Wednesday, August 29, 2012


If you read my review of IF I WERE YOU by Lisa Renee Jones on Monday's post then you know that I absolutely raved over that book and can't wait to read the next one - soooooon!! If you haven't read my review then, by all means, CLICK HERE, and then hurry back because the lady herself, Lisa Renee Jones, is joining us today for a chat and a Giveaway!!

Lisa is the author of over thirty novels and novellas across several genres. I've now discovered that she writes excellent erotic romance as well as paranormals featuring vampires and werewolves. In 2003, the award winning author sold her Austin, Texas based multi-state staffing agency and pursued her desire to write. This is quite an amazing switch considering in 1998, her staffing agency, LRJ Staffing, was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine and it had been recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and praised by Dallas Women Magazine.

I am personally glad she made the switch since I've benefited by having great stories to read. I am also very happy to have her here today so I hope you'll all join me in welcoming Lisa Renee Jones to UNWRAPPING ROMANCE.

Amy:  Hi Lisa, it's an absolute delight to have you here with us today. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to join us.
Perhaps you can tell us a little about yourself for the benefit of those who don't know you yet and maybe explain a bit about why you turned to writing.
Lisa:  I spent many years in the corporate world and had a point where I had a big opportunity but it would demand another five years. It thought -- if I do this -- will I ever chase my dream or will I feel I’m too old? So I walked away and many people thought I was nuts. I have family that didn’t support me to the extreme. I love that Will Smith quote, "If you aren’t with me when I’m at the bottom you aren’t with me when I’m on the top." That didn’t mean anything to me until I dared down this path and I saw how hard it can be to keep going when people act like you're insane. I stuck with it though and I’m glad I did.
Amy:  So are we, Lisa, so are we! That's a very inspirational quote - I'll have to remember that one. Your bookshelf consists of works from many different romance genres, including one of my faves, paranormal. So where do you get your inspiration?
Lisa:  I never liked paranormal until I met Diego and he is a zombie - vampire -comic book freak. He got me into paranormal and that really opened doors. He also loves scary things so making me see scary movies helped me write scared better, I think. Because I get SCARED. I’m the one everyone wants out of the movie!  : )
I have different frames of mind and music I use based on the genre. My Blaze are light and fun so I tend to have a light fun playlist and then dark and intense playlist for my suspense.
Amy:  Ah, music can be quite the mood setter as all of us romantics know.  : )
Is there a particular genre that you prefer over others or are you still testing the waters and so haven't found one yet?
Lisa:  I love suspense. It’s what my first proposal I ever wrote was and I’ve come full circle back to it and that makes me very happy.
Amy:  Well, IF I WERE YOU is definitely filled with suspense - especially that cliffhanger ending! You do a lot of series. I've heard some authors say that sometimes the next story starts writing itself even before the first one is done. Do you find this to be the case or does your muse simply drive you to keep the world she's helped you create going until she decides to do something else?
Lisa:  Oh yes! It does. I know what is happening in the next book while writing the book I’m writing. The characters start talking to you and screaming their story. With IF I WERE YOU I know the complete 3 book arc so I ended book 1 ready and eager to dig into book 2.
Amy:  Speaking of your newest release, IF I WERE YOU, which is the first book in the Inside Out Trilogy - you refer to it as Fifty Shades of Grey meets Basic Instinct. Before I read it, I heard whispering that it's even better than either of those. I can tell you, my dear readers - oh, wait, I already did in the review - it's a hundred times better than FIFTY SHADES. Were you inspired by either of these works or was there some other inspiration that led you to this series?
Lisa:  I am so very flattered to hear that kind of whisper! Actually I wrote a large portion of this LONG before Shades. It sat on a New York desk for a year with two editors' approval. A division of the pub got closed right when finally the 2nd took it to the final 3rd and it was axed. However, in that year The Shades craze hit and for once having that kind of delay seemed positive. It made the market ripe for this story.
