Tuesday, February 12, 2013

New Release Feature 2-12 plus Q and A w/Jamie Brenner

 Q&A w/Jamie Brenner
The Gin Lovers

Debbie - Jamie, welcome to the B&N.com General Fiction forum.
Jamie - Hi Debbie! Thanks for taking the time to discuss The Gin Lovers. (BN.com is a special forum for me – I used to work at BN.com along with a great group of people who are dear friends to this day.)

Tell us about your new novel The Gin Lovers
The Gin Lovers is a sexy, historical novel about a dissatisfied young society wife in 1920s Manhattan who finds herself drawn into a world of intrigue and romance when her rebellious, flapper sister-in-law comes to live with her. 

What inspired The Gin Lovers?
A year ago, I was on a plane traveling to LA reading nonfiction book called Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity, and The Women Who Made America Modern by Joshua Zeitz.  It tells the story of all the flapper era greats, like Zelda Fitzgerald and Coco Chanel. But the book also shows how dramatic the cultural changes were for just ordinary women. I had been trying to write a contemporary novel at the time, and it just wasn’t clicking. I knew in that moment I had to try setting a story in that dramatic era, and I knew it had to be about a woman who wants to change her life – and who falls in love, of course. The 1920s was truly the first era of “liberated” women in this country. People talk about the 60s and 70s women’s liberation movement, but really the 1920s was the most dramatic shift. Women got the vote. They started wearing short dresses. They smoked in public. They dated without chaperones. They cut their hair short and in a sense said, whatever men can do, we can do as well. This was a dramatic time for women. And of course – the clothes were gorgeous.

Your bio states that you started out on the other side of the publishing desk. Did that contribute to your becoming an author?
Yes, it absolutely contributed. Years of working in book publishing was like my masters program – it was invaluable.

I see that you are a contributor to Heroes and Heartbreakers, which I happen to love. How important do you think social media is for authors and readers alike?
It’s funny, I started with Heroes and Heartbreakers just doing a guest post, and I enjoyed it so much and felt so instantly part of a community, I just kept writing for them. I used to think social media was just about self-promotion, and in that sense was sort of a chore and not that appealing to me. Heroes and Heartbreakers was a turning point, because I realized that it truly does work both ways – writers get feedback, they “meet” people, they don’t work in a vacuum. I’ve discovered new writers through Heroes & Heartbreakers, I’ve been challenged to think about storytelling and marketing in different ways. I think that in positive forums, social media is great. Of course, as authors and readers know, not all forums are positive and there is a lot of negativity and tearing-down.  I’m hoping that in time that sort of discourse will fade, because it’s terrible for all of us. I also think the time-suck nature of social media is a pitfall for writers. Some days I can literally spend the entire afternoon keeping up with it all, or obsessively tracking numbers and posts. It can turn into something that makes us forget what our primary one job is, and that’s to get words on the page every day. My agent says the author has two jobs, both in equal measure: writing and promoting. With all of the social media outlets, it’s very easy to see the scales tip too much on the promotion side.

How other than the above blog do you e-connect with your readers?
I’m on Twitter and Facebook and Pinterest and Goodreads. I have my own website, jamiebrenner.com,  where people can email me directly. I think Twitter is my favorite. I had no idea what to do with it at first – it wasn’t natural to me. I’m a little reticent. But I’m coming out of my shell.

Speaking of romance. Tell us about your alter ego Logan Belle.
When I published my first novel, Blue Angel, I was also working as a literary agent. Blue Angel is erotic, very graphic sex. This was pre-Fifty Shades of Grey. Erotica was not mainstream, and frankly, I didn’t want people to judge me for writing it so I created a pen name.  Now I write all my erotic novels under that name. I wrote three books in the Blue Angel series, then I worked with the Bettie Page estate write a book called Bettie Page Presents: The Librarian.  In the spring I am publishing an erotic e-serial that is a modern day re-telling of the classic Lady Chatterley’s Lover called Miss Chatterley. I do social media under both names, but it’s getting tough to keep up with that. It’s a lot harder to have a pen name these days for that reason.

Do you belong to a writer’s group?
I don’t. My agent, Adam Chromy, is my creative partner. He is my sounding board, my first reader, and my first editor. We brainstorm and plot together. He is an army of creativity!

Are you a reader?
I’m a compulsive, voracious reader. My favorite thing to do when I’m not writing is to read.  I have family members who think that is crazy – “aren’t you sick of it?” No! Reading is like breathing to me.

Who are/is your favorite author(s)?
Right now, I’m obsessed with Alma Katsu and her “The Taker” trilogy.  The Taker is one of the best books I have read in years. In scope and sheer imagination and edge it reminds me of Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour.  I read a lot of thrillers – Daniel Silva and Nelson DeMille. I loved Emily Giffin’s first three or four novels. My all-time favorite is Judith Krantz.

Jamie, thank you for taking the time to tell us about your new novel.
Do you have any Barnes & Noble events or signings planned?
Not yet – I’ll let you know :)

Buy the book here, visit the author's website here.

photo credit: Trevor Laurence


  1. Oh my goodness I love the Taker series and was so depressed that book three has been delayed until 2014 *sighs* I love the flapper era and this book sounds delightful. Thanks for a great interview Deb and for bringing this book to my attention.

  2. @kimbacaffeinate So nice to hear from another Taker fan out there! I was upset book three has been delayed. But it's a huge amount of material for her to put out in just a few years. I met her at a book reading a few months ago, and she said The Taker took ten years to write! She has a short story (50 pages or so) featuring Lanore that published recently that looks good but I haven't yet read it. - jamie

    1. Jamie, thanks for the comment. I am also a HUGE Alma Fan I in fact reviewed both The Taker and The Reckoning for LibraryJournal. Loved them both.
      I'm also a huge fan of Nelson DeMille and Emily Griffin.
      Thank you again for doing the Q&A for me, love that you're a past employee of B&N and it seems that we love the same authors too.

  3. Debbie, thank YOU so much for the wonderful "conversation." I'm thrilled to be in such great company on this blog (Katherine Howe!). I really appreciate it and I look forward to seeing your highlights in the coming months.

    1. Well it's great to have you here.
      Katherine Howe is my guest this month on the B&N forum as we read and chat about her newest novel The House OF Velvet and Glass.