The Next Big Thing

Thank you to my friend and CP, Amy Raby, who tagged me for “The Next Big Thing”, a chain blog Q&A about one’s current work in progress. Take a minute to hop over to her post to see what the Next Big Thing is for her. I for one, am waiting with baited breath for the release!

My first release, Wishing for a Highlander, is coming out with Lyrical Press, Inc. in January, but I’m blogging today about a different wip, Jade’s Spirit, which recently finalled in the Heartbeat of Romance contest hosted by The Heart of Louisiana chapter of the RWA.

Next Big Thing Q&A:

What is your working title of your book?
Jade’s Spirit

Where did the idea come from for the book?
My mom tells this story about being a teenager and seeing a ghost in her house. It looked like a shadow, but it moved, slinking across the walls and sometimes coming away from the wall. It had a distinctive appearance with a shadow top hat and a shadow cape.

That’s where Jade’s Spirit started, with this idea about who this ghost might have been and what he was doing haunting a house where my mom lived with her brothers and sister and her parents. In Jade’s Spirit, I even keep the name of the road the same as the road my grandmother’s house is still on to this day.

What genre does your book fall under?
That’s an excellent question. The short answer is paranormal romance.

The long answer is more complicated. When I think about paranormal romance, I think about heroes who are weres or vamps or demons and the heroines who ignite their alpha tendencies and force them to come to terms with their larger-than-life personas.

Jade’s Spirit has demons and angels and minions posing as ghosts, but the hero and heroine are both just plain old human (though, their personalities are definitely larger than life). So, Jade’s Spirit isn’t a typical paranormal romance.

Jade’s Spirit weaves together themes of romance, haunting, demon possession, and spirituality as a protection against evil . Though some of the characters are Christians and Christianity comes into play in a big way in the plot, Jade’s Spirit is not an inspirational romance. Oh, no. Definitely not. It’s not preachy. It’s not going to be on the shelves of Christian bookstores. In fact, it might end up on some pious person’s banned books list because there are some smoking hot sex scenes and a boatload of foul language.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?Jade is an exotic dancer from Boston who moves to Vermont to take care of her sick grandmother. In the movie, she’d be played by Evangeline Lilly, who played Kate Austen on Lost.

Emmet is a 27yo virgin who has vowed to “wait for marriage”, but the older he gets, the harder it gets to remain true to that vow. In the movie, he’d be played by Alex Pettyfer,  who has starred in Beastly and I am Number Four.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
An ex-stripper and a 27-yo virgin with explosive attraction to each other need to keep their hands to themselves or feed the incubus demon intent on possessing them both, body and soul.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I tried querying Jade’s Spirit last year, and none of my favorite agents jumped at the chance to champion it. It might be a wee bit controversial and different (read hard to sell).

It will either take a very brave small publisher who is not afraid of putting out a book that will push some boundaries and ruffle some feathers, or I’ll self-publish it. I’d prefer to go with a publisher, because I’m kind of lazy. I don’t want to do everything myself, and I don’t trust myself to do as good a job as a publisher with experience.

I’ve recently finished major revisions to Jade’s Spirit, so it feels like a whole new book to me compared to when I last queried it. Maybe I’ll try again. Anyone know of agents or editors who love a challenge and aren’t afraid of potentially controversial spiritual matter?

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Maybe 6 months? Goodness, draft 1 was so long ago. I just finished draft 7 after a 2-month, intensive revision. Five or 6 drafts is typical for one of my books. Jade’s Spirit is my first 7-drafter. Hey, 7’s a lucky number. Maybe I’ll get lucky with this draft!

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I haven’t read anything like Jade’s Spirit. The closest I’ve seen to it would be Jennifer Crusie’s Maybe This Time, a story about a divorced couple who are brought back together by a haunting that turns the corner from quirky to dangerous. Maggie Shayne’s short story Love Me to Death in the Heart of Darkness Anthology with Gena Showalter and Susan Krinard is another contender. Here’s the link to my Goodreads review of Love Me To Death.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My mom’s stories of growing up in a haunted house inspired me. But the inspiration kept coming once I envisioned my characters, Jade and Emmet. Put these two together, and you’re sure to get smoke, fireworks, explosive drama, and tender sweetness. Writing their interactions was by far the highlight of putting Jade’s Spirit on the page.

