Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Jeffe Kennedy while
on her tour for Sapphire.
pressed her lips together. How could every damn thing this man said sound sexual? Taylor opened her mouth to begin her speech, then bit down on it when he reached into his jacket and withdrew a rose to lay on her plate. Extraordinarily large and perfect, the rose’s pristine white petals were tinged scarlet at the edges, as if they’d been dipped in blood. She brushed the velvety texture with tentative fingertips, oddly moved by the gesture. Taylor gazed at his intent expression, feeling off balance again. Taylor sipped her icy tea. “What happened last night was—” Taylor ’s heart thumped, her groin clenching with unexpected heat. She cast about, looking to see if anyone at the nearby tables had overheard. The ladies who lunched at the next table laughed and clinked their wineglasses, in another world. The suited men on the other side were talking loudly of the stock market. Still, enough was enough. Taylor carefully folded her napkin, laid it across her plate, started to stand. Taylor shrugged. “A girl needs to eat.” Taylor gathered herself. Desire raged through her, filling her with life. Everything seemed sharper: the blue of the sky, the gold of his eyes, the crisp oak of the wine. Lust and curiosity drove her. The words came out of her mouth before she fully formed the question in her mind. Taylor couldn’t meet his eyes. Her chest felt too tight for breath. She tasted some of the succulent crab. Surreal, having this conversation. Feeling the arousal pulse through her. Taylor stared at him, terrified and aroused. How was it possible to feel both things at once? Taylor tugged her hand back to fork up some salad. “I’m supposed to do whatever you say in all aspects of my life? What happens if you tell me something like that and I have another engagement—a business dinner or if I need to work late?” Taylor
on her tour for Sapphire.
1. Who is Jeffe Kennedy, really?
Really? Hmm. That’s a closely guarded secret, with all associated information monitored by the International Police. I appear to be a mild-mannered – okay, kind of dramatic and impatient – woman with long black hair, a Santa Fe tan and green eyes, but really I’m a cat in a human suit. It’s all about the opposable thumbs for me.
2. Where did you get your inspiration from for Sapphire?
I had this fantasy about a guy, handcuffs and a party on a yacht. I rolled the story from there. Why would she let him do it?
3. Do you ever have problems with writers block? If so how do you get through it?
I don’t, really. But I also make myself write every day, at the same time, for the same amount of time. I sit there and dream about the story (with the internet turned off) until the time is up. I almost always get a lot done. Even if I don’t write many words or revise many pages, I still make mental inroads on the story.
4. Do you have any future works we should keep an eye out for?
My novel, OBSIDIAN, is coming out the first week of July! It’s about a Neuroscientist who ends up in Faerie by accident – and contracted to bear the firstborn child of a manipulative and roguish Fae man.
5. While working on a story, do you directly onto the computer or are there notebooks and plot ideas jotted down in various places?
I’m a computer girl. I compose on the computer. I keep spreadsheets in Excel and notes in Word. I do have a little paper pad in my purse, for when I’m out and about in the world, but those notes go into my electronic file, to become “real.”
6. What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/ editing?
I work. I have a day job with an environmental consulting firm that keeps me very busy and often on the road. I’m writing this in a Hilton hotel in Springfield, Illinois, in fact. If I’m not working the day job or writing, I try to keep the house semi-clean, I take long walks, I watch movies with the man. I read as much as I can squeeze in. I like to play with my cats.
7. If you had one piece of advice for all those writers sitting out there procrastinating about making that first submission, what would it be?
Hmm. Interesting question. If you’ve followed the steps and you think it’s done, then submit the damn thing already! If it’s not ready, fix it. Don’t obsess. Submitting your work isn’t a decisive thing, no matter what the agents or editors threaten. Submit your work and learn from the response. It’s the only way.
8. Please share your favourite scene with us from Sapphire.
I confess I love the lunch scene. Because I love lunch with wine in the sun. And it cracks me up when she asks if he’s had his OCD diagnosed.
“I thought we’d walk—it’s great weather today.” Kirliss took her elbow to guide her in the right direction. “So, how are you planning to break up with me?”
“I don’t have to break up with you,” she returned, “as we don’t have a relationship.”
“Everybody has relationships. It’s just a matter of determining what kind.”
“Well, then I’m determined that you and I will have a business relationship.”
“Negotiations are always fun. I look forward to hearing your business plan. And presenting my own counteroffer.”
