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Home » Authors, Giveaways, Guests, Interviews, Jenna Petersen, Jess Michaels, Jesse Petersen

Interview and Giveaway: An Introduction to Pleasure by Jess Michaels

Submitted by on June 18, 2012 – 4:00 am26 Comments

Kitt: Hi Jess, we’d like to welcome you to Paperback Dolls! We’re so happy to have you here.

Jess: You don’t even know how happy I am to be here!

Kitt: Since this is your first time at Paperback Dolls, can you tell our readers a little about yourself?

Jess: Sure! I write erotic historical romances as Jess Michaels, historical romance as Jenna Petersen and zombie comedy as Jesse Petersen. I’ve been published by Avon Books, Orbit Books, independently and now I’m very excited to be joining the Samhain Publishing family! I live in Tucson, AZ with my husband and best friend, Michael and our two cats. In my spare time I am a huge geek and love to scrapbook and design jewelry. I’m also aunt to the two sweetest little boys on the planet.

Kitt: When did you first start writing? What made you decide – ‘ok, this is it, I’m writing a book’?

Jess: I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I won a Young Authors award in 5th grade. But in college I wrote my first full-length book. I set it aside until after I graduated by with some prodding from my lovely husband, I dedicated myself to writing full-time in 1999 and have been writing ever since.

Kitt: Do you have any authors that you took inspiration from or influenced you the most?

Jess: I’ve always loved romances by Julia Quinn and Lisa Kleypas.

Kitt: When you want to get away from your own books and take a break, what do you read? Do you have a certain genre you prefer?

Jess: I’m in a bookclub, which has really helped me read more and we read very broadly in genre, nonfiction and literary fiction. I’ve also just been hired to do a monthly column for our local paper reviewing books, so that has helped me stretch. I just love a good book honestly, whatever the genre.

Kitt: How did you get started writing in the erotic romance genre?

Jess: My Jenna Petersen books were always very sexy, so it wasn’t much of a stretch to write an erotic romance. My first was the novella “Ancient Pleasures”, which appeared in SECRETS, Volume 11. I wrote it mostly just to try something different and it ended up being my first sale. When Avon launched Red, they asked me to be a part of it and that established the kind of books I’m really known for, which are the Regency-set erotic romances.

Kitt: You have two more alter-egos, besides your Jess Michaels persona, how do you keep them all separate?

Jess: Jess Michaels and Jenna Petersen share a website, since the tone and subject matter of the books is very similar. It’s Most readers who like Jess also like the Jenna books and vice versa. The Jesse Petersen name has its own website, twitter, facebook, etc because those books are not romance. I wouldn’t want to cause confusion by merging two such different genres and two varying readerships. Again, though, I think a lot of Jenna readers have really liked my Jesse books (

Kitt: Do you ever catch yourself letting the erotica bleed over into the other genres?

Jess: Not the urban fantasy, but again, the Jenna books were always very sexy.

Kitt: Out of all your books, which was your favorite book to write and why?

Jess: I don’t think I could pick a “favorite”. Books are like kids in that way. They each have their own personality and set of circumstances around them. I’ve loved each one while writing it and am proud of all the books I’ve written.

Kitt: Can you tell us a little bit about An Introduction to Pleasure, releasing tomorrow?

Jess: In the book, innocent Lysandra Keates is in an untenable position where she feels she has no choice but to turn to experienced mistress Vivien Manning and beg her to match her with a protector. Vivien worries that Lysandra isn’t ready for what that may entail, so she asks an old friend, Viscount Andrew Callis to “tutor” her. Andrew has been isolated since he lost his wife and child, but he is attracted to Lysandra and agrees. But there is much standing between them and any kind of more permanent happiness. And it’s suuuuuper sexy. :)

Kitt: Of all your characters in the Mistress Matchmaker series, which one is your favorite?

Jess: Oh man, it’s just as hard to pick a favorite character as a favorite book! But I think Vivien Manning, the notorious Mistress Matchmaker and heroine of the third book, HER PERFECT MATCH is my favorite. She is the catalyst for all things.

Kitt: Was there a particular scene or part of the book that was more challenging to write, if so, can you explain?

Jess: Not really. With erotic romance, there’s always a balance between sexuality and emotion. And that’s the trick. But since I love writing erotic romance and have done it through almost ten books and novellas, it’s something I like rising to.

Kitt: If there is a lesson that each of your main characters need to learn what would it be?

Jess: With me, a theme I always love to pursue is the healing power of love. My characters often fear it or believe they’ve lost their chance for it, but once they embrace it they see how worthwhile it is. I think readers can see that theme throughout many of my romances.

Kitt: What can we expect next from your Mistress Matchmaker series?

Jess: The second book, FOR DESIRE ALONE, comes out November 6. We’re just about to start editorial on it. And then March 5, the last book will be out. I’ll be turning it in in the next couple of weeks, so I’m just finishing it up now. Each book has been really fun for me, so I hope readers will love them.

