An Interview with Jessica Lauryn

  1. How did you get started writing?

As a child, I had a very overactive imagination.  I created an imaginary world for my dolls, sort of like the fictitious towns we see in soap operas.  Though my scripts weren’t nearly as colorful as the ones used in daytime TV, I worked constantly to keep my plots going, having no idea that I wasn’t merely playing, but actually writing.  Years later, when I was taking creative writing classes in college, I told my professors I was going to write soap operas after graduation.  I joined a critique group, and, knowing that romance was the genre of my passion, I attempted to “write a romance novel,” never having read one!  My gut telling me that what I’d put together wasn’t quite ready for an editor’s desk, I decided to crack open a real romance novel and “see how it was done.”  I was instantly hooked, and from that day forward I set out to pursue what would become my path to publication.

 2.    Tell us about your current series.

I am currently writing the Pinnacles of Power Series, which is a 5-book series that is centered around a secret diamond smuggling operation called Project Gemstone.  The heroes—Ryan, Alec, Colin, Lucas, and Jack—each play a part in Project Gemstone’s progression, whether they are taking down the bad guys, trying to escape conflicted pasts, or helping to shut the criminal expenditure down once and for all.  The heroines—Abigail, Lena, Julia, Lilah, and Corinne—are strong and independent women, each of which falls for a man who is involved with Project Gemstone.  Each heroine must help her hero to battle his inner demons, and decide whether the love, passion and desire they feel is worth the risk it poses to their hearts.

3.     What is your favorite part of writing?

I love the feeling I get when I write, where I escape into a secret world, in which I, the writer, am in total control of a story.  Heroine’s actions, hero’s actions, secrets of the past, even the outcome are all controlled by me.  I love creating premises, and I love working those premises out, smoothing out all the kinks in a story until it is ready for publication.  Long story short, (no pun intended!) I love many, many things about writing, most especially the fact that I get to do it every day!

4.    How likely are people you meet to end up in your next book?

I’ve had many people over the last several years come up to me and say, “Can you make me a character in a book?”  And the most common answer I give is “I’d love to, but you’re too nice of a person.”

But characters are nice.  Which is certainly true enough.  But it is rather difficult to gauge emotional conflict in people we meet in everyday life as people tend to keep their deepest darkest secrets–well—secret!  And emotional conflict is the key ingredient to creating dynamic characters, and consequently, to writing great stories.

Some people on the other hand will strike you as being just a little odd or unusual.  Which tends to beg the question, “why?”  For me, that is where the imaginative process begins.  If I meet someone who strikes me as unusual or different, I tend to spin my own story about them and yes, they will most likely become a character in a story.  Just not usually the very next story, as that’s probably already on its way.  But three stories past my current WIP is definitely fair game 😉

 5.    Tell us a little about yourself and your latest book.

In my first release, Dangerous Ally, Lucas Ramone, diamond smuggling kingpin, vows to destroy the man his father has hired to spy on him with the intention of stealing his smuggling operation, Project Gemstone…

Hardly a man Lilah Benson goes ahead with her venturous plan to take a job at the Ramone Mansion, for the chance to get the story of a lifetime…

But an unexpected attraction to her source makes it quite difficult for Lilah to get the information she seeks. She soon realizes that the true mystery will be figuring out how to keep from putting her heart into the hands of her eager adversary…

And here’s a little about Dangerous Proposal, my latest release coming this month from Siren BookStrand! 

At nineteen, Alec Westwood nearly committed the most horrific of crimes—murder in cold blood—and narrowly escaped the assigned task with his life.  When a stunning young woman crosses his path wearing the insignia for the organization that recruited him, Alec vows not to let fate get a second chance.  But when the enchantress gives him a kiss that leaves him spellbound, he realizes the power she holds is greater than all his strength and fortitude combined.

On the run from her psychotic fiancé, Lena Benson vows to forge a new life.  But when her new friend Jack tells her to stay away from Alec Westwood—the man she believes her fiancé hired to track her down—she takes matters into her own hands.  Alec may have the look and the charm, but she’s calling the shots this time, even if that means resisting a man who’s eyes and touch rob her, literally, of sense.