The other inspiration came from, oddly enough, my demon villain, Draonius. Once I nailed down his goals, motivations, and weakness, the story took off at a gallop.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Here’s my query blurb to whet your appetite:

Everyone knows that Emmet “the lawn guy” Herald is a big flirt. They also know he’s all bark and no bite. The virginity vow he took in youth group when he was 17 has become legendary in Dover, Vermont, and the whole town’s waiting to see if he’ll blow a decade of “waiting for marriage” now that he’s dating the new girl from Boston, the hot one with the stripper name. Jade. But only Emmet knows just how tenuous his hold on virginity is, especially since his parents’ divorce has killed his belief in “’til death do us part” and the Boston beauty revs his engine like no other girl ever has. But before he can decide whether to send his virginity off with a bang or hold to his straight and narrow life of lawn care and blue balls, he comes face to face with an ancient evil bent on possessing his girl.

Emmet joins forces with a shaman and a ghost to fight for Jade’s life, but when he learns he must conquer his fear of commitment to save her, he has to make a much bigger decision than whether or not to keep it in his pants. The best weapons against evil are faith, love, and an in-your-face Boston attitude, but they’ll only work if he and Jade are brave enough to use them.

The fun continues! The following authors will be posting their Next Big Things next week. I’l tweet reminders with links when their posts are up. Be sure to stop by and see what these talented folks are working on:

Jennifer Lowery does a wonderful character interview each week with various authors. She’s a fellw Lyrical author. Her recent release, Hard Core, is great. Take a peek at my Goodreads review if you’re so inclined.

Laura Lee Nutt writes lovely fantasy romance. If you like fairy tales, dark tales, tales of love conquering all, you’ll love Laura Lee Nutt. Her first novel, Red and The Wolf, comes out with Lyrical Press early next year

Ruthie Knox is oneof my favorite tweeps. She’s always got a wonderful book recommendation for me on her “What to read Wednesday” post, and she is one heck of a contemporary romance author. She’s got a short story, Room at the Inn, coming out, uh, today, in the Naughty & Nice Anthology with Random House/Loveswept. Stay tuned for a Free Publicity Friday feature here on my blog reviewing Room at the Inn.

Ksenia Anske writes YA urban fantasy and blogs about writing. She’s got an amazing background in social media and entrepreneurship and is a neighbor of mine here in Seattle.

Joanne Wadsworth is another fellow Lyrical author, and she has a YA paranormal romance, Protector, coming out the same day as my first release, Jan 7th! How cool to share a release birthday with such a wonderful writer and blogger.

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About Jessi Gage

Jessi lives with her husband and children in the Seattle area. She’s a passionate reader of all genres of romance, especially anything involving the paranormal. Ghosts, demons, vampires, witches, weres, faeries...you name it, she’ll read it. As for writing, she's sticking to Highlanders and contemporaries with a paranormal twist (for now). A career student (aka indecisive and inquisitive bookworm), Jessi brings her love of research to her worlds and characters. Her guiding tenet in her writing is that good always trumps evil, but not before evil gives good one heck of a run for its money. The last time she imagined a world without romance novels, her husband found her crouched in the corner, rocking.
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6 Responses to The Next Big Thing

  1. Sounds great, but boy, am I glad I don’t live in a haunted house!

    I’m looking forward to when you publish it.

  2. Mae Clair says:

    I loved the in depth look at this, and also who you’d cast as your leads. I really like books that don’t tread a single line!

  3. Hi Jessi. Jade’s Spirit sounds like an amazing read. I’m so honored to be on your list of authors for “The Next Big Thing.” Thank you so much for thinking of me. 😀

    • Jessi Gage says:

      So glad you said yes! I always feel a little like a door-to-door salesman when I tag people for chain thingies. But this one is cool, because you get to promo yourself. Can’t wait to see what you’re working on!

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