They sat at a table on the deck overlooking the harbor.
enviously noted that some of the other women were enjoying golden wine in full-bellied glasses, but she opted for iced tea. She didn’t need the afternoon sleepies—or to let down her guard with Kirliss, who ordered a café Americano. Taylor
“‘For even the love that is purest and sweetest has a kiss of desire on the lips,’” Kirliss quoted in a husky voice.
She looked up to find him observing her with inscrutable brown eyes. She raised her eyebrows, deliberately arch. “Love poetry? And here I thought this was about sex.”
“That too. Desire is about both, don’t you think? O’Reilly thought so.”
“What I think,” she said in a crisp tone, deliberately setting the rose aside and starting her speech, “is that you and I are business associates. A sexual…dalliance is not appropriate.”
“None of the good stuff is,” he agreed in an easy tone. “But when your life is all about the job, like it is for you and I, we have to find ways to work around that.”
“I’m not interested.”
“The hell you aren’t. You’re just afraid of the way you lose control with me.”
“A horribly inappropriate fluke.”
“Don’t you believe in love?” Kirliss leaned over his plate, steepling his fingers. “In the intimacy of sex and the dark desires people can share?”
“Never mind that you’re mixing emotion and lust—what I believe is irrelevant and immaterial to this conversation, Mr. Kirliss.”
“I’ve decided I like how you call me ‘Mr. Kirliss.’ I picture you whispering it, hands tied behind your back, kneeling naked at my feet.”
Kirliss’s hand shot across the table, steel fingers wrapping around her wrist, wrapping her heart in that scary feeling of helpless need.
“Let go of me,”
said softly. Taylor
“I’ve only just got a hold of you—how can I?”
“I can’t do this.”
“You’re afraid of it. Afraid of how much you want it.”
“Hi, folks. Sorry to keep you waiting. Ready to order your lunch?” The chirpy waitress fluttered at Kirliss, eyes only for him.
Kirliss released her wrist, turning the gesture so he stroked her palm with slow heat. “Well, M, what did you decide on?”
Taylor could see herself walking away. She could tip her wrist and exclaim at the time on her silver watch, cite an important meeting she’d forgotten. Kirliss watched her, brown eyes intent. This was absolutely the moment for her to walk.
She ordered the crab salad. And a glass of Chardonnay.
She didn’t hear what Kirliss ordered, her ears too full of rushing blood. She hadn’t agreed to a damn thing, she told herself. It was just lunch.
“So, what does the M stand for?” Kirliss sat back, relaxed.
“Have you had your OCD professionally diagnosed?” Taylor returned in the same conversational tone.
Kirliss chuckled. “You know well that I can be quite obsessive about details I’m interested in. I’m interested in you, M. I’m looking forward to uncovering that sweet, hot, gooey center that
protects so carefully.” Taylor
“I find it…unsettling, that you talk like I’m two different people.”
“And yet, you don’t argue the point.”
“Debates with you tend to end up in one place, I’ve found.”
“Oh yes?” Kirliss purred. “Is this the place where you’re naked and I’m ravishing you?”
“I haven’t agreed to anything.”
“Haven’t you? You’re still sitting here.”
“And yet you were about to get up and walk out five minutes ago.”
The chirpy waitress brought
’s wine, sighed in Kirliss’s direction and reluctantly left again. Taylor sipped it, watching Kirliss warily over the rim. Taylor
“First rule, M—you may not walk out of any situation I put you in, unless you call your safe word.”
Sapphire. She hadn’t forgotten. A wise woman would have defused this entire situation with that one simple word. All along she’d had the key to escape. But she hadn’t used it. Not last night. Not today. Her blood ran hot. Did she dare put herself in this man’s hands?
“Perhaps I don’t choose to use that word because I refuse to engage in your game.”
“It’s understandable. You need to put up a token effort for the propriety of your conscious mind. You maybe find the struggle thrilling. I’ll let you in on a secret.” Kirliss leaned forward and stroked the petals of the rose. “I confess I like it when you struggle too. It…stirs me.”
“Let’s say I don’t use my out. What would the other rules be?”
Triumph flared in the eyes across the table. “It’s very simple, M. You do as I say, without hesitation.”
The waitress set their plates down, but Kirliss never glanced at her, he was so focused on
. As soon as she left again, he continued in that quiet, relentless voice. Taylor
“I will never interfere with business or cause you to consider that your career or reputation might be harmed. What goes on between us is, and always will be, private. But I will ask a great deal of you, M. Things that
might not be comfortable with.” Taylor
“So I just let you do whatever you like to me. Unless I cry off.”
