The author hot seat specials are designed to help readers get to know both popular, and up and coming authors, a little better. The questions are broken into sections - About your writing, about you, fun stuff and finally. Some of the questions are easy, other may need a little more thought and some may cause our author friends to hesitate before answering—still, they all answer.
Today we welcome Juliet Braddock to the hot seat. Her latest release BLEMISHED is out today. So welcome, Juliet, we're glad you're here and wish you every success with the new book.
Tell us about your latest book. What was your inspiration for writing it, is it part of an ongoing series, the characters, the genre etc?
BLEMISHED is a standalone erotic romance that explores the story of unlikely lovers who find they have more in common than what’s on the surface.
Gavin Fletcher is an advertising executive on the rise in Chicago, and Chloe’s a homeless artist. They meet on a park bench in the middle of a blizzard, and their journey begins there.
As Gavin teaches Chloe to become his submissive, they surmount some very serious issues from their pasts. While they love to indulge in kink—and there are many sizzling scenes in BLEMISHED—they overcome the daily obstacles that life presents.
When faced with untimely tragedy, roles reverse, and they both learn and grow within their relationship both in and out of the bedroom.
Before we get into the interview I need to ask about your sight. As your regular readers would know, you recently went legally blind, which must have been devastating. How has that affected you, not only personally, but as a writer?
The night of January 13, 2017 changed my life forever. For about four or five days, my vision blurred, and I tried to ignore it. I thought it would go away. But I started to panic and ran to the eye doctor.
After a battery of tests and eyedrops, my ophthalmologist rushed me to the Emergency Room, and I was diagnosed with Pseudotumor Cerebri, or Hydrocephalus. I had water on the brain that was pressing against my optic nerves. The damage was so severe that they told me that I might not regain all of my sight.
In the first three months of the year, I was in the hospital more than I was at home. I had two eye surgeries, two spinal taps and brain surgery. And then, I had the final diagnosis after my brain surgery. I was diagnosed as legally blind.
I was right in the middle of my first solid edit of BLEMISHED when I lost my sight. The hardest thing I had to do was to pull the pre-order from Amazon. At that point, I didn’t know if I’d ever write again.
After my brain surgery, I allowed myself to wallow in pity for a couple of weeks. However, I realized that through technology—and my own will—I had to put those Big Girl Panties on, one leg at a time, and get my life back together.
I got software for the vision-impaired that magnifies the computer screen, and I bought a large monitor for my desktop. I adapted my drafts with big bold fonts that I could see. I hired a PA. And I started mobility training with the white cane for the blind.
The editing process takes me longer now, but I’m getting faster. Initially, it was a matter of learning the software for the vision-impaired. I just have to know to budget extra time into my publishing schedule.
My editor has been a tremendous help along the way. For example, I can’t see details on some photographs. I send them to her if I need a description of the scene, and she tells me about the colors and nuances I can no longer recognize with my own eyes.
My cover designer has also been so wonderful. She understands my thought process and how I want the books to look, but she’s also very sympathetic to my blindness.
Really, I just sought out the tools and team that would make it possible for me to continue my career as an author. I’m already halfway finished with my next book—a kinky, romantic comedy titled SMITTEN. After the year I’ve had, I had to write something light.
About your writing:
How many books have you written during your career so far and which is your favorite?
My first four books are part of the Manhattan Bound Series, which was inspired by my love for New York and Broadway. The books feature Maxine Kirk, a young theater publicist who’s new to New York and to kink, and her actor/Dom lover, Drew McKenzie. Maxine and Drew explore her foray into BDSM against the backdrop of Broadway. (WEAKENED, WRAPPED, KNOTTED and BOUND.) I also have a novella, “Professor Knows Best,” that I’ve re-released. And SMITTEN, my kinky rom-com, will be out in March 2018.
I think an author’s favorite book is always the one they’ve just written, and BLEMISHED is special to me on many levels.
I just loved writing Gavin and Chloe. They’re just two normal people, brought together by extenuating circumstances. They have their flaws, but together, they sizzle. I had fun writing them, and I hope readers fall in love with them just as I did.
BLEMISHED is also the book I was writing when I lost my vision. Throughout everything, writing and editing Gavin and Chloe’s story brought me comfort and hope. By immersing myself in the characters and plot, I forgot about my own pain and problems. I took my time with the edit and getting the marketing together, but I proved to myself that all was not lost in my writing career. In a way, this book—and my neuro-ophthalmologist—saved my life.
Have any of your books received negative reviews and how did you handle the situation?
I used to obsess over reviews until I was stuck in the hospital without my laptop this year. And when I came home, I realized how freeing that was, so I stopped reading them—all of them—cold turkey.
It’s not that I don’t care about reviews. I do. And my editor reads them for me to let me know if there’s anything I should see. But I realized that life is too short to worry about someone else’s negativity. I write for myself, and I write for the readers I’ve come to know over the last few years.
Do you believe in writer’s block and if so, how do you overcome it?
Nope! I write every single day. And sometimes, it’s tough to spit the words out, but that’s why we edit. I don’t believe in the proverbial “muse” or losing inspiration. When you’re a writer, that’s your job. Readers count on you to deliver. If it’s one paragraph at a time, you’re working through the manuscript. You’ll get it down, and you’ll get it done.
What is the one genre you would never write and why?
Probably Science Fiction. My brain just doesn’t work on that level to put together a convincing plot. If I tried to write that genre, the result would be unintentionally hilarious.
