The JR Bunnies are happy to welcome Author Denyse Bridger!
What is your most current work out?
That would be Champagne and Chocolate, published by Naughty Nights Press.
Tell us a little about Champagne and Chocolate, what inspired you to write Champagne and Chocolate?
This story came about in odd ways, really. Part of it was written many years back, and the rest of it written last year. I love Westerns and even when I finish with a story, it continues to evolve in my mind for some reason. This doesn’t tend to happen with the contemporary books, or most of the fantasy stories.
The blurb sort of says it all: Austin Standish is a man of refined tastes. Intelligent and educated, Austin enjoys all of the best life has to offer. A gambler, a gunslinger, and a man who has plans to taste the sweetest prize at The Palace Casino and Saloon – the lovely owner, Chantille L’Amour, the most sought after jewel on the Barbary Coast.
Running a high-class brothel and casino isn’t exactly the life she was born to but Chantille is determined to overcome the ruin her family was left in once the Civil War ended. But, she has chosen a difficult path… one that demands much and leaves her lonely. She’s noticed the handsome man who comes into her world from time to time, and when she chooses to give in to desire, the passion evoked by Austin’s touch may change her life forever…
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
I tend to have outlines in place, though in shorter stories those outlines can be as brief as a couple of paragraphs. New elements and threads always present themselves and add layers to the overall story, but for the most part, I always know where the story is going. I find if I don’t have at least a loose plot in place, the story can wander aimlessly… if the story is wandering, then I assume reader interest will do the same thing, so best to avoid it! 😉
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
I’ve been in love with Westerns since I was a child, cowboys and marshals and gunslingers… my first heroes were from this era and genre, and the attraction remains. I always end up going back to this genre to write. My first publishing contract was for a Western, and who knows, maybe in future the last one will be for something like this, too? J
Champagne and Chocolate contains a series of elements near to my heart, and an inspiration who’s been part of my psyche forever. One of my first heroes was Richard Boone’s Paladin, the original man in black. He was urbane, educated, had refined tastes, and loved luxury. He was also dangerous, deadly, and his code of honour and dedication to justice defined his entire character. When I created Austin Standish, a lot of that integrity and style became woven into his character, as well. Adding elements of post Civil War poverty to influence the heroine’s choices made her a character readers could understand, because she was introduced as the owner of a brothel.
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
There are two that fall into that category, really. Inspector Michael Devane, who is a Victorian era policeman, and was part of the Jack the Ripper investigation team. He is an opium addict, and a clairvoyant, so there’s a lot going on with him. Getting the details right required a lot of reading and research, as did the details of the Ripper murder victims. The other character who presented me a challenge was my first contemporary cowboy, Chase Jordan from Texas Heat. I wanted to write a lot of the story from Chase’s point of view, and that was something of a first for me. I really wasn’t sure I knew how to write a dominant cowboy who’s suffering from PTSD and likes his sex edgy. Still, most of the reviews have been incredible, so I guess I got it right with some help from my wonderful editor.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
I try not to pull real life people into my stories, but I suppose some of them do end up there, even if I’m not consciously aware of putting them there. I do often “cast” characters just so I can get a better feel for them in my mind as I’m getting to know them. It’s inevitable that by the time I finish, they bear little resemblance to who they started out as, of course. I have started creating visual boards on Pinterest for my more detailed novels and it’s proving to be a lot of fun.
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
It’s always been to get the first draft down. I keep self-editing and second guessing to such an extent that it takes much longer than it should now. I used to be able to sit down and just write… never gave it much thought at all. Now, I’ve spent the past year learning and studying new techniques and styles… I overthink everything, and I need to get past that to just let the words flow again.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
I’m shy to the point of wanting to be a recluse most of the time. I find it very hard to put myself out there and interact. I just want to write, but these days that’s impossible. A social presence is vital, and I know it, so I work hard at being visible, even on days when I want to run away.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
I think my guilty pleasure is old television shows. And, Old Time Radio dramas, which I love to listen to at night. And popcorn!
What TV Show/s are you addicted to?
Nothing current. I don’t even know what’s on anymore. I have very little time for television, and rarely watch it. When I do give myself a couple of hours to watch, I usually pop in a DVD and enjoy something I know I like. I have an extensive collection, and my tastes run all over the place, so there’s usually something for any mood. I am particularly fond of old Westerns, I have to admit. J
Do you have a hobby that you like to try and squeeze in?
I don’t know if you’d call it a hobby, but I love to bake, and do try to make time for that. I love to take walks in the local park, too, they have 9km of walking trails, and it’s a gorgeous place.
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice don’t flow?
Nothing that is a must have. I can write almost anywhere. In restaurants while I’m waiting, coffee shops, anywhere I can open a notebook and start. All I need is the idea, and I’m good to go. It wasn’t always that way, but over the years it just gets easier to put the pen to page, or hands to keyboard. 😉
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
Occasionally music is part of a story, one of my releases with Eirelander Publishing is totally based on a song called Bella Bella Signorina. I got permission to use small parts of the lyrics, and I built the story around the idea of the song. A lot of the time, I have music playing in the background when I write, but mostly I tend to just tune out.
Do you write one book from start to finish or are there multiple works underway at any given time?
There are always multiple stories underway, in various stages of completion. I have so much moving that I have a story for every mood that hits me.
Where were you when you got your first contract? What was the book and who did you tell first?
Home, my sister checked my email for me and called to read me the news. So, she was the first one to know. The book was a short story called A Safer Haven, and it had won the Amber Heat contest with Amber Quill Press. It was later revised and edited all over again, to be released as Another Man’s Wife at Samhain Publishing.
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
Eleven. It was a Harlequin called A Shining Star by Hilary Wilde. I still remember the hero’s name and the setting… I loved that book!
Do you have an all-time favorite romance book (not written by you J)?
Gone With The Wind, I’ve read it many times since the first time when I was 17.
What author causes you to “go fan girl”/ squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
Lara Adrian, and Lucy Monroe.
If you still have one of those pesky non writing jobs what is it?
I’m a full-time caregiver for my mother, so the job never ends for me.
Do you have a favorite movie you have seen in the last few months and an all-time favorite?
All-time favourite is Gone With The Wind, followed closely by Casablanca. I haven’t seen anything new that caught my imagination, not for years.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
I’m currently working on revisions for my next novel, Grande Amore, a romance set in Italy. Next in the wings is my first ever series, The BlackHawk Agency. It’s a combination of romance, intrigue, and suspense. I’ve got the first two already plotted out and ready to go. I even had a graphics design team do a logo for the series.
If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
I really don’t know. Probably Lucy Monroe or Lara Adrian.
How did you hear about the “bunnies” at Joyfully Reviewed?
I saw a post on one of the Yahoo lists announcing the new site. I’ve had some lovely reviews from Joyfully Reviewed over the years, so it’s lovely to be here with your readers!
Where can readers find you, Denysé? (Include all links you want, facebook, twitter etc….)
Mobile friendly website: http://www.denysebridger.weebly.com
Fantasy Pages (general): http://fantasy-pages.blogspot.com
Bound by Passion (adult content): http://boundpassion.blogspot.com
Random Acts of Sex and Romance (fiction blog):
Sensual Treats Magazine: http://www.sensualtreats.webs.com
Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/denysebridger
Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/Romance.and.Fantasy
Romance and Fantasy Google+ Page:
And for the silly side –
What is your favorite type of ice cream?
French Vanilla or Butter Pecan!!