Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Interview With Renae Jones, Author of TASTE OF PASSION

TASTE OF PASSION (Carina Press) is a science fiction romance from debut author Renae Jones.
I learned about the author in a highly unusual and, to me, mind-blowing way. For a long time, we had, unbeknownst to us both, a mutual friend (I'm withholding some details for privacy's sake). So one day my friend was at a party that Renae Jones was also attending. She happened to share the news of her forthcoming SFR and even mentioned The Galaxy Express.

This made our mutual friend go like, "Whoa!" He told Renae, "Check it out, yo--my friend Heather runs that site!" (I'm paraphrasing, tee hee!). He gained permission to share her news and told me all about it a short time after the party.

I couldn't believe that of all the genres in existence, Renae had written a sci-fi romance! The stars must have been triple aligned that night. And it was even more exciting to discover the news through a personal connection. That was a first for me.

Needless to say, I intended to bring TASTE OF PASSION into the TGE fold. After reading the story, I blogged about its fascinating connection with the MY LITTLE PONY reboot--specifically how the character of Rarity provided me with a context for relating to Fedni, the heroine. The post even comes with sparkly videos!

And now I bring you an interview with the author herself! First, here's the story blurb for TASTE OF PASSION:

Fedni, an empath who can taste emotion, was once a highly desirable courtesan. But the conquering New Earth Federation has abolished her temple, forcing her into early retirement and making her struggle to find her place in a transformed world.

Lonely and bored, she visits her ruggedly handsome new neighbor, an off-worlder doctor named Rasmus whose strange ways and delicious body arouse more than her curiosity. Hot, hard lust flares between them, and a series of steamy encounters reveals to Fedni a generous lover.

But incredible sex can't keep their cultural differences at bay. Rasmus is disgusted by the temple system, and Fedni leaps to defend her way of life and to show him the beauty of her traditions. As their heated arguments make them each question their long-held beliefs, Fedni must reconcile her newfound knowledge and her pride in her past, or risk losing the man who stokes her passion to new heights.

And now my interview with Renae Jones:

The Galaxy Express: Welcome to The Galaxy Express, and congratulations on your debut sci-fi romance TASTE OF PASSION! Tell us about yourself in the form of your hobbies and favorite pastimes.

Renae Jones: Hey there.

Well, I work a little too much. I have a dog, who is endless amusement. And I love to read, play mindless video games, and take on spur-of-the-moment projects like drive across state to look at leaves or learn to paint.

TGE: Please tag TASTE OF PASSION in five words.



And, to quote someone that read it, HAWT

TGE: What was the inspiration for this story?

RJ: The story took many turns from its original form, but the very first and most basic inspiration was exploring a culture and a character who was a whore in a society where that’s a good thing. I wanted to write a place where selling your body sexually was widely regarded as a mark of prestige and a social service. From there, I started getting fancy – what if the character had lost her prestige? What would it be like for a foreigner confused by these values?

TGE: What was the most fun about writing TASTE OF PASSION? The most challenging?

RJ: TASTE OF PASSION is my debut and, while not the first thing I’ve written, or the fifth, it was the first thing to go through the whole process. I would call that both the most fun, and the most challenging. I learned so much in the process of wrestling my floating ideas into a good story. There’s an amazing difference between thinking, “I want this to be sexy,” and it actually being sexy after being written. Some scenes saw edits a dozen times before things came together, partially because I was learning so much as I went. And in the end, every time I finally felt like I’d written what I wanted to write, that gave me the sort of triumphant feeling normally reserved for climbing tall mountains or navigating call center voice-only phone trees.

TGE: If Fedni wrote a fashion column, what would be her top three suggestions about how to look absolutely fabulous?


1. Be the same, but different – Be unique, but know everything about trends, until you can predict the outfits of other party attendees.

2. Don’t be cheap – Your clothes are there to serve you, and piles of cash can serve you best.

3. It’s the whole package – Everything from the tint of your eyes to the height of your shoes is important when making an impression, as is your personality. If you’re offensively dull, no dress can save that.

TGE: What's your favorite gadget?
Image from yourkarma
RJ: Right now, it’s my Karma. It’s a little doodad that gets internet through 3G and acts as a wifi hotspot for any of my devices, and even the devices of people near me. I finally have a nice cheap way to keep five different things connected to the internet while traveling and I love it.

TGE: How would you describe the heat level in TASTE OF PASSION?

You know, I’m torn on this one. I had a hard time deciding if it was even erotic romance or romance when submitting it to Carina Press. Heat level isn’t the determinant between those two genres, but it’s still important. I’d say, as a sci-fi story, it is extremely hot. I’m talking about taking a griddle, putting it on a burner at max, and forgetting it’s there for twenty minutes. But as an erotic romance, it doesn’t go to any extremes, and is somewhere in a nice warm bathwater range.  

TGE: Please describe a few of your favorite science fiction romance stories in books, films, and/or television shows.

RJ: I’ll be up front on this: I like my science fiction romance on the less obvious side. I feel like worldbuilding, like a gorgeous setting, should be everywhere, fascinating to look at, but disappear into the background the instant something more important comes up (like danger, angst or a hot love interest).

So many of my favorites aren’t even billed as science fiction romance—but when you think about it, they are. To pick just a couple:

The Broken Circle series by Kit Rocha – This is probably the hottest erotic romance I’ve been reading lately, in all senses of the word hot. In a dystopian future, a city is broken into sectors. In Dallas O’Kane’s gang, they’re rough, ruthless bootleggers, but they treat their women right. And are kind of into orgies.

Tales of the Shareem series by Allyson James – I read these books years ago, early in my phase of discovering erotic romance as a genre.  I was fascinated by how blatantly the science fiction world was manipulated to create sexy scenarios for the erotic romance stories told. 

Firefly, specifically Kaylee and the doofus mechanic – First she gets off, then she gets his ship. Now that’s a satisfying romance.

TGE: Where can readers find you?

RJ: I’m chattering away on Twitter nearly constantly - @renae_jones

And you can also learn more about me at my website or on Facebook


Ms. Jones, thank you for your time, and for your art.

Joyfully yours,