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Ready to ride a cowboy? Click the image!

Today I’m delighted to introduce author J. Rose Allister, who is about as nice a person as you could meet.  She’s here with a fantastic interview and a gift for one lucky reader–a digital copy of any one of her titles, winner’s choice!  You’ll want to stick around to see that impressive backlist, and you’ll definitely want to check it out so you’ll know exactly which title to grab first.  Okay, she’s enticed us with freebies … now it’s time to be enticed by the woman herself.

Welcome, J. Rose, and thank you so much for joining us!  I hate to start by stating the obvious, but I’ll do it anyway:  your backlist would fill a truck.  How many titles have you released?  Where do you get your story ideas? 

I have fourteen titles in publication (two under a different pen name). Number fifteen is slated for release from Ellora’s Cave sometime in the fall.

Story ideas come from all sorts of mad places! Occasionally I’ll see a call for submissions featuring a certain theme, and inspiration will strike like lightning. KATA SUTRA and SUITE SEDUCTION both started that way. Other times I’ll get a weird flash of random imagery or a bit of character dialogue will pop into my head.  A random thought of a bunch of wolves breaking into a woman’s cabin triggered the events of HER FULL MOON COWBOYS—almost ten years after I thought of it.  At work one day, a completely unknown vampire character “whispered” the following bizarre thing to me: “There’s a reason vampires like to sit in dark movie theaters.” What?! A week later I wrote IMMORTAL WINE, a flash fiction story currently posted on Every Night Erotica.

Wow, that’s the kind of inspiration from which dreams are made–not to mention a LOT of fantastic stories!  For a new-to-you reader, your selection might be overwhelming.   If a reader has never picked up one of your books before, which title would you suggest he or she start with?  Why?

When asked to recommend one of my books to readers, the answer is always a maddeningly vague, “It depends!” I write various subgenres, so there’s something to titillate every preference. For the fans of smokin’ hot contemporary, KATA SUTRA. For a bit of fantasy and bondage,  SINFUL ELLA AND THE WOLF. Werewolf/cowboy fans? Saddle up HER FULL MOON COWBOYS. And for hot vampire lovin’ any time of year, HOLIDAYS BITE.

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Something tells me you’ve answered that question a time or ten, LOL.  I have to put in my personal recommendation for CRYSTAL’S COWBOYS, which had the quality of being well-written AND incredibly hot. (Yum!) I’m going to go out on a limb and assume–in spite of your mega-productive author gig–you still have time to read.  To which genres are you most drawn?  Do you prefer to read in the same genre as your WIP or do you mix it up?

My reading preferences vary even more than my writing. I go through phases with my TBR pile. It might be Highlander romance for a few months, then I’ll get a hankering to shift to Dean Koontz or a sci-fi title. Then it might be onto vampires or fantasy.  With my writing, while I most often gravitate toward paranormal themes and erotic romance that isn’t how my career began. My first three books were contemporary, and two weren’t category romance at all.  I’ve written murder mystery, horror, and drama. As time went by, I began to focus on the challenge of creating memorable romance tales, and I’ve been there ever since. But the setting might be sexting in a contemporary office, or a ranch in the 1890s.

Click to go there ... you know you wanna!

Wow, you certainly do have varied tastes and talents!  But I bet the stronger the talent, the stronger the characters, LOL.  Have you ever battled with any of your characters over their personality traits?  If so, who won – you or the character?

Oh, yes, and one time in particular stands out. I was working on KATA SUTRA and could not for the life of me see into one of the main characters. Everything about his life outside the karate studio where he meets the heroine was a complete blank.  Drove me insane! Finally used an old fall-back trick, which was to do visualization to imagine having a conversation with the character. Sat down to find out this guy’s secrets and… HA! He showed me a thing or two. He kept his mouth shut and delivered a sound spanking when I persisted. That’s when it hit me—he was supposed to be mysterious. His actions in the book would be just as much of a mystery to the heroine, to be revealed bit by bit over time (even to me).  Makoto definitely won that round—and I have to say, my characters almost always get their way. They write much better stuff than I come up with on my own. Heh heh.

