Romance By Catherine: Interview with Jenna Petersen / Jess Michaels

Friday, May 1, 2009

Interview with Jenna Petersen / Jess Michaels

Happy Birthday to Me... Ahh and what a wonderful way to hit 29 again! Oh, forget it! I'm 41 today and what better way to celebrate then to have one of my favorite authors over for an interview.

Please welcome Avon Author Jenna Petersen AKA Jess Michaels.
A few years ago,when I started pursuing my writing, I stumbled upon Jenna Petersen on her web-site The Passionate Pen.

Her passion for writing and desire to share her journey on this site enchanted me. A lover of historical romances myself, it was a given that I would pick up her novels and dive in.. And then it happened... I discovered erotic romance... And yes, Jess Michaels popped that cherry with Everything Forbidden.

After burning a perfectly good tri tip, I promptly logged on-line and sent Jess an E-mail praising her ability with the all mighty pen. I was hooked.

Thank you for joining me today, Jenna... or do you prefer Jess? I suppose I'll start with the pen name question that often hits peoples tongues when they hear you have two. Why two names?

Aw thanks, though sorry about the steak. LOL I’m glad I could help introduce you to the wonderful world of erotic romance! LOL

So I have two names mostly because I sold two stories to Red Sage Publishing, a small publisher, first. When I sold to Avon they didn’t love the name “Jess” and wanted to launch me as a new author in historical romance. They also hadn’t started the Red line yet, so they weren’t doing erotic romance. So we all decided it might work better to just have a new me. Now I write the erotic under Jess and the regular historical under Jenna and if people don’t want to read erotic it’s very easy to gently steer them away. :)

I really want to dive into Taboo-- by the way-- LOVE that title. Tell us about your latest erotic release.
Thanks! Here’s a little blurb about TABOO, which is out now:

Cassandra Willows has taken adversity and turned it into wild success. Not only is she one of the Empire’s most sought after seamstresses, servicing the very wealthy ladies of the ton, but in secret she creates erotic toys for high class courtesans and randy gentleman. Cassandra has but one regret: The Earl of Blackhearth, Nathan Manning, who once wished to marry her and will never forgive her for not showing up when they were to elope.
Nathan has been living in India and has returned to London at the behest of his ill father. His one duty is to find a suitable bride, but a chance encounter with Cassandra wipes that thought from his mind and replaces it with both desire and a need for revenge. So he blackmails his former love into a passionate affair. But the closer the two become physically, the harder it becomes for them to block out the feelings they once shared. And the closer Nathan comes to the devastating truth that tore them apart.

Not only do I love the title of this latest erotic... but oh, la, la... that cover!

Most writers were readers first... how about you? How long have you read the genre and how long have you been writing?

I actually came very late to the genre and started reading it about the same time I started seriously writing it, which was 1999. I had the silly idea that it would be “easy” to write. And quickly learned otherwise, as well as fell in love with the genre.
"Easy" **snort! Ya, right! Writers like yourself make it 'look' easy.
With such a busy writing schedule, do you make time to read?

I try, but it’s hard. I try not to read what I’m writing at the time, so I read a lot less of my favorite romance sub-genre, historical, though I do still have my must-have favorites like Jacquie D’Alessandro or Teresa Medeiros. And I read outside the genre. I’m currently reading a historical mystery called SILENT ON THE MOOR by Deanna Raybourn.

How do you answer the ever annoying question or comment... "Oh, you write that kind of book?"
I generally say, “Yes I do.” If I say it with enough conviction, it seems to end the conversation. It’s also good to quote that over half the mass market books sold are romance.

What do you love about writing? What would you change if you could?

I love the real act of writing, of telling a story. That feeds me in so many ways. It’s the “safe place” for me. The publishing part is the scary part, worrying about how the book is doing, waiting to hear about numbers, that sort of thing. I would probably insulate myself from that better if I could, but my personality doesn’t seem to allow it.

What will we see next from Jenna Petersen or Jess Michaels?

Well, this year I have four books out. Three are already out, A RED HOT VALETINE’S DAY (Jess Michaels), HER NOTORIOUS VISCOUNT (Jenna Petersen) and TABOO (Jess Michaels). My next Jenna release is in November, WHAT THE DUKE DESIRES and that starts my “Billingham Bastards” series. And in February you’ll see my next Jess release, which is NOTHING DENIED and the last in my “Albright Sisters” series that I started with EVERYTHING FORBIDDEN and SOMETHING RECKLESS.

*clapping* I love a series... and to know that all the Albright Sisters will find their men. Awesome!

Where can we find you on the web?

My author site is . I’m also at, which is my site for writers. You can find me on MySpace and Facebook, as well!

Thanks so much for having me!!
No, the pleasure is all mine. For those of you who love to learn more about the authors you read, check out Jenna's web-sites. A play-by-play account to Jenna's sucess is spelled out in her diary archives. For writers, The Passionate Pen is a must on your favorite list. It is full of links and valuable information about the craft. So check it out.


