Author, Author, Tell Us More
August 22, 2007 | Interviews
ST: We’re back with Jen Black and ready to learn more of her life and style. Jen, are there any quirks you have or do before or while you’re writing?
JB: Eat, mostly. Drink coffee. I like my work space to be tidy. I can’t work if it’s untidy. Sometimes I listen to music, most often not as I forget the things on and never notice it click off.
ST: Who or what encouraged you to write erotica?
JB: Nobody, thank goodness! I don’t write erotica.
ST: Just how hot are your books, Jen?
JB: I don’t suppose they go beyond sensual. The characters go to bed and do the biz, but I don’t go for the clinical sort of writing that describes every move, wriggle and bite. Nor do I like to read sex scenes that make me think the h/h are taking lumps out of each other! I like sensual sex scenes where suggestion stimulates the readers’ imagination, starts that buzz…
ST: Where do you get the ideas for your novels?
JB: All sorts of places. I’ve always been the sort of person who asks What if? And one thing leads to another. It was reading MacBeth for A level English that started me hunting down information on the Scottish king, and from there it was quite fun to imagine what the real king might have been like. I made him handsome, of course, and brave, but with a quick temper that got him into trouble more than once. And then I sorted out a girl who could match him…
ST: How do you research your books?
JB: Any way I can! I use the Internet and libraries. Since I worked in libraries I have a fair idea where to go to get what I want, or at least a starting point. My university degree introduced me to the vast stores of information held in the university sector, and how detailed some of the information can be. I’m lucky in that I have access to several really good public library services here in the north east, and four universities within twenty miles. I’m going to my local library this week with notebook in hand because I want to take notes about sixteenth century Corbridge from the Victoria County History, volume X. This series covers very nearly the whole country but they are usually reference only since they were written and published along time ago. They are available online for those not resident in the UK.
The other thing I really enjoy doing is visiting the places I write about. I’ll be putting some pics on my blog soon of Aydon and Halton castles, which are only six or seven miles from where I live. I’ve spent three lovely days walking around the area already and I’ll probably go back several times more before I’m through. I went to Dublin to get that locale correct, and I’ve spent a good deal of time on Scotland’s west coast, so I used that in Banners.
ST: Who is your support group?
JB: My husband, first of all. Then Critique groups, and critique partners and the Romantic Novelists Association local group, the Border Reivers. We meet once a month most of the year and we have several published writers among our number. Amazingly each writes in a different genre and line, so there’s always someone who knows how to help. I’m going to the national conference this year in Leicester in a fortnight’s time. I might sneak away to visit Bosworth Field on the Sunday afternoon. I went once, and viewing the stone memorial to Richard III reduced me to tears, which I didn’t expect. I expected it to be moving, but not to that extent. Or perhaps the little church nearby. Someone had laid white roses there beneath his wall plaque.
ST: You’re a sensitive, in-tune person. I can see that reaction in you.
JB: Is this where I blush? LOL
ST: Be sure to join us again tomorrow when Jen shows us her even softer side. Until then…