Please describe your book.
Lawyer Up is the second anthology in my Meeting Men series about real-world women meeting handsome professional men as they go about their everyday lives—and the fun they have behind closed doors. While I've enjoyed millionaire plotlines as much as the next fan, I also craved stories that could, on a lucky day, possibly happen to me or to the average Joe…sephine, if you will. Each book in the series includes three quick, steamy reads set in different cities and towns and featuring heroines of different ages, from their 20’s through their 40’s.
In Lawyer Up there's a young woman, Beth, who gets caught up in a police raid and meets her hero in the Hollywood Jail; a lonely but successful career woman, Liza, in her thirties who has to decide whether to take a chance on fate; and lastly a forty-something lawyer, Pat, who must fight both her uptight reputation and bombshell competition to win her case and the handsome judge. They're all erotic romances, so the hero and heroine’s resolution always involves sex, and lots of it. I’ve had great fun devising unique encounters based on the various professions—sex on an exam table in a doctor’s office or on a judge’s bench in a courtroom, for instance. Just wait for the next book—Hands On—which features a mechanic, plumber, and an architect. Can you say “tools.” The naughty possibilities are endless!
How did you come up with the titles for the stories in the anthologies?
The first story changed a great deal and so did the title. Originally it was called “Case Number 69” (obvious little play on…you know), but the story evolved and the title no longer worked. I'd done a fair amount of legal research by then, so I started reviewing different common phrases and realized that “Attorney-Client Privileges” was a perfect play on words to explain their building relationship. The title of the second story, “Of Unsound Mind and Body,” is another play on words, both a vague reference to a will and to the heroine Liza’s indecision about whether to engage in a one-night-stand with a gorgeous attorney. Finally, my critique partner Anna threw out the last title, “Of Writs and Writhing,” when we were brainstorming early on. I immediately fell in love with it, so much so that I made it the basis for the story, using both the concepts of writhing—emotional and physical—and writs, a legal devise that my judge employs in unusual ways.
Do you have a favorite hero in the bunch? A favorite heroine?
My favorite hero and heroine tend to be whoever I’m writing in the moment. I get very excited about getting into their minds and their desires, whether career or erotic. Truthfully, I like all three heroines pretty much the same. They’re all struggling with and overcoming personal issues and exploring their sexuality—as I have done—but in their own way. Their personal growth is what interests me in writing the entire series. As for the hero, I guess if I had to choose I would say that Judge Emmit Stockard from “Of Writs and Writhing” calls to me the most. I like his wicked bad-boy masculinity and the way he wields power both in the courtroom and out of it (i.e. in the bedroom). I find power exciting…and I hope you’ll find Emmit’s power both exciting and entertaining.
Did any of the scenes in the stories have you crying? Laughing?
While I sometimes find myself chuckling or tearing up at certain scenes, the main focus of my stories is sensual…so I’m looking for a different reaction, somewhat lower down, if you get my drift.
How did you research the law aspect in this anthology?
That was a long—I mean really long—process. For “Attorney-Client Privileges” there aren’t any scenes in court, so I actually spent more time researching L.A.’s jail system, and, likewise, for “Of Unsound Mind and Body” I spent more time researching pod hotels in airports (if you’re curious about that…you’ll have to read the story).
However for “Of Writs and Writhing,” which is about the interaction between a judge and two lawyers, I knew I would need both court dialogue and an understanding of basic law, but first I needed the location, a courthouse in a place where things can get wild, where it might be rundown or old, and where wicked mischief could conceivably take place. I looked first at Toronto (beautiful old building but it was criminal law which I wanted to avoid); then Washington D.C. (but I decided the nation’s capitol is too buttoned-up and secure); and lastly I found the Orleans Parish Civil District Courthouse. Voila! It was both rundown and in a city where anything can happen with voodoo magic and Cajun mystery in the air.
Location set, I then researched NoLa and happily began writing only to discover to my great chagrin that Louisiana is the ONLY state in the nation that uses Civil Law, a radically different European system. This turned out to be both a blessing and a trial, if you’ll excuse the pun. My trial was to write dialogue for a type of law that I’d never heard of before. However, the blessing part was the civil law concept of Usufruct (the right to use and benefit from another’s property), which was perfect for the type of case I wanted. Usufruct is complex and old world, allowing for a slight tweaking of reality that might be harder to do in more well-known legal battles.
So I read everything I could find online about Louisiana law and there's a ton of information available. I also played with the “writs,” turning them into a naughty part of the plot, so that required researching them as well. And lastly, I must thank my niece, who’s a lawyer and who generously assisted with any questions I had about law or dialogue or if I needed a reality check (e.g. would a lawyer ever do or say that?). I expect I still made mistakes, but that will put me in good company since I stumbled across blogs on how both television shows and literature get law wrong. What I can say for sure is that I gave it my very best effort to be authentic and accurate.
Since this is erotic romance, there are lots of sexy scenes. How do you balance these hot scenes with the more emotional components of each couples’ story?
Since these are all short stories, the emotional components are pretty much the entire plot, leading to a resolution, which is demonstrated through sex. Or to put it another way, the emotional components build the sexual tension between the hero and heroine…and result in hot sex. It’s erotic romance, so it’s all—I think you know where I’m going here—about the sex. What follows those scenes, whether a proposal or something else, is the sweet happy ending, the cherry on top.
Do you have any writing advice for aspiring authors?
Don’t get discouraged and don’t give up. I was at the Romance Writers of America RITA Awards just a couple weeks ago, and one best-selling author finally won after 12 previous nominations, ecstatically saying 13 was her lucky number. It reminded me that no matter who you are or how successful, there are always disappointments. Imagine plastering that “I’m so happy for you” smile on your face 12 times while inside feeling rejected and wondering if you’ll ever win. This is only my second book and I feel intense pressure to ensure it sells well and that I build my audience, but I try to remind myself that every successful author has been there too, before me. So, go out and learn all you can to make your stories the very best they can be and just KEEP WRITING! It’s a skill like any other and it takes consistent hard work to improve. Remember the old joke: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?...practice, practice, practice!
What are you working on now?
I’ve two projects: my new Club Exotica series, first book titled Illicit Temptation, about a very posh, private London sex club. It’s a place where a woman’s every fantasy can come true. And it’s going to be hot, hot, hot! Also, continuing the Meeting Men series is Hands On about men who work with their hands. Yum! This third book includes three stories: a Dallas mechanic who services both sports cars and heiresses, a plumber who helps a lonely librarian fix up her Lake Michigan beach house, and an architect in San Francisco who teaches a young woman about the ins and outs of building projects while he builds a secret private playroom. I’m having great fun with the series and exploring both different types eroticism and varied locales. Hmm. Maybe I should set something in Hawaii next. Can you say “research trip”!