Hi, readers! For those who are still hankering for a good romance just in time for Valentine’s Day, look no further! ♥
I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our 30th official author interview on this romance blog! I know in the past, we did character interviews then switched over to the author’s take on it, but this approach is a bit unusual.
We have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak one-on-one with a talented author. Please join me in welcoming Jess Michaels to ILRB! Nice to chat with you…
Marie Lavender: Hello, Jess.
Author Jess Michaels: Hi, Marie!
Marie: Hey, such a pleasure to have you on the blog!
I’m going to throw in some standard questions first.
Obviously, we know your occupation as an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do?
I know I’m overloading you with questions, but we’re really interested in finding out more about you…
Jess: I am a 10-Time USA Today Bestselling historical romance author of almost 100 books (my 100th will be out in May of 2022). I certainly love doing it and I hope, after all these years, that I’m good at it.
Marie: Wow, one hundred! That’s fantastic!
I remember how it felt to be published for the first time. Almost indescribable, right? I can only imagine how it must feel to reach a mega milestone like that.
So, tell us…what is your family like?
Jess: I have been married to my husband for almost 25 years. He is my best friend and is the manager of our publishing house. We also have a dog, Elton, who is two and the cutest thing ever.
Let’s try something else, okay?
If it doesn’t bother you at all, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?
Jess: I grew up in Idaho, in a red brick house on about an acre of land.
Marie: Whoa…that’s so cool.
Do you have any hobbies, Jess? What do you enjoy doing?
Jess: Writing takes up a great deal of my time, as I’m a high producer. But I’m a huge fan of shows like The Mandalorian or Falcon and the Winter Soldier. I like to swim in our pool. Sometimes I do diamond painting, which is fun. And my husband and I like to play board games and video games.
Marie: All right.
So, what is your greatest dream?
Jess: My greatest dream was to be able to support my family through my writing and I get to live that one.
Marie: Yep, I think all authors want that one! 😉
Let’s try another question.
What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?
Jess: I think I am the kind of person I want to be. I am not a living in regret type of person. I get to write books for a living, I work from home, we travel when it’s not a pandemic, and I have good friends. I can’t really picture a better life to live.
Marie: That’s great!
So…we’re curious, since you did include some romance in your story. Who was your first love?
Jess: My husband. We met in high school (and were even briefly partners on the debate team). We’ve been married for more than half my life now.
Marie: Glad to hear to it!
(Sighs.) I just love romance! ♥♥♥
With the next question, I hope I’m not prying too much.
What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?
Jess: I’d rather not answer that question if it’s okay. It feels a little too personal.
Marie: No problem, I won’t pressure you into giving something away…
Let’s move on to another topic, shall we?
What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?
Jess: In second grade, I said I wanted to be a writer, so it’s always been something I wanted to do. I think I pictured it like it has always been seen on TV. Write one book, get tons of publisher support, and be a bestseller. Of course, that’s not really how it works. I’ve written for big publishers and smaller presses, and found the bulk of my success since going fully indie in 2015.
Marie: I think I knew around the same time as well.
And you’re right…it’s not easy at all, making a name for yourself. But I’m so glad it all worked out for you!
Now, who is your role model?
Jess: I have many people I admire, but not really a role model. I tend to be a ‘make my own path’ kind of person.
Marie: Can’t blame you there.
So, let’s try another tactic.
Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?
Jess: I am very lucky that I don’t have to deal with many people who I don’t like. Life is too short to deal with horrible people.
And what is your deepest desire?
Jess: Just to be happy and be able to take care of my family.
Let’s take a different approach now and switch gears for a second.
If you were trapped on a deserted island, what five essentials would you need with you? They don’t have to be practical.
Jess: I’d have to bring my laptop. I can’t stop writing, it’s something that soothes my stress and I’d definitely be stressed on a deserted island. Second, sunscreen. I bake very easily. Third, unlimited Cherry Coke Zero because I’ll surely need some caffeine. Fourth, I’ll take my Kindle with the ability to download new books. Finally, it goes without saying that I consider my husband to be essential. So I will also take him.
Marie: Sounds good!
Okay, readers, let’s get the author’s perspective on one of her characters.
We’ve heard rumors about one of your characters. Quite interesting. Can you tell us a little about him?
Jess: Yes, I’d like to focus on King Grantham of Athawick from To Kiss a King, my most recent release.
