Wednesday, May 11, 2011

First Author Interview and Giveaway: Jenn LeBlanc

Ok, so this my first ever author interview and giveaway. The wonderful Jenn LeBlanc has agreed to be my first. Here's Jenn! Ain't she purty?
So jealous of her curly hair. 
Ashley March featured Jenn LeBlanc on her blog. And whichever author Ashley features, is always a good one.
Jenn's book The Rake and the Recluse is literally a work of photographic art. Within the pages of this book, there are gorgeous, heart stopping pictures that help the story along. (Or is it hinder? Oogle at your own risk.) Confession: I read the first 2 chapters of this book and then flipped through all the pictures. Yes, I may or may not have flipped through more than once. *sigh*


Hi Jenn! Thank you so much for taking some time out of your day and answering some questions because I know you’re busy planning amazing stuff for RomCon. Now, this is my first ever author interview and giveaway so I am very, very, very honored to have you. And well, seeing as how this is my first time, I froze up when trying to figure out what questions to ask so I got a little help from Jamie of For the Love of Romance. So we’re going to be tag teaming you for some questions.

Kati: Give us a little blurb about your book.
Jenn: I could do the copy/paste thing but that can be done anywhere. The Rake and the Recluse is the story of Gideon Alrick Trumbull, Duke of Roxleigh and a mysterious girl who he very nearly kills. While I like to categorize it as historical the truth is it's a time-travel set in Victorian England, so the mysterious girl could be the girl next door, (and how cranky would you be waking up under the hooves of some frightened horses? YIKES!)

Jamie: How did you come up with the idea for an illustrated novel?
Jenn: I'm a control freak. Once I finished my manuscript and started working on it with editors it was mentioned that the title would change and someone else would be shooting my cover and control all the visual aspects of MY novel. See, I was born a photographer, and came late to writing because my fingers weren't as fast as my soul. While shooting my cover, I realized we had a very unique opportunity here. My muse, Derek— whom you have lovingly nicknamed DH, and I have a very special connection through the lens. Working together was easy and seamless and such an incredible joy that it just seemed natural to continue the story beyond the cover shoot. I think that connection comes through in the images.

What were some of the responses when you told people about an illustrated novel?
Jenn: Well, I started my career as a photojournalist which is a very testosterone-heavy field. The biggest response from many them was that I was shooting porn, which I'm not. The secondary response was WTF and why would you do that. The people closest to me were blown away, though thinking back they were really the only ones who knew the scope of the project. I really played it quiet because this wasn't something that had really been done. I still get a lot of snarky comments from men, primarily, but they don't get it, and that's okay. This is different. This isn't the norm. The fact that it is a romance novel is what has most of them hung up, but they also know me, so many of my friends in journalism have gotten past that to really see what I've done and I am proud of that.

Kati: Is there a particular book or author that got you into the romance genre?
Jenn: Yes. I can tell you exactly what happened. I'd never read a romance novel three years ago. I did not know books did this. In high school I was all about the Anne Rice (I know I know...but I was young) and Stephen King. I had read the Sleeping Beauty series after I learned about them since I loved the VAMPIRE CHRONICLES so much...but that is erotica so, different. Then my daughters forced me to read Twilight. I wanted more and I hoped to find it, so I searched and found Julian from Teresa Medeiros' THE VAMPIRE WHO LOVED ME. It stole my heart and a month later I bought my first eReader and have since then read probably 300 romances.

Kati:Who or what inspired you to write? To take photographs? 
Jenn: I woke up one morning and the first line was in my head, as well as the memory of a dream about a girl running through the forest. It was so real to me I pulled out my computer and started writing. My inspiration in photography comes from my subjects. I see things and know I have to commit them to memory. My memory is photographic, and what I mean by that is every memory I have is a still frame in my mind, there is no video in my head. So that's how I see— in single frames, silent images, and when something touches me it moves me to capture it. That can be anything from a rock on the beach to the dimples on a model's backside (Hi Jed Hill, want to come play in my studio?) to the striations in a muscle that inspire me.

Or wolfman-like veins.
So dang hot and lickable (and totally inappropriate of me to say so)

Jamie: What part did you like better: writing or picture taking?
Jenn: Oh. Hmmm. They are SO very different. When I shoot I am given a scene like a gift, it's right before me and I have but to compose and light and push the button. But in writing I can create the scene. I create the people, the mood, the setting, every little detail. I guess writing, for me, is the freedom that photography isn't. I suppose I have to say photography only because I know I can't live without it, whereas my dreams can survive in my head, even if I don't commit them to paper.

Kati: Where did you find models for your book? (Jamie: And where can I get one for myself?)
Jenn: Everywhere and nowhere. Being in Colorado doesn't help, mecca that it is for the industry. Primarily I search modeling sites online, and talk to people I run into. Though it's hard to approach a sexy guy and say "hey, I'm a photographer and I'd like to take your picture." Because the *winkwink* is always intoned so I feel kinda dirty. Derek was a Colorado model, but has since moved to California to further his career, the other model in the  book has since moved to Korea to teach English. I'm always looking for new talent though. My art director didn't like Derek's portfolio, but I saw something there, and here we are. (I bet your art director is feeling a bit silly now.)

