I’m so pleased to be joined today on the blog by Jourdan Lane, author of the incredible paranormal Soul Mates series. In addition to this series Jourdan has written two other Soul Mates short stories – Possession in the Spiked anthology and A Coven Christmas. The author has also published several contemporary stories including – Surrender – in the Cowboys Up anthology, On the Job in Ultimate Gay Erotica 2005, The Ticket in Ultimate Gay Erotica 2006, and Instinct in The Call. Marked – a Halloween Short about a paranormal investigation team is also available from Torquere along with most of Jourdan’s books.
Hi Jourdan and welcome. Thank you for being here and I can’t begin to tell you what a pleasure it is to interview you. I would like to start with your writing career
Jourdan Lane, Writer
Jourdan, could you tell us one fun thing about yourself that you have never told anyone before?
I keep reading that question and thinking that a) I am the least fun person on the planet and b) I tell at least two people *everything*. So… Is it fun that I have a thing for Tinkerbell? That’s about the most recent thing. I’ve only told my hubby though, because everyone else would make fun of me 😉
I believe you started writing in 1998. When were you first published and what was the name of the book?
I had my first short story published in Ultimate Gay Erotica 2005 edited by Jesse Grant. The story was On the Job and is now posted as a free read on my website.
You have the most incredible imagination and your stories have wonderfully complex plots. Where do you get your ideas and how do you develop your storylines?
Believe it or not, a lot of my ideas come from dreams. Sleeping is the only time I’m relaxed enough to not have anything else on my mind.
The development of storylines is different with each story/book. The characters come first 80% of the time, but there are times when a plot will just pop up out of nowhere and I have to figure out who is supposed to appear in the story. I rarely outline anything because if I do, I tend not to finish the story. Since I already know what will happen, it takes all the fun out of writing the actual story.
You have achieved a considerable amount of success. What has been your most successful book to date in terms of sales? Critical acclaim? Which do you prefer?
I’d have to say Soul Mates: Bound by Blood. The response I’ve received from it (and then the rest of the series) was totally unexpected, but wonderful. Can I have both sales AND critical acclaim? I love having people talk about my work, picking it apart, and saying why they loved and/or hated it. But really… a girl does have to make a living somehow…
What turned you on to M/M the genre?
The answer is complicated in a couple of ways, but I’ll give the simple answer. My characters did it! While writing my first vampire novel, my male characters seemed to have as much chemistry together as they did with the heroines. I fought it, thinking that no one would ever read it. Little did I know, there was a market for gay fiction and it seemed people couldn’t get enough of it online.
None based on my personal experiences, but I did have one character who was based largely on someone that I knew. I had no problems writing the character until that person’s behavior totally changed. It was as if they were a completely different person overnight and it threw both me and my Muse off. I haven’t written anything with that character to this day, so it’s become a pretty hard and fast rule not to base any characters on me, my situations, and/or other people 🙂
In addition to your best known and well loved paranormal series Soul Mates, you have written other genres such as contemporary cowboy stories. I loved the characters of Dale and Brandt in Surrender in the Cowboy Up anthology. Do you have plans to write more cowboy stories in the future? (next to vamps and weres I think cowboys are my favourites)
Thank you! Dale and Brandt are still two of my most favorite characters. As for more cowboy stories? Yes, I have a few lined up. My next one will be another contemporary about a cowboy and a photographer. The story isn’t written or anything, so there’s not too much to tell yet.
I believe you’re writing a contemporary story about undercover DEA agents. Could you give us the 30 second promo for the story and when you anticipate it will be published?
Ha! My readers would say that it’s a story I’ve been working on *forever*… but IMHO, time and more writing experience since the first draft has made it so much better. The story is called Target.
Richard is an ex-Marine Sniper-turned DEA agent. Ryan is an officer with a local joint task force. The two are thrown together on a case and are forced to take on the role of loving partners in order to gain credibility with a dangerous drug manufacturer, Andre Broussard. Richard is less than pleased to be on the case and even more unhappy at the fact he has an attraction to Ryan from the very beginning. Ryan, however, is pretty comfortable with both. Once Richard and Ryan start making progress on the case, it soon becomes clear that drugs aren’t the only thing they have to worry about where Broussard is concerned. Drugs, sex, violence, human trafficking… They’d be better off finding out what Broussard isn’t guilty of.
