Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?
My name is Jessica L. Degarmo, and I’ve been writing since early 2010. I’ve always been fascinated with vampires and after my publisher suggested I give writing a vampire book a shot, I found out that I really liked it! It was very fun to let go of all of my self-imposed limitations and create a character that was edgy, dark and violent.
What is it about the paranormal, in particular vampires, that fascinates you so much?
I think it’s honestly the concept of eternal life that draws me to vampires. Let’s face it, vampires have it made, well, except for the whole drinking blood and killing people thing. But to live forever would be cool.
Please tell us about your latest release.
Blood Lust is about Nexess, a vampire who serves as assassin and sex slave to Italian gang leader Antonio Bianchi. She owes him her very existence and does his bidding and fulfills his every whim. But when she meets the vampire who plays for the other team, so to speak, she is confronted with some nasty truths about herself and how she was created. She’ll be forced to choose between lust and loyalty.
Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names? Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?
Sometimes the name chooses the character, I think. I try to use names that embody characteristics of my characters. In Blood Lust, Nexess’s name is symbolic. A nexus is a connection between two things, and Nexess’s powers connect Antonio to his every desire. She and Antonio are also connected by blood. There are a few other connections in the book, but I don’t want to give them away!
Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?
It was probably Antonio who was the most difficult to write, simply because I don’t speak Italian, but he does. I had some help from some great friends, however, who perfected my slang!
Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?
Nexess, of course! She is such a kick-butt (or ass if your blog is ok with that) heroine! I loved writing her attitude and her swagger. None of my other characters in any of my other books is that tough, and honestly, neither am I, so it was fun and challenging to give her that nasty edge.
Do you have a formula for developing characters? Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write?
I usually come up with an idea for the plot before I really go too far with the characters, which can occasionally be problematic. But if I find I’m fuzzy with how he or she would react in a scene, I start jotting down character attributes which serves to refocus me and keep the characters true to themselves.
What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?
Hmmm…I love the ending, but obviously I can’t say anything about it. Let’s just say that justice is dealt swiftly.
Did you find anything really interesting while researching this or another book?
Vampires are very fascinating, and really, almost anything goes. In every culture, they’re portrayed a bit differently. Some have no reflection. Some can walk in daylight. Some are more animal than human and vice-versa. So it was actually really nice to be able to make my vampires unique and create how I thought they’d act.
What is the most interesting thing you have physically done for book related research purposes?
Well, when I was writing The Storm Within, my first Johns Creek Second Chances novel, I got to go to our local fire department and interview some firemen. Then they dressed me up in their gear and let me sit in the fire truck and play with the lights and sirens. It was so much fun!
Can you tell readers a little bit about the world building in the book/series? How does this world differ from our normal world?
Well, my book takes place in Chicago, which isn’t obviously anything paranormal. My book would be considered urban vamp lit, I guess, so I use real places and infuse them with extraordinary beings.
Do any of your characters have similar characteristics of yourself in them and what are they?
I’d like to think that Nexess and I share a certain take-charge attitude, and we both persevere and make the best of bad situations. But she’s much tougher and thirstier than I am.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
Unfortunately, yes. But if I just let go and forget about writing for a bit, I am usually able to recover. Inspiration strikes me at the weirdest times!
Do you write in different genres?
Yes. Blood Lust is my first urban lit book. I normally write either contemporary romance or romantic comedy. I also have a book that I’d consider a straight literary fiction work called Six Weeks that has sparked some controversy.
Do you find it difficult to write in multiple genres?
Well, sort of. I was able to write Six Weeks and Blood Lust very quickly, actually. I think the ideas were there and strong enough that it flowed naturally. But I am in the process of writing a psychological thriller, and it’s admittedly difficult. I guess the answer is that it depends on the genre. I seem to be able to switch to a more literary book more easily than other genres.
When did you consider yourself a writer?
Hmmmm. I’m not sure I still do! I’ve written seven books, but I still wonder if it’s a bit of a fluke. I haven’t stopped writing since I started in January 2010, so maybe I am a writer. But it’s weird. It feels like it happened to someone else, and looking back at my books today, I’m not sure I could have done it a second time. I think things lined up just right and allowed me to finish my books. Let’s hope my luck continues to hold out until I get out some sequels.
What are your guilty pleasures in life?
I love Pit Bulls and Parolees, Hell’s Kitchen, Master Chef, and Bones. TV is definitely a guilty pleasure for me. I also love to sing, and I’m the lead singer in a classic rock band. Music is so much a part of my life. I feel good when I perform.
Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life?
I love to take bicycle rides with my family, or walks in the woods. I love to read, of course, and I absolutely adore singing. I also collect gemstones. I’m such a girl! I love sparkly things.
What was the last amazing book you read?
The Last Juror by John Grisham. I’ve read it over and over so many times! But it’s such a special book. I’d recommend it to anyone.
Where is your favorite place to read? Do you have a cozy corner or special reading spot?
