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Jami Alden

After graduating from Stanford University with a degree in English Literature, Jami Alden's writing appeared in many software marketing brochures and corporate web sites. But she quickly realized writing romance was a lot more fun. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her socially well adjusted alpha male husband, her son, and two dogs that patiently listen to dialogue and help her work out plot points. When she's not writing sexy romance, she enjoys running, reading, yoga and a borderline unhealthy love of the Food Network.

DELICIOUS

Temptation never tasted as good as in this steamy erotic tale of a gorgeous TV chef who hires a supersexy—and very dedicated—bodyguard…
Reggie Caldwell, the newly crowned star of a wildly popular TV cooking show, gets more male attention than she knows what to do with. She needs a bodyguard, and when Gabe Bankovic takes the job, she knows she's in good hands. Because she's had those hands on her body before…

Gabe never forgot the one unbelievable night of passion he and Reggie spent as total strangers. Reggie's luscious mouth, her touch, her passionate response to his every caress—the woman defines the word sensual. Gabe intends to show her that their first time together was only a sizzling taste, and the best is yet to come…

Beyond The Book - Jami Alden on DELICIOUS

Lee : Please tell us something about your background.

Jami: I grew up in Connecticut, but also spent a lot of time in Wyoming where my mother’s family lives, so I have a deep appreciation for big mountains and wide open spaces. I moved out to California to attend Stanford, and never left! I still live in northern California with my husband and son.

Lee : What made you switch from a career in marketing to writing sensual romance? Do you miss that world?

Jami : While I had a lot of fun in my various corporate jobs, writing romance was a long time dream. But it did take awhile for me to really buckle down and seriously pursue it. In September 2001, I got what I consider a lucky break when I was laid off from my marketing job. My husband, who has always been amazingly supportive of my writing aspirations, agreed that since I had supported us when he pursued his dream of starting a company, it was now my turn to chase my dream full time. Sometimes I do miss the corporate world. As I’m sure many other writers can attest writing can get rather lonely. My critique partners and I email constantly and talk on the phone almost every day, but nothing beats real human to human contact. Also, when I worked in marketing, I was accustomed to instant feedback – I worked on a project, discussed it with the marketing director and immediately knew what she thought, whether I was on the right track, etc. But writing has been totally different. You send something out there, and sometimes you feel like it’s gone into a black hole! Although I have to say that’s changed since I got my agent and editor – they’re generally a little more responsive.

Lee : DELICIOUS is your debut novel and it's a very steamy one! What was the inspiration behind the book?

Jami : Let’s see… for the overall plot stemmed from an idea for one scene – the black moment, to be exact. So I tried to think of a story that would get those characters to that crisis. The story that evolved was a woman with a stalker and her (naturally) hot bodyguard. Also, I am a HUGE fan of the Food Network, so I decided to make the heroine a celebrity chef with an overzealous fan. And in terms of writing a steamy story – I definitely owe credit to my friend and fellow author Bella Andre (her book TAKE ME is available from Pocket Books) for inspiring me to write hotter. She started out with Ellora’s Cave and then sold her book to Pocket, and her success really inspired me to try my hand at a sexier book.

Lee : What is the most important lesson you've learned about the publishing industry on your journey to becoming an author?

Jami: There are so many, it’s hard to pinpoint one! I would say the most important lesson – one I’m still learning – is not to take rejection too personally. How people respond to your work is so subjective – you can’t let one scathing review or one rejection letter color how you approach your writing. Like it or not, this is a business, and though we pour our hearts to some degree into every book we write, people are not going to treat your books like they’re your babies.

Other important lessons: be persistent. Authors rarely sell the first books they ever write. Believe me, you will have more ideas, and you will improve with every page you write. Also, surround yourself with supportive people. I am incredibly lucky that I found amazing critique partners in fellow authors Bella Andre and Monica McCarty. Not only do they help me make my work the best it can be, they also give me much needed pep talks and ass kicks when I need them! As I mentioned, my husband is also incredibly supportive – he has more faith in me than I ever did!

Lee : How did you come up with your heroine, Reggie's character? Was it easy climbing inside her head and getting to know her?

Jami : As I mentioned before, I am a huge fan of cooking shows, so when I had to come up with a heroine that would attract a stalker, having her be a celebrity chef seemed like a logical choice. Plus, it gave me an excuse to call the Food Network and ask them all kinds of questions about how the shows are produced. As far as climbing into Reggie’s head, it wasn’t any easier or harder than it was with any other character. I try to go into the process with a good idea of who my character is, how she would act, speak, etc. But often I have to get halfway or even 2/3 through the first draft before I truly “know” my characters, and then I have to go back and revise accordingly.

Lee : Do you enjoy cooking?

Jami : I love to cook. It’s the only domestic chore I truly enjoy. I love to try new recipes and come up with my own, and I love that my husband enthusiastically eats pretty much anything I put in front of him. And of course, I love to eat too!

Lee : Gabe, the hero in DELICIOUS is a hot and dangerous hunk and I did enjoy the way the whole story is laced with suspense and intrigue. What was it like writing Gabe's character? Did he open up to you easily?

Jami : Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed the suspense thread. It’s the first time I ever put any kind of mystery or suspense into my work, and I really enjoyed it. Gabe, like any other hero, was a challenge. I love alpha heroes, so I wanted to make sure he came off as strong and manly and all that. At the same time, he needed good emotional motivations for why he wouldn’t pursue a woman he was so obviously crazy about. So the challenge was to make him very tough, but emotional without being whiny or wimpy. Plus, whenever I write a male POV, I try to use words and expressions men would use, and I often have to remind myself that guys don’t use the same words or notice the same kinds of details that I would. Fortunately, I’m married to a man who I consider a socially well adjusted Alpha Male, so that helped me in shaping Gabe’s character.

Lee : I like the title, DELICIOUS. Is this the original title of your story or the result of editorial input? Some authors find it difficult to come up with titles for their books. Do you struggle with it too?

Jami : The original title was actually SIMPLY DELICIOUS, after the title of Reggie’s TV show. Quite honestly, that is only the second time a title has come easily to me. In fact, I hate coming up with titles. I’m generally awful at it. Fortunately, my critique partners are VERY helpful.

Lee : What are you working on at the moment?

Jami : It’s not yet contracted, so I don’t want to say too much. But I will say that it’s a romantic suspense series, not targeted at the erotic romance market.

Lee : You make your home in San Francisco. Could you share what appeals to you most about your city? What do you see from your writer's eye when you look out at the streets or think of the city?

Jami : I actually live outside of San Francisco, in a somewhat rural area. So when I look out my window I see the rolling foothills and the occasional passing deer. But I do love San Francisco. I find it to be such a cozy yet cosmopolitan city. It has a wonderful “neighborhood” feel that I enjoy every time I go. Plus I love the fact that 5 minutes outside the city you can find great hiking, running, and biking trails, so you can live in the city and still lead an active, outdoor lifestyle.

Lee : How may fans contact you?

Jami : Fans can email me. I also post regularly with the Fog City Divas.

Lee : Thanks, Jami, for chatting with me! I'm looking forward to reading A TASTE OF HONEY in 2007!

Jami : Thanks, Lee, for giving me a chance to talk about DELICIOUS!