Today, I have the pleasure to meet up with Jessica Collins.
Her first novel, Stealing Beauty, is set for publication March 2017, and in Jessica’s own words, “is the first novel in the Fairy Tales After Dark series – where classic fairy tales are given a contemporary, erotic, twist. Stealing Beauty is for anyone who loves a smart, confident heroine; a sexy, alpha hero; and scenarios so salacious you need to take a breath before continuing.”
So, our talk was great, and I’m happy I can share it with you.
Hi Jessica, and thank you for being here today.
Let’s start with this: do you have quirky writing habits?
Oddly enough it’s not my habit, it’s my dog’s! She has to be in the room with me as I’m writing (she might be a little obsessed with me, but I love her). I’ve found over the past few months the times she isn’t sitting in my office are the times I most succumb to writers’ block, so I guess it became my quirk as well.
Maybe she’s keeping an eye on you, making sure you don’t just update you FB page or something like that. I’d love to have such guardian. Looks like it’s time for me to have a dog. Anyways, has your environment or upbringing colored your writing?
Absolutely. My family was always open and honest about sex which I think helps write in this genre. It wasn’t uncommon for friends to walk into the house and see my father in tightie-whities “dry humping” my mother to get a reaction out of us. They’ve been married for over 30 years and the love they have, and their humor about everything, is a huge influence on me today.
What is the strangest thing you ever researched for your book?
For my next book in the series, Finders Keepers, there are references to the Arabic mafia and the US Delta Team. While it’s not odd per se, I have images of the government tracking my search engine and showing up thinking I’m plotting something!
No way! That’s my fear too! I researched weapons, department of defense, and drugs all in one morning, and I was sure someone was going to knock at my door. Or burst into my kitchen from the window. Didn’t happen. That time.
So funny! I told my husband this fear and he looked at me like I was crazy.
We’re so misunderstood! While we’re into weirdness department, do you have some uncommon talent that helps or makes it harder to write the story?
Not a talent, but I have OCD – I’m a “checker”; I check the doors, the stove, the plugs, ugh, everything, over and over. I’ve even turned around at the end of the block to make sure my front door was closed. I have trouble leaving a chapter alone. I’ve found I have to almost force myself to stop editing in order to move forward with the book, otherwise I’d never finish the first chapter.
I’m not a checker (in fact, I’m a head-in-the-cloud mess. I often leave the door open, or something burning on the stove) but I understand the feeling of keep editing. I found out I’m almost obsessive. Who would have said? So, what was the biggest surprise you had after becoming a writer?
That people want to read my book! I love my story, but I started writing it for myself. After I decided to actually take a shot at publication, the reviews I’ve received have been so overwhelmingly positive it boggles my mind. My editor didn’t believe this was my first book, and that compliment was probably the best I’ve gotten.
Can you tell us a fun fact about writing your book?
I wouldn’t, and still don’t, let my husband read the sex scenes.
Why is that?
I actually explained this a bit on my website blog. There’s so incredibly intimate about writing in this genre, a feeling of being judged in a sense for your sexuality, desires, imagination, etc. I found myself embarrassed of him seeing what I had written, even though as my husband, none of it was surprising.
What you struggle the most with when you write the story? Research, plotting, keeping the people in it at bay?
I struggle with starting it. I’ve learned rather than write from beginning to end, to write scenes and then find ways to tie them together. There are some parts of Stealing Beauty which I am re-vamping for other stories since they didn’t “fit” once the whole story was together.
So, which kind of scenes are the hardest for you to write? Action, dialogue, sex?
Background information scenes. I have to remind myself readers are not in my head, and I need to explain where the character’s thought process comes from.
Do you always have the reins of the story or the people in it try to take over?
This was Belle’s story – she wrote it. I was just the medium for her voice.
Yep, that’s how it works for me, too. What is your least favorite part of writing a story?
The back/butt/shoulder pain from sitting in front of the computer so long.
Oh, the butt-numbness. My favorite. Butt troubles aside, how do you keep from resenting your duties–and every human’s sleeping requirement–when you have to stop writing to take care of them?
I don’t! If you find an answer to this – pass it my way?
Sorry. I still resenting long weekends a little. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Read. It’s my passion. I love a hot bubble bath with an even hotter book.
Your writing style in ten words or less.
If I wouldn’t say/do it, it doesn’t get written.