I love to read in my little living room library in our cozy recliner. Heaven!
What can readers expect next from you?
Oh, boy! Lots! I have Wanderlust, the next book in my Lust Trilogy scheduled for 2013 as well as the sequel to my second book, Hooking Up. I’m also working on another Johns Creek Book. Then there’s that psychological thriller I’m working on, too. Yeah, I’ll be busy for a while.
Where can readers find you on the web?
www.jessicadegarmo.com is my official website. I’m also on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/booksbyjessicadegarmo. And I’m @degarmo2911 on Twitter.
Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?
Two of Antonio’s thugs guard the door to the warehouse. They are riff-raff, street scum, lowly members of Antonio’s family, the latest recruits of Nuove Leve. Dozens of men have come through these doors in the past four years and they’re all the same. They petition Antonio to join our family, and either wash out or move up through the ranks. Russo and Manny are the newest additions to our family, and they’re worse than normal. These two remind me of caricatures, of stereotypical meathead wannabe gangsters, and I eye them with disdain. They smell of low-rent tenements and bargain basement clothing, cheap cigarettes and cheaper beer. I smirk at them as I approach.
“Hey, Nexess, whoring yourself out again?” Russo sneers at me, thinking to press my buttons, for what, I don’t know. He has no idea of the danger in pissing me off. Not yet. He’ll soon learn.
“Fuck you,” I growl at him, giving him a small glimpse into the animal inside of me, the one that thirsts for his blood.
“Nice comeback, slut. You just learn that word?” Manny says, grinning bravely. His eyes glint in the weak wash of street lights. He, too, is all brawn and no brain, and my patience with both of them is being sorely tested. The only thing that keeps me from spilling their blood on the warehouse floor is my loyalty to Antonio, that and the fact I’d just fed.
“Stupid asshole, maybe one day you’ll learn who you can and can’t fuck with,” I threaten, a purr in my voice men often mistake for sex. It couldn’t be further from that. The purr is a ruse, a sound meant to disarm and distract, a sound I make right before I pounce. And when I pounce, the purr is the last sound they hear before succumbing to my bite. But not today. Today I’m in a hurry and besides, I just ate.
“Yeah? Like who? You? What could you possibly do to us?” Manny asks with a laugh. He looks down his nose at me, sneering a bit as his gaze rests on my chest. I can nearly hear his thoughts, and I know his kind and their appetites all too well. The only value a woman has to them is while she’s on her back.
He’s showing off now, flexing his bicep and gesturing to it proudly. Then he looks at me and says something that confirms to me just how much of a stupid fuck he is. “Yeah? Beat that, little girl.”
It’s time to teach the gangster a lesson.
I take one step and flex my arm, and he’s unconscious and on the ground before he can draw his next breath.
“Jesus!” Russo squeals as he takes a step backwards and trips over a loose brick. I laugh as he falls on his ass. He boosts himself up on his hands and knees and backpedals for his life. He’s moving fast but not going anywhere and I laugh again, one sinister sound that sends his heart into frantic gallops. The sound of the rapid thuds inside his chest makes me smile.
“You were saying?” I ask as I rest one leather boot-clad foot on his chest.
“Nothing. G-g-go right on up. He-he-he’s expecting you. Jesus!”
“I fucking thought so. See you, Russo,” I say, stepping past him.
Manny comes to with a groan and tries to rise, but one quick shove sends him roughly against the brick wall of the warehouse. He curses madly as he bounces off and falls to the ground.
“Shit, that hurt! You bitch!”
I ignore that remark, which saves Manny’s life, and step up the stairs toward my master.
The Lust Trilogy Book One
The Lust Trilogy Book One
By Jessica DeGarmo
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Taylor Street Books
Owned by Nuove Leve, an Italian street gang in the heart of Chicago, Nexess is both a tool and a toy to leader Antonio Bianchi. She lives to serve and protect him, and to exact revenge on Feral .45, the Mexican Leve rivals who have condemned Nexess to an eternity of thirst.
But when she meets Jace, the vampire for the opposing gang, battle lines begin to blur and soon she’ll have to choose between loyalty and love as she tries to fulfill her own blood lust.
About the Author:
Jessica Degarmo grew up in Upstate New York and now lives with her husband, children and dog in rural Pennsylvania. When she is not writing, she is an insurance agent, the lead singer in a classic rock band, and an avid collector of gemstones.
Her publishing credits include:
How to Meet a Guy at the Supermarket (Taylor Street Publishing, November 2010)
Hooking Up (Taylor Street Publishing, May 2011)
Decisions (Silver Publishing, July 2011)
The Storm Within, A Johns Creek Second Chances Novel #1(Taylor Street Publishing, September 2011)
Six Weeks (Taylor Street Publishing, October 2011)
Historically Yours, A Johns Creek Second Chances Novel #2(Taylor Street Publishing, August 2012)
She is currently working on several other projects. Visit Jessica's website for more information at www.jessicadegarmo.com