Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Chatting With Author Lisa Renee Jones

My guest is para romance author, Lisa Renee Jones. When she visited the last time she was anticipating the release of the first book in her new  Zodius series—Michael.

I’ve read Michael. Wow, just wow. Intense, realistic kick ass story. The story is a battle of good vs bad. Even the heroes are battling their inner darkness. This series has another faithful fan! Lisa uses the premise of genetic enhancement for soldiers—not new—but way she handles it and introduces alien DNA from area 51 is way different. It’s plausible and intriguing. The world she creates is fascinating; the men hot and dangerous, the women are strong and inventive. The love story Michael and Cassandra is carnal and a spot of peace in a world which becomes more dangerous and where loyalties are tested to the max. Even her villains are real. You can relate to them and feel disappointed when they lose the battle for honor. This is a story I can recommend for those who love hot dangerous men, hot sex, and a kick ass and take names type of story.

Back cover Blurb of Michael:


One of an army of human soldiers injected with alien DNA, Michael is a legend within this new race, split between good and evil. Untamable, he has walked on the dark side and returned to the light. Feared and misunderstood, he leaves everything behind, including the one woman destined to be his mate.


Fate leads Michael back to Cassandra Powell, for she holds the key to defending his comrades. With their loyalties divided between duty and the people they love, only together can Cassandra and Michael overcome insurmountable odds to save humanity from the wrath of a madman.

But no ordinary woman can control a creature such as Michael, and only one thing is clear—the world will never be the same…Excerpt One, Two

Buy: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books.A.Million, Borders, Indiebound. Available in Mass Paperback and e-book.

I realized that although I’ve read and enjoyed several of her books I didn’t know that much about her. So, you know me, what I don’t know I ask about. :-)

Tell me a bit about Lisa. Do you have your own happily ever after romance? Do you have a profession aside from writing? What do you like to do in your down times?

I met the man in my life in a bookstore. He’s a huge reader! I love that about him. We’ve been together for seven years and though we aren’t married we’ve been eying Italy as our dream location to finally make it official. We’ve both been married before so we want to do something special, that’s for us.

I write full time now though I owned a staffing agency for 11 years. That was a hard 80 hour workweek all of those 11 years. I tend to be very obsessive about work because after all those long hours, rest can feel like a guilty pleasure.

Fortunately, the man in my life is so good at making me step back and relax. He loves movies and so do I, so we indulge often. We have shows we love to, and watching them together, is something we really look forward to. And eating – he loves to eat way too much lol! Which means I eat way too much while with him!

Oh and he’s 9 years younger than me. Talk about a shock when he finally admitted that. I buy a lot of wrinkle cream!

You’ve been writing for some years, how long have you had the goal to be published?

I had done some film work and really wanted to perform all my life. However, life got in the way of the dream, and I set it aside. The bug hit me and I started doing some more film back in 2003 and 2004. Then, I started thinking about the scripts and writing, and just dove in. The next thing I knew I was at an RT convention ALONE and terrified. My first Blaze came out in 2007 – and I signed that contract in early 2006. So while publishing came fairly quickly, it’s been a path filled with bumps. You just have to keep pushing forward and chasing the dream. NEVER GIVE UP.

How did you go about making that a reality?

The RT convention was big step. I knew I needed to educate myself. I also entered a contest that I won at that convention. It was that boost that I needed, that validation I wasn’t a fool to chase the dream.

How did writing this novel differ from writing other books (I know you’ve written for harlequin, etc)?

Nocturne is very similar to a single title. The word count is 85k. However, I found I always wanted another 10k and had to adjust the story. That was frustrating. So I enjoy the longer word count that lets me explore the characters more fully. I enjoy Blaze because they are fun and light and so filled with real life possibilities. I often find they are a nice break from writing a darker, more intensely plotted book.

You’ve written contemporary, romantic suspense, dark paranormal and erotic fiction. What drew you to this particular sub-genre of romance?

