I read you studied political science in college. Were you writing novels or short stories then as well?
No! I was busy partying my face off for the first two years and then buckling down for the last two. I’ve always been a reader and that was a huge advantage when seeking a Poli-Sci degree, because I certainly had to read and read and read.
Poughkeepsie is such a tender story — what inspired that sweet, innocent love story?
Real life! What a lame answer. But I’ve always been surrounded by sweet love stories. My parents have been married for 42 years and they’re still best friends. My grandparents were married for over 60 years when death parted them. And then, of course, there’s my husband, we’ve been together for over 15 years. And the numbers start to matter when you realize how much you go through in that time. I learned that it’s the little things that matter. Passing the salt, holding hands. I wanted to showcase the kind of love that’s not flashy, just endless.
You’re currently writing the sequel to Poughkeepsie. How is that coming, what can we expect and when do you think it might be published?
Beckett is filthy and this is his story. He has a lot of demons to face. It’s shaping up to be very sexual and violent and (I hope) touching. I’m hoping to have it in print December 2013.
The Seraphim series (Crushed Seraphim and Bittersweet Seraphim) is entirely different with its tale of fallen angels, immortals and the Devil Jack. Were you ever writing and editing them at the same time? Was it challenging to shift gears from one to the other?
Yes! I was writing Poughkeepsie, Crushed Seraphim and a horrible comedy all at the same time. Well, they overlapped. Poughkeepsie was first and then Crushed began just before Poughkeepsie ended. It was not too hard to switch, but I think at the time I really needed to see how crazy writing could be. I was new to the craft. Now, I prefer to write one story at a time. I’m not nearly smart enough to maintain that many plots at once — all the time!
Devil Jack... He was a character I wanted to hate, yet I desperately wanted him to find redemption and peace. Did you know as you wrote it that it would be a two book series?
No! I didn’t. In the first draft of Crushed Seraphim Jack died. My readers at the time were not happy! He has a life of his own. Jack was not supposed to be the male lead. He waltzed in and took over the whole damn book! And now that it is finished, I’m terribly grateful to him. I loved the path he took my angel Emma on. The second book came from needing to end Emma’s cliffhanger.
Do you wish you could change your characters’ behavior yet know you have to stay true to them?
I never know what to expect. I have certain characters I feel safe writing about, like Blake. He always reacts with impeccable manners and kindness. But, when I sit down to write Beckett, I never know what he’ll do until I’m finished. Half the time I’m exasperated because I had a plan and he ruins it!
How has social media been a part of your writing and publishing journey?
I started in fan fiction, so I had the most intelligent, caring teachers. The women (and some men) in the community are incredibly selfless with their time and offers to help. So, when I was writing Poughkeepsie, I was guided by the book reviewers to Twitter and Facebook so I could interact there. For me, social media is the connection I have with my readers and it’s hard to do without it. I was used to feedback every chapter, and I do miss that. I loved just hearing from my readers and getting their opinions on how the story was developing. And, of course, a few of my characters have their own twitter too! (@Beckett_Taylor and @Satan_Jack)
I read that your image of Jack was a compilation of Johnny Depp characters. Could you imagine Henry Cavill in that role?
I love picturing Henry just in general. He’s a super talented actor on top of being handsome. He would do justice to any role. In particular, Satan Jack has a swagger that Henry would pull off. Plus, one of Jack’s powers is inspiring lust so…
If you were given the opportunity to turn your book into a movie, do you think Henry could pull off the character of Devil Jack with all of his complexities?
Yes! I actually modeled the whole character around one single snapshot I saw of Johnny Depp surrounded by empty liquor bottles. But, Jack is very much his own personality. I think Henry would be able to portray Jack, because he needs to be scary, sweet and deadly. Most importantly, the audience would need to believe that Jack can change despite being the Devil, and Mr. Cavill brings that talent to the table.
Your Twitter and Facebook pages are very funny to read. Any thoughts of writing a romantic comedy?
Thank you! Lord help us all. I have a completed, horrible romantic comedy. It’s the worst story ever written. And I’m going to publish it. I love laughing and if someone else smiles from something I wrote? That’s incredible.
If you haven’t yet discovered Debra Anastasia’s wonderful books, I encourage you to give them a try. Her writing style draws you in with her wonderful varied characters and their often unexpected adventures. And, of course, they all have love stories at their core. Her books are available on Amazon
By Jen F.