Happy Birthday, Janga! Wishing you sunshine, smiles, and happily ever afters today and always.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Today's Special - - Jessica Peterson

I became aware of Jessica Peterson a few months ago when my newspaper ran a "local woman publishes first book" story. We connected via email then met in December for lunch. The food was secondary. The highlight for me was spending a few hours with a vibrant, intelligent, woman who shares my love of romance. In fact, the conversation was so enthusiastic I'm amazed we found time to eat!   

Jessica is a Duke University graduate and former investment banker who is now pursuing her dreams as a full-time published author.   

Please join me in giving Jessica a warm welcome!


Welcome, Jessica! Your new book, The Millionaire Rogue was released January 6th. Please tell our readers what they can expect from this book.

Hi, PJ!  Thank you so much for having me on the Romance Dish.  The Hope Diamond trilogy is my debut foray into Regency romance; I pitch it as The Thomas Crown Affair meets a (sassy!) Jane Austen.  Think lots of action, lots of witty banter, and LOTS of romance.  The Millionaire Rogue follows an unlikely pair – a banker and a debutante – as they become embroiled in a thrilling, and unexpected, adventure when the infamous French Blue diamond mysteriously appears in 1812 London.

I loved the intense connection between your unconventional hero and heroine, even though they both have their sights set in different directions. What do you want readers to understand about these two?

Great question!  I have to admit that I am a sucker for intensity in romance.  In an age of endless choice – and social media – I think indifference rules these days.  Not so in my version of Regency England!  There is something incredibly sexy, endlessly thrilling, about being wanted, quite ardently, by someone – and wanting him or her in return.  I was hoping to make the connection between Thomas and Sophia so intense, so overwhelming, they were both powerless against it.

I was also playing with the theme of authenticity.  Sophia thinks she wants to marry a Marquess with a fortune and a castle; she thinks such a man will make her happy.  Thomas thinks his bank and his money are what matter most in life.  They are both living their lives according to who they think they should be; it is quite a struggle for Sophia and Thomas to accept who they really are, to accept the things – and people – who make them genuinely happy.

I know this struggle of who you should be versus who you truly are quite well myself.  When I graduated college, I went to work at an investment bank.  It was very much a “round peg, square hole” situation; considering I was a creative introvert who wanted to write books, the job wasn’t very “me.”  But it was who I thought I should be: the career-minded gal who kept up with her peers.  I was pretty unhappy, needless to say.  It took me years to find the courage to accept who I was, what I was good at, and what I wanted to do.  It took even more years for me to pursue those things.  So I know Thomas and Sophia’s dilemma well!

The Millionaire Rogue is the second book in a trilogy centered around the Hope Diamond. Do the books stand on their own or should they be read in order?

The books stand on their own.  Each is set in the same world, with the same characters, and the action in all three books happens co-currently, but you won’t be missing or spoiling anything by reading one book before another.  Each book follows a different couple, so you see events from a different perspective every time.

Other than the beauty of the jewel, what is it about the Hope Diamond that intrigued you enough to build a series around it?

I am a huge history buff, and like most girls, I do love diamonds.  It was the Hope Diamond’s story, however, that initially attracted my attention.  Before I started writing, I did a ton of research on the Regency period.  Turns out the Hope Diamond – known then as the French Blue, a diamond that once belonged to the Kings of France – mysteriously appeared in 1812 London after having vanished from Paris some twenty years before during the revolution.  This gap in the historical record was far too tantalizing a mystery to pass up.

This book has the action, romance and intrigue that would translate well to the big screen. If The Millionaire Rogue were to be made into a movie, who would you cast as Thomas and Sophia?

Ooooh, I love this question!  My husband and I were watching a lot of Game of Thrones while I wrote Millionaire, and as any fan will tell you, Games features some pretty delicious actors.  I’d cast Kit Harrington, who plays Jon Snow in Games, as Thomas Hope.

As for Sophia, I always imagined her as a kind of Katy Perry.  Dark, dark hair, pale-skinned and curvy, with huge, mischievous eyes.  Sophia may be a debutante, but she certainly has an adventurous edge.

Let’s talk about you a bit. This is your second book. How has becoming a published author changed your life?

Oh, wow, how things have changed – in small ways and large.  It’s funny, but when you’re in the trenches, writing anonymously, all you want to do is to finish the book.  And then, once you finish the book, all you want is to find an agent; you find an agent, and you want a publishing contract.  You get a publishing contract, and you see your books on shelves, and all you want are great reviews.  It’s a never-ending cycle of “wow this is so cool” and “wow now I want this, this, and this to happen.”

