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Interview With Jesse Pearle
Susana: What inspired you to start writing?
Jesse: I’d written some in college but nothing that was particularly inspired. It wasn’t until I started playing fantasy RPGs that the creative itch really got going. I play both video and tabletop RPGs, and the open-ended storytelling in them really leaves a lot up to the imagination. And boy did I imagine. I ended up with a story stuck in my head—a love story between two characters in two of my favorite video games that kept niggling in my brain until I finally sat down to write it.
Susana: How long have you been writing?
Jesse: November 2011 was when I first got that itch and haven’t been able to stop writing since.
Susana: What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Jesse: You can’t work in a vacuum. One of the best things I could have done for my writing was to let other people read it and critique it. I still remember the first constructive feedback I received on my first story. It was soooo hard to hear, but it was good for my writing to hear it. I’m still friends with the person now, and I am best friends with one of my other crit partners. It can be tricky to grow accustomed to honest feedback, but the more you do it, the more objective you learn to become about your own work, and the thicker a skin you develop. Having a thick skin is crucial to maintaining your sanity as a writer because bad reviews are inevitable, no matter how good your writing is.
Susana: What comes first: the plot or the characters?
Jesse: Characters almost always come first for me. Even in my current project I have a cast of characters who I know have to get from point A to point B. I’m just writing along, letting them show me how they need to get there. The plot tends to emerge in the process of me discovering what the characters’ true goals and conflicts are, and what will motivate them to overcome their conflicts to reach their goals.
Susana: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Jesse: I’m about 90 percent pantser. Like I said above, I just know there’s a Point A and Point B (the beginning and the end), and perhaps a vague milestone somewhere in the middle. The plot gets fleshed out as I write my characters’ journeys between those points.
Susana: Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.
Jesse: While I was writing it I considered it an erotic romance due to the focus I placed on the sex scenes. It is, at it’s heart, a romantic suspense. I suppose you could take some of the sex out and the plot would still be intact, but some of the sex scenes are crucial enough to push it pretty close to an erotic romance. One of the books reviewers so far describes it as “off the charts” which was what I was going for.
Susana: Are you working on something at present that you would like to tell us about?
Jesse: I am constantly working on something. At the moment it’s a series of menage erotica novellas that I publish under a different pen name to protect the innocent (or maybe the guilty). I don’t hide it, however, and readers can find the link on my website—just look for the dragons.
Susana: What are you reading now?
Jesse: I just finished a book called Going Under, by Jeffe Kennedy. It’s a hot erotic romance that takes place in the San Juan islands. It’s a love story between a reclusive female video game designer and an investigative journalist seeking out the elusive designer (who he believes is a man based on the designer’s internet personas). I couldn’t put it down. I loved the gaming aspect of it (because I am a gamer), but the “games” that happen in the book aren’t strictly the digital variety. It has some very well written BDSM sex scenes, but my favorite part is how well-written the dynamic is between the two characters and their struggle to work up to an honest, open, mature relationship.
Susana: What author or authors have most influenced your writing?
Jesse: I’m influenced every day by other authors and not just by reading their books. My best friends are writers and they are my most valuable sounding boards for my books. But as far as well-known authors who have influenced my career, I would say Diana Gabaldon has been the strongest influence on my particular style of prose, Stephen King for his methods, and Hugh Howey for his take on the publishing industry.
Susana: Do you have a favorite quote or saying?
Jesse: “Some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.” – Gilda Radner
As much as I love a happily ever after, I honestly prefer books that are a little more unpredictable. I absolutely love cliffhangers, so I apologize to readers who don’t care for them. Pretty much everything I write tends to have them.
About Second Skin
Obsession is never just skin deep.
Sam Blanco’s greatest desire is to escape his abusive father and violent neighborhood the only way he can—by earning money as a tattoo artist for a street gang. He’s befriended their leader, the deadly Leo Reyes, and gained a measure of safety under their protection. But just when things are going right for the first time in Sam’s life, Leo’s girlfriend, Pilar Flores, walks in and requests a tattoo in an unusual location. Sam obliges, but the experience leaves them both reeling. Unable to focus for days, Sam finds himself craving Pilar’s touch, but she’s exactly the kind of trouble he doesn’t need.
Pilar Flores is her father’s daughter. Being the daughter of a drug lord is not an easy role to fill, but she aspires to live up to the title and make her father proud. But her father has no plans to allow her into the business, and Pilar hates being sidelined. She hates that Leo is away for days on end, and she especially hates being treated like an incompetent female by every man she sees. Except for Sam. She decides to take control of her life the only way she knows how—through seduction. But she’s not prepared for how eager and passionate a lover Sam is, or how deeply she’s drawn to him. Even though she knows their ill-fated affair can’t possibly end well…
“Yeah, if I’m finished working on them I might take them out, give them away or what not. But it’s hard to know when I’m done. Some take a while.”
Sam set out the pieces of his machine in the usual, methodical order to begin assembling it once his client arrived. Something niggled at the back of his mind, however—somewhere behind the image of Pilar tied to her bed, her sweet dimples challenging him to do exactly the thing he planned to do as soon as he finished his drawing.
“Motherfucker,” Benny muttered under his breath.
A hot rush of panic infused Sam at the same instant he realized what he’d done…or failed to do.
“Like this one?” Benny turned the sketchbook around.
Sam’s stomach lurched when he saw the detailed nude sketch he’d made of Pilar Sunday morning. He’d spent enough time rendering her face that there was no mistaking who she was.
“Tell me you just drew her face from memory on some other girl’s body.”
Sam was sure he had a deer-in-the-headlights look when he said, “Not exactly…”
Benny gaped at him then looked back at the drawing. After a second more of studying it he just shook his head.
“Man, you are something else. I seriously think you must have a death wish. Or one huge pair of cojones.”
Sam had lost the ability to speak. His brain frantically attempted to process the implications of his friend seeing the picture of Pilar. Fuck, fuck, fuck, this wasn’t supposed to happen. You’re a fucking idiot, Sam.
About the Author
Jesse Pearle grew up in the mountains of Western North Carolina in a place where there was no danger in dancing naked in the moonlight at the top of a mountain. Always possessed of a creative mind, but never quite the right amount of focus, she wandered for decades. She received a degree in fine art which she put to poor use working an uneventful desk job for an engineering company when she started writing her first really ambitious piece of fiction. She lives in sunny Southern California with her ever supportive husband and four attention-whoring cats.