In late September, 2010. I ventured into the forest above Boulder, armed for battle against the words written in my manuscript.
I planned to play Grasshopper to Margie Lawson’s Master Po(e). I planned to whip my WIP into a froth of perfection. I planned to interact with and absorb inspiration from fellow Immersion Master Class writers.
I planned to spend quality time with my brand-new (retractable!) highlighters, my manuscript, and finger puppets.
What I didn’t plan was the best part of the experience.
I met a writer there who lit up the room with her smile, was demonstrably talented and engaging, and had the type of spitfire determination it takes to succeed.
She hadn’t yet determined her nom de plume–most of us hadn’t–so we used a code name to protect her identity. She became code name…
The Secret Service does it. Military ops give their missions code names. Since her morning walks, were–by her own admission–a hybrid of a walk and a jog, the code name made sense, in a convoluted wordplay kind of a way.
Blame credit Sherry Isaac for the clever name.
Since that IMC class, much has happened for that writer and my friend.
Woggy established her credentials as Jessica Aspen. She launched her blog(s), polished her manuscript(s), and plotted Paranormal Romance during daily wogs with her dog.
I am SO pleased to invite THE JESSICA ASPEN, author of newly released Little Red Riding Wolf to my hammock today.
She brings with her a blurb about her novel and a picture of the slobber-inducing cover. I’ll post those on the tree and then settle in for a chat with
Fraternizing with humans is taboo, but when feisty werewolf Red runs into hunky new forest ranger Evan Brewster, she jumps on the opportunity to let loose her desires. Evan is stoked when he meets the petite red haired hottie, and combined with his new discovery of wolves in Colorado, thinks his career and life are made. Then Red pushes him away, her hostile brother threatens his life, and things begin to spiral out of control. Caught between her sexy lover and her pack can Red trust Evan with her secrets, or must she sacrifice her human lover and her heart?
MEET JESSICA ASPEN!
I’m finally here! In the famous hammock at Gloria Richard’s blog. I’ve made it to the big time. WOOT! Thanks for having me on the blog today Gloria, I appreciate your kicking Brinda and Sherry out for ME! As a thank you to Gloria, I’m giving away an e-copy of Little Red Riding Wolf to one lucky commenter, so comment your little hearts out and WIN!
In order to satisfy Gloria’s
snoopy inquisitive nature, she sent questions in advance for me to answer while I rock in the hammock. Let’s get to those..
Where exactly were you when the inspiration for LRRW hit you?
In the pit of desperation. The first version of Little Red Riding Wolf was written for a hot twisted fairy tale contest. I saw the deadline and it was approaching fast. Could I do it? Could I write a souped up version of a fairy tale and keep it fun and spicy? I did, in record time, and it did very well in the contest, but ultimately wasn’t right for the line due to it being set in modern times. Luckily for me Passion in Print Press loved it, so it’s found the perfect home.
Was LRRW the original title or did you have a working title? What was it?
Actually Little Red Riding Wolf was the original working title and I completely planned to change it, but I never did. I thought for sure my editor would score me down for the tongue-in-cheek title, but they kept it, so here it stays. I actually am rather fond of it now, but it certainly becomes long when your are typing it out!
It’s often said that characters carry a bit of the writer. Is this true for you? What hidden traits did you expose on the page rather than in a public forum?
MMM, trying to catch me out, are you? [Yes. Was I that obvious?]
I think, like Red, I’ve always been the good girl. Sometimes good girls just wanna have fun, and that’s me for sure! Red chooses Evan, who is forbidden fruit for her, but isn’t really a bad boy at heart. Me, I’m all for the bad boys. Just wait for the second book, then you’ll see my desire for the men with a darker edge.
My first ms was cathartic because I put a hurtful person in jail. Something he deserved (IMHO), but didn’t get in real life. Do you have any “paybacks” in your novel?
Nope. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve definitely been tempted to write out frustrations and anger, but it just didn’t happen in this story. Maybe I’ll kill off someone from Jr. High some day. We all know they deserve it!
STEAMY scenes. Love to write them or dread them? Do you read other steamy scenes for inspiration?
I have to. I’ll tell you a secret, writing steamy did not come easy to me. I’ve taken two classes and worked hard at it. I think it’s finally coming together, and I’m always surprised to find that the love scenes in Little Red Riding Wolf are some of the ones that came together the easiest. I guess all those classes paid off.
