When Nicole began putting words on paper, she quickly became passionate about it and to this day says the passion is still there. FEVER DREAMS is the fourth in her Regency historical Paradise Series about bold adventurers who are members of a secret league of protectors - something like a steamy "The Knights of the Roundtable meet Jane Austen."
Before you launched your career as an author, you utilized your civil engineering degree as a manufacturing manager for Procter & Gamble, making Pampers diapers and Charmin toilet tissue. Why and how did you make the leap from engineer to such a creative endeavor?
Writing fiction began as an escape from my 60-hour/week high-pressure job. I needed that creative outlet! The idea of attempting to write a book originally struck me when I attended a goal-setting workshop with the theme, "Do it now -- don't wait until you're too old to explore your dreams." I went home, picked up a pad and pencil, and began writing long-hand what eventually became my first published novel, VELVET EMBRACE.
But it was long, hard road getting there because I first had to teach myself to write. Thanks to my mother, I already loved romance. When I was ten years old, she started reading PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL out loud to me. Later I became enchanted with the works of Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt. And it was Laurie McBain's TEARS OF GOLD that really inspired my career as a romance author. I stayed up all night devouring that book and afterward dreamed of writing my own stories. When I actually began putting words on paper, I quickly became passionate about what I was doing. To this day, when I sit down at the computer to write, that passion is still there.
You might have had to teach yourself to write fiction, but you have a beautiful voice. The way you put sentences together is almost as beautiful as what the words say. Where did this lovely writer's voice come from? Were you an avid reader growing up?
Thank you for the compliment! And yes, I've always been an avid reader. I love stories that take me away and let me live vicariously the adventures and passions of wonderful characters.
As for my writer's voice, telling a great story is most important to me, but I do care a lot about phrasing. Sometimes I'll spend a half hour working on a single sentence, trying to find just the right words to convey my meaning and to create the exact impact I want on my readers. And for historicals, it's important to stay within the time period, and "in-period" language always takes me longer to create than contemporary. It's hugely satisfying, though, when I can make the writing work.
Speaking of dreams, FEVER DREAMS is the fourth in your Regency historical Paradise Series about bold adventurers who are members of a secret league of protectors - something like a steamy "The Knights of the Roundtable meet Jane Austen." What inspired FEVER DREAMS?
I love writing about rakes and adventurers and the women who win their hearts. When I first began the Paradise series, I pictured five heroes with varying backgrounds and futures, and Alex Ryder leapt into my mind almost full-blown. Ryder is the dark, dangerous type -- a former soldier of fortune and the most lethal of all the Guardians. But from the moment he meets young Lady Eve Seymour, he's a goner.
He vows to do everything in his power to prove himself worthy of her, but to his dismay, Eve dutifully accepts a marriage of convenience with a wealthy lord to save her family from destitution. It's only when she's widowed several years later that Ryder is given a second chance to win the golden girl of his dreams.
The delightful heroine in FEVER DREAMS is a young widow who, as the ton's most celebrated matchmaker, has become quite fond of her independence. She seems willing to be seduced by Alex Ryder, but wants nothing to do with a second go at marriage. Did you intentionally set out to give this story a feminist twist?
Not consciously, but I definitely wanted to create a strong, independent heroine. Given Eve's unhappy first marriage (in that day and age, wives were literally the property of their husbands), the last thing she wants now is to repeat history. So Ryder has a lot of convincing to do! He also has to protect her life from a dangerous assailant who's stalking her.
I had a wonderful time writing FEVER DREAMS because the story is so romantic to me. Ryder turned out to be a dreamy hero, and Eve is his perfect match, only she just doesn't realize it yet.
A little bird told us that you actually have Native American heritage.
Yes, my great, great, great grandfather was a principle Cherokee chief and led one of the parties across the tragic Trail of Tears to Oklahoma. I'm very proud of my Cherokee heritage, but I also claim some other intriguing roots - - French, Irish, English, and a large dollop of Southern, since my mother hails from Louisiana and I spent a good part of my life in Georgia before, during, and after college.
Where were you born; where did you grow up, and where do you live now? How does your environment affect your writing?
I was born in Oklahoma, but as an Army brat, I moved all over the country with my family and graduated from high school in Germany. Strangely enough, I loved moving frequently, since I got to see so much of the world. One of my favorite memories is horseback riding in London's Hyde Park, just like my Regency characters do. Several years ago, I moved to the Rocky Mountains of Utah with my real-life hero (my husband). His passion is skiing, like horses and writing are mine. The mountains are great for the soul -- and for skiing and hiking and riding -- but I can't say they effect my writing much, since I'm usually immersed in Regency England, which has little in common with the Rockies!
What is coming up next from Nicole Jordan? What is in the pike for 2007?
I have one more Paradise book planned after FEVER DREAMS to wrap up the series -- the Earl of Hawkhurst's story, about a reclusive nobleman who lost his beloved wife and child to tragedy and offers a marriage of convenience to a spirited governess so he can assume leadership of the Guardians. And of course he can't help falling for her. I just love tormented heroes who end up finding love, even though they go kicking and screaming. But -- and I hope my readers don't shoot me since it's strictly a marketing decision -- it will be a little while before I write Hawk's story.
My editors asked me to create a new Regency series so they can publish a trilogy in three consecutive months, so I've started The Courtship Wars, about a nobleman who unwillingly inherits guardianship for three beautiful, very independent sisters, then tries to marry them off to his best friends when they have absolutely no intention of marrying. These will all be a bit lighter and livelier than the books in my Notorious and Paradise series. I'm almost finished writing the first book, and I've had a ball, there are so many sparks between the characters.
Also, this December, Ballantine will be reissuing one of my earlier Regency historicals, TOUCH ME WITH FIRE. And they're still debating which other books they'll reissue next year until The Courtship Wars trilogy comes out.
Let's do something fun. Let's ask our readers to e-mail you with their favorite Nicole Jordan character from any of your books. How can readers send this information to you, or write to you in general?
I love hearing from readers! And it would be great fun to know which of my characters readers like best. I can't really choose just one, since I gave birth to all of them.
Just go to my website at NicoleJordanAuthor.com and click on the "e-mail Nicole" button to send me your choice or any other comments. And while you're there, be sure to enter my monthly contest and check out all the info about monthly news, novels backlist, upcoming books, excerpts, etc., plus interviews with my Notorious and Paradise Series heroes at my Pleasure Palace, including the hero of FEVER DREAMS, Sir Alex Ryder.
Thanks for letting me share my love of writing and romance!
This interview for NewAndUsedBooks.com was conducted by: Nancy Berland Public Relations