6) Tell us about your heroes.  Give us one of their strengths and one of their weaknesses.

Lucas Ramone, hero in Dangerous Ally, is a mysterious, yet, deeply troubled man.  Lucas lost his mother at a young age (rather, he believed she was dead) and he spent the majority of his young life being manipulated by his father, fighting for his father’s affection.  It is this need to fill the emptiness in his life that often drives Lucas to do the bad things he does.  On the flip side, Lucas is strong, brave and chivalrous and he would protect the people he loves to the death, something the heroine Lilah Benson becomes keenly aware of as Lucas comes to her rescue on a great number of occasions.

Alec Westwood, hero in Dangerous Proposal, would give anything to step out of his older brother Colin’s shadow.   In his typical frustration, he has a tendency to make bold moves without thinking, and this tends to get him into trouble.  Alec’s greatest strength is his strength of character.  This is what keeps him from crossing the line at times, like when he is nineteen years old, and, for the sake of proving a point, briefly contemplates committing murder.

7.    What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on the third story in the Pinnacles of Power Series, Dangerous Proposition.  (Which come after Dangerous Proposal, before Dangerous Ally) In this story, Julia Dyson (Lena Benson’s roommate in Dangerous Proposal) learns that her father has been abducted, and believes her teenage crush, Colin Westwood, may be responsible.  Colin, determined to keep Julia from learning his true involvement in her father’s abduction, makes the red-headed temptress an offer.  In exchange for helping her retrieve her missing father, he wants Julia to be his mistress.

8.    What do you have planned for the future?

I’d like to complete the five stories in the Pinnacles of Power series, then, write another romantic suspense series that centers around the Broadway stage.  After that, we’ll see where the wind takes me J



At two years old, Jessica became a devoted fan of both listening to and reciting the books her parents would read to her at night. When she was a little older (about four), she sought a greater challenge in her life, and began making up stories of her own, acting them out with her dolls. “When the dolls got “boyfriends,” she says, “I knew I was getting too old for dolls!”

As a romance novelist and a reader alike, Jessica is most intrigued by dark heroes, who have many demons to conquer…but little trouble enticing female companions into their beds! She feels that the best romances are those where the hero is already seducing the heroine from that first point of contact. “Isn’t it the hero’s job to seduce?” she says with a grin.

Jessica loves to see the sparks fly when a stubborn, domineering hero crosses paths with a bold, feisty heroine, and uses the combination frequently in her stories.

When she’s is not writing, Jessica enjoys listening to as much 80’s music as possible, watching the same re-runs of Smallville over and over, shopping for exceptionally unique cameos, and taking long walks in nature where she can daydream about anything romantic. Though she resides in Central New Jersey, her heart belongs to the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire.


Dangerous Ally

Feeling the warmth of tears in her eyes, Lilah rose from the table. She never became so emotional over nothing. What in God’s name was wrong with her?
Lucas’s strong hand came against her shoulder. She didn’t pull away. In fact, she had the strangest urge to just lean into him. Like somehow, he would take away all of her doubts.

“Lena’s happy in her life with her children, and with Alec Westwood,” he said. “I’d never begrudge her that. All I ever wanted was her happiness.”

The way he said the words, she almost believed them. He seemed to care, or at least, maybe was trying to be a better person.

“You’re trembling,” he said, reaching in before she could stop him. His finger brushed her quivering lip.

Her instinct was to smack his hand. But the tingling sensation racing from mouth to spine kept her in place. Lucas’s touch was so soft. It made her crazy. She was consumed by the strongest desire for his lips to be where his finger was now.

He took her wine glass and held it out to her. “Here,” he said. “This’ll calm your nerves.”

Senses returning with a bang, Lilah held up two hands in protest. “Are you trying to get me drunk?” she snapped, not entirely sure whether it was him she was angrier at or herself.