Not that being a published author hasn’t been an amazing experience; I still pinch myself when I see my book on a shelf at the store!  But it’s definitely difficult to stay in the moment.  I read this quote from Epicurius a few months ago, and when I beat myself up for whatever I haven’t accomplished, this is a nice reminder of how far I’ve come: “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you do not have.  Remember what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

What do you enjoy reading when you’re not busy writing your own books?

I obviously LOVE historical romance; PJ and I had the loveliest lunch where we gushed over our favorite authors.  Elizabeth Hoyt is a favorite, as is Tessa Dare; I always love Eloisa, and I adore Kate Noble. 

I’ve also been reading quite a bit of YA this year – I’ve discovered I love contemporary romance!  Anything Stephanie Perkins, Gayle Foreman, or Rainbow Rowell, I am in!

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions but I do record my hopes for each new year. What are your hopes for 2015?

Another great question.  I hope I end my debut year on a confident note.  I hope I have a clearer understanding of where my career will be take me – and what I will be writing.  I hope to read great books, learn my craft, and become a better writer.  And I hope to finally organize my laundry room!

Where can readers find you online?

I love hearing from readers – whether it’s via my blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, or Instagram.

Twitter: @JessicaPAuthor
Instagram: @JessicaPAuthor

What’s next?

Right now, I’m working on revisions for book 3 of The Hope Diamond Trilogy, titled The Undercover Scoundrel.  It’s gonna be a good one, guys – the mysterious Henry Beaton Lake might be my favorite hero yet!

Thank you for visiting with us today, Jessica. Would you like to ask our readers a question?

Of course!  Tell me – what is your favorite, super-intense hero-heroine connection?  Bella and Edward?  Christian and Ana?  Any Elizabeth Hoyt hero and heroine?

One randomly chosen person leaving a comment will receive a copy of The Millionaire Rogue. (U.S. & Canada only)



43 comments:

  1. Dances With Wolves (Michael Blake)- Stands With A Fist and LT John Dunbar story has it all- relationship survives

    -disillusion/loss of beliefs and ideals, kidnapped/abduction ,betrayal, tragedy, loss of family and home, honor, courage , bravery, found love together, leave to start a life together

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    1. Oooh, Laurie, I LOVE that movie. Lots of great romance and bromance - so many amazing themes, too. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Silence and Mickey from Scandalous Desires by Elizabeth Hoyt is one of my favorite couples. From their backgrounds, it seems impossible that they would ever like each other, much less fall in love. But somehow, Hoyt makes it all work.

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    1. Hi Mary! I ADORE Elizabeth Hoyt. Just finished DUKE OF MIDNIGHT and it was so, so good. Will have to try SCANDALOUS DESIRES next!

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  3. My favorite couple is always the couple in my current read.

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    1. Agreed, JCP - it's actually always the couple I'm writing! Which, at this moment, happens to be Henry and Caroline - the h&h from my next release, THE UNDERCOVER SCOUNDREL!

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  4. Hi everyone! I'm on the road but will be back online in a couple hours. Thanks for stopping by!

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    1. Hi PJ! Thanks again for having me! So fun.

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  5. PJ's recommendation is always enough to persuade me I should try a book, and I find the Hope diamond connection intriguing.

    The authors who come to my mind first when I think about intensity as a primary characteristic in their romance fiction are Joanna Bourne, Meredith Duran, and Elizabeth Hoyt--all three on my auto-buy list.

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    1. Thanks, Janga! PJ does have good taste, doesn't she? And I love all those authors - great picks!

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  6. Hi Jessica! I recently listened to a podcast about the hope diamond and it was fascinating.. I cannot wait to read both your books. I like books with marriage of convenience trope for their chemistry. When the duke returns by Eloisa James is a personal favorite.

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    1. Hello Mubaraka! Wow, how cool - and what coincidence! The history behind the diamond is pretty awesome, isn't it? So much to explore - which is how I started writing this series in the first place. And oh, do I love a marriage of convenience - two people being forced to live together as husband and wife while falling in love? It's just too good!

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  7. I have to agree with jcp - I fall in love each time I pick up a new book. And it's always great to hear about a new author, especially those who write historicals!