JennaPetersen said...

Hi everyone! Thanks for having me today Catherine! I'm happy to answer questions, so don't hesitate!

Christina Phillips said...

Fantastic interview, Catherine and Jess and Jenna! I love that gorgeous cover for Taboo, and the blurb has well and truly hooked me in!!

Catherine Bybee said...

It is so nice to wake up in the morning and know that my posts... posted in the night like I planned. Sigh*

Christina: I know you like to write it hot, and if you've not read Jenna's erotic then you are missing out. You might have to Amazon it because you're in Austrailia... Huh? how does that work?

Avily Jerome said...

Great interview! Thanks for inviting me over!

I love that you can say "Yes, I do," when someone comments about your genre!!! You go with your bad little self! ;)

Happy Birthday, Catherine!

Emma Lai said...

Happy Birthday Catherine! Personally, I'll be 28 for the sixth time this year. It was such a great age. Maybe when I turn 40, I'll start claiming 33, it's been a good year as well, but who wants to actually admit their real age?

Congratulations on the releases Jenna. I'm planning on hitting the bookstore today or tomorrow to pick them up!

JennaPetersen said...

Thanks everyone!! And Happy Birthday, Catherine!!

Tonya Renee Callihan said...

Happy Birthday Catherine! Hope it's a great one for better way to start it off than with an interview with Jenna Peterson.

By the way I love the title Taboo and the idea, I can't to read it for myself.

Catherine Bybee said...

Thanks for the B-day blessings, Ladies. I'm going to lunch and then going to stop by the bookstore. But I can't start Taboo until tomorrow. I'll plan on a crock-pot meal so it won't burn. LOL

Aithne Jarretta, Paranormal Romance Author said...


Very nice interview. Thanks for sharing.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Geez.... Hard to believe it's here again already.


Rachel said...

Hi Catherine!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY my dear friend!

Today's blog was great!
Jenna/Jess, I want to thank you for having The Passionate Pen as a super resource for new writers. I have it bookmarked in my favorites!

Have a happy Friday, everyone!

Beth said...


Mary Ricksen said...

Catherine, Jess, and Jenna, great interview.
They say it's best to answer a stupid question with another question. It puts the onerous on them.
Like, "Why would you ask that question." or "Do you read?" Get the idea?

Sarah Simas said...

Hi Catherine and Jenna!
Happy B-day, Catherine!

Great interview, ladies. I've been a Jenna fan for years. (LESSONS FROM A COURTESAN is my fav!!) The Passionate Pen has been bookmarked on my computer for ages. I learned a lot about writing from PP when I was just starting out. Thanks, Jenna, for paying it forward!

I enjoyed getting a closer look at one of my favorite authors. I'm looking forward to your new release. (Is it November, yet? lol)

Enjoy your day, Catherine!

Catherine Bybee said...

Thanks, Aithne and Beth.

I agree Rachel... PP is awesome. There isn't anything missing.

LOL, Mary. People say the craziest things when you say romance. Say erotic and wow, careful.

Thanks, Sara.. Wasn't Lessons amazing, and the cover! HOT!!! If I guy sat there looking at me like that I'd be putty!

JennaPetersen said...

Thanks again for having me today! This was fun! :) And thanks for all the lovely comments about Passionate Pen and my books! :)


Catherine Bybee said...

Thanks again for joining me and Jenna today ladies... I went to my local bookstore and *gasp* Taboo wasn't there... not to worry, I ordered it and the lady behind me wan't to know all about it... God I love that!

Christina Phillips said...

We have a few romance bookstores over in Oz, though I still end up ordering from them online. Bit of a pain!!

Kaye Manro said...

So sorry I missed this! I just wanted to stop by and tell you what a great interview you did with Jenna/Jess! Good comments too.

And of course to wish you a belated Happy Birthday!

Helen Hardt said...

Happy Birthday, Catherine! So sorry I'm late to the party, but I was gone at my local conference all weekend. I hope you had a great one!

And Jenna, I'm a huge fan! It's always fun to learn more about you and your work.


Wendi Zwaduk said...

Very coola nd thanks for the information.

Yesterday was my son's b-day too, so no bloggin really took place on my part.

Have a great one!


Julie Robinson said...

Happy B-day Catherine and Hello Jenna. I enjoyed your interview. It's interesting to know that despite your established name, you still get that kind of reaction regarding what you write.

Your "Passionate Pen" site is wonderful.

Catherine Bybee said...

Better late then never, right ladies? I'm happy you guys made it. Be sure and pick up Jenna's latest. OMG! Good stuff!

Ashley Ladd said...

Great interview and I love the covers. I especially love the Taboo cover.

Also, happy birthday Catherine. You'll soon realize 41 is very young. It's a perfect age - old enough to know things but young enough to be beautiful and vibrant.