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Thank you so much, Jessica, for taking the time for this interview. You’re a busy lady and I feel lucky to have you here today. Your novels are wonderful romantic tributes to the men and women who fight for our country and I appreciate that romance is at the center of your stories.
Until There Was You is your second novel and will release on October 8th as the second book in your Coming Home series.
You’re also a career army officer and are married to a career NCO. Lots of army in your family.
Q: Until There Was You has laugh out loud situations with soldiers and chlamydia. (Really, readers. They’re hilarious and completely non-offensive.) Has this ever really happened?
A: Um, to me specifically? No. But I will say that in the efforts of keeping my formation, ahem, clean, I do keep boxes of condoms in the hallway for anyone to take. Why not, right? Have to promote being a responsible adult and part of that means taking care of *cough* yourself. And if you read any of the books from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, you’ll realize that bored soldiers are soldiers who are getting into trouble. The STD story was inspired by reality and let’s just leave it at that. :)
Q: Until There Was You’s hero, Captain Evan Loehr, is thankful his troops haven’t spent “…a night in jail every single weekend.” Does this mean they’ve spent a night in jail on some weekends?
A: Yeah. Half the time spent as a commander is dealing with soldier issues, either personal issues, finance issues, troopers getting in trouble downtown. It’s all based on reality and that makes great fodder for stories.
Q: Both novels discuss the army’s policy that enlisted soldiers and officers cannot become romantically involved. Do you plan on writing a forbidden romance tale for this series? If so, how realistic do you plan to keep the army’s reaction to such a romance?
A: So much of what people get in trouble for in the army depends on commander’s discretion. Contrary to popular belief that soldiers are just automaton mindlessly following their superiors’ orders, army leaders have a lot of discretion. And yes, in that sense, the next story I’m working on after the 3rd book in this series is going to have an officer and an enlisted man. They’re not a superior subordinate relationship though. I don’t think I would ever write one of those because they’re an anathema to me.
Q: I can’t go into many details before Until There Was You is released, but your stories deal with heavy emotional issues. In Because of You (book #1) one war-wounded soldier battles with suicide in vivid detail and two soldiers are served divorce papers while deployed. How much of this is written for tension and how much because these things really happen?
A: I write the books the way I do because half of it is a coping mechanism for me, personally. I’ve been in the army for 17 years now and I’ve seen how the war has changed not only our force at a macro level but also at a personal level. We’ve got a lot of challenges and writing about them for me is a way to share some of the weight of what our soldiers carry with folks who might not know otherwise. It’s also a way for me to - symbolically at least - give soldiers a happily ever after.
Q: Your characters are conflicted between what they want and what the army tells them to do. Is there any tension at work because you write about soldiers breaking the rules and officers making mistakes that cost lives?
A: I don’t generally bring my writing to work with me. One because it would break some of the rules I’m bound to follow but two, I’m a company commander and I don’t have time for anything other than work during the duty day. In that vein, no. The people who do know I write have been tremendously supportive of it.
Q: Your Coming Home series is about soldiers who’ve come home from the Iraq war and are learning to adjust. Why this war and why soldiers who’ve returned home?
A: Because there are far too many books out there that give a returning veteran PTSD and then one night of magic sex and everything is okay. Coming home for me personally was the biggest challenge of my life, far more difficult than leaving for war ever was. I wanted to capture that and try to show some of the challenges beyond the stereotype of shell shocked GI. Of course, I deal with stress and strain of combat but it’s so often more than what we read about. It’s the daily adjustment of coming home that can really break someone.
Q: I’m sure you’ve gotten this question a lot. The first novel has two very strong secondary characters whose marriage is on the rocks for some very heartfelt reasons. Why is your third book about them and not Until There Was You?
A: I really struggled with getting Laura & Trent’s book right. Because I was having such a hard time, my editor wisely suggested that I move on to the 3rd book in the series to get some distance from the characters and it was a smart move. Now that I’m working on BACK TO YOU - Laura & Trent’s story - it’s so much smoother this time around.
