Please tell us a bit about yourself:
Hi Pippa, thanks for having me here today! Well, about me…I live in Northern California…real Nor Cal, closer to the Oregon Border than to San Francisco. I have two adult daughters, a houseful of Siberian Huskies and Salukis, and when I left my job to stay home with a disabled family member, I was gifted with a writing career. J I write mostly in speculative fiction though I do occasionally dabble in contemporary. I write romance, both het and LGBTQ.
Tell us about The Tenth Muse:
Well, I was playing with a m/m fantasy story about a young gender-bending character living in Manhattan, but I wasn’t completely happy with the book. It felt like I’d just dropped into the middle of an ongoing story. I backed up, came up with a larger concept where the goddess Aphrodite runs a security agency which is a cover for her to clean up messes that are left by rogue dieties. In The Tenth Muse, her son Eros has let the world at large get a peek at his wings, so he’s risking outing the entire Greek pantheon. To lure him back to Olympus, Aphrodite sends the youngest brother of the Nine Muses to befriend Eros. They fall in love which results in a very dangerous situation for Rees, who’s far more than a mere muse.
What inspired you to write this particular story?:
At the time I wrote it, my mother was extremely ill. I was caregiving her as well as my niece and as happens, I really burned out emotionally. I’d stopped writing and was truly afraid I was going to lose my Mom. As a child, I adored Greek mythology, and I think when I wrote Tenth Muse, I was looking for comfort and safety. A great deal of this story revolves around family dynamics, so maybe I was doing a little projection. LOL!
Please share a favourite snippet from your book:
The house appeared to be empty, but as Eros strolled through the rooms he caught the elusive scent of his missing lover. Pages were covered with notes and poems, all in Rees’ elegant script. At a table by a bedside he found stacks of heavy paper, all covered with sketches. Of Eros. He flushed, reluctant to invade Rees’ privacy, but he turned page after page, watching as rough sketches evolved to detailed, artistic renderings. He shook his head in awe.
Rees was a miracle. A walking, talking Renaissance man. He was the personification of art and inspiration. His poetry was almost as brilliant as his painting, and knowing his identity, Eros was almost afraid to hear his music. It just might break his heart.
Which comes first for you – a character's looks, personality or name?:
That’s a tough one. I don’t have a set formula for character development. A few weeks ago, I blinked my eyes and got one of those halos you sometimes see when it’s really sunny. The halo was similar to the silhouette of a man, and it made such a strong impression on me, I immediately started a description and a character chart. Other times, I start from a concept. For Tenth Muse, I knew I wanted young Greek gods and Eros was an easy choice. He’s almost an archetype and the main work with him was making him a three dimensional character. Rees came much harder, but I’d say his personality came first, followed by appearance and name.
Any tips for aspiring authors?:
Write a LOT. Read. Try to figure out what makes one book work where another doesn’t. Bone up on your mechanics. Knowledge of grammar, sentence structure, etc. just makes things smoother down the road. You can break rules, but you have to know the rules before you break them. And as always, your manuscript is not a sacred document. You can change it.
Questions for fun:
If you had the power of time travel, is there anything you would go back and change? Why/why not?:
Well, gosh. If we go back and change something, that’s changing history. Personally, some of the best things in my life were the result of mistakes. If I had the power of time travel, I might be the voice that whispered, “Janis, you don’t need to get high.” I hate when brilliant people die young.
What super-power would you choose?:
Oh, flight. Who doesn’t want to fly? But really, I think it would be the ability to close my eyes and be somewhere else.
If you could have three wishes, what would they be?:
The elimination of cancer. I ache when I think of all the people we’ve lost to that disease.
Clean energy all over the world.
And…just to show I can be shallow, I’d love to have a couple Best in Show wins on my dogs. LOL!
Coffee, tea or wine?:
Tea. I order tea from a Japanese supplier every couple months. I love my tea!
What is your favourite book?:
That’s a question where the answer varies, I do have many favorites that I go back to, or that affected me in some way. Today I’ll say “Devil’s Cub” by Georgette Heyer, because it introduced me to a hero who was really rather despicable, but still sexy and compelling. He was the first anti-hero I ever read.
Favourite genre and why?:
To read, I love historicals. Partly because I was a history major in college, and partly because the genre is almost fantasy. I love the rigid rules of conduct, and when an author is good, they can take a heroine and really elevate her within those rules. My second favorite genre is urban fantasy, which is polar opposite of those mannerly historicals.
When I write, I enjoy writing a good, rowdy space opera, where the world is my own.
Greens and blues.
Upcoming news and plans for the future?:
The Tenth Muse releases May 17, and open documents on my desktop include Destiny, a sexy paranormal, and an unnamed 4th book in the Uncommon Whore sci fi sseries.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us!
In a wicked game, the God of Love falls to his own arrow, and a gentle scholar learns how dangerous knowledge can be.
Aphrodite has had it.
It was bad enough that her son Eros walked a fashion show in drag, but did he really have to show the entire world his wings? Desperate to rein in the impulsive young god, she recruits the scholarly muse Rees to lure him back to Olympus until the scandal dies down.
After hundreds of years, Eros has finally located the reincarnation of his former love, Psyche. The only way to her heart is through fame, so the God of Love plans a daring campaign to win her back. Yet the closer he gets to Psyche, the more he’s drawn to a geeky young professor who came crashing into his life.
Eros drags Rees into his wicked world of high fashion and risqué parties, only to expose him to danger from an unexpected source. When Rees’ secrets come out, they threaten to destroy Eros’ love for him. Yet when Rees is kidnapped, Eros is forced to turn to the woman who set this catastrophe in motion—his mother, Aphrodite.
Reader Advisory: This book contains some scenes of kidnapping/captivity and graphic scenes of death and violence. This book also contains references to/discussions of rape.