Jazz Hands: An interview with E.M. Denning

Jazz Hands: An interview with E.M. Denning

As part of our Exploding Hearts series, we’re interviewing as many romance novelists as possible between now and Valentine’s Day. Let your heart grow three – or even fourteen – sizes this February and check out these authors’ books, from the sweet and inspirational to the spicy hot.

E.M. Denning is the author of Jazz Hands, the third book in The Studio Collection, which debuts today! Is commitment-phobic Katrina Hoffman ready to partner up for good? Find out in this short erotic romance.

We recently had the chance to ask E.M. some questions about her writing and influences. Here’s what she had to say.

Who are your top 5 authors or influences, and why?

First on the list is always Dean Koontz, which might seem like a strange pick for a romance author, but I grew up reading his books and he’s the author that inspired me to write. 

Kit Rocha has to be on the list. They’re a dynamic writing duo who penned my favorite book series ever. The Beyond Series is an erotic dystopian series that kicks major butt. I love it.

My beta team has a huge influence on me. They pick me up, they cheer me on, they add fuel to my fire. They’re the pep in my step and the yin to my yang.

There are some really hard working people in the industry and they’re also huge influences on me. My publisher, for one. Ella works her tail off for her authors, and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her.

What fuels your writing?

Caffeine and an insatiable thirst for love stories. Dark, light, sappy, angsty, and everything in between. I can’t ever get enough, so I write my own.

What inspired you to write your latest book?

I’ve released and re-released a variety of titles this year, but the inspiration for all of them usually comes out of thin air. I never sit down and set out to write a certain book. Inspiration usually strikes when I’m doing things like scrolling mindlessly through my Facebook feed (usually when I should be writing) or doing the dishes or during the walk to get my kids from school. One book I wrote was inspired by the drive home from a camping trip I took with my family.

The book I just finished writing, All For Him, was actually inspired by two things. The first was the desire to explore a relationship between an older woman and a younger man and the second was to write about a character who didn’t want children. A lot of books are flooded with babies and the pursuit of babies, and I wondered what it would be like to write a character who didn’t want children. I wondered how it would impact her life.

Do you have a favorite quote about the writing process?

I am actually a collector of quotes, so I have many. If I had to choose one quote it would be:

“You can fix anything but a blank page.”
– Nora Roberts

I like it because it reminds me that it doesn’t have to be brilliant on the first pass, it just needs to exist. It can be brilliant later.

How (if at all) does your geographic location influence your writing?

I’m from central British Columbia, and while it is one of the most beautiful places on the planet, the focus of my books is on plot and characters and relationships and not so much on geographic locations.

As a romance author, what inspires the types of stories you’re drawn to tell in your books? And what kinds of books do you enjoy reading?

I love love. I love the journey of watching two people gravitate towards each other. I love the push and pull. I love watching people fall for each other. Those are the kinds of stories that I like to tell in my books. As for reading, if you toss in a love story, I’ll read nearly anything. I’m a sucker for forbidden love, though. If people shouldn’t be together, I’m all over that.

What’s your writing routine like? Are you a plotter or a “pantser”?

I couldn’t plot my way out of a wet paper bag. I’ve tried and it just never works. I’m a pantser through and through. I need the magic of never really knowing what’s coming next. I spend a lot of time thinking about books before I start writing them, but I don’t like to put a plot down on paper. It seems to suck some of the joy out of it for me.

How much time do you usually spend researching a novel before you begin writing?

It really depends what I need to research. Before starting work on The Studio Collection I spent a lot of time watching different styles of dancing on YouTube. Sometimes my research requires nothing more than a quick Google search. There’s a book that I want to write that might require me to spend a lot of time researching a subject, just to be sure my characters can talk about it and sound as if they actually know what they’re saying.

Do you have any talismans, charms, superstitions or music that inspires or helps you to write, and what’s the story behind them?

I’m one of the least superstitious people on the planet. All I need is a computer or a notebook and I’m good to go. As for music, sometimes it’s Tompkins Square Park by Mumford and Sons on repeat for hours on end, or it’s one of my nightcore playlists. I have a mixed playlist and a Fall Out Boy playlist.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

A reader. Hahaha. Seriously. If I wasn’t a writer, I’d probably have a massive book blog with a gazillion book reviews on it by now.

What are some of your hobbies or sports of choice when getting out from behind the desk?

Um. I like to walk to Tim Hortons with my notebook and write there. Does that count? Sometimes I go to the pool for a swim. I don’t really participate in sports. I can’t run or catch and I definitely shouldn’t be in charge of throwing things.

What are you currently working on, and why will it melt hearts?

I just finished a novel titled All For Him, which will release somewhere around June. It’s a story about an older woman who falls for a younger man. It’s funny, honest, and the friendship between Liam and Ashley will melt people’s hearts. Ashley is uncompromising when it comes to what she wants and at first it ruins her life, but then it beautifully transforms it.

Here, I’ll share the blurb:

Ashley Hartman has always been child free by choice. It’s a decision her first husband knew about when they met and it’s the same decision that tore them apart years later. Now a thirty-six year old divorcee, with an overly opinionated best friend and a career she no longer wants, Ashley is trying to move on with her life.
Liam White swaggers his way up her driveway and into her life a year after her swift and brutal divorce. Though he’s twelve years younger than her, their friendship is instantaneous and it’s not long before she hires him to finish the renovations on her house.
Their relationship quickly explodes into something neither of them expected. Haunted by the past and unsure about their future, can they manage to hang onto each other when the whole world seems to be working to tear them apart?

Complete The Studio Collection with Alpha Tango and At the Barre. Keep up with E.M. on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and her website, emdenning.weebly.com.