Thanks for joining me today on Night Owl Romance.
Tammie King of NOR: To get us started can you please start by telling us a little about what you are working on or have coming out?
Juniper Bell: My erotic romance, "Doll", is coming out on December 15, 2009. It's a red-hot contemporary from Samhain Publishing. Here's the blurb, which says it so much better than I can!
Even a plaything can be pushed too far...
Chloe Barnes thought her marriage to a wealthy politician would be the stuff of fairy tales. Instead, he took advantage of her naivet? and used her as a plaything to fulfill his twisted sexual needs. Ten years is enough. She returns to Bellhaven Island to sell the summer cottage she inherited, hoping the money will buy her freedom-and custody of her daughters.
Fisherman Dustin McDougal never forgot the childhood crush he once had on the fairy-like Chloe. The woman she's become has a haunted look that brings his feelings back, stronger than ever.with a mature edge. Along with all his protective instincts.
Their passion blows stronger than a Maine nor'easter, awakening Chloe to the joy of true love. Yet it may not be strong enough to free her from the past.
Tammie King of NOR: Could you please tell us a little about yourself?
Juniper Bell: I live in a cabin outside a small town in Alaska. My sweetie and I are still building, so certain basics like running water are, well, coming soon. But we have incredible views of glaciers and mountains. Living up here is a constant adventure. For instance, if you want to send something by UPS you have to go to the airstrip and hope to catch the guy while he's unloading the plane. I have two step-children, who bring me a lot of joy and some challenges. I started writing romance about three years ago. I was stressed out from my job as a TV writer, my life was in turmoil, I was miserable, and I turned to my favorite source of comfort, romance novels. By some miracle, it occurred to me that maybe I'd get the same joy from writing them as I get from reading them. And I do!
Tammie King of NOR: If you could be one of the characters from this book - Who would you be? And why?
Juniper Bell: I really love the hero in this book. Dustin MacDougal is strong, independent, he can fix anything, he's honorable through and through. One of those guys everyone turns to for leadership. He was elected constable of Bellhaven Island by an 87 to zero vote. Even as a kid, he stood up to Andrew Garwood (Chloe's ex-husband), with all his wealth and cockiness. He knows who he is, he's not intimidated, and his heart is true-blue. And he's hot as hell.
Tammie King of NOR: Who or what influenced you when you wrote this book? Did you have a CD, Songs, environment, etc?
Juniper Bell: The idea for this book came to me during a visit to a Maine fishing island. The moodiness of it, with the cliffs and dark pines and constantly changing ocean really lends itself to a story about being haunted by memories. It's remote, rugged, but also extremely beautiful.
Tammie King of NOR: Can you please give us a sneak peek into the book?
Chloe nestled her head between Dustin's chin and his chest, so the flannel of his work shirt rubbed against her cheek. The smell of salt air and diesel clung to him.
"Have you been on your boat?" she asked dreamily, as he ran his hands over her back.
"Had to fix a bearing. That engine's always making some noise or other. Sometimes I think it just wants my attention."
"I don't blame it."
He found the lower edge of her sweater and snaked his hand under it. At the feel of his work-roughened palm on his skin, a shudder went through her. Immediately he stopped.
"Are you okay?"
"Yes! You're not following the rules. If I want you to stop, I'll tell you. I don't want you to stop. As a matter of fact-" She drew away from him. "Let's take off our clothes. Together. At the same time."
He looked amused. "On the count of three?"
"One." She stepped out of her skirt. Underneath, she wore woolly leggings for warmth. "Two." She started to pull off the leggings.
"Hang on! You're getting ahead of me." He unbuttoned his jeans, revealing boxers and a huge erection. She felt the breath leave her body.
It was a good feeling.
She put her hands to the hem of her sweater and slid it over her head. It was quickly followed by her turtleneck. She stood in front of him, wearing only her pink lace underwear, while he unbuttoned his flannel shirt. Under it, he wore a "Save the Whales" T-shirt, which she found so endearing, she laughed.
"Am I that funny-looking?" he asked with a wounded look.
"I didn't know you were a tree-hugger."
"Some of my best friends are trees." There was a twinkle in his deep blue eyes that put her completely at ease. "The rest are whales."
"I think that might be a whale in your pants."
He waggled his eyebrows lasciviously, then laughed, an infectious chuckle that made her answer with one of her own. Never before had she laughed during sex, or the buildup to sex. Never before had she even smiled. Or joked. Or teased. If they stopped right now, this would still be a groundbreaking experience for her. But she had no intention of stopping. "You're still wearing boxers and a T-shirt."
"And you've got the bra and panties. Not that I mind the view."
For a moment, she stiffened. Fearfully, she raised her eyes to his. Would she see that same calculating hunger she was used to? That greedy look that reduced her to a thing, a possession, a trinket? But no. His expression was the opposite of that. Happy appreciation shone from his eyes. His smile had a touch of the devil in it, and a promise of delicious fun.
