I am so very pleased to welcome Jessica Lauryn here to A Bookish Affair today. Jessica is the author of "A Sultry Performance," which I reviewed here yesterday.
What inspired you to
write "A Sultry Performance?"
I drew on a number of different elements for A Sultry
Performance, several of which come back to the same idea. Heroine Victoria
Morrow was forced to become an exotic dancer as a young woman, as a means to
survive. As someone who has always had the support of a loving family, I’m
greatly inspired by women like Victoria, who may not have been as lucky as I
was and yet manage, through their strength and determination, to find true love
in spite of the odds. I wrote this Cinderella-style romance because I believe
everyone can have their happily ever after, and even the most challenging of
road-blocks can’t keep us from achieving it, when we’re determined enough.
Chris Gordon, whose wife, Evelyn, was murdered by a hit and run driver, is
determined to get justice. He’s recently learned that Evelyn was having an
affair and he suspects the man she was involved with, Oakley Sutherland, is her
killer. He ignites a plan to ensnare Oakley, working through Oakley’s fiancée
and the leader of the exotic dancing team at his night club, Victoria
Morrow. Of course, I wanted to write
this story because it contains so much juicy conflict! But more so, like
Victoria, Chris has gone through something unimaginable and he still manages to
find happiness under the most unlikely of circumstances. Though I’m fortunate
to have never gone through anything nearly so horrific, I find it encouraging
to create a character who can beat the odds and find love for the 2nd
time. I was drawn to the setting of the exotic night club where the story is
primarily set, Sultry & Sensational, as I’ve led a rather clean-cut life
but have often wondered how the other half lives, so to speak.
What drew you to
setting your story in the Rabourn Theater?
A Sultry Performance contains a number of scenes which take place at Sultry
& Sensational, it is indeed a part of the Rabourn Theater Series, and
everything in this series always leads back to Rabourn Theater. I was drawn to
the idea of creating a series about a theater by my love of Phantom of the
Opera. I love how the mysterious phantom, who is thought to be so unattractive
on the outside, becomes obsessed with something beautiful (opera, theater) and
it is his obsession which ultimately drives him to madness. I created Augustus
Nathanson, the main villain in the Rabourn Theater Series, with the intention
of exploring this idea further, showing all of the mayhem which may come as the
result of one man’s actions and how, in the case of this series, it deeply
affects the lives of 5 would-be couples, who find love in spite of every odd.
All of the couples are connected to Rabourn Theater in some way and this
beautiful, romantic setting plays a major part in all of their stories.
Who is your favorite
character in the book?
villains are often my favorite characters, especially so because I’m often
preparing to reform them in an upcoming story. But in this case, I’d have to
say that my favorite character is Victoria. I’m being a bit redundant perhaps,
but I really do admire the way that she holds herself together while being under
the thumb of an abusive man, and the collateral damage of another, something
she isn’t even aware of. Though Chris
attempts to play the role of the savvy seducer where she’s concerned, Victoria
isn’t having it, and their witty banter makes me laugh out loud, even though I
wrote it and have read it over about a million times. I’d like to think that
I’d possess Victoria’s same strength if I were in her shoes and though our
lives could not be more different, I do believe she contains some part of me, as
all of my characters probably do.
What was your
indie-publishing experience like for this book? What made you decide to go that
published my first 7 novels with Siren BookStrand, I thought it might be fun to
try something different. I worked with Killion Group to publish A Sultry
Performance, and they were amazing. I’m big on small details when it comes to
the appearance of my books and I was blown away by all of the little touches
they provided me with, a cover of my choosing, a step-back image, (something
I’d never had before) and beautiful font heading my chapters and throughout the
book. Their design was so in-line with my own desires. They really did a nice
If you could bring
three people to a deserted island, who would you bring and why?
would be difficult for me to live on a desert island, as I’ve become something
of a social butterfly, but I would bring my mother, who is my best friend and
favorite person to watch the soaps with, my father, who is my mentor and
business partner in my day-job and my fiancé Bill who’d have us all laughing
day in and day out even if we never returned from that island!
