Coffee Time Romance is honored to have two lovely ladies with us today, talented mother and daughter, authors, Janet Schrader-Seccafico and Melanie Thompson. The coffee is hot, the brownies and cookies fresh and warm. So, Janet, and Melanie, why not slip on the pink fuzzy slippers, and get comfy in one of the huge recliners and let’s get started.
Before we begin, I did want to mention that Janet writes under the name of Janet Post. Now, why don’t we start the interview off with what Janet and Melanie do when they first wake each morning? Would each of you ladies give an insight to your readers about your day’s activities?
Mel—Immediately come downstairs and make coffee then I take care of children, check email and get on the computer. I work a lot. I’m a bartender, server, manager at a rock wood-fired pizza restaurant. When I’m not working, I take care of a three-year old and two boys 10 and 12. In between all that I write.
Janet—makes coffee, sits in front of the TV like a blob for half an hour then I write for one or two hours. I try to get three to five pages done every day. After I write I run or walk at least two miles. Then I swim and do laps, take care of six dogs, a garden and three horses, feed the cows and baby-sit for grandchildren of which I have 12.
Now that we know what is in store for you two each morning, the readers are anxious to hear about your latest, The Secret, the Shifter and Sex-Slaves Shanghai. First off, I love the blurb, and the cover is awesome. Would each of you like to discuss the book? The authors are eager to hear about this story.
Mel-Because I’m a mom and I sometimes go out with my friends, I thought it would be hilarious if a single mom, who finally goes out with her friends, finds herself in the wrong bar on fetish night. We wanted to use plushies - they fascinate us, so this seemed like a great way to integrate plushies into the plot. It started that simply and escalated into a mad dash around the world.
Janet—We wanted to integrate vampires and shape shifters into the plot, so we made the hero a shifter who changes into a mountain lion. And because it’s erotica, we had to add another hero who was a Spanish gypsy vampire. And in the interest of fairness, we included Lyle, who is the heroine’s gay assistant and gave him a love interest. The Secret explores all aspects of sexuality because we both feel that erotica should do that and historically it has.
How did working as a team help the both of you to make this an appealing read? Do you ever have any disagreements when blending in the characters? Please feel free to tell the readers a bit about this, especially for those out there who wish to work with other writers.
Mel—We have debates and discussions on what the best way to do things would be, but these usually turn out to be brainstorming sessions. And since we live 3500 miles away from each other, the phone and the computer played a huge part. I’d tell people to find someone who doesn’t irritate you and who you can work with in a compatible way.
Janet—Mel and I have always enjoyed an easy relationship. I needed her ideas and her youth to write erotica. She is always there with an idea when I’m out and as a bartender she has her ear to the ground where youth and single people are concerned. I’m older and she adds a certain outlook and freshness I could not achieve alone. And working with a partner means you never get writer’s block one of you will always have the answer and it also adds an extra pair of eyes for editing. I’d recommend it to anyone but make sure you find a partner who fills in for whatever it is you lack. For example, if you’re a bad editor that’s their strength. Or if you run dry in the idea department, they are always full.
I know the topic of single parents is important to both of you, would you like to tell readers the ups and downs, and some avenues in which you have been in that situation that might help other single parents.
Mel—We’ve both been single parents at different times in our lives. It’s really a hard road and they get little recognition for the job they do and for the difficulties and choices they face each day. We want to give single moms heroines they can relate to and maybe a few moments of joy and fun in our reads.
Janet-We make our heroines single moms because single moms are every day heroes and they don’t get the recognition for the incredible bravery they show by just getting out of bed every morning when their lives often consist of work and kids, work and kids and not much else.
Can you please describe your working spaces?
Janet—I can write almost anywhere but my office used to be a porch that my husband dried in. It’s an oven in the summer and freezing in the winter, but it’s quiet and I can think and type like a crazy woman in there. My dogs follow me in there. The Jack Russell has to sleep behind me in my chair and my bulldog lies under the desk at my feet. I’ve had all six dogs in there with me on many occasions.
Mel-I write on my laptop in the middle of my living room. I can tune everything out, but it’s a riot when I’m writing a sex scene and I have to keep my 12-year old son from looking over my shoulder and reading material that is completely inappropriate.
I know the both of you are getting ready to work on a new anthology, can you tell us something about it?
Janet—The anthology is one of our ideas among several. We’ll try to make it appeal to all genres and sexual orientations. We submitted a sequel to the Secret working title The Secret of the Bloodstones to ravenous romance and we’re waiting to hear about that. That book is another wild Baine Tenbroek adventure.
While we are on the subject of books, why not tell us a bit about the publishing company, Ravenous Romance.
Janet—Ravenous Romance provides a lot of opportunities for new writers with their calls for anthology submissions and their open-minded attitude about accepting submissions from new authors. They also market their material which is your material in many new and interesting ways. They sell books on Home Shopping Network; they are partnered with several print publishers and actively promote your material on their website.
Janet and Melanie, would you tell the readers what it is about writing paranormal erotica that draws your interest?
Mel—It’s what everyone wants right now and it’s fantasy that seems close to you. Who doesn’t want a hot vampire or shapeshifter?