I liked contemporary suspense from the beginning because of the real life aspect of the storyline – the possibility it really could happen. The possibility of a real hero is always fun. However, the man in my life is SO into paranormal that he has really opened that world up to me and I just love it. I can’t believe I spent so many years NOT enjoying this genre. It’s just too fun and exciting. The creative entertainer in me just adores the places paranormal lets me go.

Give me a glimpse of this world you’ve created.

I spent a lot of time in Vegas during my corporate years so I really love Vegas. The Zodius series, especially book 2, has lots of Vegas flavor. But more than that – the Area 51 secrets, become a key part of the series. Area 51 is just such a curious place. It’s filled with secrets and we know there are things there beyond our comprehension. I had a family member who was a part of one of the ‘crash’ recoveries we aren’t suppose to know about but do. He went to his deathbed with those secrets, but near the end, he told us just enough that we know there is something to all the rumors. He carried those secrets all his life though and he was afraid to share them, even when he was dying. There is something big we don’t know. It’s fun to imagine what that might be.

Aside from that though – I see the Zodius series as a cross between Lora Leigh’s Breeds and Feehan’s Ghostwalkers. These men are the next generation of soldiers. They are all about the possibilities of medical science and DNA enhancements, that may or may not, come from an Area 51 experiment. The possibilities of DNA tampering has been seen with vegetables and fruits. Why not humans?

I've read all of Feehan's Ghostwalkers and love them. The only similarity I see is the idea of a super soldier and DNA enhancement. But both Feehan's series and yours is romance and paranormal but strong on the suspense and danger aspects and a story that would be enjoyed by men and women.

One of the things, which drew me to Michael (aside from the*hot* factor), is the fact he’s tough, and despite his low opinion of himself, he has a code of honor. He also doesn’t feel he needs or is even worthy of protection—which isn’t how Cassandra feels.
What draws you to Michael?

How damaged he is and yet how honorable. How much, despite any good he does, he always feels he isn’t good at all. I mean, don’t we all have self-doubt and pain? And isn’t the most special thing about love, the way the other person can help us overcome that?

What is it about Cassandra that will draw readers to her?

Her willingness to fight for those she loves – even when they are flawed. She wants to believe in her father. She wants to believe in Michael. Even after her father’s betrayals, she is willing to believe in Michael, and if she weren’t, she would never know how worthy he is of that belief.

One of the things I enjoyed about this book is the way you made your villains so well defined. You actually show how their motivations and goals started out honorable, except Caleb’s twin. He’s just wacko, but he has the ability to love…?

I’m so glad that the villains felt defined to you. Adam, Caleb’s twin, still has a human side, no matter how much he doesn’t want to have one. And humans love – even if that love is dysfunctional, even if that love is selfish.

What do you like about your villains?
I once had an editor tell me to make the bad guys relatable, so that readers would love to hate them. That hit home to me. The villains have to be real, their motivations defined, for you to really truly dislike them. So I like how real they feel to me, how desperate they are to achieve their goals. It ups the danger.

Oh, it definitely ups the danger. Actually there were several things I liked  about Cassandra's father and understood the type of man he isthe ends are honorable and justify the means.

 When is the next Zodius due out? Can tell us a bit about it?

In book 2—there is a synthetic form of the GTECH serum that created the super soldiers on the streets. It’s addictive and its killing people during withdrawal. It’s Adam’s attempt to make the world addicted to him.

The hero is Sterling, who you meet in book one. Sterling is wild and crazy, and thinks he will never find love. He is Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon, willing to do anything, with a secret death wish. Only he finds a reason to live in a woman, but Adam gives that woman this drug, and she is destined to die. Sterling will do anything to save her, and yet, not matter what he does, he doesn’t seem to be able to save her. None of his lethal weapon action will save her. Somehow he has to save her.

Oh, good. I liked Sterling a lot. I enjoyed the excerpt of his story at the end of Michael. I'm eagerly looking forward to reading it. Did I mention I hate waiting? lol!

Lisa, I’m so glad you were able to visit Over Coffee again. Thank you for spending time with us today and answering my questions.

Find Lisa: Website, Facebook