Kitt: So, what’s next on your “to-do” list? We know you are busy promoting your new book, but are there any new works in progress we can be anticipating? Or are there any other genres that you’d like to explore?

Jess: Right now I’m still really focused on the Mistress Matchmaker series and finishing it up. I have a lot of projects out in the world right now so we’ll have to see how those pan out and then I’ll be able to make more decisions about what is coming next. Fans interested in hearing more can sign up for my newsletter at and follow me on and/or . I update all of that stuff regularly (especially Facebook).

Kitt: If there were a question that no one has asked you as of yet, and you really wish they would, what would that be?

Jess: Maybe, how can readers and bloggers help an author? And the answer is, please, please keep buying our books, recommend them to friends, review them on Amazon/BN, tweet about them, Facebook about them. If you love an author, spread the word. In today’s environment, an author can be cut and disappear in a heartbeat. Reader and blogger support can make a huge difference. If you would like to apply this new knowledge, that book of mine is out tomorrow. :)

Kitt: We want to thank you so much for taking the time to visit us and answer our questions! We are super thrilled to have you on Paperback Dolls. Best of Luck to you!

Jess: Thanks so much for having me!

Jess Michaels is a pseudonym used by author Jenna Peterson.

Jenna Petersen knew she wanted to be a writer at a very young age and had a very specific image of what that meant. In her mind, she would live in Los Angeles (why not New York… who knows?), attend book signings, drive a very expensive car and date endlessly (and apparently, unsuccessfully). There was little actual writing involved in the fantasy.

Instead, she got a degree in Psychology from the University of Washington, married her high school sweetheart and moved to Central Illinois. There was much actual writing involved in the reality and she learned a lot in the years she waited to hear she sold a book.

Jenna enjoys travel, history, live baseball, Bears and Eagles football, and of course, all things related to reading and writing. She runs a website for aspiring authors called The Passionate Pen, which has become a popular resource in the romance writing community. She also writes erotic romance under the pseudonym Jess Michaels.

Find Jess: As Jess/Jenna Website | As Jesse Website | |
On GoodReads: | |

An innocent lady’s education could be a gentleman’s wicked seduction.

Mistress Matchmaker, Book 1

Lysandra Keates is running out of options. Her father is dead, her mother is ill, and her efforts to find respectable employment have ended in failure. With her small savings bleeding away, she swallows her pride—and her terror—and turns to Vivien Manning, an infamous courtesan, to match her with a wealthy protector.

For years, Viscount Andrew Callis has lived a monastic existence at his country estate, hardening his body against the snobbish, lazy young man he once was, hardening his heart against grief over the deaths of his wife and infant son. When Vivien asks him to spend one month training a young woman in the ways of a mistress, his mind resists…but his body responds with an ache he thought long dead.

As Andrew begins his gentle tutelage, he finds himself falling under the spell of Lysandra’s innocent charms. And as they give in to the powerful hunger, the last thing Andrew ever expected, or wanted, forms between them. An emotional connection that could carry them well past the training period—if only Andrew can open his heart to the possibility of love.

Product Warnings
Includes training in all kinds of sexual positions and delights, as well as an emotional romance. May produce swooning.

Prim, headstrong, and beautiful Penelope is determined to expose the licentious affairs of the “ton”‘s randiest rakes. Now one of their powerful number–the unrepentant libertine Jeremy Vaughn, Duke of Kilgrath–has been selected to put an end to the prudish lady’s interference. Jeremy’s plan is devilishly clever: He will join Penelope’s war against immorality, fighting passionately by her side, all the while showering her with anonymous erotic missives designed to titillate even the coldest, most unwilling maid. He will break down her defenses and inflame her repressed desires by escorting her (in the interests of their “noble campaign”) to London’s most notorious pleasure palaces. And he will visit her boudoir–masked–during the night to school her in the deliciously sinful arts she wishes to abolish. Then he will expose her hypocrisy to the world.

But the handsome rogue’s scheme is doomed to go awry, even as the lovely Penelope sheds her every inhibition and freely gives in to his every whim. For in this sensuous game of hearts, it’s the seducer who becomes seduced . . .

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway provided by Jess Michaels. By entering this giveaway, you are agreeing to the rules set by our Giveaway Policy. Ends 06/23 US/Ca only.

Paperback Dolls is made up of women from different parts of the world, with different backgrounds, different tastes and beliefs that were brought together through a love of reading. We like to think of ourselves as a cyber version of "The View" that focuses on books, authors, and reading. We are proof positive that one common love can unite the most opposite of people and form lasting friendships that introduce other ways of life and perspectives to each other.
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  • sienny says:

    hi Jenna!

    i’m curious about how authors who used pseudoname treat their pseudoname or alter-ego. did you think of Jess as an entirely different person or just another voice in your head or maybe just like a nickname?