The toughest critic that’s ever been given to you as an author.
Luckily, I haven’t had a critic which has been too harsh yet.
The Iliad and the Odyssey by Homer. My father used to read us stories from it every night as children and I plan to do the same when I have kids one day.
That would be like asking a parent to name their favorite child!
Lord, I do love that answer. Which other writers you consider mentors?
I consider all writers mentors. I learn something new with each book I read.
Do you have a day job? If you do, what is it?
I do. I’m a crisis worker.
Sounds cool! Can you tell us what it is if very few words, and if helps with your writing?
Sure. I work with people who are a high suicide risk; either they have made concerning statements about it, are planning it, have attempted it in the past, or all of the above. I’ve learned how to remain calm in extreme situations, and to think things through before acting. I think this helps keep me on track, and not letting myself lose sight of the direction of the story.
That’s amazing, Jessica! If you didn’t write, what would your job be?
No financial concerns?
I would open up a pitbull shelter. A huge area of land where they can all run and play all day.
What do your friend and family think about your being a writer?
They are incredibly supportive. I actually have a blog post about this question at
I will read that. If you could cast Hollywood actors for the adaptation of your latest story, who would they be?
Belle- Sophia Bush Aleksandr – Nick Youngquest (he’s not an actor, he’s the guy in the Invictus commercial. Me-ow)
Just googled him – my oh my. I love Sophia, she has a great smile! Back to reality. So, how long does it take to write a story?
A few months between getting my ideas, stopping my procrastination and actually starting it, and then a bit of time in between writer’s block.
Pen or computer?
Music or silence?
Music for inspiration – Lana Del Rey is a goddess! Silence to actually write.
Alone or in public?
Alone. I’m a total introvert.
Routine or when inspiration struck?
Write it down immediately or use my phone’s voice memos to record.
Outline or just write?
What is your work schedule like when you write a story?
I work full time, so I don’t get around to writing until the evenings and weekends. If I’m on a roll, I can shut myself in my office from about 5pm until my husband reminds me I need to sleep.
If you were stranded on a deserted island and can have only 2 people with you, a person from your book and a person from any other book, which would they be?
Aleksandr Wolfe from Stealing Beauty, Eric Northman from The Southern Vampire Mysteries. Mmmm that might be my inspiration tonight!
Happy to have helped your inspiration! Do you have a favorite character, male and female?
Outside of my book? I’m slightly obsessed with Gomez and Morticia Addams. Relationship goals!
What is your biggest failure?
My biggest failure would be allowing myself to believe I was a failure. I’m going to put as much positivity out in the world as I can, and if I make mistakes I’ll learn from them – not let them get me down.
The biggest lie you’ve ever told.
If the person I told it to reads this, I’m screwed! Keeping mum.
Ah! Smart! Biggest fear.
I won’t be able to have children.
Have you ever been in trouble with the police for your books?
No. Is that a thing?
Not sure, but once I walked in the fields of a big research center (I needed a gardener. Long story.) and security got me, soooo. It might become a thing. Have you ever gotten in a bar fight?
If you were a superhero, which would your superpower be? And you name?
The Siren. I would be able to command anyone to do anything. That can probably easily turn into a super-villain character, but don’t we all have a little naughtiness in us?
We sure do. Have you ever found someone in a story who’s exactly like you?
My character, Belle, is very similar to me. There are traits of hers which I copied, and some of her reactions to situations are exactly what I would do. I think it’s hard not to put a little bit of yourself in your characters.
If you were an animal, which one would you be?
My dog. She has the life.
If your story had a soundtrack, which song would it be?
All Shook Up – The Avila version
If you could have any accent from anywhere in the world, which would it be?
Russia. But the sexy Mila-Kunis-when-speaking-Russian accent, not scary I-m-going-to-break-you accent.
A Rocky quote, sweet!
Yay! I quote movies all the time and so many people miss it!!
See? We really are misunderstood. Do you have any scar? What are they from?
I have so many! Absolutely no visual/special skills. I walk into everything. I have a scar on my toe from when I stepped on my own foot in a stiletto and cut myself.
It’s been such a pleasure talking to you, Jessica!
I don’t have a buying link to give you yet, but stay tuned because this is no not the last time you’ll hear from Jessica from my blog!
What I can give you, are the links to keep in touch with her.
This is all for today, stay with me for the next news!
Have a super day,