Kati: Tell us a little about your awesome photo taking alter ego.
Jenn: *blush* Well, she is quieter, because that's the nature of the game, photojournalists are quiet, they blend and try to move unnoticed. It isn't the only type of photography I do, I also work in fine art and studio (obviously) but it was my primary focus for awhile. It's a thankless job and very difficult at times because, depending on the story, there are people who do not want you there but we have to be there. Photojournalists are witnesses to very horrible things. I actually just receive a first place award for my documentary work on the BP Gulf oil spill last year. I spent three weeks in the Gulf and absolutely fell head over heels in love with the people and the land. Even though I was sweating like a giant dry mountain girl every time I opened the car door, and some days my camera was like "Eff you lady take me back to 5280!"

This is a picture from the bird rescue. The entire place smells of Dawn liquid soap and for that reason I will never buy anything else, that and the fact they donate every single drop to the rescue.

Jamie: Are you planning on writing more books? And will they also have pictures?
Jenn: I have another book and another two started. I'm working on the edits and casting for the hero of the second (Gideon's brother Perry) as we speak. I hope to keep doing this for as long as I'm able, I can't believe how much fun it has been and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to be able to do this and nothing else. This is the original Perry, who has moved to Korea to teach English, so I must find a new Perry. Sad because he was damn pretty and a great guy. (Um, could Jed Hill be Gideon's brother Perry?)

Kati: Do you listen to music when you write? If so, can you give us a few artists?
Jenn: Yes I do, most of the time. It depends on the scene. I'll give you a few examples, when writing Gideon on horseback the music was "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel, but lately with Perry the passion song has been "Running Up That Hill" by Placebo and "Sail" by Awolnation. The slow sexy times were backed up by "Ai Du" by Ali Farka Toure "Midnight" by Yaz, "All I Want is You" U2, the fun sexy times were "Strip" by Adam Ant and "Forever In Blue Jeans" by Neil Diamond. Speaking of, if you want some sexy lyrics read a few Neil Diamond songs. WHOA. "Nothing around but the sound of my heart and your sighs..." Oh hi! 

Ok, now that all the serious stuff is answered, time for some quick questions. I think this part will be funner. They say you can tell a lot about a person from their preferences. So let’s do this!
13 Either/Or: 

1. Alpha or beta? Alpha
2. Single Mother or Virgin Widow? Widow (I did the other and see no romance there...though I did end up with a bit of a hottie so maybe...)
3. Vampire or shifter? Vamp
4. Kilts or Breeches? KILTS KILTS KILTS KILTS and all their commando glory.
5. Virgin Bride for a Sheik or Mistress of a Tycoon? Mistress
6. Richard Armitage or Henry Cavill? OH! I call not fair.
7. Taking photos in a studio or outdoors? I'm taking Derek to the beach this summer, can I answer after?
8. Writing or Reading?
9. Dressed Up or Scrubbed Down? Scrubbed down.
10. Bound Books or eBooks? eBooks (and don't anybody hate on me! before eBooks I couldn't read for long periods because my hands are ouchy!)
11. Night in or Night Out? In, then out...then back in again and out, but in really is my favorite.
12. Chocolate or Jewelry or Flowers? (ooo..3 to choose from instead of 2. I’m sneaky like that) Flowers.
13. Jenn’s question for my readers: What is your favorite sexy picture? Not of these– though you're welcome to choose one. But when you think of sexy, what image pops in your head? I'll tell you mine, It was done on V-J day by Mr. Alfred Eisenstadt. It's the sailor kissing the nurse. The thing I love the best is his hands. I try to make the hands in my images as possessive as possible. It's the small details in an image that make it work. (Ooo...I too love this picture. There's a ginormous sculpture of the sailor kissing the nurse downtown across from the USS Midway.)

I’m so in love in absolute LUST with Jenn’s book that we're going to give some ebooks of The Rake and the Recluse away. Courtesy of Ms. Jenn LeBlanc herself. Just leave your answer to Jenn’s question and I’ll pick a winner using There will be 2 winners who get an eBook (sorry, no hardcopies) and 4 winner who will get some swag (Jenn's choice of swag). So that's 6 Winners! Giveaway Ends 5/18.

Giveaway Guidelines:
  • You must be a GFC Follower (+5)
For extra entries (put all links or names in one comment please):

***Please note: All pictures belong to Jenn LeBlanc. If you would like to use any of these pictures please contact her: Jenn.K.LeBlanc (AT) gmail (DOT )com ALL RIGHTS RESERVED NO COPYING, DOWNLOADING, or REPRODUCTION without the express permission of the owner***

P.S. Be on the lookout for my review of Jenn's book. More tidbits and pictures to come.
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