“You make it sound easy.”
“Oh no, M. It won’t be easy. I intend to break you apart and rend you open. You’re right. This isn’t about love. Nor is it just about sex. It’s about possession and knowledge. I want all of you and I will open every secret, dark corner of you until I’ve had it all.”
“And then what?” she asked, her voice unsteady.
Kirliss shrugged. “Who knows the answer to that at the start of any relationship?”
He had a point.
“I seem to recall you saying you weren’t interested in having a slave?”
He flashed white teeth at her. “I’m not. I’m interested in having a lover. One who shares my particular bent.”
“And you think I do.”
He leaned forward, fingers tightening around her wrist. She trembled at the touch and she knew he felt it.
“If I slipped my hand into your panties right now, I’m sure I’d find you dripping wet. Shall I tell you to accompany me to some dark corner so we can test my theory?”
She stared at him, helpless to answer. Part of her wished he would pull her into that corner and do all the things he’d done the night before and more. The other part protested that she couldn’t allow it.
He rubbed his thumb over her pounding pulse and smiled at her. “Hold that thought—we’ll take it up tonight.”
“That’s what your safe word is for.”
“What if—” Taylor took a bite and pointed her fork at him, “—I don’t choose to use that word.”
“It’s not a capitulation to use it. It’s a way of communicating.”
“I’ll communicate how I choose. What if I can’t meet one of your demands and I don’t use the get-out-of-jail card?”
“If you tell me no without the safe word, you’ll be punished.”
The crab stuck in her throat. “Punished? How?”
Kirliss shrugged and flipped careless fingers at the perky waitress for the bill. “However I choose. That’s part of it.”
“If I do…meet you tonight, what happens? Dinner? Full-out kinky sex or what?”
He chuckled, shaking his head slowly. “Oh no, Taylor, you don’t get to control this. That’s the whole point.”
“Well, how do I know what to wear?” she snapped. He seemed to find her buttons with uncanny accuracy.
He raised his eyebrows. “Why, darling, you’ll wear what I tell you to.”
Thanks so much for taking the time to be here today, Jeffe! J
Thank you for hosting me!
More about Sapphire:
Publisher: Carina Press
Date Published: October 24, 2011
A successful executive, M. Taylor Hamilton is on track with her ten-year plan. Too bad her personal life consists of hitting the gym and grocery shopping. Enter the seductive Adam Kirliss. They may have a working relationship, but everything changes at an office party when he handcuffs her to the rail of a yacht. Taylor writes the adventure off as too much champagne, but when Adam challenges her to a date, she agrees to meet up with him. And follow his rules. They share a night of exquisite intimacy, brimming with both pain and pleasure. But afterwards, fearful of losing her heart, Taylor pulls back emotionally. Adam is determined to prove that she longs for the loss of control he can give her – and the passionate release it provides. How can he make her see that he wants her, and not just her body?
More about Jeffe
Jeffe (pronounced Jeff- ee) took the crooked road to writing, stopping off at neurobiology, religious studies and environmental consulting before her creative writing began appearing in places like Redbook, Puerto del Sol, Wyoming Wildlife, Under the Sun and Aeon. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow (2001), was a Wyoming Arts Council roster artist, when she lived in Wyoming, and received the state’s 2005 Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award for a woman writer of exceptional talent in any creative writing genre and the 2007 Fellowship for Poetry. Jeffe has contributed to several anthologies, Drive: Women’s True Stories of the Open Road. (2002), Hard Ground (2003), Bombshells (2007) and Going Green (2009). Her first book, Wyoming Trucks, True Love and the Weather Channel was published by University of New Mexico Press in 2004. An erotic novella, Petals and Thorns, came out under her pen name of Jennifer Paris in 2010, heralding yet another branch of her path, into erotica and romantic fantasy fiction. Jeffe lives in Santa Fe, with two Maine coon cats, a border collie, plentiful free-range lizards and frequently serves as a guinea pig for an acupuncturist-in-training.
Who Is Jennifer Paris?
I was doing the “Jeffe Kennedy writing as Jennifer Paris” thing, but Angela James, my editor at Carina, said no, no, no. Since I really don’t want to “flesh out” Jennifer Paris and tweet or blog as her (she was only a cardboard cut-out anyway), I decided to retire her. However, I have one book “Petals and Thorns” that is by Jennifer Paris.