    Reply to this comment »
    • When I’m writing, I’m always writing as me. The real me. It’s only the pseudonyms that publish not write. So Jess or Jenna really only come out when the book is being published and I need to do stuff to promote it. When I’m writing an erotic romance, I know the parameters I need to follow, so I’m thinking of that when I’m plotting. Many of my erotic romances have a sexual conflict and that means the love scenes flow naturally and fit into the story as part of the plot.

      Reply to this comment »
  • Maureen says:

    What a broad range of stories you write. I am interested in how you decided to write a story with zombies.

    Reply to this comment »
    • I wrote MARRIED WITH ZOMBIES just to entertain myself, really. I had a funny idea and just wrote it for myself. My agent loved it and so did a couple of publishers, as it went to auction in 2009. Ultimately I went with Orbit and they published three books in the series.

      Reply to this comment »
  • Diane D - Florida says:

    You definitely write a broad range of stories. I had no idea that you wrote erotic historical romance too. I find this really interesting, and intriguing. I’d definitely love to read “Something Reckless”. Thank you for this great opportunity. :-)

    Reply to this comment »
    • I always laugh when people say they didn’t know Jenna and Jess are the same person, it’s like the worst kept non-secret. We share a twitter/facebook/website and I always talk about both in interviews with Jenna/Jess. But the cool thing is that I have like 10 books as Jess, so if you ever liked Jenna and are just discovering this fact, you have a lot of books to read. :)

      Reply to this comment »
      • Diane D - Florida says:

        I don’t understand why I didn’t know this. I’m a fan of your Facebook page, but for some reason, your posts (along with tons of others), don’t show up on my page. The thing is, I’ve subscribed for all your’s (and others’) posts to be shown in my news feed. Oh well, I’m happy that I now know this. Thanks dear. :-)

        Reply to this comment »
        • Facebook is changing so that “pages” like mine have to sometimes pay to get their posts to show up on their fans pages. It’s really dumb. I have a newsletter and I post on twitter as @jennaromance, too, so those may be good ways to keep up, too.

          Reply to this comment »
  • erinf1 says:

    Thanks for a fun post and giveaway! Congrats on the new release. I’m definitely going to be checking out your titles :)

    Reply to this comment »
  • Maria Pena says:

    Did not realize you wrote under a different name. Sounds good though

    Reply to this comment »
  • Mona Leigh says:

    Squeeee!!! I’m such a fan girl! I introduced Kitt to your books many moons ago, and since then, she’s kept me updated on your new releases because I tend to lose track of time.

    I love your characters and stories, and you’ve ruined me for most other erotica writers. Everything Forbidden is a masterpiece, and makes the Fifty Shades of Grey series look like crayon drawings.

    Thank you for your wonderful writing!

    Reply to this comment »
  • Diane Sallans says:

    I’m curious about what is the difference or dividing line between erotic & ‘regular’ historic romance. What is included or excluded from one or the other.

    Reply to this comment »
    • Erotic romance of any kind is usually more descriptive in love scenes, the language is more blunt and the conflicts often revolve around something sexual (we’ve made a sexual bargain, someone is blackmail someone else sexually, in INTRODUCTION TO PLEASURE the hero is the heroine’s sexual tutor). That doesn’t mean a regular historical romance won’t contain those elements, most of my historical romances as Jenna Petersen were very, very sexy, but it’s a tone thing, at least for me.

      Reply to this comment »
  • Victoria Zumbrum says:

    I would love to read this book. It sounds very good

    Reply to this comment »
  • Lisa Hutson says:

    The idea of different names, styles of stories that go with different names, it fascinates me. I cant read more than one book at a time. I cannot imagine the same person writing so many different kinds of stories. Like watching someone play guitar or piano. Reading music and two hands doing two different things! Its amazing to me!! I am so not a multi tasker! haha

    Reply to this comment »
    • I write one book at a time, really. Unless I’m forced to do more than one project at a time, I write projects individually. So it isn’t really multi-tasking. And like I said, I write books as ME. The real me. It’s really how they’re marketed which is how the different names come in.

      Reply to this comment »
  • Lori Meehan says:

    I love your books. They are some of the best erotic historical books that I’ve read. I cant wait to read this one. Thanks for the fun interview.
    lorimeehan1 @ aol .com

    Reply to this comment »
  • Thanks for having me here today everyone! I hope you’ll pick up AN INTRODUCTION TO PLEASURE tomorrow from Barnes and Noble, Amazon or Samhain directly! And if you buy it, I hope you enjoy it! :)

    Reply to this comment »
  • What a fun interview. Your books sound amazing.

    Reply to this comment »
  • June M. says:

    I have read some of your historical (Jenna) books but not your Jess books yet. I have had them on my wishlist though, I love books like this. Congrats on your new release and on the success of all your books/aliases.

    Reply to this comment »
  • bn100 says:

    I enjoyed the interview. The book sounds good.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Paperback Dolls » Week in Review and Winners! says:

    [...] Monday the fabulous Jess Michaels visited! Read her Interview here. [...]

    Reply to this comment »