We are so excited to feature Lisa Renee Jones today! Lisa has written some of our favorites, including the amazing Inside Out series (Chris Merit! Mark Compton!) and is set to release Demand, the second book in the Careless Whispers series on May 31st. We are so grateful that Lisa took time out of her extremely busy schedule to answer our questions! Below are Lisa’s answers to our version of 20 Questions
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Definitely not. I originally wanted to be an actress, I was always very creative and my mind would always need an outlet. So I found theater arts to be my passion. But per usual life got in the way and the real world came calling. Though, I still needed an outlet for my busy mind and I turned to writing. I couldn’t be happier with how everything panned out though. I am forever thankful that my career has taken me where it has and that I enjoy it far more than I ever believed I would.
What did you do before becoming a full-time writer?
If you can believe it, I owned a multi-state staffing agency. It was a much different world than where I am now.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t worry about the hard times so much, everything will be ok. It’s something that everyone has a problem with. When you are between a rock and a hard place, everything has gone wrong and you don’t know how you’ll make it ends meet – just put your head down and push through. There were many times like that in my life, that I wish I could just have someone tell me it would be okay. Those words, though seemingly lackluster, have more power than people know.
Do you work on one storyline at a time or do you have multiple storylines in the pipeline?
Multiples at the moment, and that’s pretty much how it’s always been. There always another story brewing. I’m currently writing three series with alternating books/deadlines so those three storylines are prevalent, and I had to stop for a few hours the other day and write two more book ideas down because they just gripped me out of nowhere.
Let’s play favorites! Who is your favorite character you’ve written?
Chris Merit from INSIDE OUT or Ella from CARELESS WHISPERS. Both for very different reasons. Ella is such a kickass heroine, but Chris I wrote a lot of my husband in, so I think I’d get in trouble if I didn’t say he’s my favorite 🙂
Have you experienced any of your stories personally?
To an extent, but nothing nearly as crazy and exciting. But there are little pieces of my stories that I experienced. Though the Swingers Club scene in REVEALING US… that one I experienced firsthand for the knowledge of it. I realized I was going to write the scene, but I had no idea what Paris was like, much less what a Swingers Club in Paris is like, so we decided to take a vacation and it was definitely a shocking experience!
What are your biggest distractions?
Right now, sleep, social media, and marketing plans. I have a lot of releases coming up this year and I’m trying to plan and coordinate and of course with any new release comes the nerves so it’s very much distracting to my deadlines, but I’m powering through!
What is your least favorite part of the writing or publishing process?
Writing – the stumble that happens during EVERY. SINGLE. BOOK. No matter how confident I am in where this story is taking me, I get severe writer’s block at least once through every book and it takes its toll. Publishing – time, control and changes are my issues. Time and control more from a traditionally published aspect. I only have so much control around certain things, and I’m blessed that my publishers help me work through it, but for a control freak, it can be aggravating :). Marketing is an author’s worst nightmare right now. The market is changing at every second and it makes it so hard to plan a successful release because you don’t know what’s going to work when that didn’t used to be the case.
Do you find it difficult, or challenging to write from the male POV?
I don’t really. Mark and Chris from INSIDE OUT were pretty easy to write from a POV standpoint because I had been with the series for such a long time by the time I got to their POV books that I knew them pretty well. And with Kyle’s POV in DEEP UNDER just came naturally. I was original going to write it from third person POV like my other Tall, Dark and Deadly novels, but it just needed to be told form his and Myla’s perspectives to work like I wanted it to. They all had their challenges, but I don’t think it was because it was male POV.
What activities do you enjoy outside of writing?
Oh jeez, I haven’t had time to do much of anything but write in so long this is a toughie. Though I run every day. That’s something that’s a must for me, it helps clear my head and work out my frustrations with my characters. Beyond that though, I’m a pretty easy girl. I like the normal shopping and travelling (to an extent).
Do you have a favorite author or book?
