Good Afternoon Ms. Jasmine Black and welcome to Coffee Time Romance. My name is Lori (Lototy at CTR), and I cannot wait to dish with you about your newest release 0 to 69 in 5 Minutes. Great title by the way! We are so happy to have you with us today, so let us get started.
From your blog I see that you are from Mississippi. Ooh, sultry summer nights, and all of those good ole southern boys hot enough to melt your umm…socks off (I am trying to keep this PG)! We would love to know what you find most exciting or enjoyable about your home state, and why you feel this way?
Hello Lori and thanks for having me. Yes, I live in Mississippi, but I'm from Indiana. What I like about Indiana is it just feels like home anytime I go back. The smells, the air, the sounds. It all just feels right. But I like Mississippi too. I like that things seem slower here, not as rushed as other places. Mississippians like a simpler life and that's just fine by me. I also like that it's not as cold here in the winter.
So what makes Jasmine Black tick? Are you a homebody, or do you like to get out and travel?
Homebody 100%. Traveling for me is going to the mailbox, hehe.
Besides writing, how do you like to spend your time, any hobbies, special interests, or quirky past times?
I'm a computer game junkie. I like to play with my Yorkie, hang out in my pool or hang out with my Yorkie in the pool. He's so cute swimming.
Writing erotica has so many levels, from sweet and sexy to hard core, and so many different genres. Where do you think you fit in on this scale, and have you always written erotic romance?
This one is tough. I think I write a range from sweet and sexy to hot and scorching, though I tend to write more vanilla with variety. I haven't always written erotic romance. I wanted to write children's books when I was a kid. I can draw a little and I wanted to illustrate as well. I tried my hand at children's books, but I just didn't enjoy it. It wasn't until I discovered romance books in my twenties that I tried my hand at writing one. I found a great critique group that wrote erotic romance, though my stuff was not erotic. They encouraged me to give it a shot. That's when writing clicked for me and I knew erotic romance was my genre. Though I have written YA books and enjoyed that as well.
What do you consider unacceptable or out of bounds for your characters within the erotic genre?
Violence between the two main characters. Relationships should be violence free and if anyone's isn't, then they should get out of it. The last thing I want to convey in my stories is that domestic abuse is okay.
Whenever you are out and about, do you ever meet someone and just think; “They would make a great character for my next book”, or do your characters tend to develop from your imagination, or maybe from friends and family?
This question is oddly funny to me. My characters have always just been in my imagination. I have never based them on real people. I might take a character trait of a friend and work it into one of my characters, but never based on the entire person. However, I had a little bit of an alergic reation the other day and ended up in the ER to document the incident. (I'm fine, BTW) And I found myself trying to figure out a story for the doctor that saw me. (Fanning myself. Girl was he hot.)
The way Noah and Val meet in 0 to 69 in 5 Minutes is a hoot! I have never known anyone who has done speed dating, and I can just imagine there are definitely some crazies like the ones that Val encounters. What made you decide to have them meet this way, and have you ever tried it yourself?
I have to say I have never tried this. I have been happily married since before speed dating was introduced. The story took off from the title, which my husband came up with one day. He threw the title out there and I ran with it. It just said speed dating to me with a main character who had something to do with racing.
While reading 0 to 69 in 5 Minutes, I really enjoyed the fact that Val and Noah are absolutely human. They make mistakes and are completely fallible right from the get go. Nothing drives me nuts more than characters that can have sex six times in an hour (yeah, right!), and then go out and save the world.
In your book, Val is lying to her family, and Noah is not quite done with his ex-wife. Are their problems something that evolved with the story, or did you know from the beginning that you wanted to make them a little less than perfect?
My characters are never perfect. However, I think Val and Noah are my least perfect characters. I really just wanted to make this story funny and I enjoy romantic comedies like How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days. I wanted to put Val in tough situations and try to crack her into telling the truth. I also wanted to push Noah and see to what lengths he'd go to for Val. But the story evolved as it went and really took a life of it's own when I discovered what Val's mother's motives were.
There were a couple of things that did rub me a little, and one of those is Val’s inability to keep her mother out of her business. Did you struggle with keeping Val’s character from seeming weak, and is there ever a time when you have to rethink a character’s personality to make a story work?
Sometimes it's hard to draw the line between you and your parents when you're a young adult. And some parents just don't get the hint no matter what. Val respects her parents and doesn't want to hurt them, but she has trouble seeing past the moment. She does what she thinks is right at the moment to keep everyone around her happy without thinking about the outcome of her actions.
I know there are people out there who will not like Val and think she is weak. But I see Val's strength in a different light. She's been through a lot, but she keeps on fighting for what she wants. She struggles with how to deal with situations, but she never gives up. I think this is best shown when she is about to tell her parents the truth. She struggles to keep her lie a secret and she's about to be busted. She gives in for just a few seconds, crying, but then she springs back up with hope and a new fight in her. Granted, it's a stupid plan to keep her lie afloat for one more night, but she found the strength somewhere.
The second is Noah’s involvement with his ex, and his lack of personal care considering why she shows up on his doorstep in the first place. “What were you (Noah) thinking!” kept running through my head. Did you have similar thoughts when you were setting this scene, and what made you decide to go through with it?
I really did go back and forth with that scene. But I went with it for a few reasons. Noah jumps before thinking. He wants to do what he thinks is right at the moment without thinking about the outcome. And I feel that most men would have done what Noah did. So Noah acting the way he did in that one scene I believe is keeping with his character and the fact that he is a guy. I also wanted the whole scheme to blow up in Val's face and this act from Noah is the icing on the cake. She's playing a game. She thinks she can handle it, but she realizes she can't. Noah was never hers to claim because of her lies and games. This smacks her across the face and she is forced to fess up or live with a broken heart.
Val and Noah are a real kick, and I am looking forward to reading more of your work. I also want to congratulate you on your 2010 EPIC eBook Award for one of your two stories in the Coming Together anthologies, and wish you the best of luck with all of your upcoming books.
Thank you so much for giving us your time and insight into the world of Jasmine Black. It has been great getting to know you a little, and getting a behind the scenes look into your world.
Thank you, Lori, for having me.