Interview with Jacintha Topaz

Published 2014-04-12.
What do you read for pleasure?
I only read romance novels right now. I like reading my fellow erotic romance authors' works because I enjoy the stories, see how their stories are told, and hope to become a better writer every time I come out with a book.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first erotic romance stories I have ever read are Kallypso Masters' *Rescue Me* series, not E.L. James' *Fifty Shades.* I just kept flipping the pages of Kallypso's books and wanted to know more about what happened to those characters. Her characters pulled me in right away.

I was so happy when I found out that Kallypso writes like I do--lets the characters lead her. Her writing process is also "organic," to borrow a term from another one of my favorite authors Sylvia Day. I'm so glad I found my favorite genre to read--romance. I read all things romance, except horror/thriller and inspirational.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Shelby Reed's *The Fifth Favor* is my favorite novel. I can't write like her. How she can put so much emotion, action, and agitation between the characters all in one novel is beyond me and is a skill I highly respect.

I LOVE Sylvia Day's *Crossfire* series. She currently has three of the five books out. So those books make up my next three favorite books. In fact, I found Shelby's work through Sylvia's monthly Q&A video chats hosted for her fans.

Finally, I have to credit E.L. James for her contribution in helping me find Sylvia Day. After I finished reading about Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, I did some research and stumbled across a blog that cited other series to read after completing the *Fifty Shades* trilogy.

However, I wouldn't have found the E.L. James without Kallypso Masters. My favorite novel in her series is *Nobody's Perfect*. My second favorite novel in her series is *Somebody's Angel*. I love these two works because the characters grow so much in the books.

Okay, so I cheated. I listed more than five books...
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I love my iBooks app. I get so much reading done on my phone that I barely go to the library for my genre of choice anymore. Besides, why wait for the library to purchase the books or ebooks when I can read the ebooks on my device sooner?
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I check out recommendations on Amazon and Goodreads. I love hanging out on Goodreads. It's my favorite social network right now. (That may change, as all things do.)
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I kept reading all these romance novels and realized that I wanted to read stories that were not published yet. What was Gandhi's saying again--about being the change you want to see in the world? Well, in my case, I wanted to write the story I wanted to see in the world.

I saw that most published books were not publishing stories with MFF (one man, two women) menage. Most books had MMF (two men, one woman) as the menage formation for a threesome. The latter catered to bisexual men in the story. The former, which is what I'm experimenting with, explores a bisexual woman's sexuality. I thought this would make for an interesting story that would most likely be rejected by a publisher. What traditional publisher in its right mind would invest in an unknown author in an unknown market? Thus, I went the indie route.
What is your writing process?
I write to tell the characters' stories. Oftentimes, ideas come and go. However, when the characters won't leave my head and insist upon their stories being told, I eventually cave in.

That's what happened for the *Purr Billionaire BDSM Trio* series. I kept on seeing MMF (Male-Male-Female, sometimes listed as Male-Female-Male) Menage series, but my characters wouldn't have it. They wanted their MFF (Male-Female-Female) story told. So although it doesn't seem to have its own market yet, I thought I'd put it out anyway.

If I hear from enough readers that they liked the story, then I'll know that I can write more stories for the more of the characters that show up in that series.
How do you approach cover design?
I get my ideas for cover design by looking at other books in my genre. Some covers are so generic that I'm puzzled why a blond heroine in the story would have brown hair on the cover! The really good covers are the ones that convey the author's brand, reflect some facts about the hero/heroine/setting, and (for erotic romance stories like mine) are titillating yet edgy enough to get through the filters of major online booksellers such as Amazon.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I'm new to my field. However, other authors who've done well note that three things are crucial for successful self-publishing:

1. Hire a professional cover artist. If you already have the skills, then embellish a great cover photo.
2. Hire a professional content editor and line editor, NOT line-editing software.
3. Keep writing and publishing your work, even better if you have a series of stories to tell. New releases promote backlists of books very well. :-)
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans mean SO much to me. Your raves, reviews, and recommendations to friends and family and online booksellers are priceless to me! If I earn enough for groceries right now, I will literally be a happy camper. If I can "make it" as an author, that would mean paying my monthly bills. That is my short-term goal for one year into self-publishing.

If you enjoy my stories, then please let me know as well. I like hearing from you and will do my best to write stories you may want to read more. I'm most active on Goodreads, Twitter and Facebook.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I fantasize. :-) Real life is pretty demanding right now and writing is a welcome escape. If you still want a "straight" answer, then I'll say I enjoy ice cream with hubby, a dip in the hot tubby, and a tryst in the cubby. :-)
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