I got to sit and sip coffee with the lovely and intriguing Jamie Brenner, author of The Gin Lovers, Bettie Page Presents: The Librarian and the brand new eSeries Miss Chatterley. Jamie Brenner also writes under the pen name Logan Belle. Kind of like when Beyoncé goes from regular Beyoncé to Sasha Fierce. Things just get hotter.
Before reading Jamie’s work, my only experience with erotic novels was the 50 Shades series. I devoured those books, wrapped them in brown paper and delivered them to friends and friends of friends in some Harriet Tubman type underground railroad situation. I was definitely primed for the erotic fiction genre. But what I love about Jamie’s books is not only that they’re super sexy but they offer compelling characters that live in complete and detailed worlds.
We chatted about the exciting advent of eSerials, what lead her into the erotic fiction genre, and about her plan of attack when she begins the journey of writing a book.
Jamie, did your first book come out just two years ago???
So you’re an overnight success!
Ha! Well, my career leading up to this point has basically been a giant masters program in writing. I worked at a publisher in publicity, I worked at BarnesandNoble.com as an editor choosing what books would get on the site. I worked as an agent selling to editors and I still don’t have all the answers.
When you’re thinking about a new book, what comes first, marketing or story?
It’s two things. It’s story and establishing who the reader is. I have ideas all the time but if I don’t know who should be buying the book, I can’t write it.
I’m fascinated by the whole eSerial thing. Can you explain how it works? I read Gin Lovers and Bettie Page Presents: The Librarian in full book form.
So eSerials allow the reader to enjoy books in parts, like an online soap opera. The readers were getting it like, 80 pages at a time. Sometimes eSerials come out in paperback, as well, but they can also just stay as a serial. The fan base for this way of consuming is growing.
That’s so much fun. It brings an episodic feel, à la waiting for the next juicy episode of Scandal or Revenge.
That’s exactly what it is! Miss Chatterley is being rolled out as an eSerial now. It’s based on the D.H. Lawrence novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover. It’s set in Silicon Valley.
A hot spot for hot lovin’.
Exactly Each episode is $0.99 and around 80 pages, so you can get a new episode on your iPad or Nook every week. (Miss Chatterley Part 1: HUNGRY is available on Amazon & BarnesandNoble.com now.)
Something I took note of was that no matter how hot the sex scene was, you managed, for the most part, to have the characters use protection. Is that something you were conscious of?
Yes, and believe me, it can be challenging to write. But I think readers will judge a woman or a couple who isn’t even thinking about protection. I think you risk losing the connection to the reader. I like things that are real and not perfect.
Safe sex is not something that’s always addressed in movies and television, so I think what you’re doing is great. Is being compared to 50 Shades of Grey a good thing?
Yes. I wrote my first erotic novel before that book came out and I’d try to explain to people what I was writing…
And they’d ask if Fabio was involved?
Right! And now I just say it’s a “50 Shades-type book” and they get it.
What lead you into this genre?
Growing up, Jackie Collins and Judith Krantz became my blueprint. They wrote about these very glamorous, independent, sexually aware women who found their way and defined themselves. They had these very passionate loves but that wasn’t what made them. They made themselves. There’s a study about how when you’re young, the things you read and take in imprint in your mind a way they can’t at any other time.
The books you’ve written have all had a killer sexy element to them. Do you see that continuing in your work?
Sex is always going to be a part of every story I tell. I love sex, everyone loves sex. But if it’s what defines the books… I think it’s limiting to me as a writer. The story has to be there.
So let’s get down to some nuts and bolts. How do you write? What’s your process? Are you waiting to be inspired by an idea, or do you have a structured schedule?
I have a calendar that tells me when the book is due and I have every day broken down by word count. Like, I have to do 1,500 today, I need 3,000 on this day, I’ll take these two off… It’s totally broken down.
Do you ever get writer’s block or do you just power through?
I power through.
Dang. That’s hardcore. Crazy amounts of coffee?
Yes. And sugar – I’m a total sugar addict. It doesn’t matter how many breaks I take in the day as long as I get my word count done.
I think so many writers are waiting around for magical inspiration before they sit down and write.
It’s the biggest trap. It’s scary to accept this, but there is no magic, there is no inspiration, there is no “best time” – you just have to sit there and do it.
An actor can blame things not getting done on a director or a location.
The best analogy I have is that writing a book is like being pregnant. There’s no shortcut to it. You’re going to just have to have the baby. No one can do it for you.
You can’t outsource it.
Nope, you just have to go through it and have the baby.
As an agent, you must have dealt with writers all the time who would blab excuses at you.
Yes, definitely as an agent I would want to say, “Just do it. Just write the book.” But it’s personal. It’s a stressful process. But there’s no better feeling than making progress and then finishing the first draft.
You did it! You gave birth!
But the weirdest thing is, every time I go to start a new book, I have this fear that I’m not going to be able to do it.
Well, it’s daunting, but you put out great books, so all of that hard work and dedication is paying off.
Thank you. Well, at the end of the day, a lot of people write sex, but what I really, really want to write, whether it’s super sexy or medium sexy, is the twists and turns of a good old-fashioned soap opera. You know, what does the woman want? Who’s standing in her way? Who’s the guy? How do you get the guy? How do you get that guy away from that girl? That’s what I want to write about. That’s why I loved watching all the Aaron Spelling shows and why today I’m hooked on Scandal, Downton Abbey. That’s what I love and that’s why I write the books.
Jamie Brenner/Logan Belle is the author of the following titles:
- The Gin Lovers by Jamie Brenner
- Bettie Page Presents: The Librarian by Logan Belle
- Blue Angel By Logan Belle
- Miss Chatterley by Logan Belle