Grantham is a very serious person with a great deal of weight on his shoulders as king of the island of Athawick. He is trying to do what is best for his people and also to figure out what to do with his growing feelings for the heroine Ophelia, who is light and fun, and pushing all his boundaries.
And what are Grantham’s greatest strengths?
Jess: He’s a very good king, he really cares about others, and is a deeply responsible person.
Any weaknesses of which we should be aware?
Jess: He doesn’t ask for help. He’s been raised that he shouldn’t do that, so he tries to fix things on his own, shutting out his family and others who love him.
Marie: How unfortunate! 😥 But I can see how he’d get into that sort of pitfall.
So, what’s a positive quality that the king is unaware that he has?
Jess: I think he would not, at the beginning of the book, recognize his deep ability to love. But by the end of the book, he’s certainly open to that.
Marie: All right.
So, will readers like or dislike this character, and why?
Jess: Oh, I never write dislikeable heroes. I want to write good men who are decent and working on themselves. Even the rakes are good at heart.
Marie: I can’t blame you at all. Those are my weakness too. 😉
Well, now that we have a real taste of Grantham, here are a few questions for you as well as the author, about the writing process of your book.
What first gave you the idea for To Kiss a King?
Jess: It’s the fourth book in my Regency Royals series, so I’ve been working toward Grantham for a while now. And Ophelia, the heroine, was a secondary character in my Three Mrs. Series, so I always knew I’d give her a book.
Well, let’s try something else.
What is your writing style like, Jess? Are you a pantster or a plotter?
Jess: I’m somewhat in between. I’m an intuitive seeker in the way I write. I do scene sketches to a certain point, get excited and write until I run out, then repeat. I generally have a basic path in my head, but I want to be able to discover and be led by the characters as I get to know them better.
Marie: Well, it was a total pleasure having you on the I Love Romance Blog!
And how apropos is that, considering what a great story To Kiss a King appears to be… ♥
Jess: Thank you for this opportunity of letting me visit you today.
Marie: Of course!
Readers, let’s learn more about this book.
Title: To Kiss a King (Regency Royals, Book 4)
Genre: Steamy Historical Romance
Publication date: January 11, 2022
We wish you so much success with your book!
I adore this book cover!
Here is the blurb:
Since being crowned King of Athawick after his father’s death, Grantham has been struggling. His family defies his every order, his kingdom may be on the verge of an uprising, and now his palace has been invaded by a woman. A very frustrating woman who seems hellbent on torturing him with her playful sweetness.
Lady Ophelia may be the special guest of the newest Princess of Athawick, but her attention is all on the king. The rude, grumpy, forever-frowning king. He needs to be brought down a peg and she is just the woman to do it. If only she can avoid any romantic entanglements that she knows from bitter experience can’t end happily.
Sunshine meets grumpy in this clash of wits and passion, but when a revolution comes knocking, this king may have to choose between his kingdom or love.
Heat Level: Your glasses are about to steam up.
Let’s take a look at the story…
She sighed and turned to move away from the crowd. Only to find herself nearly careening into the broad chest of King Grantham. She hadn’t even heard him approach and she staggered back with a gasp.
“You-Your Majesty,” she said when she could find her breath. She offered a quick curtsey. “Good evening.”
“Lady Ophelia,” he said, drawing out her name ever so slightly.
He then said nothing else, but simply stepped up beside her and together they watched the dancing crowd a moment. She shifted under the weight of the silence. The man was an expert at it, that was certain. Also at staring.
She cleared her throat when she could take it no longer. “I-I wished to say thank you for your kindness.”
He glanced at her. “My kindness?”
“In allowing me to stay for Prince Remington and Priscilla’s wedding.”
He grunted rather than answered and returned his attention to the ball. She waited a moment and then added, “You must wish to have your palace back from interlopers.”
He grunted again rather than answering, though that particular sound felt more in the affirmative.
She pursed her lips. Great God, but the man was frustrating. Why had he approached her, why was he standing next to her if he was only going to be so taciturn and uncommunicative? Was he just playing a game with her?
She blinked and looked at him from the corner of her eye. Perhaps she was right. Perhaps this man just liked to watch her squirm. The more she mulled over that in her mind, the more sense it made. From the very first time she met him he had been…odd in her presence. Watching her even as he avoided her.
Was it all a game to him?