Do you fall in love with the characters you write about? Are there any characters in your books that you don’t like and therefore have trouble writing?
I think I fall a little bit in love with most all of my characters. Even the bad guys. Which is, you know, bad when you’re trying to make them mean and evil and all that. I get attached and don’t want to see some of them get what’s coming to them!
What advice would you give to new and aspiring authors?
1) Write what you love, not because a particular genre sells the best.
2) Don’t worry about where to publish that story or where to find an agent. Make your story the very best you can and THEN look at publishing options.
3) Keep writing.
Your most popular books are the Soul Mates series which I just finished reading and reviewing. Starting with the first book Soul Mates: Bound by Blood, how did you ever come up with those magnificent main characters Lucien and Peter? Which one came first?
Lucien came first. He was a supporting character in the 2nd vampire novel (not yet published) I wrote. Once I finished that book, I took a bit of a break from the paranormal and started the contemporary DEA novel. One night I had this wicked dream about a vampire coming to me in the middle of the night. It shook me up at first, but I immediately knew who the vampire was. He was much more powerful than he’d ever been and my mind went into overdrive, trying to figure out why. And Soul Mates: Bound by Blood was born. There’s a scene in that first book where Lucien comes to Peter in his apartment. That…was my dream. Only it was me in Peter’s place Peter? He just sort of appeared in my head. I didn’t know much about him other than a few basic things about his look and the fact he was a bartender. A month or so later, I ran across a picture of some guy that had done a romance calendar. I can’t remember the name of the calendar, only that he was Mr. September. When I saw that picture, I knew I had my Peter.
The series is now at 4 books, including your newest release Soul Mates: Secrets. Most authors have a plan for how many books they will release in a series. Would you like to tell the fans how many more books you expect to write before you wrap up the series?
My plan has always been to leave the series open-ended. I only plan ahead one book at a time (because things have a habit of changing and growing mid-novel), but I can say that there are at least three more books set in the Soul Mates world that come after Soul Mates: Secrets. Soul Mates: Ascension – book 5 Rumor of Angels: A Soul Mates Novel – set in Soul Mates world, but is more angel-centered. Obviously, lol. Legion – again, set in the Soul Mates world, but more demon/angel than vampire.
One of my favourite characters in the series is Simon whose origin was revealed in Soul Mates: Sacrifice. Will there be a love interest for him in the next book? I get the sense that there is some mighty mojo going on between him and Rhys.
Rhys is so head over heels in love with Simon (and Simon with him, whether he’ll admit it or not), but Simon just can’t seem to let it happen. He’s so concerned about his past that he can’t look to the future. The man is great about giving others advice, but he sucks at taking it. His time will come in the near future, but I can’t say with absolute certainty when that’ll be. All I can say is soon!
Another of my favourites is Sabaan, that incredibly sexy incubus. Now that Sabaan and Nikolas are together will things between them stay sane or will their relationship be torn apart again through jealousy? How will his bonding with Lucien affect Sabaan’s new relationship with Nikolas? Will it play a significant role in the new Soul Mates: Secrets story? You have to give the fans a few hints Jourdan *g*
I’m probably going to get tons of hate mail for this particular plot point 😉 Oh yes, the whole Lucien/Sabaan/Nikolas situation is addressed in Soul Mates: Secrets. Sabaan and Nikolas are sane, for the most part, but there’s always a bit of jealousy when there’s more than two people involved with each other. It certainly hasn’t helped matters any that Lucien and Nikolas have been at odds with each other for such a long period of time. Is that enough of a hint or do you want more?? *Grins*
Do you have a favorite character in the series? I read somewhere that you didn’t like Peter’s character at first but he grew on you. Has this happened before where you create a character that you didn’t really like?
