About the Author
International attorney, award-winning journalist and last of a modest raconteur bloodline, J.D. Lexx has been a storyteller for most of his life, and a student of humanity for even longer. Perhaps it’s no wonder that he takes such pleasure in the subtle tease of the written word, in kindling curiosity with every shared tale and then daring the imagination to continue on beyond The End.
A traveler by nature, Lexx spends most of his time between the frenzied streets of New York and the slower pace of New Orleans’ Vieux Carré. When not exploring the sensual psyche through his writing, he can usually be found honing his skills in the kitchen or working alongside charitable organizations to promote literacy and tolerance—two causes not only reflected in his work but forever dear to his heart.
What inspires you to write romance books?
For me, it’s the inherent challenges of the genre that first drew me in. There’s this great sort of alchemy that happens when you transform written words into visceral emotion. If you can get it right and really impact someone, it can be a magical thing.
I look around today and it feels like the whole world is determined to tear itself apart with so much anger and alienation. And yet, when you put two people together in a romantic or sensual setting with some trial to overcome, all of that negativity melts away and we’re reminded of what truly matters. That none of us are all that different. The genre often gets a bad rap, but I believe we should attribute that more to bad writers than to anything else. Romantic arcs give us hope and they give us release. For that alone, romantic fiction deserves a better reputation.
Is there any truer representation of our shared humanity than those tingles we feel as the tension builds between characters we’ve grown invested in? Love. Lust. Anticipation. It’s the passion we relate to. And if I can help nurture just a little of that with my stories then there’s nothing I’d rather be doing.
Tell us about how you write:
I’ve tried outlines before but they tend to backfire and leave me feeling stifled and unable to explore. My characters sketch themselves from rudimentary foundations and I’ve learned it’s best not to pigeonhole them too early on. I find that I get my best results if I just jot down a first line that I’m happy with and then feel my way around. It can take a day or two to get my footing, but I get there eventually. At first, each new project can feel like holding on for dear life to a runaway train. After a day or two, though, things settle in and I begin to develop a rhythm and sense a distinct atmosphere.
That’s probably the greatest difficulty I still contend with, even after several books—striking that balance between maintaining control of the story in my head and loosening the grip so it can develop on its own. As a general rule, I know my hero and heroine and I know where the story ends. Granted, even those elements are prone to change at any minute. But I do think that when a story can unfold to surprise and amuse the author, that will translate to the reader as well. There aren’t many things better than having your own characters catch you off-guard or that moment late in a manuscript when things begin coming together as if that’s how it was always meant to be.
Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Oh, goodness yes. My characters never shut up. Ever. But I’m kind of a quiet guy by nature so I usually find myself stepping back and taking notes while they prattle on.
I make it a point to always know more about my character than the reader ever does. That way, they’re well-rounded personalities and not simply cut to fit the mold. But the best part is when those characters begin divulging things even I didn’t know that they knew. Let’s just say I don’t get a lot of sound sleep while a story is in full swing.
What advice would you give other writers?
Honestly, I’m terrible at taking advice (even my own) so I usually hesitate to offer it. That said, I would probably split this into two categories: practical and technical suggestions.
Speaking practically, avoid the temptation to jump on the newest trend and stick to what you know. We all have something inside us worth writing. For me, it’s the intriguing interplay between our insatiable sensual selves and the outer personae we present to the world. That fascination will probably provide me with a lifetime of inspiration. What is yours? Make it your own. The world doesn’t need another FSOG and it’s already overloaded on Twilight. What’s that unique, new idea brewing in *your* mind?
Technically, for the love of all things holy, master the tools of your trade. I see a tremendous amount of material out there, both traditionally and self-published, that seems to completely abandon all appreciation for the language and butcher every grammar rule in sight. The reader deserves your absolute respect, and the surest way to give that is by offering your best. Not everybody is a poet at heart but everyone can use spell check. As a reader, nothing piques my curiosity like crisp, intelligent writing. And nothing dulls it like sloppy grammar. Let’s face it, it’s hard to keep a reader in the mood when someone keeps sticking their commas where they don’t belong!
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I think everyone has their own goals and expectations which should govern such a big and personal decision. As for me, I decided early on that I would not self-publish my book until every last alternative was exhausted, and maybe not even then. I know it’s fashionable these days to celebrate self-publishing, but the painful truth is that deregulation of the industry will never lead to an *increase* in quality as long as so many see it as a shortcut.
Don’t get me wrong; many great authors will choose this path for their own personal reasons, and more power to them for doing it. If used right, self-publishing can open opportunities that traditional methods have made clunky and nearly impossible to navigate. But if you truly believe in your work and your ability, I would still advise new authors to test the traditional waters first. I have worked with some of the most amazing people since signing my first book contract—a team whose combined knowledge has spared me so much frustration and whose skill has humbled me in the best of ways. The books I put out are better because of them.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
That’s the $64,000 question. I would love to see the resurgence of smaller, independent publishers with a willingness to take some risks. The market’s there and it’s hungry for something new.
On the other side, I think it’s time for the monster retailers like Amazon to take ownership of their policies. It’s time to show their solidarity with the authors in providing a sustainable space for us to share our hearts and souls, and for we readers to keep discovering new talents. Isn’t that what keeps romance and sensuality so enticing in the first place? The unlimited potential for discovery?
What genres do you write:: Romance, contemporary romance, erotica, erotic romance, romantic comedy
What formats are your books in: eBook