The inspiration came when my fiancĂ© was buying and selling storage units. This was long before the shows came out. He found a journal that had drama in it-even a murder next door. He was certain I HAD to write a story about a journal found in a storage unit, and so the creative juices simmered. I didn’t agree at first, but over time, I did.
Amy:  Well, fate obviously has a way of insinuating itself into our lives whether we want it to or not, doesn't it? I love that this story came out of reality and that your fella was so persistent that you write it. Thank you Diego!
Lisa, you told me once that of all of your books, IF I WERE YOU, is the one you're most excited about us reading. What it is about this story that makes it so special to you?
Lisa:  I think the fact that I lived with the story and the characters in my head for so long is part of the reasons. I got to know them. Also first person worked for me and this story. I really felt it allowed me to do a lot with the main characters. Also, it comes from a place where my fiancĂ© and I have history. We went through some struggles with those units and that time in our life was a challenge. I think there is a lot of that history inside the story.
Amy:  As I said in my review, the first person/present pov of this story creates a real 'walk in her shoes' feeling and it works incredibly well. Like the trilogy starting with FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, this trilogy - INSIDE OUT - begins with IF I WERE YOU and continues through the next two books, so I'm curious, as my readers may be if they decide to become as addicted to this series as I am now - will we ever find out what happened to Rebecca and Ella?
(both of whom seemed to have disappeared without a clue in book one)
Lisa:   Yes, absolutely. In fact, you will get answers to Rebecca in book 2. Eventually you will find out about Ella, too -- but maybe not in #2.  : )
Amy:   Didn't think you'd give it away but it never hurts to ask. Love the mystery of it even as I have started to formulate my own theories. LOL!
When it comes to your own reading, do you have any favorite authors or genres that you prefer and have they had any influence on your writing?
Lisa:   I love Karen Moning- all of her books. I’ve never read one I didn’t like. She just makes characters come to life. For dark and gritty, I love Lauren McKenna. She has such raw sensuality to her books. They inspire me to greatness and I would have a fan girl moment with either of them.
Amy:  This whole interview has been a fan girl moment for me.  ; )
Okay, [taking a deep breath to relax] last question. If you could be ANY character in ANY book, not necessarily one of your own, which character would it be and why?
Lisa:   Oh that is a tough question. I wouldn’t be any of the characters but while I’m reading a good book by a great author I sure feel like the character. I love so much when an author does that to me. I aspire to do that to my readers.
Amy:  You have definitely succeeded with IF I WERE YOU - seriously, my dears, you literally experience being Sara McMillan in this story.
Lisa, thank you so very much for sharing your busy schedule with us and it's been an absolute thrill to have you here today. Congratulations on the release of IF I WERE YOU! I'm very much looking forward to the series and I hope we've inspired my readers, too. I hope you've enjoyed your visit as much as we enjoy reading your stories.
It's Wacky Wednesday so we need a Giveaway!
Lisa has most graciously offered up a PRINT COPY of her upcoming September release from Harlequin Blaze - FOLLOW MY LEAD - as well as a $10 Amazon gift card to ONE LUCKY COMMENTER.
I'm also throwing into the pot an ECOPY of IF I WERE YOU to a SECOND LUCKY COMMENTER.
So that's 2 chances to win, my dears - 2 CHANCES TO WIN!
This Giveaway is OPEN TO EVERYONE - International included (void where prohibited by law, of course) but remember the formula for entry:
 You must leave a valid email address with your comment in order to be properly entered in this Giveaway - I really hate dropping comments  from the entries because there's no email address - so PLEASE leave your email address - remember you can write it out long to prevent SPAM, I don't mind. : )
This Giveaway will run until 11:30PM EDT, Friday, August 31st. Two winners will be chosen at random and notified by EMAIL (see why it's important) and then their names will be announced on a special Saturday post. Good luck Everyone!