So many. So, so many. I will give you a few of my faves though – Lora Leigh, Christine Feehan, Lori Foster, and Sherrilyn Kenyon. Those ladies I have read for years and re-read when I need inspiration or a pickmeup.
Ever think you have a great idea for a book, only to find out someone released the same storyline already?
Well here’s my thing about storylines: It’s a matter of how you spin the story, what you make of your characters and how you present the material. I think some of my stories are similar in ways to others, but I try, and hopefully succeed, to make them unique with my writing and my plot twists. A book is so much more than a storyline, it’s about the writing and about the characters and so on. So yes, I have had great ideas before and someone (or even I, myself) has reminded me that it’s been done that way before, but it hasn’t stopped me from writing the book if I truly wanted to, because I go back to the drawing board and change it until it’s my own unique story that I’d be proud to publish.
Have you ever had writer’s block and how do you work through it?
Every single book I have ever written I’ve experience writer’s block. And I will say that the whole “write through it” thing does not work for me, like I wish it did. I come to a complete standstill until I figure out what’s wrong. More often than not, it’s because I wrote something that isn’t going to end up working, but unfortunately Word doesn’t have a red squiggly line for wrong storytelling, so I just have to go back and re-read until I figure it out. It’s a real pain in the ass.
Do you ever find yourself jumping up from the dinner to table to jot down a scene that just ran through your head?
Yep. I email or text myself too if I can’t get to my computer. Hubby is always none too pleased with me.
What does your writing workspace look like?
A big puffy chair big enough to seat two with an ottoman and my cat next to me. Or sometimes I move to the bed for a change in comfy-ness.
Sharing your work with the public has to be scary. How do you respond to negative reviews?
I try not to read them. I understand that my books aren’t for everyone. So I do respect that. Though, I will confess I have some pretty petulant arguments mentally for negative reviews that missed some big points in my book, or from people that obviously did not read the book. I’d never in million years fight back with a reviewer, because their thoughts are their own and I respect that, unless they take it upon themselves to be cruel and attack me (I don’t stand for that, and no author should), but sometimes you just have to have those internal shouting matches to be able to let it go. But again, those are rare occasions, I mostly just ignore them and pay attention to the lovely readers who have nice things to say, because they are why I get to do what I love for a living.
Do you have any visuals for your characters from any of your books?
I don’t like to influence readers, but Mark and Chris from INSIDE OUT I had very specific actors in mind for – Chris Hemsworth was my Chris Merit, and Alexander Skarsgard was my Mark Compton. Though I’ve shared those likenesses aloud a few times and readers seem to get on board so that’s good!
Can you tell us what you are working on next?
Currently, I am working on the third and final book in my CARELESS WHISPERS series, SURRENDER. This is Ella’s series, readers probably met her in INSIDE OUT as Sara’s best friend that went missing. The first book in the series, DENIAL, is out now, and book two, DEMAND, will be out on May 31st! After that I’m moving onto book three in my DIRTY MONEY series which has book one, HARD RULES, slated to come out in early August. And after that… I have a bit of a secret project up my sleeves, but I can’t say anything more on that for months most likely. And then I think at the end of my schedule is more Walker Security men in the Tall, Dark and Deadly series, and finishing off my DIRTY MONEY series with book four. So a LOT of stuff happening and a lot of releases coming over the next two years!
What is in your purse right now?
Umm… my wallet, hair brush, a book, my iPad, and my keys!
Do you have a favorite scene or book of your own?
Many scenes that hit me emotionally. I think as far as books go though, BEING ME, is still one of the front runners as far as how much fun I had writing it and how it turned out.
Books by Lisa Renee Jones
INSIDE OUT SERIES
The Secret Life of Amy Bensen Series
Tall, Dark and Deadly Series
Careless Whispers Series (Inside Out Spin-Off)
Lisa has generously provided an amazing prize for us to giveaway! One lucky winner will win a signed copy of DENIAL plus a CARELESS WHISPERS mug and a set of CARELESS WHISPERS shot glasses! Visit us on FACEBOOK for your chance to win!