Jessica Peterson began reading romance to escape the decidedly unromantic awkwardness of her teenage years. Having found solace in the likes of Rhett Butler and Mr. Darcy, it wasn’t long before she began creating tall, dark, and handsome heroes of her own.
A graduate of Duke University, Jessica worked at an investment bank before leaving to pursue her writerly dreams. She lives with her husband, the tall, dark, and handsome Mr. Peterson, in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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First off, can you tell us a bit about you?
Sure! My name is Jessica Peterson, and my debut Regency romance, THE GENTLEMAN JEWEL THIEF, came out July 1 from Berkley Sensation (Penguin). It’s the first of THE HOPE DIAMOND trilogy.
I grew up in a small town outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, and attended Duke University. After graduating with degrees in English and Spanish, I went to work in finance selling corporate bonds (doesn’t have much to do with English or Spanish, I know). While working on the trading floor was definitely exciting, it wasn’t very “me”; I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I could remember, but I knew I had to save up some dollas before I could live the writer’s life. Fast forward a few years, and I finally got the courage to quit my job and sit down and write. The rest is history!
A la Twitter style, please describe your book (or series) in 140 characters or less.
A (very sassy!) Jane Austen meets THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR.
What types of scenes are your most favorite to write?
I love to write scenes that are heavy on the romance – whether it’s a glance across a ballroom, a stolen kiss, an hour-long kiss, or a steamy toss between the sheets. Dialogue is always fun to write, too; I love seeing where my characters take the story. Action, however, is much more difficult to write for me.
What are the things that influence you the most as a writer?
Music, for one thing. I don’t always listen to music as I write, but I do when I drive, work out, cook, do laundry, whatever – it always gets me thinking, whether it’s classical (right now Tallis is a favorite) or Ellie Goulding’s latest release (I love Queen Bey, too – but then again, who doesn’t?).
I also draw an enormous amount of inspiration from movies and TV. Right now my husband and I are really into GAME OF THRONES and SHERLOCK (if you don’t get the B. Cumberbatch thing, watch it and I guarantee you will), and I get kind of obsessed with characters, dialogue, ambience – I try to emulate it in my own way in my writing.
What are some of your favorite characteristics to find in a hero?
Yikes, this is a tough one – a good one. I love a funny hero, a guy who doesn’t take himself too seriously – but is somehow still serious about his passions (and his lady love, of course!). I’m into complicated heroes, ones who can’t be summed up in a single sentence. Heroes who change; heroes who are thinkers, heroes who love the people in their lives deeply, quietly – mothers, sisters, friends, nieces and nephews. Heroes who can look at you like that. You know, the way Fitzgerald describes Gatsby looking at Daisy.
I love a hero who can dance. Dark eyes don’t hurt, either.
Tell me, is there anything that we would be surprised to learn about you?
In my next life, I’d like to come back as an actress (preferably one starring in GAME OF THRONES as Jon Snow’s love interest). There’s gotta be something so cool about being on set, inhabiting all these other lives for a few weeks or months at a time in exotic locales. I’d love to collaborate with so many people to make art.
If you could live inside any book, which one would you choose and why?
Great question! Last summer I read BLOOD & BEAUTY by Sarah Dunant. It’s set in Renaissance Italy and details the exploits of the infamous Borgia family. While life was pretty brutal back then, there’s this magic, this elegance to peoples’ interactions, and to Dunant’s language. To be surrounded by the creative energy that gave birth to some of the world’s greatest masterpieces – that would be endlessly cool. If I could be spared the plague and bad teeth, I’d live in BLOOD & BEAUTY!
If you could spend the day in the shoes of any of your characters, who would you choose and why?
Definitely William Townsend, the bad-boy Earl of Harclay. After devouring DOWNTON ABBEY, I’m a little obsessed with the daily lives of the upper class. It was so fun researching what his life would be like – when he’d wake up, what he would eat and do and laugh at and lust over. I mean, I definitely wouldn’t mind it if someone else made dinner (and breakfast, and lunch, and tea…).
If you were stranded on a desert island and could bring only three items, what would you bring and why?
I’d bring HARRY POTTER (gotta have a world to escape into), PEOPLE’S hottest men issue (just kidding…kind of), and a jar of peanut butter, to give me the energy to read both HARRY POTTER and people.
Last question, are you working on anything right now?
Yes! Right now I’m working on book #3 of THE HOPE DIAMOND TRILOGY, and gearing up to do some promo stuff on book #2, THE MILLIONAIRE ROGUE, which hits shelves on January 6, 2015.
Tell me, who is your favorite bad-boy hero (books, movies, TV all fair game) and why?
Lord William Townshend, Earl of Harclay, is among the most disreputable rakes in England. Desperately bored by dull heiresses and tedious soirees, he seeks new excitement – with a dangerous scheme to steal the world’s most legendary gemstone from its owner, Thomas Hope. To his surprise, however, it’s not the robbery that sets his blood burning but the alluring lady from whom he pilfers the gem.
A string of bad luck has left the fate of Lady Violet Rutledge’s estate entirely in Hope’s scheming hands. So when his prized jewel disappears from around her neck, she has no choice but to track down the villain responsible for the theft. Only Harclay has his sighs set on taking more from her than the necklace – and she’s tempted to surrender anything he desires…
Now, caught in a thrilling game of secrecy and seduction, Violet must find a way to protect her fortune – and her heart – before she loses both forever…
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Check out what's up for grabs.
- 2 copies of The Gentleman Jewel Thief
- Please answer Jessica's question: Tell me, who is your favorite bad-boy hero (books, movies, TV all fair game) and why?
- US shipping ONLY.
- Please fill out the Rafflecopter form.
Special thanks to Jessica Peterson for sponsoring this giveaway.a Rafflecopter giveaway