I always wanted to write a book with a Romeo and Juliet type vibe and a kidnapping storyline. With Taken By the Duke I got to do both! In it my hero Christian and my heroine Ava come from two families that have been at war for generations. When Christian’s sister is killed in an accident he feels is the fault of Ava’s brother, he plots revenge. He can’t reach her brother, so he kidnaps Ava with the intent of ruining her in name alone. But soon his plan changes when he finds himself inexplicably drawn to her.
As for Ava, she has been a casualty of her family war almost her whole life. But she decides to use her body on a mission of peace that could change her whole life.
So what genre is it?
Erotic historical romance.
What kind of readers will it appeal to?
If you like sexy historicals or if you like erotic stories, I think this book will appeal to you. It’s a dark, erotic, emotional story of two people trying to find a way to heal.
Tell us a little more about these two people.
I love Ava. She is determined and stronger than she knows. She is willing to do anything to end this war and the feelings she starts to have for Christian are unexpected to her. As for Christian, he is a scarred person, both physically and emotionally. He doesn’t want to want Ava. He doesn’t want to care for her. But once he does, nothing will stop him from having her.
What can we expect from the rest of the Pleasure Wars series?
The second book in the series is PLEASURING THE LADY, which features Ava’s best friend, Portia. The hero was a secondary character from an earlier book of mine, AN INTRODUCTION TO PLEASURE. Portia is trying to help Ava find her brother after he disappears at the end of TAKEN BY THE DUKE. She ends up at a dangerous, erotic masquerade where she falls into the arms of Miles. But when they’re forced to wed, she will have to decide if she wants to live in the past or find a future. It will be out November 19, 2013!
The third book, BEAUTY AND THE EARL, is about Ava’s brother Liam. He has been isolated since her marriage, broken by her marriage to his greatest enemy. So she sends a spy into his midst, courtesan Violet, who needs funds to leave her life in London behind and start anew. The affair between she and Liam is instant and passionate… but the lies she is telling may soon destroy everything they’ve built. It will be out April 15, 2014.
How important is historical accuracy, or is having a great story the main thing?
I think both are important. I certainly don’t want historical inaccuracies drawing a reader from the story so that is my standard. But a great story is always my first priority.
If you could distill your novels into a mathematical formula, along the lines of 40% romance 20% sex 15% history 25% adventure, what would it be?
Everything is so interwoven, I don’t think I could break it up. The sexuality is paramount to the story, because it’s erotic romance, but the percentage from book to book varies because the characters and their situations vary. Sometimes there are villains and danger, sometimes not. I don’t really believe in a formula, I believe in the story my characters tell me.
Tell us about some of your other books. Which is your favourite?
I don’t think I could pick a favourite, they’re kind of like kids and I love them all. My most recent series was The Mistress Matchmaker series, about a courtesan who matches ladies with lovers. The books in that series were AN INTRODUCTION TO PLEASURE, FOR DESIRE ALONE and HER PERFECT MATCH. All three are available in e-format and AN INTRODUCTION TO PLEASURE is also in paperback. FOR DESIRE ALONE will be out in paperback December 3 and HER PERFECT MATCH will be out in paperback March 4.
Who are Jenna Petersen and Jesse Petersen? How do you split your time, and your stories, between the three?
My Jenna Petersen books were historical romances from Avon/HarperCollins. Jesse Petersen stories were snarky urban fantasy from Orbit and Pocket. I loved writing them all, but I only write as Jess Michaels now. All the other books are still available though.
Fair enough. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I live in Tucson, AZ with my awesome husband, who also markets book for a living (www.killerbookmarketing.com) and our two cats. We see our adorable nephews at least once a week and also enjoy reading, hiking the mountains around our home and doing geeky things like playing video games.
Have you got a blog where readers can keep up with your work? Do you use social media?
My website is www.authorjessmichaels.com and I do have a blog there. I’m on Twitter as @jessmichaelsbks , Facebook as https://www.facebook.com/JessMichaelsBks, Pinterest as jessmichaelsbks as well as Goodreads and others. I’m very active online.
The rest of The Pleasure Wars series as listed above and I have an additional 6 books contracted for release before 2015 is over. A great way to keep up is to join my newsletter, where you can win a Kindle or $75 gift certificate every month just for being a subscriber and find out new info on my releases!