Jami Alden's new romantic suspense novel, Guilty as Sin, is our Top Pick in Romance for August 2013! Things heat up in this "shivery, sensual and sensational read" when former sweethearts reunite. BookPage chatted with Alden about sexiest scenes and more in a 7 questions interview.
Describe your book in one sentence.
I bet if I could describe a book in one sentence, I wouldn't routinely go at least 50 pages over my target book length! Seriously though, it's a gritty romantic suspense where the hero and heroine, torn apart by a past tragedy, are reunited years later to find a missing girl.
What is the sexiest part of Kate and Tommy's attraction?
For me the sexiest part of their attraction is how out of control it is for both of them. Because of their past and the circumstances that have brought them back together, common sense dictates that they keep their relationship purely professional. However, they quickly discover that the strong emotions and chemistry that drew them together as teenagers are as powerful as they ever were and still very close to the surface.
What are the hottest scenes to write?
For me the hottest scenes are the ones leading up to the first sex scene, including the first kiss. I love when characters are becoming increasingly physically aware of and drawn to each other. It's a great challenge as a writer to find the unique things about each character that the other will be drawn to. Then there's the first contact—the excitement of a first touch, a first kiss. It's something that, once you're in a long-term relationship, you don't ever experience again. It's fun to relive that, even if it's just in my head.
"It's a great challenge as a writer to find the unique things about each character that the other will be drawn to."
How do you conquer writer's block?
When I'm in the first stages of planning a book, everything is much more vague and up in the air. If I'm stumped for ideas or plot points, I brainstorm with friends and go for a lot of walks and runs while listening to music to get my creative gears churning.
When I'm in the middle of a book, I don't leave room for writer's block. Not that I don't ever get stuck, but I find if I push myself, there's always somewhere to go. It might not always be the right way and it might require revisions later, but as long as I have words on the page I have something to work with. I also find exercises like 45/15's (writing for 45 minutes straight, with no interruptions, followed by 15 minutes of web surfing, walking around, etc.) or using the Write or Die app to a specific word count goal immensely helpful.
What's the best writing advice you've ever received?
There are two. One is a quote from Nora Roberts, which directly relates to my strategies in dealing with writer's block: "You can't edit a blank page." It's hard as a writer. You hold the story and the characters in your head, and it's all so vivid and complex, but as it's translated from your brain to the page, things inevitably get lost, and it won't turn out exactly like you want it. Ever. But as long as you give yourself something to work with, you can get it closer to your ideal.
The second piece is courtesy of my dear friend and fellow author Veronica Wolff, in regards to my writing career: "It has to feed the family or feed the soul." In an ideal world, it would be doing both, but as long as it's doing one of those pretty well, I consider myself to be in pretty good shape.
What’s one bad habit you have no intention of breaking?
I have no bad habits. Except for the lying.
I have a new sexy contemporary romance slated for release in September. It's called Blame It on Your Heart and will kick off a new series set in the small town of Big Timber, Montana.