If I absolutely HAD to pick? Geez. I don’t know. I guess I’d have to say Nikolas. I’m a sucker for growly men and he’s definitely growly 85% of the time. As for Peter, I think my initial problem with him was that he would just go silent on me and wouldn’t give me much information. It was like getting blood out of stones trying to write scenes and I think it just aggravated me so much that I blamed him for it. I mean, it *is* in his POV… he’s responsible, right? But no, that’s never really happened to me before. I hope it doesn’t happen again any time soon
The sex scenes in the Soul Mates series are some of the best I have read, and I have read quite a few. They are so hot they burn up the pages and there is always some menage action going on. Could you give us the 411 on how you write such incredibly hot sex scenes and could you write a manual for the rest of us mortals?
*blushes* Thank you for the kind words. Truthfully, I’m never happy with my sex scenes. I always wonder if there’s too much/not enough talking, touching, descriptives… I’m always looking for ways to make the chemistry between the characters in the scene really show, so I spend endless amounts of time on them.
I understand you have written or are writing the story of Antoine Chavarria, Lucien’s former Master. Is this going to be a prequel to the series or is it a standalone book? Is this book going to be published soon?
There are three books set in this world that I wrote before Soul Mates: Bound by Blood. Eternally Yours, In the Shadows, and Enforcers. Eternally Yours introduces Lukas, Catherine, Christopher (who also appears in SM:BBB), and Antoine. In the Shadows breaks off into Antoine’s story after events that happen in Eternally Yours. Enforcers centers around a few of the guys on the enforcement team for the two covens in Eternally Yours and In the Shadows. These are “sort of” prequels in that they come first on the timeline, but I think they could be read as standalone books. These three books were my very first novels, so I’m doing some heavy revisions on them and hope to have them turned into my publisher in January/February 2009. After that, it’s up to them whether they’ll take the books and what their schedule is like for the year. I do have to add that these aren’t solely m/m books; they contain m/f content as well as m/m/f and m/f/m.
You like a lot of guns and explosions in the action sequences of the Soul Mates series. Do you know a lot about guns in real life?
I am a certified gun nut. I won’t say that I know all there is to know (I’m still learning after 20 years of collecting), but I know a fair amount. My husband helps me out with research on guns I’m not familiar with. Add in a friend that was a weapons specialist in the Marines? I’m in good hands.
A large percentage of my reading material is paranormal books and I realize that in vampire and werewolf stories there is always a fair amount of blood but this series seems to have stepped up the blood quotient. Did you set out to do so?
Nooo. I had an awesome editor at the time (Jane Davitt — who was so very awesome, patient, and tons of help) who encouraged me not to sugar coat the action/bloody scenes. I’d been afraid of reader reactions and I think just alluding to the blood and gore took quite a bit away from the scenes. They didn’t have the right “punch”, so to say. I haven’t tried to sugar coat anything since 🙂
Soul Mates: Secrets is being released on October 15th. Could you please give the fans the 30 second promo for the story? For example when we left Lucien and Peter at the end of Soul Mates: Sacrifice there had been a horrible fire and a number of vampires and weres and other species were killed. The perpetrators had not been apprehended and I’m wondering if the new book will reveal who they are and what was the purpose of targeting Peter?
Everyone has a secret. In the Delacroix coven, secrets are at the root of just about everyone’s problems. Sometimes, however, keeping a secret is the only way to stay alive. Peter is getting used to his new life as a half-vampire, half-werewolf. He’s picky about feeding, wanting a variety of donors instead of a select few. But being out in the open has attracted unwanted attention his way. It seems that he’s been targeted — once again — by an unknown source. While Peter and those close to him try to figure out what is going on and who is to blame, his relationship with Lucien is being tested yet again. His close relationship with Nikolas doesn’t help matters any and when anger and jealousy between Lucien and Nikolas come to a head, all Peter can do is sit back and hope for the best.
This current book will hint as to who was responsible, but they won’t be introduced until the next book. The next book is much longer and more action-oriented instead of relationship-oriented as this one was 🙂
Jordan – Under the Spotlight
I ask this question of female authors who write M/M stories. Since you’re not a gay man, how do you know when the sex scenes are just right?