A Sultry Performance Blurb:
Gordon, stage manager at Rabourn Theater, suspects his late wife’s
hit-and-run was never an accident. He believes the man she was having an
affair with, Oakley Sutherland, was responsible and he vows to get
Evelyn justice, igniting a plot to ensnare Oakley, working through
Oakley’s fiancée, Victoria.
well-known exotic dancer by night, Victoria Morrow has been fighting to
make a better life for herself, and she won’t be taken advantage of.
But when the most handsome man at Rabourn Theater takes an interest in
her, she finds herself spiraling down a path she never expected to. Can
Victoria resist Chris’s charms? Or will both of them fall prey to the
danger that lurks in the wings?
“I’m fine.” Victoria hid her eyes.
tucked a disheveled wave behind her ear. “You don’t look fine. You’re
trembling, and you look as though you’ve been crying.”
did her best to hold it together, like she always did. But seeing the
compassion in Chris’s eyes, compassion that ran deeper than anything she
had ever been on the receiving end of, the emotions welled inside of
her. As the tears spilled down her face Chris took her into his arms.
His strength surrounded her. He brought her inside of it, brushing one
strong hand up and down her back.
“Victoria,” he whispered, “why are you marrying that man?”
tried, but couldn’t think of a single reason why she was. For years,
she’d been telling herself that she was humoring Oakley, biding her time
with him until she could approach him from a position of power. But the
more time passed, the more she questioned whether that day would ever
come. The night Oakley had asked her to marry him, there hadn’t been any
question in her mind that she was going to say yes. Such had been the
way of their disgusting farce of a relationship. She presented a
hard-edged front to the world, but when it came to the man who’d been
manipulating her for half her life, it was as though she had no power at
all, as though she might just as well be nothing more than a mouse.
Chris’s eyes, because she couldn’t possibly hide the truth from him if
they were looking at each other head-on, Victoria simply said, “I love
arms stiffened and Victoria froze in turn, barely breathing as he took
her by the shoulders, saying, “Victoria, that man just embarrassed you
in front of two hundred people. He berated you, he manhandled you and he
exploits you every night of your life. How could you possibly love a
man like that?”
gnawed her lip, completely at a loss for words. She had no defense for
the man in question and by aligning herself with him she was sacrificing
more of her identity every day. Not that the life she’d led had made
her crazy about relationships in general, but she wasn’t even opening
herself to the possibility of another man’s companionship, to his
soothing words and soft touch. Was it so wrong to want these things, so
impossible to have them? Bringing Chris into the middle of her
relationship with Oakley was liable to prove dangerous for both of them.
But Chris was strong. He had to be, to have survived the loss he had.
herself not to allow her thoughts to get away from her, knowing that
Oakley would probably kill a man he perceived to be a serious enough
threat to him, Victoria lifted her chin. “I know what it looks like, but
I couldn’t count the things Oakley has done for me over the years. He’s
protected me, and I sleep soundly at night knowing that no one is going
to hurt me. He makes me feel safe.”
realized right away that she shouldn’t have put things in those terms
because the twinkle in Chris’s eyes told her exactly what his reply was
going to be. She ought to run. He was giving her a chance to do just
that, but her legs refused to stand. Instead, they eased sideways,
leading the way like the smokestack on a train as her body leaned
helplessly into that of the man sitting beside her.
“Tell me, Victoria—” Chris looked into her eyes, “does Oakley Sutherland make you feel like this?”
BookStrand bestselling author Jessica Lauryn has been writing since
before she could hold a pen. Her days of storytelling through the art of
playing with dolls inspired her to write romantic suspense novels The
Romance Reviews describe as having "Just the right amount of passion and
romance!" Villains often reform in Jessica's stories, and just may
become heroes themselves! Jessica is an avid antique collector, as well
as a proud member of Romance Writers of America and her local chapter,
New Jersey Romance Writers.
A Sultry Performance Buy Links: