A little something different from me today…I’m introducing you to a new author to me ( although I’ve known her personally for a while!) Gemma Snow. Gemma writers erotic and contemporary romance as well as historical romance and fiction. She’s got a new book out and I’m giving you a little taste of what to expect from her at the end of the interview. Gemma and I are part of the #MFRW authors 52 week blog challenge that’s been going on since January of this year, and this year at #RWA17 I was able to hang out with her for a while and just chat during our busy week. She’s an absolute delight – not to mention wicked funny and charming. So, sit back and find out a little bit more about this darlin’.
Gemma Snow, The Writer Questions
- What drives you to write?
I guess I don’t really see it as a choice. Stories, and characters and interactions and events build up and I just need to get them down on paper. I love the idea of being able to create something from virtually nothing, building characters and worlds that never existed before. Sometimes it gets hard, really hard, but I couldn’t possibly imagine a life without it.
- What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why?
I write across several genres, and that’s mostly because every time I think I should get it together and focus my attention, another story pops up like a demanding kitten. So far, I write in historical and contemporary, with raunchy and raunchier book.I love writing historical, because characters are already thrust into a tense situation, and it’s always a lot of fun playing with subtext and innuendo. I write erotic romance because I feel that a pretty fundamental part of feminism is reevaluating the role female sexuality plays in society, and acknowledging the very wide variety of what that means. Erotic romance is fun, and it makes for good cocktail party conversation, but I really do consider it important.
3. Do you write everyday? I write every day, but it isn’t always a book. I run three blogs, updated weekly, and I’m the News Editor for my startup company, which means I also have to keep up with the articles for that site as well. There’s also the way less sexy marketing and social media and newsletter element of things. That kind of writing isn’t nearly as much fun, but in a lot of ways, it’s just as important.. My schedule is nuts. I work part time, freelance, support my start up and write under two names, as well as managing all their accompany social media requirements. A good day for me is a healthy balance of writing and marketing.
4. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table?
My office is my bedroom. Sometimes it’s kind of a problem. The last thing us writer types is another reason to spend too much time alone in our own worlds. The room is actually great, though. I have my desk set up, two bulletin boards for storyboarding, and pens and paper within reach. My boyfriend and I are living with my parents right now, and I really do wish I had an office without a futon and piles of clothes in it, but I’m so grateful for the chance to make this author-as-a-career thing work, that I can’t complain. Plus, the light is amazing.
5. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnelvision? Don’t talk to me, don’t look at me, in fact, just leave the room, would ya? It might be because I’m nosy, but whatever the reason, I can’t deal with conversations, noise or music. The dog barking at the foot of the stairs takes me right out of my work and I sit there steaming instead of writing. I also tend to write down what I hear, so if the television is on or someone’s on the phone, forget it. My boyfriend’s great though, if he wants to come hang out in the room, he just plugs in his headphones and leaves me too it.
6. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? It’s kind of a funny story, actually. So Seduction en Pointe came about through a book I had published with a now defunct indie press, called Six is Company. That story was actually a novella, and included three couples that I wanted to bring to life. At first, Isabelle’s name was Taylor, so that shows you just how far away I’ve come from the original plot, which would need serious revising to go into reprint. Anyway, the press went down, but I kept my amazing editor and we started developing Seduction. At first it was going to be a novella, and I had to reorganize everything when I hit about 30k and realized the story was a world away from what I expected it to be. I can honestly say that I rewrote, like serious, construction equipment rewrote, this book at least four times. At one point, I had the whole thing broken down on a whiteboard in our foyer for like three months. My mom was patient, but I definitely pushed the limits. It’s been a really tough book to write, but I couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out.
7. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Usually character. I tend to write series, even when I don’t really mean to. A lot of that comes from my need to put supportive female characters into my books, so a lot of spin-offs are sisters or friends that started as secondary characters. But usually by the time I get done with book one, I know everyone in the book universe, so to speak. Seduction en Pointe is part of the Full Swing series, and I have those characters mapped out and pinned down. Same with The Lovin’ is Easy and the next three books in the Triple Diamond series.
8. What 3 words describes you, the writer? Curious, passionate, determined – I hope!
Gemma, The Person:
- Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! I work as an automotive journalist and I’ve been a car nut since before I could walk. Amazingly, I’m only just coming around to writing a car romance.
- Who was your first love and what age were you? I was sixteen and he was a twenty-one year old British lifeguard. Pretty much ruined my life, ya know?
- If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and… This is hard! It has to be the day I found out Robbie, my boyfriend, got a job in New York. We had been doing long distance from Boston to New Jersey for over a year and it was just really hard. I was on my bus ride back to New York when I got the call that he was moving down to live with me in less than a week, and I burst into tears. Either that, or the day I graduated college.
- Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? Boxer briefs, baby! I love me a good butt.
- If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be?Hair pins! Or hair cream. Or tweezers… I have a hair problem.
- What three words describe you, the person? I think curious still stands, creative, loving.
- If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? I am not legally allowed to sing in the state of New Jersey, and I imagine that extends to New York too… Straight up tone deaf, this girl.
- If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together? This is so hard! I mean, there are some characters I love, but definitely wouldn’t want to spend time with – Dracula, for instance. It’s probably cliché to say Hermione Granger, but those books came out as I was growing up, and I can’t overstate how important they were to my development as writer, feminist and over all person. Or Claire and Jamie Fraser! Or anyone from any book Juliette Marillier has ever written! I’m not following the rules…
I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:
- Favorite sound – Rain on a day you don’t have to get out of bed
- Least favorite sound – the freaking fire alarm going off at the college down the street ever freaking day this summer.
- Best song ever written – I don’t know if I can pick one, but Bob Dylan’s lyrics have always had a huge influence on me.
- Worst song ever written – When you work at a sleep away summer camp, you hear more teeny bopper music than anyone ever needs in a lifetime. Any of it. Pick one.
- Favorite actor and actress – Huge Emma Watson fan. (Shocker, I know). Chris Pratt reminds me of my Robbie, but I’m really upset about this whole break up with Anna Farris.
- Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead)
I have a background in art history and spent several months working on a historical fiction book about Da Vinci, and I would love the chance to just slip into his mind for a day and get a real sense of the man himself. Or any of the bad ass female pirates, Anne Bonny, Grace O’Malley, Ching Shih, Mary Read, any of them.
- What turns you on?
Intellectual conversation and humor. I love laughing kisses. And also, back muscles.
- What turns you off?
Misogyny, the idea that women shouldn’t like sex as much as men. Usually, it’s not stated out loud, but you can just tell.
- Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”)
“I can’t cook pasta.” (Okay, it’s four…) He was 26, and that didn’t even scratch the surface of that disaster.
- What’s your version of a perfect day?
Robbie and I have seasonal picnics in the park, and I’d love to spend the morning writing and then go apple picking and take some fruit and fresh bread on a picnic. I’m turning him into a museum person too, so maybe throw one of those in. Followed by a play or book reading and a quiet dinner at a good Italian restaurant. Last week we went to Harry Potter World though, and that pretty much made my entire life.
And now for a little taste of SEDUCTION en Point
Blurb: When successful TV star of the Queen Anne’s Revenge, Nicco Castillo, finds his boyfriend in bed with another man, he goes full-on Hollywood trainwreck that lands him in ER. Next thing he knows, the producers are shipping him off to Paris to shape up and learn to dance for the next season’s story arc. But his incredibly tempting Parisian ballet instructor, Isabelle La Croix, makes that all too difficult, especially when he learns about her decadent desires–desires Nicco is all too pleased to indulge in. Against the ballet barre, the balcon railing, and wherever and for however long Isabelle is willing to have him.
And walking through the door to his producer’s office, he stopped dead. In that moment he absolutely believed that everything happened for a reason.
She faced away from him, but even at a distance he could see the smooth curve of her neck, the beautiful line of her back, arching against the chair. She was a small woman, but a shadow of muscles adorned her shoulders and upper arms where they weren’t hidden behind the waves of white-blonde hair pulled into a tight ponytail. She was something from an erotic fairy tale, all subtle power and ephemeral beauty.
And it wasn’t just that—though there was plenty of that. But it was the way she held herself, too, full of strength and self-possession and confidence. This woman knew exactly who she was in a way that Nicco envied and respected all at the same time.
He schooled his features and checked in with the receptionist for his appointment with the French production team before turning around to face her. If he’d thought her beautiful from the back, he hadn’t been prepared for her face, for the expression in her pale-blue eyes, for the softest, sweetest curve of dusky-rose lips as they parted slightly.
She read a magazine, and Niccolo cursed himself for having let his written French lapse, because he didn’t have a clue which glossy it was.
