Jane Austen understood the importance of sex in romance—–all of her heroines are quite sensual, even though her books make no direct mention of sex.
LRP: Now it’s time for a really tough question, no answer is wrong here so don’t be shy. How do you define love?
Jamaica: —-I define love as an emotion that has no conditions. Someone who truly loves you accepts you just as you are, warts and all, and doesn’t expect you to “change” for him/her. And true mutual acceptance is an important part of sex, too.
LRP: Why did you decide to write romance instead of writing in another genre?
Jamaica: —–I actually do write in other genres besides romance. I write romance more than anything else because I love the genre. But more than that, I just love a good story.
LRP: What are some challenges you face when writing romance?
Jamaica: —-I think the biggest challenge is the inaccurate perceptions many people have of the romance genre. So many people dismiss romance as “trash” when in fact 53% of all the books published every year in English are romance novels. The entire publishing industry is dependent on the revenue generated by the romance genre, in fact. And that’s quite enlightening, considering too many writers in other genres think they are somehow “above” it. Romance (and indirectly, erotica) go all the way back to Jane Austen, and anybody who disses Jane Austen answers to me!
Plus, there’s a very time-honored literary tradition when it comes to erotica as well—-D.H. Lawrence, Anais Nin, Henry Miller, even James Joyce wrote erotica. The longstanding literary tradition of erotica is what I focus upon whenever people try to criticize me for choosing to write it. There’s also a pretty vocal subset of romance authors who really look down upon erotica authors, even treat them with open hostility—-which I don’t think makes sense at all when you consider how intertwined sex is with romance.
LRP: What do you hope your readers will gain from your books?
Jamaica: —-I hope they enjoy a good story, have their hearts set aflutter, and get a little turned on. And also learn something in the process.
LRP: What do you do to relax and get away from writing? Is there something that really gets you away from it all?
Jamaica: —-I enjoy spending time with my husband and 1-year-old son. I also enjoy reading, working out, sewing, painting, and gardening.
LRP: What would you say to aspiring writers about the whole process?
Jamaica: —–”Just Do It!” Make time to write every day. Make writing an integral part of your life. Because if your goal is to become a working novelist, you will have deadlines and financial obligations that will require you to write every single day in order to make a living. Career novelists usually have to write about 2,000 words a day to make their deadlines. And writing 2,000 high-quality, PUBLISHABLE words a day, every day, takes time, commitment, and a hell of a lot of stamina.
LRP: Thank you so much for joining with us today Jamaica, I really appreciate your time! I know my readers will be grateful for all your insights and advice! Good luck with all your future writing projects!