Friday, May 18, 2007

BookEnds Talks to Deanna Lee

Deanna Lee
Book: Barenaked Jane
Publisher: Kensington Aphrodisia
Pub date: April 2007
Agent: Jessica Faust

(Click to Buy)

Deanna Lee lives in the southern United States with her husband and new puppy. She is a full-time writer, an avid reader, and a haphazard blogger. Deanna believes in fate, lust at first sight, and the power of love. She would love to hear from readers:

Author Web site:

BookEnds: Describe your book in 50 words or less.
Deanna: Jane Tilwell has a take-charge approach to life. That means dealing with Mathias Montgomery head-on. He's all alpha male: arrogant, sexy, and rock-hard solid. Who is this incredibly sensual man? How does he know her so intimately? To answer each and every question, Jane lays herself bare—ready, naked, and willing. . . .

BookEnds: How did you come to write this book?
Deanna: Barenaked Jane is the sequel to Undressing Mercy (my first print novel). When I first created the character of Jane, I honestly wasn’t sure if she’d ever get her own story. But she’s the feisty sort, and not long after I finished Undressing Mercy, I realized that Jane, with her blunt and ready sexuality, had a story that needed to be told. Barenaked Jane is the result of that realization.

BookEnds: What is your writing process like?
Deanna: I’m a plotter. I plot and plot and plot some more. There are times when I’ll stop mid-novel and replot if I’m not happy with something that I’ve done. The plot for Barenaked Jane was written on a legal pad—one hundred pages of notes, scribbles, and snatches of snarky dialogue.

BookEnds: Why have you chosen to write in the genre in which you write?
Deanna: I’ve always written romance . . . though as a young woman I dabbled in fantasy a little here and there. The choice to move into erotic/sensual romance came late one night when I was trying to find a reasonable yet not silly term for the . . . uh . . . male personal/private part. Finally—I just wrote what that big C word all over the place and it was such an immense relief. I realized—hey, this is really great and I haven’t written “his sword of desire” since, honest.

BookEnds: What else are you working on?
Deanna: Currently I’m working on a novella for one of the "Sexy Beast" anthologies published at Kensington Aphrodisia. It’s a futuristic cat-shifter—he’s a big panther, she’s a ticked-off damsel in distress . . . lots of fun there!

BookEnds: Besides getting your first book published, what would you say have been some of the highlights of your writing career so far?
Deanna: I’ve had a fairy-tale career, you know! The first novella I ever submitted to a publisher (Liquid Silver Books) was accepted, I have the kind of supportive and aggressive agent that other authors dream about, and now I write every day. Life really couldn’t be sweeter. The real highlights:

• The day I opened an email from Jessica Faust telling me how much she enjoyed Undressing Mercy runs neck and neck with the day she called to tell me that I had an offer for a 3-book deal with Kensington for a new line called Aphrodisia.

• My first fan email made me cry like a big girl.

• When Undressing Mercy was nominated for Erotica Book of the Year for 2005 by Romantic Times. I called everyone I knew and some people I didn’t.

• Seeing the excerpt of Barenaked Jane in the May '07 issue of Cosmo—the clerk at Wal-Mart didn’t believe it was me when I told her but I was too excited to care.

Feel free to ask Deanna questions in the comments section. She'll pop in during the day to answer them.

To learn more about Deanna, see Our Books at


Caren Crane said...

Deanna, it seems you gave yourself "permission" to write more erotic stories and found your niche. I admire people who plot extensively, since I find it difficult. It would seem that writing what comes naturally would help that. Once you opened that door, did you easily find plots to suit your new subgenre?

Deanna Lee said...

I will say that once I let myself go on the explicit language and sexual content issue (I'm naturally a pretty blunt person) that there was this sense of relief.

My plot process is huge, messy, and very satisfying... but one of the best things I realized is that if even if I plot a story to death that "plot" isn't concrete and I can certainly play around with characters and events once I start writing if the mood strikes me.

One thing I've always heard "pantsers" say about plotting is that it's restrictive and makes them feel less creative. But if you view a plot as more a guideline and not a set of strict rules and events-- that freedom is still there.

As for the subgenre of erotic romance-- I don't even think I knew what it was that first night. I wasn't involved in writing communities, I didn't pay attention to market back then, and I'd never even read an erotic romance. I found out later of course!

Once I stopped restricting myself (and I'd been writing for 17 years at that point) the rest just sort of fell into place.

Shelli Stevens said...

Deanna, you are the queen of plotting! I don't know how you do it :)

I was pretty darn proud of you too when I picked up the Cosmo mag. I showed the excerpt to the checkout lady, bag boy, and my ultra conservative Bush-supporting aunt.

I can't wait to read this...when I have time ;) It may have to be the flight to Dallas book.

Anonymous said...

Deanna, how long are your erotic novels? Thanks for the interesting interview!

Deanna Lee said...

Undressing Mercy runs 75k
Barenaked Jane runs 90k

I have several novellas published with epublishers- the short form can be a lot of fun.

I also just completed a shifter novella that will be in Sexy Beast IV.

Kate Douglas said...

Love your post! Wonder if we'll be in a Sexy Beast anth together? Wouldn't that be a hoot? :-) I heard Kensington just did the photo shoot for the cover of SBIV--I'm getting really attached to that sexy, naked body! Congrats on your mega-success!

Deanna Lee said...

It's hard not to like a hot guy in practically nothing.... great Kate... now I'll have my head filled with naked man all day. How am I supposed to write now?? ;-)

Amy S. said...

How do you choose your character's names?

Is there a genre you haven't wrote in yet, but would love to try?

Great interview!

Deanna Lee said...

Character names... that's a mixed bag. I have links for name generators that I play with sometimes.

But sometimes the names are chosen very specifically-- like with Undressing Mercy-- the characters of Mercy Rothell and Shamus (Nick name: Shame) Montgomery. I chose Mercy and Shame with the intent to play on both the strengths and emotions of both characters. She's a rape victim and has shame for the event itself... and Shame gives her mercy, love and passion.

Jane was named off the cuff when I started plotting- but her very plain name spoke to me when I was writing about her. She's dynamic, strong, and often so blunt that I was shocked. Mathias-- is a strong name. It's a variation of Matthew which means "gift from God". I had an arrogant, strong, man... and the name seemed to fit him.

Kay Richardson said...

I think any word that has no erotic content is a bad word.

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