Well, if that were true, she could certainly play it. Match his energy with her own opposite one. If he wanted to be gruff and untalkative, she could be fluffy and light and playful and chatty, couldn’t she? Take the upper hand by batting her eyelashes at him and driving him mad?
It might actually make the next few weeks bearable. She smothered a laugh and turned to face him directly. His expression fluttered when she did, as if she had surprised him. Good.
“Your Majesty, I just must compliment you on your gardens. Every morning I take a long walk and they are truly stunning. It’s clear the generations of work that have gone into the blooms. I, myself, have a rather black thumb, I fear. I cannot even manage to keep a bouquet alive for more than twenty-four hours. Perhaps that’s a curse.” She paused only for a quick breath and continued, loving how his eyes were progressively growing wider as she chattered on. “Not that I believe in such a thing as a curse. I’m far more reasonable a person than that. It’s all science, isn’t it? Water a plant well and it will grow. Give it food and sunlight and I suppose I’m simply not focused enough to recall to do it. Not that I’m flighty. Heavens, no.”
His mouth was dropped just slightly open, and his gaze was entirely focused on her now. No, wait, not on her. On her mouth. As if he was trying to figure out how it was pushing so many words out at once. Excellent.
“I noted that Princess Ilaria’s bouquet was from the garden. What a wonderful wedding that was. They seem truly in love, as do Princess Sasha and the Earl of Bramwell. And, of course, our dear Priscilla and Remi. Marriages of love seem to be as in fashion in Athawick as they are presently in London. What do you think of that, Your Majesty?”
He opened and shut his mouth several times and then cleared his throat. “I think that I wish to see my family happy,” he said slowly. “And they are. So that is good enough for me.”
She was actually taken aback by that response. She had never been able to read the king’s response to the flurry of romances and marriages amongst his siblings in the past few months. But what he said seemed…genuine.
“My lady, would you like to dance?” he asked.
She caught her breath. They had known each other for months, been present at dozens of these events both at home and here in Athawick, and yet he had never requested a dance with her. He’d danced with Priscilla, with Abigail…but never her.
“I…” she murmured and then shook her head. This was surely still part of his game…or if he wasn’t playing one, she needed to incorporate it into her own. “Yes,” she said. “That would be an honor, Your Majesty.”
“Excellent,” he said, motioning her toward the floor where the previous country jig had ended, and couples were filtering on and off. She thought she heard him mutter something else as he followed her. Something about the only way to make her stop talking.
She smothered a smile. Excellent. If they were to be adversaries, she intended to win the day. And flummoxing him was fun. Certainly more entertaining than the time she’d spent avoiding him and wondering why he wouldn’t stop looking at her.
Love the tension in this one! ♥♥♥ I can’t wait to find out what happens next.
Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/bOydxW
Add it to your Goodreads TBR shelf: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58477024-to-kiss-a-king
What are people saying about To Kiss a King?
“The chemistry was there and it continued to simmer til’ it boiled over. They got their HEA, though it took some turmoil to get there. I highly recommend this book! 👍👍👍👍👍❤❤❤❤❤” — Kindle Customer, Amazon
“Wonderful story. Suspenseful and riveting! The whole series was enjoyable and I looked forward to this last one. I was not disappointed.” — Rebekah B., Amazon
“King Grumpy and Sunshine — To Kiss a King is the fourth book in the steamy Regency Royals series by Jess Michaels. The romance stands alone, but you’ll enjoy this story more if you’ve followed the couples in the previous volumes and also the family relationships as the series progressed. This has been my favorite so far!” — K. Howard, Amazon
“Ophelia is a bright spark in Grantham’s life, but to protect her, he pushes her away. You can’t help but feel for Grantham and root for their feelings to blossom. This book is part of a series, but can be read as a standalone, as all is well explained. Love Ms. Michaels’ writing style and storylines. Highly recommend.” — Lcdolphin, Amazon
We’ll be sure to get a copy of this steamy Regency read! ♥♥♥
About Jess Michaels
Jess Michaels is the 10-Time USA Today Bestselling Author of nearly 100 books under three different pen names, mostly very sexy historical romance. She lives in Dallas with her husband of 25 years and their dog Elton.
And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Jess Michaels, here are some author links…
Newsletter Sign-up: https://www.authorjessmichaels.com/join-the-jess-michaels-newsletter/ (Free book for subscribers)
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jess-Michaels/e/B002C1SFK2/
Once again, I want to thank Jess Michaels, the brilliant author of this historical romance novel, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