Jasmine Haynes is my one and only erotic romance writer. As many (some?) of you know, I came across Jasmine at Barnes & Noble in The Pruneyard. And as I've mentioned on a number of occasions (ad nauseum), I have made a commitment that, as a blogger, I was going to read and blog about the book of any author I run into. Otherwise, I doubt I would have "voluntarily" picked an erotic romance for my recreational reading. The rest, as they say (I've always wondered who "they" are!), is history. I loved Past Midnight. You can go to my blog from November 19, 2011 (8 days shy of one year ago) and read my review. Since then, I have read only one other book by Jasmine, but I will be reading more.
When I talked to Jasmine (on 2 separate occasions), she told me that she has written 33 romance novels - a combination of erotica, mystery, and humor. And she's now branching out into paranormal mystery. She is very prolific which probably comes from the fact that her writing career took a back seat to an accounting job that she had for many years. Well, she's making up for lost time in grand style.
She knew she wanted to write way back when she was 6 or 7 years old. But it wasn't until high school that she wrote her first book. Her assignment in English class was to write 2 short stories, but she asked if she could write a book with chapters. And so it began.
She published her 1st book only 10 years ago. Prior to that, she sent out a query letter to a number of agents for a book that she had written and was able to secure an agent. Unfortunately, the agent was unable to sell her book, and Jasmine and her agent parted ways. Later, she found another agent who was successful in getting her books sold. Liquid Silver Books bought the erotica, and HQN, a division of Harlequin Books, bought her humorous romances. After her contract ended with Liquid Silver, Jasmine's agent sold her erotica to Berkeley Books, and that relationship lasted for quite a while - until last December. But wait! We're not done yet.
While Jasmine was self-publishing novellas (40,000 words vs. 90,000 words for full novels), her agent was working other angles. She got one of Jasmine's books translated into German and is working on Japan doing the same thing. From the success of her self-publishing, along with her agent's efforts overseas, she got a call from Berkeley Books well after her contract with them had ended. They did what Marlon Brando did in The Godfather. They made her an offer that she couldn't refuse. She found herself in a position of being in the driver's seat, which doesn't happen that often in the publishing world. Finally, she said yes. She's under contract to provide Berkeley 2 new books.
She told me a couple of things that I thought were particularly interesting and, I think, bear repeating. First, as far as digital self-publishing is concerned, it's very lucrative. But there are advantages to being published in print - bigger advances, certainly, but also a different audience. There are people who only buy their books in print - whether it's in a bookstore or on order from Amazon or B&N.com . By being published in print, she can appeal to a completely different audience.
The second thing she mentioned affects me personally. I told you that I loved Past Midnight. The story is about a husband and wife that lose their 7-year old son. The husband spends the whole book trying to get her out of her funk by creating sexual escapades. It's very erotic, but I was particularly moved by the story (it even made me take a look at my own marriage: am I paying enough attention to my wife? am I meeting her emotional needs?). Jasmine said that romance readers want uplifting, not depressing, stories. Her second book in that series, which I haven't read, deals with abuse. She had the same problem with that one that she did with Past Midnight. Unfortunately, she was almost through the 2nd one before she discovered that the 1st one was too dark for people. By then, it was too late to scrap book 2. Her 3rd one, though, was lightened considerably. It did much better than the 1st two. For me, that's too bad because the dark nature of the story made it more captivating for me and allowed me to get emotionally attached. But I'm only one person.
Jasmine has twice won National Readers' Choice awards and seems to be well on her way to continuing to have one heck of a career. Hats off to Jasmine Haynes.