Q: You have a Goodreads discussion titled Things That Happen During Sex You Won’t Read in Romance Novels. Will your heroes and heroines ever deal with wet spots, early ejaculation and interrupting children?
A: No, no and yes. :) I actually tried to have a wet dream and the awkwardness that followed. Sort of like that scene from There’s Something About Mary. Yeah, it didn’t make the final cut, lol!
Q: We’ve read the blurb. Any sneak peeks for Until There Was You?
A: Of course!
Evan had no idea what the hell he was thinking, but this woman had struck a chord inside him, awakened a hunger that refused to be ignored. Kissing her was a mistake, a sensuous, gorgeous mistake.
He gave over to the temptation he’d fought earlier and lifted his hands to her neck, sliding his palms over her skin to thread them into her hair. It was warm silk against the back of his hands, a raw, simple pleasure.
Her mouth opened beneath his, her tongue sliding against his, signaling a salient desire that penetrated his defenses and made him no longer care that she was in his brigade. There were no rules against them doing any of this—whatever this was—but he didn’t date at work. As he lost himself in her taste and touch, he seriously reconsidered that personal rule. He captured her quiet gasp against his mouth and felt the locks turning on the chains that held his restraint.
It was a long moment before Claire eased back, nibbling on his bottom lip before she broke the tentative connection between them.
“What was that?” he asked, his voice rough and unfamiliar to his own ears.
She smiled. “A mistake.” She swiped her thumb over his bottom lip. “But one I enjoyed.”
She eased back until he was forced to release her. Regret settled in his belly that this would go no further. “I’ll see you around, Evan.”
He watched her go, the slight sway of her hips more alluring because she did not try to affect any sensuality. She simply walked, cloaked in confidence and sexual appeal.
He let her go. Because Evan Loehr knew all about mistakes, and he wasn’t about to make one with Claire Montoya.
Now to get personal. Verrrrry personal.
Q: I’ve taken to Twitter and acquired a picture of your bathroom. Two things: that color is very, very blue and how many cosmetics do you own??
Jessica packing for RWA 2012
A: To answer the first question: the blue was inspired by a bathroom I saw in a Pottery Barn catalogue. I’m a Maine girl by heart and I love coastal decor. And to answer the second question: I have no idea. But I do know that a girl cannot have enough lip gloss. It’s an addiction. Someday I’ll join a twelve step program.
Q: Why did Oprah call you? To tell you she’s adding your series to her book club list, right?
A: A couple of years ago, Oprah did a show about women in the military and her producers wanted to get the name of a friend of mine who had a custody battle related to her military service. I didn’t give up the name because it wasn’t my place and well, that’s the end of the story. It was exciting for the half a day I was waiting for the call back.
Any closing remarks you’d like to leave us with?
I’m really excited about Until There Was You. It was a hard book for me to write and I’m thrilled that people are enjoying it.
To celebrate the long awaited release of my second book, I’m having a super giveaway the UNTIL THERE WAS YOU PREORDER SWEEPSTAKES all throughout September until Oct 7th! If you preorder Until There Was You, you get entered into a chance to win a Kindle Fire or a Nook Color.
I’m also giving away a digital eARC of Until There Was You to someone today!
Jessica, thank you again for being here. I appreciate it very much. As a token of my appreciation - I put washable markers in the hand of my four-month-old and let him squiggle them around. His first ever picture was drawn for you:
|Despite my efforts he's yet to learn the alphabet. |
Alas, the words are written by me.
Jessica Scott is a career army officer, mother of two daughters, three cats, three dogs and two escape-artists hamsters, wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy.
She has commanded two companies, served in Germany, Korea, Fort Hood and Iraq, and been lucky not to get fired. She is a terrible cook and an even worse housekeeper, but she’s a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon. Somehow, her children are pretty well adjusted and her husband still loves her, despite burned water and a messy house.
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