Good afternoon friends and welcome. Today I have a real treat for you. Jaime Clevenger, author of Party Favors has stopped by to chat. You are going to love her and will want to read her book. This book is really unique and nothing like anything I’ve read before. Come meet this creative and amazing artist. Tell us about yourself:
Well, to start, I love being active and also love my down time. I am a writer, a veterinarian, a swimmer, a karate teacher, a parent, a reluctant romantic and a pragmatic scientist.
I live in Colorado with my wife, two kids (both daughters aged 4 and 8) and a resident dog and cat. My family loves it when we foster kittens and puppies so the number of pets in our house varies a bit from time to time. My dog, Curie, is a Golden Retriever and simply put the best dog ever, but my cat Mango thinks he’s the favored pet in our house. I have a very faithful fish named Peter who sits at my desk and watches me intently every time I sit down to write. I’d like to say that we’re close but I think he’s only hoping for food when he stares at me.
My life is full and yet I still take every opportunity to daydream, watch every sunset and steal a peak at the moon each night. I love cuddling and a good story–which I’m fortunate to say there is plenty of both in my life. As both of my kids can tell you, I am both serious and silly. Dinner in our house is full of story-telling. We have early morning dance parties and it’s never exactly quiet around here. There are books literally all over the house. As of late, Harry Potter is a frequent bedtime story. By the time the kids are in bed, I’m ready to fall asleep but that’s when I get to sit down and write.
In the lesbian fiction world, I enjoy writing romance, erotica and fantasy. I’ve published with Bella Books since 2004 and am currently working on book number 10 due out this Fall.
Did you enjoy writing in school?
I’ve always loved to write but I spent most of my time in school studying math and science related subjects. My third-grade teacher told me that I should become a writer–but then warned me that I might need to have a fall back plan if I wanted to feed myself. By fourth grade, I decided to become a veterinarian though secretly I hoped I could juggle both careers. As luck would have it, being a vet means you hear plenty of stories and meet some crazy characters, all good fodder for writing!
What is Party Favors about?
Party Favors is an erotica novel and unlike anything else I’ve written. The premise for this book is that the main character has been invited to a formal dinner party filled with the city’s most attractive and available women. Believing this is a costume party, she comes dressed as Batman. It’s not a costume party–everyone else is wearing ball gowns and tuxes. The hitch in this story is that the main character is you.
As the story is set up, you make the decisions as to how your night will go. You can choose to leave the party or stay, change clothes or stick with the Batman costume–and depending on your choices, you will end up sleeping with one of twelve different women. The story has multiple endings and is meant to be enjoyed in short bursts.
Party Favors was a blast to write. Without rules to follow, I let myself have fun with this one and took many liberties with the main character (you). I’ve heard some great responses from readers–including someone telling me that the book led to an argument with their girlfriend because of perceived cheating issues that came up and then another reader saying they enjoyed reading the book out loud with their wife and took turns deciding which choice to make. Suffice it to say, I’ve gotten more feedback on this book than any of the others combined!
How would you describe your protagonist in ‘Party Favors’?
The protagonist in Party Favors does not have many significant physical characteristics and there are few personal details. I did fall in love with this character (you) primarily because of everything I put her through. Despite having a lot of sexual encounters, she goes through a lot of embarrassing moments.
It was challenging to not give any background details to the character but I wanted readers to identify with the protagonist closely. Still, I snuck a bit in here and there–for instance, you play the piano, live alone and drive an expensive car. Depending on the choices you make at the party, to leave or stay for instance, I tried to plan the outcome based on what I figured would realistically follow if a person was likely to make that decision. In other words, are you the type of person to leave the party early, slip over to a sex shop and then when your best friend calls on the phone, do you go to her house and admit what a failure your night has been? Or do you stay at the party in that Batman costume and flirt with the hostess? These two endings are very different and I tried to keep “you” in mind as I planned out your evening.
Would you ever go skinny dipping in a waterfall in Hawaii?
Interesting question… I have gone to a few nude beaches–there’s Little Beach (next to Big Beach) on Maui where you can slip off your suit and swim free–and yes, I did partake. The sensation of swimming without anything on your skin is amazing. But that was before kids! Now with kids in the mix, I’m not likely to go to a beach without lots of sunscreen and good sunhats!
What do you love about being an author?
Being an author isn’t exactly glamorous. Most of the time you are in a room by yourself staring at a computer screen moving words around in a sentence that you will likely delete the following day. But some moments are gold–when your character says something you didn’t expect, when the plot turns and you have no control over the outcome and are only along for the ride, when you have an epiphany on how to fix a tricky point in the storyline, when the perfect words materialize on the page as if someone whispered them in your ear… Writers live for these moments. But I could be a writer and never publish. Why be an author? I do like getting feedback from readers on my stories and I love the connections that you can form in the lesbian fiction world. Sometimes one bad review however is enough to make me think that I shouldn’t try to publish at all. But then some stranger comes along and says something you wrote touched them in some way and that makes all the work worth it.
Which authors have you met in person?
I’ve been to several Golden Crown Literary Society conferences over the years and have had a chance to meet many authors in the lesbian fiction world. To those who don’t know, all of the authors at the conferences are awesome. Well, maybe not all of them but I haven’t met any I didn’t like or anyone who seemed too cool to chat. While it’s true that a lot of us writers are big introverts and people watching is more our style than direct human interaction, I’ve had great conversations with too many authors to pick favorites.
Let’s give a shout out to Bella Books. What would you like to say to them?
I’m so thankful to all the folks at Bella Books. Linda and Jessica Hill are two amazing women who contribute so much behind the scenes in book production. Becky is fantastic and is totally sweet. From the proof readers to the type setter to the cover designer, so many people are involved in the production of a book and I owe them all a great deal. The editors that I’ve had over the years have taught me a tremendous amount about writing (especially since I came into this without any formal training) but I am especially in debt to Medora MacDougall for all of her tireless work. She never shies from the crazy stuff my characters get into in their love scenes, is forgiving with my ridiculous schedule, and boy does she know the rules on commas.
What was the last live musical performance you saw?
Hamilton! My wife and I got to see Hamilton while we were in Chicago celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary (fourteen years together). It was awesome and I’ve been singing bits of the lyrics ever since. I’m a big fan of musicals and also recently got to see Fun Home which should not be missed. As for live music, the last show that I went to see was a Brandi Carlile concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater. And yes, I gushed over Brandi quite a bit. We took the kids to that concert (with ear plugs) and we all danced and sang along. So much fun! Concerts at Red Rocks are truly an experience and Brandi Carlile is lovely live.
What’s next for you?
My next book, A Fugitive’s Kiss, is due out this September (really soon) and I’m excited about this one though it has been a lot more work than Party Favors. This is a romance fantasy complete with kings, horses and sword fights. The two women who fall in love in this story are messy complex characters (my favorite type of people) and I loved following along on their journey.
With A Fugitive’s Kiss off to the printer, I get to start writing a new romance story. Beginnings are always a rush–thrilling and a bit scary–much like the feelings in a fresh relationship. I often wonder if I’m crazy to start in on another book but then my mind gets to working on the story and the characters don’t let me sleep–I have to write!
Before you go, take a look at Jaime’s links:
I want to thank Jaime for stopping by. Don’t forget to check out her book Party Favors. You are going to be in for a pleasant surprise and are going to love it. Stay tuned for next week when I’ll be speaking with USA Today Bestselling author Julie Morgan.
Until Next Time,
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