Upon first glance at her whimsical logo, you may think author Jessica Collins specializes in writing about unicorns and rainbows. However, one look at the synopsis of her debut novel Stealing Beauty will set you straight. Jessica crafts erotic fairytale that give a sexy nod to the stories we grew up reading. Read on as Jessica dishes about the development of her Fairy Tales After Dark series, her favorite snack to munch on when she’s whipping up a WIP, and why she thinks leaning on sex to tell a story is a bad idea!
In a few sentences, tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a new erotic romance author. I draw my inspiration from a multitude of my identities: a student athlete, a licensed mental health therapist, an animal-rights advocate (ok, as much as I’ve tried going vegetarian, I’m just not there yet), and an avid lover of books. My husband and I live in New Jersey with the love of our life – our pitbull. In my free time, I enjoy watching horror movies, taking baths, playing old-school Nintendo on my computer, and being outside as much as possible
What do you love most about the craft of writing?
Anything goes. You want to create a multi-billionaire virgin, great! You want a down-and-out drug addict with the cure for cancer – awesome! The character and story lines are only inhibited by your imagination, and I love that. While not everyone likes fantasy, there’s a huge niche for it as well.
Tell us about your latest project.
I’ve just published my debut novel, Stealing Beauty. It’s an erotic re-telling of Beauty and the Beast. It’s the first in my Fairy Tales After Dark series – a contemporary erotic romance collection combining classic characters with sizzling situations to create a world the reader wishes they were a part of. I write alpha males, confident heroines, amazing friendships, and fan-worthy sex combined with enough tension to keep you on the edge of your panty-soaked seat all night long. Each book in the series can be read as a stand-alone, has a HEA, and is realistic – no magic involved.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think the first real time was when my editor read the first three chapters of my novel and emailed me saying she would “love to edit and finish reading it”. She was the first non-family member to read my writing, and the first truly objective reader. When she let me know how much she loved the book, I honestly felt as if I had done something right.
~…when the only plot line involves ‘how can I get them to f–k this time’, it’s not a story…~
What drew you to writing romance/erotica?
I love reading erotic romance. The problem I run into is, many times, there’s too much sex. It doesn’t seem possible, but when the only plot line involves ‘how can I get them to f–k this time’, it’s not a story – it’s porn. I wanted to write an erotic romance where sex was there, but it pushed the story forward. The love scene had to make sense to the characters for their development – not just for the sake of having another scene.
Share a piece of your work that showcases your writing style best.
I’ll give you one of my favorite scenes. A little tease to whet your appetite:
He looked at her for a moment before continuing, voice low. “Let’s be honest for a moment, shall we? I’ve been fantasizing about you since the first night we met, and I can feel your eyes on me whenever I’m near you.” He paused a moment, tongue darting out briefly to lick his bottom lip. “We should just fuck and get it out of the way.”
Belle stopped breathing. She wanted to take him up on his offer — she had never wanted to sleep with a man as badly as she wanted him. “Mr. Wolfe, let me make one thing perfectly clear. I own a club. I deal in attraction. You wouldn’t get a call back.” Belle narrowed her eyes back in a challenge. Ok, so she lied a little, yet he needed to know there wouldn’t be anything between them, no matter how often she thought about it.
“It that so?”
“Yes,” she huffed out a breath, proud of herself for staying strong against his attempts at her. He stared at her for another moment, his penetrating gaze holding her in place. He stood, walking around the desk towards her, fingers on his left hand grazing the edge of the dark wood.
His face remained impassive, but his eyes, his eyes looked — calculating.
Oh, no. I know that look. I created that look. Belle moved to stand but Aleks was too quick. He leaned forward, a hand on each side of her chair, entrapping her in the small space. The earthy scent she was beginning to grow fond of flooded her nostrils. The muscles in his forearms flexed as he gripped the chair, and the heat from his body warmed her as he leaned forward, dangerously close into her personal space, forcing her head back against the leather.
“Women have pretended to say no to me before. Seems I always change their mind.” His arrogance was the cold water she needed to focus. She wasn’t about to let him intimidate her.
“Pretended? You’re such a prick. I’m not other women. Belle held his gaze as his look darkened, blue turning cerulean, a slow smile forming on his face.
“Mm hm,” he uttered, not convinced. His voice dropped as he continued, “Tell me, did you think about it the other night? Me fucking you against the wall? Or perhaps you’re thinking about it now — being bent over my desk as I take you from behind?” He wouldn’t release her gaze, pupils dilating as he spoke. His facial expression, his voice, his sheer intensity, all mixed with his words; he was devastating.
“The only reason those thoughts cross my mind is because I have to listen to you talk about them.” She hated feeling the blush creep across her cheeks. He reached with one hand to stroke her cheek with his thumb, his fingers wrapping towards the back of her head.
“Your cheeks turn such a pretty shade of pink when you lie to me, Belle.” The touch sent a jolt through her body as a breath caught in her throat. She knew he heard, being so close to her. He leaned down into her, close enough she could almost feel his chest on hers. He placed his lips next to the ear opposite his hand and she felt his warm breath on her. His masculine scent engulfed her.
“Consider your challenge accepted. You will say ‘yes’ to me, Belle. In fact, you will beg for it.”
“I — I don’t recall offering you a challenge, Mr. Wolfe.” Her voice had sounded raspier than she had intended. She resisted the temptation to lean her face into his.
“You saying no is the challenge. You can tell yourself you won’t give in. You can try to resist me all you want, but it won’t work. I always win.”
Name three of your best writing tips.
- Read the genre you want to write.
- Find an awesome and honest beta reader or critique partner.
- When editing a WIP, keep a folder of your deleted scenes. It may not work in a specific spot, or even in a specific book, but those scenes may help in the future.
Dead or alive, name the writer you wish were your mentor and why.
Stephen King. He is just amazing. I’d love to hear his process.
What would you say is your own interesting writing quirk?
I love to eat saltines while I write.
Shout out an indie writer whose work you love.
Oh my gosh, SO many! Right now, I’m a huge fan of Siryn Sueng and Louder than Words!
Do you have any specific writing goals in your radar?
I’m up for a Best New Author and Best Erotic Romance award from RWA which I’d love to win! Other than those, I just want to keep writing and get my next books out.
Thanks for joining us today. Readers, feel free to stalk this sexy author at the following links:
Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/jessica.collins.author.75054
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/authorjessicacollins/
Facebook Group (Fairy Tales After Dark): https://www.facebook.com/groups/1393011250760671/