Still, never hurt to try, and something about this unknown woman made it impossible for him to walk away or pick one of the seats at the far end of the waiting room. She called to him, a modern-day siren, all enticing and impossible to ignore. So he sat beside her, catching a hint of her scent. She smelled like lemons, sweet and fresh, and that seemed to fit her, as did the pointed sharpness of her neck, which grew considerably more rigid once she realized he planned on talking to her.
“What is it you’re reading?” he asked, thickening his Spanish accent. As long as he’d been chasing lovers, the Spanish charm had always worked wonders. Hell, it did wonders for getting him starring roles too.
“Who wants to know?” Her accent was light, as though she’d learned English alongside her French, studied in Sweden or London or New York City. But for all of the softness that came spilling out of those pale-rose lips, there was a steel core that told Nicco she wasn’t having any of his charm. Her words came out strong, self-possessed, and confident, and they made him curious about the woman below the slight frame. Despite appearing so soft, she held her head at a tilt that signified power, kept her neck straight, her shoulders arched. Everything about her stance told Nicco exactly how she felt at his intrusion into her space. Normally, he took his cues and left the obviously uninterested alone, but this woman was enchanting and mysterious, and Nicco found he couldn’t quite look away from her, even as he knew that he tempted the serpent, perhaps because he did.
“Niccolo.” He extended his hand. “Here for a meeting with Monsieur La Montagne.” According to the terms Parker had laid out, Nicco would be working alongside La Montagne’s office on a PR tour of Paris while he took his dance classes, giving a few interviews here and there, a signing or two, onward and upward.
The woman beside him, however, appeared abjectly unimpressed. He liked that, liked that she didn’t buy into his bullshit the way everyone else did, the way he’d been doing for so long.
“That is a remarkable coincidence,” she replied, her eyes taking on a sardonic glint he knew came at his expense, “given that you are in his office, after all.” Feisty, this one. She obviously enjoyed goading him, and Nicco felt a wash of something dangerous at the thought that men probably attempted to charm her quite often. For some reason, his visceral reaction to this strange, nymph-like woman grew stronger each time she stabbed him with her barbed tongue. That was inconvenient, to be certain, but it didn’t stop him from wanting more.
But there was something about his—well, he wouldn’t necessarily call it just an attraction—to this woman that went deeper than lust. Nicco had had lovers, more than his fair share of them since everything with Antonio had gone so royally tits up, and he’d never lacked for a partner if he wanted one. No, whatever had him suddenly desperate to learn more about this mysterious woman went deeper than that, to some fundamental part of himself that might even long for redemption.
“I’d heard about the French,” he said. He should just turn around and leave her to her magazine, but he just couldn’t seem to do so. “Seems the rumors about witches and the smell of cheese aren’t so terribly off.”
She raised an eyebrow, and he took some satisfaction in the small quirk at the corner of her mouth that told of a repressed smile. He’d bet a week’s pay that her smile would light up the city, and he promised himself that at some point, he would be the cause of it. He didn’t know how or why, just that it would happen one way or the other.
“American, is it?” she asked, ignoring his slight.
“Mostly,” he replied. “Spanish sometimes. Occasionally English.”
From her confused expression, Nicco wondered if he had been spending too much time in California. Normally, folks didn’t question his various origins. Of course, the French were reputedly distrusting of anyone who wasn’t French. Still, he had to admit that there was something simple and altogether enjoyable about flirting with a woman who didn’t want to sleep with him just because he was a celebrity or because she angled to get her face in the papers. It felt good to just be himself for what seemed like the first time in a very long time.
“Of course,” she replied, breaking his train of thought. “All that ego can’t be exclusively American, can it?”
Nicco almost laughed out loud.
“You already know me so well,” he said. “Would you care to know me better? Dinner, perhaps?” It was bold, and the moment the words were out of his mouth, Nicco knew it had been too audacious. Something flitted across her eyes, and he could almost see her folding into herself. No, he didn’t like that, didn’t enjoy seeing this confident person turn into something else so quickly. He might be an ass about recognizing the signs in his own life, but someone or something had clearly hurt her—recently, if the ache across those beautiful pale-blue eyes was anything to go by.
“No smart remark,” he commented, hoping to bring back some of the devil he’d seen in her expression. “I’m surprised.”