Have you ever written a book that you’ve regretted publishing and why?
I have two romantic suspense novels on floppy disk, locked away somewhere in my storage unit. They’re so different than what I write now, and I hope they never see the light of day. If my Goddaughter ever reads this interview, Alex, do NOT publish them when I’m dead. I’ll haunt ya, baby girl! LOL
If a reader said they wanted to write a book, what advice would you give them?
Just write. Worry about the editing later. But put the words down on the page and finish the book. Also, find someone you really trust to read for you. You don’t want someone who is just going to tell you how wonderful the book is; you need someone who can provide thoughtful insight into your plot and characters. My editor was actually one of my first readers. She now knows my writing better than I do. Her feedback is crucial to my final manuscript. She’ll let me know when something is out of place, and I really think about her commentary as I move along with each book.
Tell us what a typical day in your life is like?
Most days, I live at my computer. But usually, if I’m taking a break, it’s to have lunch with friends or to see a show on Broadway and grab dinner.
What sort of things put you in a bad mood?
Tardiness. Procrastination. People who exhibit zero manners on the subway—like when the perfectly healthy college student sits there during rush hour staring at the heavily pregnant woman standing in front of her. And people who feel the need to SPEAK LOUDER when they find out that I’m blind. I can’t see, but my hearing is just fine.
Do you have a bucket list and what’s one thing you still want to do that you haven’t done?
I’ve always been a go-getter. If I want to do something, I just make it happen somehow—even now that I’m legally blind.
For instance, I wanted to go to my dear friend’s birthday party over the summer. We’d both had some health scares this year, and it had been a while since I’d visited him. So I got on the train by myself and made the eight-hour journey.
I’m a big believer in the fact that you can’t sit around waiting for life to happen—you control your own destiny.
When I was ten-years-old, I told myself that I’d meet Duran Duran. Twelve years later, I did just that. I also promised myself that I’d move to New York, and I did that, too.
I’ve been lucky that I’ve had the chance to pursue my dreams – in my career, in my travels and in my lifestyle. There are still things I want to do and accomplish, but I know I’ll get around to them. So I really don’t have a Bucket List.
The one regret I do have is that I never saw Bowie live. That still saddens me when I think about it.
What makes you laugh?
A very smart, dark sense of humor. I see the humor in everything – starting with my own chaotic life. As I tell everyone, I’m the first person to crack a blind joke. And before you can laugh at anything else, you have to laugh at yourself first.
What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done?
Having to call the corner deli at midnight to deliver one six-pack of beer and one pack of condoms. I took some liberties with the real-life event, and I used it in WEAKENED. It was too New York. I had to use it.
Do you like to read and what are you reading at the moment?
I love to read. Right now, unfortunately, I’m not reading anything. It’s more difficult for me to follow along now with my vision loss.
My favorite book, though, is a very dark erotic suspense called Topping from Below by Laura Reese. I read it for the first time almost twenty years ago now, and I still have a hangover from that book. It’s not, however, for the faint of heart.
If you couldn’t write anymore, what would you do instead?
This whole year really changed my way of thinking. I would probably work as a counselor to the blind. Losing sight isn’t a death sentence, and you can still live a full life. That’s what I’d want to portray to others who are enduring similar situations.
If you could go out with one famous person who would it be and why?
As my friends and readers ALL know, I have a mad crush on British actor James Norton. He’s on the rise with the remake of one of my favorite films, “Flatliners,” and he stars on PBS in “Grantchester. Those true-blue eyes…those luscious, kissable lips…and those ginger waves. Sigh. He truly makes me swoon. In BLEMISHED, Gavin Fletcher may have been based on him. Loosely. Sorta. Yeah…
Do you have a habit that drives your partner/friends/family nuts and what is it?
I bite my nails. When I let them grow, they’re so long and pretty—and I love nail polish, even though I can no longer see the colors. But when I bite them, they look dreadful.
In your opinion, what makes a person attractive?
Above and beyond everything, I look at sense of humor first. What makes a person laugh is the key to their soul. You get a sense of intelligence, how far they’ll push things and how they see themselves. If a guy can’t make me laugh, there’s no point in a second date.
What is the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?
Shark fin soup. I used to work for a Japanese company, and we were entertaining the executives from our Tokyo office. Coincidentally, they actually banned the sale of shark fin soup in New York a few years later. Not sure where the law stands now, but I had it before the ban.
Would you rather have a classic 1969 convertible Mustang or have the use of a beach side condo any time you want?
Living in New York City, I don’t drive, although I do love a classic Mustang. Can I hire a hot red-headed younger man to drive me around?
During my senior year of college, one of my best friends had a classic, powder blue Mustang. We named her Sally, and she took us everywhere. She knew all of our secrets. She kept us busy, and she kept our confidence. And we loved her.
About six months after graduation, my friend called me with the grim words, “Sally’s dead.” It was just complete autobody failure that took her. It was the one and only time I ever cried over a car.
Would you rather survive an apocalyptic event (yes, even a zombie apocalypse) or die instantly without knowing what happened to your family and friends?I’d rather go quickly. I’m adventuresome, but that doesn’t extend to the Z-Poc!
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Juliet. As a last little treat Juliet has give me some BLEMISHED teasers to share with you. And don't forget to go to Juliet's social media pages for information on her work and other general stalking. :)