At what age will your daughter be permitted to read an unabridged copy of your book?
What drew you to write paranormal with witches and wolves and werewolves, oh my?
A long time ago I read every gothic novel out there. I’m a big Barbara Michaels fan. Dark creepy houses and haunting tales of, you guessed it, haunts. I also love fantasy, romance, and suspense. The thing that I love about paranormal is it takes all of these genres and blends them together. So be expecting a dark story about a gothic house someday with a murder and elves. It’s on my list!
You seem so NORMAL (funny, intelligent, kind, non-violent normal) in real life. How do you take yourself to the dark side to write your novels?
So, I’ve managed to keep my dark side hidden from you. I think it’s the big blue eyes, no one suspects you of anything. Seriously I love darker fiction. I can’t stand reading a book about women dying of cancer, but give me a good murder/kidnapping and I’m on a roll. Maybe it goes back to that good girl thing, good girls want the dark and bad girls want the light. It’s a theory anyway.
I want to learn to tap dance, but can’t find anyone older than seven who will take classes with me. Do you have any hidden desires/talents we don’t yet know about?
LOL! I did take tap, once a long time ago, I don’t think I was any good. Maybe I should have stuck with it and we could have hoofed it together. J
I do like to belly dance, but since I started writing I’ve kind of stopped. Writing consumes my life. My most secret desire? Dark, deep chocolate mousse.
Most writers have to put their characters in situations they dread. If it’s not a spoiler, what was the hardest thing you had to make your heroine experience? No. That had NO double entendre. Minds out of the gutter, please.
I had to leave this question in just for the wording. The most difficult thing Red has to do is give Evan up. He’s not a werewolf and in fact he is a threat to her Pack’s secret existence. She has to chose between him and losing her pack and family. Now that is truly stuck between a rock and a hard place.
I think you’re perfect, but inquiring minds want to know if you gave your characters one or more of your own perceived character flaws? Details, please.
You are so sweet! I’m a terrible procrastinator. I have to really watch myself or I end up in trouble. That’s why I’m a list queen. Does Red have any flaws in common with me? Maybe impatience. I can be very patient, for a while, then it all breaks down. Red wants everything NOW. That’s why this story takes place over just a few days. True love over a weekend? Hey, it’s a fairy tale!
Did your high school have a practice of naming most-likely-to nominees? Whether it did or didn’t, where would you have cast the vote for yourself?
Most likely to read herself blind? I read and read and read in high school. I remember carrying a tower of books around and having my locker stuffed with romances. The boy next to me even asked me, his eyes rounded in awe “Have you really read all those?” I think at the time I had twenty books in my locker and the answer was, “Most of them.” Of course they were all finished by the end of the week.
Time travel back to when you were seven, eleven, and seventeen. Complete this sentence using that time travel reference point. “When I grow up, I want to be…”
An author, but I never thought I could be. Everyone told me that it was too hard, no money, blah-de-blah. Truthfully I don’t think I can be successful at anything else because my heart isn’t in it. Writing for a living everyday? My heart is in love.
What question do you wish I’d asked, but didn’t?
Thanks for all the stellar questions. I think you have covered everything!
Well, we covered everything but the snapshot of Jessica Aspen’s bio and picture. AND, the all important links to purchase a copy of Little Red Riding Wolf. Remember to leave a comment to be entered for a chance to win a free copy. I already have my copy.
Nanner, nanner. It is so worth a read.
Thanks, Ms. Jessica Aspen for visiting and sharing your secrets with us. You’re the best!
Jessica Aspen writes paranormal romance near the foothills of the Colorado Rockies. Her books are full of elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. She loves dark chocolate, walking the dog, hiking and is obsessed with her new lap-top. Jessica is also obsessed with writing and learning about writing. She is a member of RWA, CRW, FF&P and PRO. You can find Jessica the first Friday of the month at http://ParanormalFreebies.com and most days during the week at http://jessicaaspen.com
Little Red Riding Wolf is available from Passion in Print Press, click HERE to buy.
Or available on Amazon HERE.
Follow Jessica on TWITTER (@jessicaaspen) and on FACEBOOK
And now, you know the drill. This is where I BEG you to leave a comment, click the links above to learn more about Jessica and buy the book. Remember. ONE free copy to a lucky commenter. Ask Jessica any question you’d like. If she doesn’t want to answer your question, I’ll make something up for her. Seriously. I will.