“Am I that obvious?” He laughed as if the whole thing was funny, setting the glass back down.

She enjoyed being in the company of a monster—there was nothing lighthearted about it!

“I’m guessing you’ve probably been down this road too many times, hmm?” Lucas replaced his hand on her shoulder.

“What road would that be, exactly?”

His gray eyes looked deeply into hers. “I’m sure I’m not the first man who’s tried to get you into a relaxed state, Lilah.”

“Actually—” She hesitated, not wanting to get so personal yet feeling she could probably tell him anything and he’d somehow understand. “It’s been a long time, longer than you’d imagine. After I finished college, I had every intention of becoming a journalist. Meaning I’d be out most of the time chasing a story despite whatever danger came with it. It’s all I’ve ever wanted, for as long as I can remember.”
He nodded, coming closer. “You must have been very persistent. It takes a good deal of perseverance and sacrifice to become a success at such a young age.”

Lilah sure knew that. While her friends had been enjoying their last semester of college, she’d been frantically gathering writing samples, sending them out to every newspaper who would give her the time of day. But had her father noticed? Even when she became one of the youngest reporters at the New York Times, he’d barely raised a brow.
Deep down, she knew this was why she’d accepted Raphael’s offer, even in spite of the danger that came with it. A story about Raphael Ramone’s family laundry wasn’t going to impress Blake Benson. But exposing Lucas’s diamond smuggling operation would be a print-worthy unearthing that would win her father’s admiration as well as her first Pulitzer.

She lowered her gaze. “I haven’t given up anything so wonderful.”

Lucas lifted her chin. “But if it came to that, do you think you’d be willing to make that sacrifice? Give up something you want—maybe something you want more than anything—to attain some ultimate level of self-victory?”

A chill came over her at his words. Lilah came back a step, unsure of what had just happened but wanting desperately to pretend it hadn’t.

Lucas cleared his throat. “Let’s get some air, shall we?”

Something she needed desperately. She followed him to the balcony, welcoming the cool night breeze as it caressed her hot skin.

“It’s beautiful here,” she said, hoping very much to steer the conversation in a new direction.

“It is.” He nodded and came beside her, bracing the rail with one hand. He slipped an arm around her back.

His body was warm—like a furnace—and he felt strong, as if he spent his days loading lumber instead of dabbling away at a computer.

Lilah shivered, goose bumps forming along her bare arms. It felt so nice being close to Lucas. Too nice. Maybe she’d just stay there with him a few minutes longer. They weren’t exactly hurting anyone by being in each other’s company.

He leaned into her, speaking in a tone she could only describe as husky. “Those men you never met,” he said, “that was their loss.”

She blinked, keeping her eyes on the night sky. “Please. A man’s the last thing I need in my life.”

“Are you sure about that?” Lucas asked, his warm breath coming against her ear. “Or is it possible you’ve been hiding behind your work for so long, you don’t even know how things could be?” His palm brushed her bare shoulder as he turned her to face him. “No one knows what it’s like to be hidden from the world more than I do, Lilah. You can trust me on this. I think we’re more alike than you realize. And it’s possible we’re both missing out on something incredible.”

She didn’t push his hand away as it cupped her cheek. Or his arm as it encompassed her waist. No, she let him do what he wanted. She wanted him to touch her…

Dangerous Proposal

Trista’s sweet laughter filled the air as Lena opened the door. The little girl was pointing her finger up at the doctor. His back was turned in her direction, but he was tall and had wavy, black hair. There was something strangely familiar about him.

Lena had never been to Memorial Hospital before. How would she know anyone who worked there?

“I’m not a little monkey,” Trista said, laughing. She gave the doctor’s white coat a tug.

“Oh yes you are.” He pressed a finger to her little nose.

“No, I’m not.” She laughed, pushing him back. “You’re a monkey head.” Her eyes lit as she turned around. “Miss Lena!”

Fresh tears formed in Lena’s eyes. She raced to the bed, throwing her arms around Trista. Faintly, she heard the doctor’s clipboard hit the floor with a smack.

