Beverly and Tamara: Welcome to SSLY, Palessa. Thanks so much for joining us today. So first why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
Palessa– Thanks for having me. I am a storyteller with Beau Coup Publishing, who has been great in helping me fulfill a dream of publishing a fiction book. My first, Unchained Hearts, Baxter Family Saga Book 1 came out in December 2013 and it’s been a great ride so far. Other than that, I live a pretty quiet life in the mountains of western Jamaica with farm, goats, Dad (he takes care of the first two) and a dog.
Tamara: What do you HAVE to have when you are writing?
Palessa– A bit of an outline and some research so I can at least know what the story is about. I might be writing about an alternate reality but I need something of this reality to work with. Some kind of quiet with few disturbances, which can be tough even in a remote location such as this believe it or not. An internet connection and power that works, which at times can be tough. A nice rainstorm helps too.
Beverly: When did you start to write?
Palessa– I started when I was about 11. It started with a diary, then a broken heart, then experiments in expressing that broken heart through someone else. I did have to put it all away for a couple of decades when I started University but now, it’s back.
Tamara: Whatdo you think are the qualities that make up a “hero”?
Palessa– That’s a tough one because when you think hero, you think big, brawny, guy in a cap and/or cowl. Now, while I’m all for the brawny hunks that just lift me up and are ready to explore, intelligence is definitely a big part as well. Strong sense of right and wrong that s/he has no problem standing up for along with the confidence to live and let live. Ability to explore the truth beneath; doesn’t take the status quo or what they see as the “be all and end all.” So many qualities…
Beverly: Can you describe your favorite character? And which of your books is he/she in? How do you come up with your characters?
Palessa- Right now, I’m totally engaged in Grayson Baxter. His story is really interesting and compelling and so different from Cass’. He’s in my next Baxter installment titled “Portrait of Gray” coming out in April 2014. I find that I don’t really come up with characters as much as they just come to me and say, “I’ve got a story to tell.” Some aren’t so nice about it but I made a deal with myself to write their story, if they tell me the details. Sometimes as I’m writing, what comes out surprises me so I’m just following orders, I guess you could say J
Tamara: What are the hardest scenes for you to write? Suspense? Sex? Dialogue? And why?
Palessa– Sex! Because sex is a pretty simple concept but to describe it differently and in a way that doesn’t seem boring is tough for me. It could be because I’m single, ha-ha, but I want to make sure that the mechanics and positions make sense and that the mood is right for the characters. While the relationship between the characters makes each scene different, I want to make sure it’s not repetitive. So I use books and sites to help me visualize. There are times when I’d rather write a death scene than a love scene but for the most part, I think I’m doing alright (I hope)
Beverly: What writer, if any, influenced how you write?
Palessa– Barbara Taylor Bradford’s A Woman of Substance is this amazing epic that just influenced me seriously and showed me who I could be when I was 15/16. Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God showed just how much women can endure. Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour another great book that really fed my paranormal side; I’m hoping to writing that one day as it was one of my first writing experiments. Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth and Colleen McCullough’s The Thornbirds are others that just showed me what good writing was. Then there were the classics A Tale of Two Cities, The Brontë Sisters, Jane Austen, the list is long and getting longer. I don’t aspire to be this great but how they see and speak about life and love and drama are fantastic, I think.
Tamara: Who would you choose as your “book boyfriend”? From what book? Author?
Palessa– OK, now I love my Baxters and any other man I come up with but I want a McCoy. I was mentioning to Sable (Hunter) the other day about the McCoy Joy Club. I want to be a member J I didn’t know cowboys could be so hot. Then there’s Isobelle (Cate) and her vampire/wolf hotties and Alicia (Sparks) who used pictures of every hot hockey player she could find to torture/convince me (successfully, I might add) to check out the sport a little more. So while I’m finding more hot guys from a lot of my Beau Coup colleagues, I’m partial to Jacob McCoy from “Hot on Her Trail” because of his heart.
Beverly: What is the kinkiest thing you’ve ever done? Or would like to? What? We are all about the love!
Palessa– Well, I tied his hands to the bed with some stockings and decided to kiss him everywhere I could. The catch was he couldn’t touch me. He seemed to be disturbed by that but that was part of my fun. I don’t know if that was kinky but I do enjoy sweetly torturing him every once in a while. What I would like to do…whatever’s in the Kama Sutra and then some. That would require the right guy, whom I haven’t met yet so…to be continued
Tamara: What are your favorite types of heroines? Do you like the damsel in distress who needs saving or the kick-ass variety? Why?
Palessa -I can’t stand the “damsel in distress.” I roll my eyes because that’s such an over done disservice to women. She can be in distress but she’s finding ways to break through, whether that’s kicking ass or just riding it out and looking for opportunities. She’s not reliant on some guy to save her. I was just working on a post about fairytales and that whole notion of Sleeping Beauty just annoys the hell out of me because she is basically helpless or half-dead until a guy kisses her. There’s this notion that women need to be completed by a relationship. No. She’s complete and chooses to add a new dimension to her life with a relationship. Many of us want a relationship and there’s nothing wrong with wanting or even needing that connection with another. But what I do find disturbing is hanging your complete happiness and defining your entire existence as a person as a woman on that relationship and saying things like “I was nothing before it…” or “I was dead before I met XYZ…” I don’t buy that and I don’t want my characters to be empty vessels or to read about heroines who are waiting for a man to “complete” them.
