Okay ladies, and gentlemen (if you so desire), we have a most enticing author with us today to discuss her book “Hot to Trot”. Her name is Judith Rochelle, aka Desiree Holt, and let me tell you, no matter what you read of hers, under either name, it is going to be smokin’ hot! Hello, Ms. Rochelle my name is Lori, and I want to welcome you to Coffee Time Romance.
Hi, Lori. Thanks for having me here.
Let us get right into the nitty gritty, and get personal. I see that you are married, live in the beautiful state of Texas, and have had a most eclectic job history. From organizing rock concerts to writing scorching hot romance, I cannot imagine shy is a personality trait. How would you describe yourself to your readers? Are you as fierce and fun as your writing, or more of the quiet sensual type?
Oh, definitely fierce and fun! That’s what life’s all about, right?
There must be an abundance of inspiration with all of that rugged scenery at your doorstep, and I do not mean just the landscape. Do you ever find yourself at a loss for material, and what does it take to put you in the perfect frame of mind to deliver such luscious characters?
No loss of material, that’s for sure. I am surrounded by very hunky cowboys and other macho men. And of course Texas itself is such a sexy state. My problem isn’t getting into the proper frame of mind but rather wishing I could write faster. I have so many ideas always bumping around in my brain. But when I write, I put music on and have either hot tea or a glass of wine and get right to it.
Do you often use Texas as a backdrop for your stories? And where is your all-time favorite place in the state, and why do you feel this way?
I probably use Texas ninety percent of the time, because I love the state so much, My all-time favorite place is the Hill Country, where I lived, because it is so rich in settings and people, and close enough to San Antonio that I have the advantages of scenes in a big city.
From your past work history I can imagine that you are a very detailed and organized individual. Is this how you approach your writing as well? Is there a certain process you follow every time, or do you wake up at three in the morning, and just have some hunky cowboy clamoring to get out of your head?
Oh, if only!!! I’d have to say I’m semi-organized. Whenever I get an idea I open up a new folder on my computer, write down what I’m thinking so I don’t forget, name the folder-if I don’t have a working title I use something to remind me about the story, then go back to what I’m working on. I hate to do a synopsis but I’ve learned to at least get a blurb down, even if the story changes somewhat as I go along. But one thing I have definitely learned to do is a spreadsheet with my characters and their descriptions. Twice I found characters from one book showing up in another unrelated work, so I figured it was time to get organized.
With this series of books (The Cougar Challenge series) you are one of several authors writing about older women and younger men. How do you feel about the term “cougar”, and about this type of relationship? And do you or your fellow authors catch any flack from readers when it comes to your character’s age differences?
Actually we’ve found there is a huge market out there for the older woman/younger man story. Our readers, in fact, tell us they really enjoy them. I think a lot of it has to do with affirming that sexually attractive woman don’t all have to be under thirty and wear size two dresses. Also, a man’s sex drive peaks before a woman’s so as his is at its strongest she’s just coming into her own sexually. Readers tell me the love the fact that younger men find women older than they are attractive, both personally and sexually. I’m not sure I’m all that satisfied with the term “cougar.” It denotes someone on the prowl, or a carnivore waiting to eat its prey. But it isn’t my term so I live with it and write my own definitions.
Personally I do not see any problem with it at all; in fact my brother’s wife is ten years older than he is. And I always thought she was the best thing that ever happened to him, no matter what her age. So I really love how you make Autumn’s character in “Hot to Trot” a caring and sensitive woman. She feels so honest and real. Is it hard to put such feeling into your characters, and not have them come off as weak or timid?
Sometimes, but not usually. Being honest and real doesn’t mean being weak, and I try to show that. And look at autumn. She bought a ranch o eBay (didn’t flinch-much!), when she discovered she’d bought a rundown facility, and fought her insecurities as the attraction grew between her and Mitch. The women in all of my stories are vulnerable, but definitely not weak. They don’t run from life.
Autumn’s love interest is the terribly sexy cowboy Mitch, and boy oh boy does he ever fill out those…hmmm boots oh so well. Is it a conscience effort to tame these guys down, so they feel human, and not god-like? Or is it a case of just letting your fantasies run wild, and giving your readers something that they are not likely to encounter in real life?
I think both. I want all my heroes to be human, definitely not god-like. That so turns me off in a man. They have great strength and self-assurance without being arrogant, and even as alpha males I always give them enough of a soft side so they respect the heroine and learn to deal with the emotional aspects of the relationship. Often it’s a struggle, but it’s never denigrating, never dismissive, not any of those things. I want my readers to fall completely in love with my characters, so I try to give them people I myself fall in love with.
There is always something to be said for a really well written love scene, and I must say you definitely have the knack! The build up is incredible, and the main event does not disappoint. Point in fact is Autumn and Mitch’s amazing chemistry, but when his friend Randy is introduced the sexual tension really skyrockets. The plot unfolds in a rather unexpected way, and I am not about to spill the beans. So…was Randy’s inclusion a given from the beginning, or did you decide that Autumn needed a little shaking up, compared to her girlfriends from the previous books in the series?
Oh, no, he was always a player. It’s the situation with him that gives both Autumn and Mitch the impetus for…Oops! Don’t want to give that away!
I have read enough romance books that I can safely say that sometimes enough is enough when it comes to sex in a book, when it is no longer scintillating and arousing, but redundant or worse sleazy. How do you manage that fine line between getting your readers hot and bothered, and just bothered?
I do something that’s probably very weird and I don’t know if any other writers do it. I write the entire story with NO SEX AT ALL! Yup, not even a smooch. I want to be sure the story can stand on its own merits, and the characters, too. Sometimes that leaves me with a bare bones manuscript but that’s okay, too. Then I go back and write the sex scenes where they make sense, and make them as hot as I can. I figure if I’m at a point where it’s boring me, it’s too much for my readers. Then I adjust. But in a committed relationship if there’s no sexual chemistry all you have is two really good friends, and that doesn’t make for much of a love story.
Now back to the Cougar Challenge Series, and all of these lucky ladies who find themselves in the arms of younger men. How are you and your fellow authors planning on continuing and expanding this series? And are there any sneak previews that you can tantalize our readers with?
We definitely plan on continuing the series. In fact, we have invited other authors into the group to pick up the threads. We’ll all be at the romantic Times convention in April and plan on doing some special things, as well as at the Ellora’s Cave RomantiCon in October. No sneak peeks yet, though! *chuckle*
I want to let everyone know that your book “Do You Trust Me” an erotic romantic suspense (one of my favorite genres) is a finalist for the EPIC award, and received a nomination for the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award from Romantic Times Reviews. Congratulations! I very much look forward to reading it. And what do we have to anxiously wait for in the upcoming New Year?
I have a new novella out from Ellora’s Cave this month, two novellas from Total-e-bound out after the first of the year and a full-length entitled The Bargain our with Resplendence in March. I am currently working on a full length titled Downstroke, about the music industry, two short novellas for Total-e-bound, one for Ellora’s Cave, and plotting the sequel to Do You Trust Me. With all of this going I did make a table for the first time so I could keep track of where I am. You know what they say-the mind is the first to go!
By the way…everyone needs to check out the Desiree Holt website, and the Cougar Challenge blog. Yummm…the men are to die for, and the excerpts are going to have you snatching up her books as fast as you can punch in that credit card number! Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to speak with us Ms. Rochelle, and I hope you much success in the New Year!
And thanks so much for having me. I really enjoyed this.