Giveaway Prizes:

Blurb for FOLLOW MY LEAD, book 2 in Stepping Up, releasing Sept 18, 2012:
Stepping Up is back!
This season is going to be hotter—and more scandalous—than ever! After the roaring success of the first season, the pressure is on America's most popular reality dance show. And no one is feeling it as much as guest judge and TV presenter Darla James. This opportunity could make her career soar…or sink. But when her nemesis, the very hot and infuriating Blake Nelson, is asked to join the show, too, Darla wonders exactly what she's signed up for! But the sparks—on camera and off—between Darla and Blake are brighter than a Georgia firecracker, and all the tension between them has turned into wicked, mind-blowing, melt-your-brain sex. If anyone finds out, it will be the end of both their reputations—and the scandal of the television season. Then again, with chemistry like theirs, it might be worth it!

Blurb for IF I WERE YOU, book 1 in the Inside Out Trilogy:

How it began….
One day I was a high school teacher on summer break, leading a relatively uneventful but happy life. Or so I told myself. Later, I’d question that, as I would question pretty much everything I knew about me, my relationships, and my desires. It all began when my neighbor thrust a key to a storage unit at me. She’d bought it to make extra money after watching some storage auction show. Now she was on her way to the airport to elope with a man she barely knew, and she needed me to clear out the unit before the lease expires.
Soon, I was standing inside a small room that held the intimate details of another woman’s life, feeling uncomfortable , as if I was invading her privacy. Why had she let these items so neatly packed, possessions that she clearly cared about deeply, be lost at an auction? Driven to find out by some unnamed force, I began to dig, to discover this woman’s life, and yes, read her journals—-dark, erotic journals that I had no business reading. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I read on obsessively, living out fantasies through her words that I’d never dare experience on my own, compelled by the three men in her life, none of whom had names. I read onward until the last terrifying dark entry left me certain that something had happened to this woman. I had to find her and be sure she was okay.
Before long, I was taking her job for the summer at the art gallery, living her life, and she was nowhere to be found. I was becoming someone I didn’t know. I was becoming her…
The dark, passion it becomes…
Now, I am working at a prestigious gallery, where I have always dreamed of being, and I’ve been delivered to the doorstep of several men, all of which I envision as one I’ve read about in the journal. But there is one man that will call to me, that will awaken me in ways I never believed possible. That man is the ruggedly sexy artist, Chris Merit, who wants to paint me. He is rich and famous, and dark in ways I shouldn’t find intriguing, but I do. I so do. I don’t understand why his dark side appeals to me, but the attraction between us is rich with velvety promises of satisfaction. Chris is dark, and so are his desires, but I cannot turn away. He is damaged beneath his confident good looks and need for control, and in some way, I feel he needs me. I need him.
All I know for certain is that he knows me like I don’t even know me, and he says I know him. Still, I keep asking myself — do I know him? Did he know her, the journal writer, and where is she? And why doesn’t it seem to matter anymore? There is just him and me, and the burn for more.


If you're interested in learning more about Lisa's awesome book list, please feel free to visit her WEBSITE, and follow her on TWITTER and FACEBOOK.

Happy Reading Everyone!!



Amy Valentini said...

I know - long post this time!
PLEASE - don't forget to leave an EMAIL ADDRESS if you wish to be entered in the GIVEAWAY! Good Luck! xoxo

Jaye Shields said...

Hey Lisa! I'd love to know what KMM books are your fAv. For me she's been a bit hit and miss, so I'd love to know which are your must reads :)

Jayeshields at gmail dot com

ELF said...

I actually make up quick mental stories frequently as I see little vignettes around me...I am perpetually curious so I people watch and note little oddities in the world around me. Thanks for the excellent interview.

Amy Valentini said...

Elf, I think you deleted the wrong comment - the one w/your email address but don't fret, I've got the entry. ; )

Glad y'all are enjoying.

gngrlwrrck said...

Hi Amy and Lisa great interview and thanks so much for this chance. I have never found something that inspired me but people watching does. You know like when someone walks bay and my brain makes up there whole life story. My husband thinks it hillarious.
Thank you again

Elizabeth H. said...

Hi Amy! Hi Lisa! I have never found anything in particular that would inspire me. I am a pretty random thinker sometimes. (Too embarrassed to share said random thoughts) Thanks for having Lisa on the blog! I love her Zodius series!
ehaney578 at AOL dot com

littlequeenie29 said...

I love the way the story came about. Something so innocuous as a remark could lead to this book is amazing. Wish I had that talent. Still reading the book, unfortunately I borrowed a book from my local elibrary that imtime is almost up on so gave to finish it. But I did read part of it and it about killed me to go back to it. And it's a Lisa Jackson book and I love her. But this story started to pull me in so I had to stop fast, lol. Another day and I will be engulfed in it.
As to the question, I think everyone has a story. I see people and wonder how they got to where they are etc but not to the point I could write a book. Not that creative!! I wish.
Vicki H
Littlequeenie29 at msn dot com

littlequeenie29 said...

Sorry. Typos galore. I make some but a lot is spell check that I keep forgetting to turn off. Doing that now.

Unknown said...

Love this story and I can't wait to see where Lisa continues to take it!
To answer your question, sure I make up stories about things I see all the time...people do some really weird things and I'm always trying to rationalize their actions (or add more flare)!

TrustMe2Forget (at) gmail (dot) com

Adisty said...

Wow, long great post! Like it.
For the question, I love to make up the stories. Got lot of imagination (well I'm a dreamer). Little thing in life could inspire me.

Thx for the giveaway

Brandi said...

Great interview! Thanks for sharing. To answer the question - Of course, I make up stories all the time - I have a very active imagination.