She squared her jaw, and Nicco found himself happy to see even a little of the fight fill her eyes, even if it was at his expense. And, as he had anticipated, she turned a cold tongue in his direction, murmuring low under her breath.
“You don’t know the first thing about me, so I’ll ask you kindly to take a walk.” Fury, for all it was leashed and low in her whisper. And it made him ache, made him feel some of the hurt in his own chest, because the first week after he’d discovered Tony with his lover, Nicco had lashed out at everyone and everything, taking the whole wide world down to his level of hurt and sadness.
He didn’t doubt that he was nothing more than the proxy for her fury, and it made him feel bad, made him ache for her and for himself a little too.
“Miss La Croix?”
Before she could say anything that might cut him to the quick—would most definitely cut him to the quick—the woman beside him nodded in answer to the receptionist and stood without another word. If he had thought the slope of her neck enticing, he wasn’t prepared for the way her long, powerful legs, visible below her light-blue dress, mesmerized him. She didn’t so much walk down the hall as glide, her body so completely under her command that it made him wonder about putting his body in her hands too. She didn’t give him a second look as she slipped away, and that made Nicco’s heart ache in a way he didn’t want to analyze.
Her magazine still sat on the corner of the table, one of the pages bookmarked with a thick, folded corner, as if she planned on going back to it. Thinking quickly, he pulled out a pen and scribbled a note down on the back cover.
If you ever need a stranger for a friend, give me a call. There are some things we don’t heal from so easily.
Below that, he jotted his e-mail address and then took a short jog down the hallway to catch up with her. The simple note, just like the few extra moments he had spent with his fans outside, felt like color returning to the black-and-white version of himself. He still couldn’t see the full picture, not yet, but just being out of LA helped him focus.
She looked surprised and not all that happy when he drew level with her.
“You left this,” he said, handing her the magazine but not letting go.
She pursed her lips. “And what do you want in exchange for it?” Her tone sounded almost resigned. Bored, almost. He knew better, though. Her expression had a fire—blue and burning—and he rather enjoyed inspiring a reaction in her, whatever it was.
“What’s your name?” he asked her, suddenly desperate to know. By the smallest amount, her expression softened, and Nicco had to wonder what she had expected him to ask. He’d never push a person to do anything they didn’t want to do. He had retained some standards over the last few months of going full-on Hollywood.
“The catch?” she asked, her lips still pointedly pursed in his direction. And what lips they were.
Nicco shook his head. “No catch. I just want to know your name.” He really, really did. She sighed and nodded, sending the white-blonde ponytail swishing across her shoulder. Then she squared her jaw and lifted her chin.
“Isabelle La Croix.” She offered nothing else.
“Isabelle,” he repeated, because he couldn’t seem to stop himself from doing so. “A pleasure.” He handed her the magazine with his note facing down and watched as she gave a sharp nod and continued down the hallway, watched her far after there was nothing left to watch. What about this woman set his body to flame and his mind to far more carnal images than would ever be appropriate for a chance encounter in a producer’s waiting room and so, so much more?
Something hidden that came in bursts of emotion across her pale-blue eyes, something that came in the cut of her shoulders and the grace of her walk.
Miss La Croix. It fit her. She was so utterly French, petite, graceful, sharp around the edges and beautiful beyond the pale. Nicco trod in dangerous waters. He had only just left California behind, and already he panted after a woman he would never see again, unless her facade cracked and she actually decided to contact him. He could hope, kind of had to hope, because there was something about her that was so unlike anyone he had ever met. She had a self-possession, a self-awareness that almost made him envious, would have, if it hadn’t impressed him so.
The whole thing made him…a little relieved. He’d had lovers since Antonio, of course, men and women to waste the lonely nights with, to party with and get drunk with. But to actually find himself feeling a deep, intense connection—and with a person he had only just met—it gave him hope that he might not be on his own forever. Maybe Tony’s infidelities hadn’t completely destroyed who Nicco had been before, after all.
Seduction en Pointe Raffle!
As a thank you to everyone who checked out Seduction en Pointe, I’m raffling off a stack of fantastic romance novels, bookmarks and other fun treats – and it’s super easy to enter!
All you have to do is send confirmation of purchase for Seduction en Pointe to GemmaSnowRomance@ with the subject line Raffle Entry, before 11:59 p.m EST on August 31st! It’s that simple!
More info: https://gemmasnow.com/ raffle-entry/