Janet—I read Lori Perkins interview. In it she says people want to read guy on guy sex, paranormal adventures and kinky sex. We want to write what people want so we listen and try to fill the needs of the public. It’s important to us to build our writing resume and we have to sell material to do that. I love to write action so all of my books are action-packed and filled with all kinds of sex. Mel is more of the romance writer so we balance each other out well that way.
Janet, when you were working as a reporter, what would you say was the most challenging event to cover?
Janet—As a reporter I did a lot of interviews with all kinds of people. The most stressful one I ever did was with a preacher and his wife who lost both of their daughters in a tragic car wreck. I did it on the anniversary of the wreck and they weren’t over it. I felt their pain and it was really sad. They had no other children and the two girls died driving to church. The entire congregation ended up at the site of the wreck. It was a tough interview. I often covered wrecks which was another hard thing to do.
Melanie, since you love to hike, if you had invited some readers over for the day or a morning of hiking, where in Seattle would you choose to take them to see some beautiful areas?
Mel—One of the most popular places to hike is Mt. Sai which offers great views of mountains and forests, or to Wallace Falls. It’s about a three mile hike in and three miles back. It’s beautiful, the hike runs along a creek and the falls has two levels.
Janet, being married to a cowboy and learning some of the ins and outs of what a real-life cowboy does, what would you say has been the most challenging?
Janet—I’ve always ridden horses but the cowboy way of life is a little different from what I was used to. We have a room in our house that has saddles in it, bridles hanging from the walls, lariat ropes. My husband is a minimalist. He would live without air-conditioning or TV and has. I like a little more comfort than that. When I work cattle with him, I sometimes get scared. Cows are big scary animals. He often tells me to get in the pen with them and push them up into the chute so he can give them shots, worm them or ear tag them. I do it, but I’m scared. You have to overcome your fear. He’s taught me a lot about cows and horses. Going with him while he shoes horses taught me a lot. When I handle the horses for him, I’ve been stomped, bitten, pawed and charged. I learned not to fear the rear end of a horse; the front end is much more dangerous.
Melanie, I read on your blog about little Ceana and some potty training. I remember those days, with three small ones. Do you have any pointers that you can offer for those who have children in the potty training stage?
Mel-No, I can’t help anyone potty train their children. My three-year old still wants to poop in her diaper and is terrified of the toilet. I could use some pointers if anyone has any to offer. My doctor assures me eventually she will poop on the toilet.
Melanie and Janet, you both have been chosen to compete on a cooking contest on The Food Network with one of the chefs. Which chef, would you choose to go up against, and what delicious recipe would you prepare for the audience to feast their eyes upon?
Mel—I’d like compete with Michael Simons just so I could look at him cook. I’d make my beer and miso-braised short ribs and goat-cheese mashed potatoes with my honey whine reduction.
Janet-I‘d like to compete against Paula Dean. I’d make chicken and dumplings and for dessert evil pie which is a cheesecake, whip cream, double chocolate pecan thing I invented.
Something weird has happened during the night, and when you wake in the morning, there has been a shift in your body, Melanie, you have become your mom, and Janet, you have become your daughter. What would your day consist of?
Mel-crying because I’m old and married to a cowboy.
Janet-crying because I don’t want to be a mom again.
If I may say so, I find you two have something that many mothers and daughters don’t actually share or connect with. Can you give us that secret ingredient that makes it click and makes your relationship such a remarkable one?
Mel-You can’t be judgmental. We’ve been there for each other through every hideous thing that’s happened in our lives no matter what it was.
Janet-Our relationship began when Mel was a little girl and my son died. He was her best friend. We spent the next year together because Mel couldn’t go to school. I was a polo groom and Mel helped me with the horses and learned to ride and take care of them. During that terrible time in both of our lives, we forged a really strong bond that has lasted throughout our lives. We never judge each other and we always try to pay attention to each other. When she calls me I listen and when I call her she listens.
Melanie and Janet, what is your most secret indulgent?
Mel—I like a glass of champagne every night before I go to bed. Everybody needs to indulge in some small way. You deserve it.
Janet-I eat ice cream. I know I shouldn’t but I like it and then I have to run to pay for it. Ben and Jerry needs to get off my butt.
You both board an airplane one morning, with some of your relatives and closet friends. Where do you inform the pilot to fly you for a week long vacation?
Mel—We immediately go to Hawaii and dump them. Because there’s something in Hawaii for everyone. And since we lived there so much, it feels like home.
Janet-I’d take Whistler British Columbia because there are hundreds of fun things to do for everyone and it’s awesomely beautiful. And there’s hot tubs.
The Secret, The Shifter and Sex Slaves shanghai is now out in paperback available on Amazon for $12.99. Once Upon a Threesome and the Fang Banger Anthology have also been released in paperback. Whoo Hoo! It's amazing news.
Ladies, I think you are awe-inspiring, and so glad to have had this interview with you. I look forward to more of your great books. I wish you the best in life. Be sure to take the fuzzy slippers with you, and as many brownies and cookies as you wish. Karenne was in the kitchen early this morning, getting things fresh.