Unknown said...

Thanks for the amazing interview. I'm dying to read this book, it sounds so amazing.

Reagan said...

Great interview, can't wait to read Ms. Jones' newest release!

reagan_mcgee11 at yahoo dot com

leann said...

Great interview & an awesome giveaway. I don't have a story to tell about anything. I do love your books. Thank You! Leann

Unknown said...

Wonderful interview, ladies.

Do I make up things? Well with the vivid imagination that I have, of course I do. Don't we all? lol :-P


erin said...

Thanks for a fun interview! I've just discovered Ms. Jones and I can't wait to start reading :)

Congrats on the new releases!


mrswright82 said...

Great book! I am so ready for the next one! :)

bn100 said...

Very nice interview. I haven't found anything that inspired me.


franlori said...

As a former Asst. DA I would always come up with different scenarios and try to figure out which one was actually true. Some cases were open and shut but some were a mystery.
franlori at optonline dot net

Lisa Renee Jones said...

Jaye Shields said...
Hey Lisa! I'd love to know what KMM books are your fAv. For me she's been a bit hit and miss, so I'd love to know which are your must reads :)

---Hi Jaye
I like all of her books. She is a rare author who grabs me across genres that powerfully but really her FEVER series is VERY different from her romances. It's dark and gritty an pulse pounding. I can't recommend it enough. It's first person as well. Now I will say I thought book 1 started slow but I tell people PLEASE stick with it because there are important characters points in that part that once you get through you know are important. Nothing is slow after that either!

Amy Valentini said...

Hi Ladies,
So glad y'all came by - Lisa is awesome, isn't she?

Lisa Renee Jones said...

Elizabeth thank you on the Zodius series!!:) Vicki if not for spell check the world would know I cannot spell worth a hoot and typos! Well there is a reason I have several people proof my work:)

Lisa Renee Jones said...

mrswright-- thank you- Glad you enjoyed it!

Fanlori-- I bet you could give me lots of book inspiration!

Lisa Renee Jones said...

Thanks everyone for coming by and I'll be back later today!

Linda said...

I´ve never found anything on my own but i´ve love reading Nancy Drew when i was younger, that´s how i got use of my imagination, she was alway on an adventure following clues =)
Love the giveaway & Happy Wednesday! //Linda
fr_larsson at hotmail dot com

Unknown said...

People watching often brings little tidbits for stories to me as well as the occasional random comments from others. And, a necklace once inspired a large piece of a story that I was working on and reshaped the entire story to some degree.

Amy Valentini said...

Millie - was working on? Did you quit? Hope not. A necklace or any piece of jewelry just as photos of unknown persons can be quite inspirational. : )

Unknown said...

I've found a random key before and thought in my head about all the mysterious things it could possibly open.

fencingromein at hotmail dot com

Amy Valentini said...

Hi Shannon, random keys have always fascinated me, too. To what do they belong? Great inspiration. : )

ldd6853 said...

Unfortunately I haven't found anything juicy yet, but you never know. ;)

Thanks for the article with Lisa, she's a great author.

Spav said...

I once found a key-chain that has belonged to my family for a long time.
Unfortunately, it was so old that I broke it (accidentally). I took what was left and made a necklace.

It made me think about where my great great grandfather bought it and all the places it has been, like the spanish civil war.


Amy Valentini said...

Spav, that is really cool! Sorry you broke it but it was smart to make a necklace from it. You could definitely build a story around it. Thanks for sharing that. : )

June M. said...

I have never found anything that would inspire a story. That is actually probably good considering I don't have the talent to write the story. Hopefully the world will make sure that those with the talent will find these story inspiring items :)
manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

Unknown said...

Yes, I have! Only, I'm a songwriter, so it was lyrical writing. I found a rock in the shape of a heart while the man I've been with for 7 years and I were walking through a park 6 years ago! I thought it was fate for that rock to be there at that very moment, and it ended up making a BEAUTIFUL song.

Thank you for the chance to win your giveaway, and I enjoyed your post very much! :)

songbird1613 at yahoo dot com

Amy Valentini said...

Marie, what a wonderful story. Have you recorded your song? I'd love to hear it. : )

Eli Yanti said...

yes, i make up stories all the time. i'm thinking about writing book because inspired by great author's book :)

thanks for the chance to win this giveaway

chey said...

Great interview!
Yes, I make up stories. Especially when something happens that I wish ended differently.
chey127 at hotmail dot com