Nope, not a gay man. But not a straight female either 😉
Gay men have complained consistently about women writing gay erotica and M/M stories because they feel that some of the sex acts are either over emphasized or not correctly portrayed. Do readers critique your sex scenes and tell you that part A doesn’t really go into part B?
I’ve seen that topic on a few blogs here and there, but I never really know what to say about it. Mostly, because I don’t completely identify as a woman. My husband will tell you that I’m about 70% guy and about 30% girl…regardless of my physical traits. I do have to agree that some women authors aren’t quite “getting it” when it comes to how a man acts/reacts. You can’t just take away the tits and the vajajay and have an instant man. 90% of men don’t spill their guts on the 2nd date and end every other sentence with “sweety, honey, sugar, etc”… I’ve bought a few books that had a great premise but the men were so feminized I had a hard time with it. I can’t remember EVER having a sex scene critiqued by a reader. The only thing they’ve really complained about is the polyamorous relationships in the Soul Mates series. But really, vampires and sex? To me, they go hand in hand. The thought of a monogamous vampire and/or incubus makes me laugh.
What do you really think about when you’re writing those incredibly hot sex scenes between two guys? I hope you’re not going to tell me you’re making grocery lists or washing the dog *g*
Oh, no. When I’m writing sex scenes, it’s ALL about the characters on stage. 😀
Where do you do your research? I think it would be helpful for other M/M authors to have access to your sources 🙂 (I swear this information is not for me) *g*
Oh man, where do I start? If it’s sex-related stuff? Well, I don’t do much research there. I have my own personal research source (that I can’t reveal, sorry!) for that. I am a member of several online communities on LJ Research. In general? I read. Everything. On the bookshelf to my left, I’ve got books on snipers, forensics, numerous FBI books, numerous DEA books — both agency-published and books published by former agents — and manuals, books on drug smuggling… A little further down, I’ve got books on angels, vampires, werewolves, religion, mythology… I buy anything and everything I can on clearance racks because I might need it in the future. I also bookmark each and every website out there that I come across and think I might need to look back at it later. My favorites folders is full of sub folders and sub-sub folders! Google and Wiki are my friends, but please, don’t trust Wiki as your only source of information!
I know I’m in the minority here, but one of the things I don’t read are “writer’s help” books. They bore me to tears and I just can’t see spending money on those books when I could be spending money on more fiction! The only exception is “Writer’s Market” and I just flip through the publisher guidelines to see if anything fits with what I’ve got. If anyone wants to know about something specific, feel free to ask me! I’ll definitely answer and/or share 🙂
Is there a question about yourself that you have never been asked but are dying to answer?
Hmm… That’s a tough one. Over the years, I think I’ve been asked pretty much everything.
Thanks Jourdan. I don’t have to tell you how much I enjoyed your answers. I did notice that you avoided a couple of important questions *g* It’s been a real pleasure having you on the blog and I hope that the fans of the Soul Mates series and your writing in general will have as much fun reading your answers as I did. A number of your fans contributed questions for your interview and I would like to thank them most sincerely. I hope they will be here on October 6th to pry some more secrets from you.
In appreciation of her fans’ support for her books Jourdan has very generously decided to give 2 people who comment on either the interview or the review of Soul Mates: Secrets which immediately follows this interview, by random draw, a free download of the book when it’s published.
And that’s a wrap.
Jourdan Lane’s contact information
Jourdan Lane’s backlist
“Possession” in the Spiked Anthology
Nice: A Coven Christmas
Soul Mates: Sacrifice
“Instinct” in The Call, edited by Rob Knight
Soul Mates: Deceptions
Soul Mates: Bound by Blood
“The Ticket” in Ultimate Gay Erotica 2006, edited by Jesse Grant
“Surrender” in Cowboy Up, edited by Rob Knight
“On the Job” in Ultimate Gay Erotica 2005, edited by Jesse Grant