Wow.  So many authors argue with their characters, but to get spanked?  Can you write ’em or can you write ’em?  LOL!  Experienced authors know the characters aren’t the only parties with opinions, of course. Have you ever made big changes in your story because someone – your crit partner, a friend, or beta reader – really didn’t like it?  Are you glad you did (or didn’t)?

To liasion with SUITE SEDUCTION, click image.

No. Oh, I’ve made plenty of small corrections because beta readers will catch inconsistencies or oversights I miss, tying up loose ends and that sort of thing. But I’ve never made major changes. I came close with one title I submitted to a publisher who read only a partial before asking for a fairly major overhaul. I started to dive in, but realized it was not the right direction for that story. The book was later picked up for contract elsewhere without changing a thing.

Oooh, that must be the best feeling!  What’s your strategy for keeping track of plot twists?

Strategy? Um…yeah. My strategy. ::ahem:: 😉

It depends on the book, really. I always have several things going on in my stories, and even in single point of view books the other characters have their own arc. However, some of my books are written by “pantsing,” meaning I don’t plot them beyond a very loose concept of the beginning and end. Twists find their way in no matter how little plotting I do. When I’m writing several complicated character arcs or a series, however, I will plot things out in advance. I make outline notes in this case, but nothing fancy. I just pop open a blank Word file and start typing notes under a heading for each character/book/chapter, whatever angle I’m trying to organize.  I know some authors use detailed spread sheets or programs to track their work, and I’ve tried out several. I found myself spending more time trying to plug in data on those, which takes away from writing.

To unwrap this hot not-so-little package, click image.

I have a strong suspicion I’d be the same way, LOL!  I do love a spreadsheet, but if I introduce them to each of my stories I’d probably never finish another manuscript, and that fear alone has been enough to keep me far away, LOL.  Now, you’ve written so many stories, and in so many genres, I don’t know if this next question even has an answer, but we’ll give it a shot.  Which of your novels most reflects who you are as a writer?  Why?

I suppose there’s the argument that the current novel I’m working on is the one that reflects who I am as a writer at that point, since our craft is continually evolving as we hone and refine the work.

That is a good point, and a great segue to the next question. What are you currently working on?

I have a contemporary coming out with Ellora’s Cave this fall, titled COMPROMISING CONNECTIONS. The accidental receipt of a sexy video text meant for someone else takes high-tech gadgetry and office romance to a whole new level. I’m also working on a spinoff series from my bestselling cowboy werewolves tale, HER FULL MOON COWBOYS. The first book of the LONE WOLVES OF SHAY FALLS series has already been sent off to the publisher and I’m just starting the second.

Y’all here that!  She’s BUSY!  So get to work on this backlist so you’ll be all caught up when the next releases hit the shelves.  J. Rose Allister, it has been a pleasure getting to know you.  I sure appreciate your thorough, thoughtful answers and I’m thrilled to introduce my readers to your work.  Thanks so much for joining us!  Readers, backlist and author links follow.  Have a great weekend, everyone, and don’t forget to comment for a chance to win your choice of one of these titles!

TO TAME A WILD MUSTANG (historical western/menage)

HER FULL MOON COWBOYS (paranormal/western/menage)

CRYSTAL’S COWBOYS (western/menage)

IMMORTAL MENAGE (urban fantasy/menage)

SEDUCED BY AN ANGEL (urban fantasy)

TROPICAL HEAT (urban fantasy) 

HOLIDAYS BITE (paranormal/holiday)

SUITE SEDUCTION (urban fantasy) 

SINFUL ELLA AND THE WOLF (paranormal/ multipartner/bdsm)

BEWITCHING LOVE  (paranormal) 

KATA SUTRA (contemporary/action/menage) 

THEIR SECRET PARADISE (urban fantasy)