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    1. I'm the same way catslady. I've two-timed so many romance heroes I probably deserve my own place in the romance fiction cheaters hall of fame. The only thing that saves me is that I only read one book at a time! LOL!

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  8. Justine and Hawker from Joanna Bourne's Black Hawk have such an intense connection that it survives years of being enemies as spies of opposing countries and the small fact that she shot him

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    1. Excellent example, Cheryl! I loved Justine and Hawker together. Very intense!

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  9. What I am reading at the time has my favorite couple in it. Although I was very fond of Elizabeth Holt's Prince series. It was awesome.

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    1. The Raven Prince was my first Holt book and it hooked me on her writing. She went from "Elizabeth who?" to "I will always buy this author's work" with that one book.

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  10. Hi ladies! So, my computer is being difficult and won't let me respond to each of you individually, but thank you for stopping by! I have Joanna Bourne's latest on the top of my TBR pile - can't wait to dig in!

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    1. Set aside some time before you starting reading Rogue Spy, Jessica. It's another "can't put it down" Joanna Bourne story!

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  11. Scarlett and Rhett, Lizzie and Darcy, etc...

    Denise

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    1. You know, I'm probably one of the few people who cheered Rhett when he walked away.

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    2. I'm the opposite - I love that man. And Clark Gable was toe-curlingly perfect for that role.

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  12. Congrats Jessica on the new release! It looks and sounds so fun! Ummm... I'd have to go old school and go with one of the first angst ridden couple Jane and Mr. Rochester!!! Thanks for sharing ;)

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    1. They did intensity well in many of the classics!

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    2. Thanks, Erin! Love Jane and Rochester. The brooding intensity between them slayed me.

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  13. Congratulations on your new book. I'd go with a TV couple: Buffy & Angel.

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    1. Hi Kim! Thanks for stopping by. You know, I am embarrassed to admit this, but I've never seen BUFFY. I wonder if my husband would be game to start it now...

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  14. Zack & Abby in Wrecked by Shiloh Walker. Friends to lovers & a very intense attraction.

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    1. Hi Sharlene! Ooooh I'm going to have to check this one out…I love a good friends to lovers story!

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  15. Drew and Kate from Tangled by Emma Chase

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Debbie! Haven't read this one, either - adding it to my (growing) TBR list!

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    1. Thanks Amary! I'm pretty obsessed with them myself…so girlie and great!

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  17. JD Robb's Eve & Roarke are very intense - both in their action moments going after the bad guy, when they make love, and when they support each other in their emotional moments.

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    1. Just the fact that the hero is named Roarke makes me want to pick this up immediately. Thanks for stopping by, Di!

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  18. I like whichever couple I am reading about at the time. Jessica, your books sound good.

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    1. Thanks, Cathy! I'm very much the same way. Right now I'm reading Kelly Bowen's I'VE GOT MY DUKE TO KEEP ME WARM, and I love her understated hero and brash heroine. So good!

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  19. Congratulations on finally being where you felt you should be. I am excited and happy for you. The Hope Diamond was a good choice to build a trilogy around. I look forward to reading the series. Hopefully you will be as lucky with the third cover as you have been for these two. They are lovely.
    Hard to think of any particular hero/heroine relationship that was particularly intense. The entire MAIDEN LANE series by Elizabeth Hoyt had some strong relationships. One of the earliest romances I read many years ago would also fall into that category, THE WOLF AND THE DOVE by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. I haven't reread it and my opinion may have changed over the years, but at the time, it seemed an intense if contentious relationship.

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    1. Hi Pat! Wow, thanks for the kind words! It was so fun to write this series - the Hope Diamond was like the (very expensive) cherry on top. Happy reading!

      And I love anything MAIDEN LANE - and Woodiwiss is just so, so good. THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER was one of the first old school romances I read.

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  20. I have to say that the novel that really answers that question for me is Rhett and Scarlett in "Gone With the Wind." I am so excited to read Jessica Peterson's books. They sound like they will be terrific stories!

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    1. Hi Connie! Aw, thanks for the sweet words - and for stopping by. I ADORE Rhett and Scarlett, and have probably read that book five times or more. I feel like Rhett made unsuitable rake hells cool.

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    2. I think you are right about Rhett, Jessica. Perhaps that's why he always sticks in my mind when I think of a sexy rake. I'm so looking forward to reading your books and promoting them on our blog, bookworm2bookworm. Congratulations on your success!

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