As an author and avid reader of sensual romance and erotica, Jill Blair believes the two greatest pleasures in life are sex and travel, attributing her happy marriage and vivid imagination to the generous combination of both.
The proud mother of two strapping boys, she has enjoyed a colorful variety of jobs--mother, waitress, bartender, restaurateur, entrepreneur, University student, petroleum chemist, and several in-betweens—all serving as building blocks (and storylines) for her lifelong dream of writing and publishing romance novels.
Originally from Canton, Ohio, Jill’s parents uprooted her to sunny Southern California where surfing was a high school requirement and scuba diving became an adulthood passion. She still resides in California with her incredible husband, the inspiration for all her heroes.
Q: How often do you write?
A: I write every day. Sometimes it’s only for a few minutes in the evening (I have a day job that frowns upon my writing at work!) and sometimes it’s for hours on the weekends (I completely lose the concept of time when my imagination is awake).
Q: How do you develop your heroes and heroines?
A: I begin with the basic story. I will sometimes write several pages before the names of the characters reveal themselves. Once they have their names, emotions and physical characteristics naturally build. Amazingly, a character will sometimes change as the story evolves.
Q: Where do you get ideas for your books?
A: Ideas for my stories come from my real life experiences. The concept for my newest novel, The Thirty Day Gamble, came from my personal knowledge working in the oil industry combined with the scenic wonder I experienced motorcycling through North Dakota on the back of my husband’s Harley.
Q: Do you plan your stories or go with the flow?
A: I start with a basic outline and then I let the characters take over. I am constantly surprised by the things they do and say.
Q: If you could be any character of any book or movie, who would you be?
A: I would be Scarlett O’Hara, except smart enough to appreciate Rhett for the real man and fantastic lover he was. Marriage with him would be fun for the man and the woman! Ashley who?
Q: Do you have any unfinished projects sitting around?
A: I have several stories on my iPad. Since I carry it in my purse, whenever I see something that pops a new idea in my head, I pull out my pad and jot down the thought. When the thought gels into a storyline, I write a quick outline which usually leads into a few chapters.
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
A: I have always wanted to be a writer. I remember when I was eight years old; I would write stories on paper towels, one illustrated page per towel, at my mother’s kitchen table and she would bind the pages together with a stapler. When I started reading romances as a teen-ager, I would write romantic scenes using my newest infatuation as the hero.
The desire to have a roof over my head and not eat cat food postponed my ability to concentrate on becoming an author. Finally able to devote the time, I picked up the first three chapters of a novel I started years earlier, updated it to include cell phones and computers, and finished it.
Q: Are you working on other stories now?
A: I am polishing two other sensual romance novels and one short story erotica.
Q: What’s the hardest thing about writing a novel?
A: The hardest thing is deciding when it is really finished. Each time I read it, I keep editing…just one more sentence re-structure, another new descriptive. Finally, I have to just stop reading it.
Q: What does it feel like to be doing what you truly love?
A: Confucius said, 'Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.' I’ve enjoyed most the jobs in my life, but when I write—for the first time—I understand exactly what Confucius meant.
Q: What do you do to relax after having spent a long while writing?
A: Writing is my relaxation; it’s my escape from the real world.
Q: Do you have any hobbies?
A: My husband calls me his renaissance woman because I have so many interests. I tile bathrooms (we live in an older house…2 down, 1 to go), scuba dive (almost a requirement in Southern California), voraciously read (nearly lost the Kindle while on the back of the Harley), play cards (Hand and Foot Canasta), and enjoy spiced rum (we won’t talk about my Sailor Jerry tattoo).
Q: How do you come up with titles for your books?
A: Titles are tough; I have changed the title on one of my manuscripts at least three times. I will brainstorm and write down ten to twenty potential titles and then send them to my girlfriend, JoElle. She’s a huge fan of romance novels and has read hundreds (I think it’s closer to thousands!). She’ll go through the list and edit them. She’ll only send back the couple that, as a romance reader, would peak her curiosity enough to pick the title up from the shelf.
Q: What is the one writing tool you can’t live without?
A: My imagination. I sometimes believe it has a mind of its own because it will wander off, causing all writing to completely cease until it returns.
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