She must have bumped into him as she ran by. But there was plenty of time to apologize.

“Trista, I’m so glad you’re ok,” she said, holding the little girl tightly against her chest.

“I’m all better now, Miss Lena,” Trista said. “I bumped my head. But it’s ok now.”

Lena did her best to hide her watery eyes. Trista seemed completely unfazed by what had happened. It was as if a different child had cracked her head open on the playground.

“You scared me today,” she said softly. “We’re going to hold the handle bars every time we ride our bikes from now on, aren’t we?” She turned to the doctor. “My God, I don’t know how to thank—”

Lena gripped the bar surrounding the bed. She could hardly believe what she was seeing. Trista’s doctor was the man from Valley Tavern, the man from Julia’s backyard. He was none other than Alec himself!

A doctor—he was a doctor! Wearing a white coat and looking at her with eyes as wide as her own. With a professional ensemble to compliment his handsome exterior, he was the heartthrob of every woman’s fantasy for sure.

Suddenly, he began to look her over more slowly. With his deep blue eyes locked with hers, intensity transformed to pure, wicked deviltry. He wasn’t simply looking at her, as he had those other times. He was challenging her. Daring her to speak first. She swallowed, tightening her hold on the handle of the bed.

“Trista,” a soft voice called from the doorway.

Lena released the breath she’d been holding in. She’d almost forgotten about the little girl sitting beside them. Suddenly there were two other people in the room. A man, with curly blonde hair, like his daughter’s. And a woman with a long brunette mane.

Well, it was better late than never. She’d begun to think maybe Trista was an orphan. After a brief reintroduction, she decided to give the family a few minutes alone. She went to the door, assuring herself that she definitely needed some air.

Clutching the doorknob, she jolted as a hand touched down on her back.

“A moment of your time, Miss Gallagher.”

Alec was right behind her, their bodies practically touching. She didn’t dare turn around out of fear that she might fall straight into his arms—exactly where he wanted her. He placed his large, warm hand over hers and turned the doorknob, urging her into the hall. Moving steadily behind hers, his body forced her to either walk forward or risk bumping right up against him.

Moments later, Lena found herself in a dimly lit corridor—a place she was certain no one else in the hospital even knew existed. Though, the darkness didn’t make it any easier to hide her trembling hands. Her heart beat wildly as Alec circled her, caressing her body with his sinful blue eyes. She moved back a step, coming against the wall.

A mischievous smile formed on Alec’s lips. Putting his hand against the tile behind her, he barricaded her exit.

“Lena Gallagher.” He shook his head, making a tsking sound with his tongue. “Imagine that. Allowing an innocent child to fall from a tricycle. What sort of a negligent caregiver does a thing like that?”

Lena’s face burned. “Negligent caregiver? I—”

“It’s certainly a good thing I was there to come to the rescue. But then that’s just the kind of man I am, you see. Lucky for you. Otherwise”—he lowered his voice—“you’d be in an awful lot of trouble right now. Wouldn’t you?”

“Are we through here, Dr. Westwood? I wouldn’t want to be taking up anymore of your precious time.”

“Now, now, Miss Gallagher. That isn’t any way to speak to the man who just saved your little girl. Not to mention job, I’m sure. Correct me if I’m wrong. That makes the score two to zero. Does it not?”

“Is that what this is to you? Some sort of sick game? Trista could have died! No doctor with any true ethics would try to take advantage of something like that. Just how big of a jerk are you?”

He grinned. “Don’t you wish you knew?”

She put her hands against the front of his jacket, shoving him back as hard as she could. “I’m leaving.”

She started forward, but he caught her by the arm. Her eyes came wide open as she turned around. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“Perhaps you ought to think more carefully before making bets you have no chance of winning. I let you walk away from me once. This time, I don’t intend to make it quite so…easy.”

“What do you want from me?” she asked in a whisper.

“You know what I want, Lena. And I know that you want this as much as I do.”


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