"What's wrong?" he asked. "Nothing. A ghost. We haven't said three yet."
"If we don't do it soon, I'm going to forget how to count."
Giggling, she put her hands behind her back, on the fastening of her bra. He grabbed the bottom of his T-shirt, poised for take-off.
Clothes flew into the air, a flurry of underwear. Surrounded by discarded clothing, they stared at each other. Chloe felt her rib cage rise and fall with quick breaths. Without looking down, she knew her nipples were already at attention. As was his erection. It rose from a thick nest of black curls and pointed straight toward her, as if it had eyes only for her.
Suddenly, desperately, she wanted to know what he saw when he looked at her. "Do you think.do I seem like.a." she whispered, "doll?"
"Oh, no. You're no doll."
What did he mean? Did he think she was ugly? Maybe he was used to a different type. She crossed her hands over her breasts.
"No! Don't hide." With one quick stride, he was in front of her, holding her face in his hands. "You're beautiful. Wonderful. But you're no doll. You're too alive. Too sensitive. Look, I can feel the pulse beating in your throat. I can feel your skin warming under my hands. You're a living, passionate being. How could anyone think you were a doll?" He ran his thumbs over her cheeks with a touch that seemed to treasure the very shape of her face. When he bent his mouth to hers, the depth of his kiss brought tears to her eyes. His tongue searched her mouth, as if he wanted to track down whatever sadness remained in her and soothe it away.
Tammie King of NOR: Please tell us what you have planned next?
Juniper Bell: My next book with Samhain Publishing comes out in March 2010 -- it's called "Training the Receptionist." It's also a red-hot contemporary, but it's a completely different read. Lighter, cheekier.
Here's the blurb: It's her naughty dream job-if they're satisfied with her performance.
Eager to escape her miserable existence in "Low-life, Long Island," street-wise Dana Arthur jumps at an entry-level position with the consulting firm of Cowell & Dirk. As her training period begins, she quickly discovers she's required to do more than take messages and order office supplies. Her job description contains some deliciously naughty duties that give receptionist a whole new meaning.
Simon has almost given up on finding the right woman who will please his clients as well as his demanding partner and mentor, Ethan Cowell. No one measures up-until Dana. Her inner fire and fearless nature are perfect for the job. No matter what wicked punishment he devises to chastise her for her on-the-job mistakes, she accepts with a relish that leaves him wondering which one of them is really in control.
The last thing he expects to discover is that she's a perfect sexual soul mate he can't bear to share. But share he must-it's part of his business agreement. Unless he makes Ethan the deal of a lifetime.
Tammie King of NOR: What kind of research did you do for this book? Did you enjoy the research process?
Juniper Bell: I wanted "Doll" to be very grounded in the island and every day life there. My hero is a fisherman, so I had to do some research into lobstering and fish houses and engines. I've been around fishing all my life, but I was amazed by how non-specific my memories were! I had to nail down a lot of details.
Tammie King of NOR: What would you like to tell your readers?
Juniper Bell: If you like your erotic romance with a lot of emotion, I think you'll like "Doll." Chloe is dealing with some intense things, and this story shows her courage in leaving the past behind. I like writing stories about turning-points in people's lives, those moments when you choose one path over another. It's a sexual turning-point for her, whether she's going to remain a "plaything" or reclaim her sexuality, with the help of Dustin.
Tammie King of NOR: Do you belong to a critique group? If so, how does this help or hinder you?
Juniper Bell: I do belong to a critique group, and I find it incredibly helpful. The group is a safe place to test stories out before sending them into the cold, cruel world! It's a great source of support. The danger of a critique group is that you might start to write for other people's tastes. It's important to hold onto your own vision and your own voice.
Tammie King of NOR: What would be the best way for readers contact you? Do you have a website? Email address? MySpace site? Blog? Message Board? Group?
Juniper Bell: I love to hear from readers! The best way is by email at email@example.com. I have a website and a blog -- authorjuniperbell.blogspot.com -- and an announce-only newsletter group. It's all on my website. Facebook is another good way, go ahead and "friend" me!
Tammie King of NOR: What was your first published work and when was it published?
Juniper Bell: My first book, "The Extremist," was published by Liquid Silver Books in August 2009. It also takes place on an island ... but this one is in the Bahamas, which gives it a whole different mood.
Tammie King of NOR: What is the best and worst advice you have ever received?
Juniper Bell: Best advice: Keep writing. That's what I tell everyone else, and I tell it to myself all the time too. If you get rejected, keep writing. If you win a contest, keep writing. No matter what the situation, keep writing. It's the prescription for everything.
Worst advice: Don't bother with e-publishing. I love e-publishing! I think it's the way of the future. It offers so much freedom for writers in terms of content and genre and story length. Print is great too, of course, but right now I think e-publishing is pushing the boundaries and that's good for everyone, creatively speaking. It's great for readers too, because we get so many choices!
Thank you for this opportunity!