Beverly: What was your worst date ever?
Palessa- OMG so many. I remember this one guy who used his passport photo as a profile. That’s fine except it was 15 years old. So we went to my favorite Thai place and he tried to just “talk sexy,” which I was just not into. Then he had gastrointestinal issues because his stomach couldn’t handle the “spicy” food and he asked to use my guest bathroom. I said no problem and the date ended. Now I didn’t think anything of it and really wasn’t into him so that was the first and last date. A few days after that, I was cleaning and the bathroom smelled really bad. Genius date guy didn’t flush! Yeah, that was just…not nice but I reserve the right to use it in any story so that’s a bright side.
Tamara: If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want to have with you? (you have food, water, shelter, all the necessities, so nothing mundane)
Palessa- Nutella because that stuff just ROCKS! A tablet/laptop with the BEST internet connection in the world that’s up all the time and is ridiculously fast no matter the weather or what I’m doing on it. The guy who delivers my supplies to be a great guy who’s interested and open to possibilities of being on a desert island with me.
Beverly: What is your “guilty pleasure”?
Palessa- I tend to take the pleasure and leave the guilt. I do watch TV from time to time and loved STARZ’s series Spartacus. I am unapologetic about enjoying the sight of half/naked ripped men and women just get it on. It was a totally salacious show that was both visceral and brilliant as it kept me in a state of surprise weekly. I am looking at exploring something like that in a story sometime soon because I miss the show and like that kind of storytelling. I love my comfort foods and really have a serious thing for Nutella as I have always loved the mixture of hazelnut and chocolate. I may have to resort to buying some on Amazon as it’s just not easy to find here.
Tamara: What dream or goal have you yet to realize?
Palessa– I think the writing dream is starting to be realized but I don’t even feel like I’ve hit the tip of the iceberg yet. I want to take it to a visual level at some point if/when the opportunity arises because I would love to introduce the stories to a different audience. So my books made into TV/Webisodes J. Being on Oprah, LOL, talking about my books. Getting my voice back in shape as I used to sing and was pretty good at it but this time, it’s for a purpose. Getting me back in shape. I have lost weight so I’m lighter but I want more muscle tone. Travel to Europe to visit some friends I haven’t seen in a while and meeting some new friends. Travel anywhere without worrying about anything like finances because my businesses and investments are doing their jobs. Just enjoying my time and a travel partner I can enjoy it with. He wants to get drunk on life with me and we’ll see just how much trouble/adventure we can get ourselves into.
Beverly: What was your most embarrassing moment?
Palessa- I have disavowed any and all of those. I have blocked them out because well, I probably learned the lesson and don’t need to remember it but I’m drawing a blank. You’d probably be better to ask my friends or better yet, my Dad J
Tamara: If you were a color what would you be and why?
Palessa– Green. It’s the color I see every day and it’s beautiful. The trees are green and just gorgeous. To me, it’s the color of life and liveliness.
Beverly: Who has influenced how you perceive love? Why?
Palessa– I guess my parents. They were married for close to 30 years when my Mom died. She always told me, “marry your best friend.” She said she and my Dad could tell each other anything. They may not like the reaction but complete communication is paramount. To hear my Dad talk about her today, he still uses the present tense; she’s still alive to him and that means a lot to me. I have friends from all sides. Single, married, involved and they’re happy for the most part. They’re not force-fed on the notion that marriage is the exclamation point. It’s a choice and should be entered into seriously, if you’re going to do it. If you’re not, live your life and don’t stop and wait. If it’s not working fix it, and that may mean making a break. These are the people whom I look at and I’m happy that they’re happy. If they’re not happy, we talk, have a laugh, a conversation and they do what they need to. Love is more than just romance; there are different kinds of love that need to be acknowledged.
Tamara and Beverly: Okay. We are SSLY so I have to ask. Who loves you?
Palessa– Well I know, I love me for sure. My Dad too; Sure my Mom loved me. My friends who’ve seen me through the years. I think maybe some newer friends and fans are getting to know me. As far as anyone else…we’ll see
Now for some quick fun questions:
Boxers or briefs? I have seen fineness in both so, whatever he’s comfortable in.
Coffee or Tea? Coffee with milk and sugar to make it creamy brings a smile to my face. So does Chai tea, Rooibos…I love both
Tall, dark and handsome or Blond and buff? I won’t lie, Blonds freak me out. I don’t completely get it but in my mind, really blond men just freak me out because they look so…blond. Having said that, my ex was a blond and the blondest man I ever met practically saved my life. So any man who is just great, who turns me on, is confident, smart, thoughtful and we want to get to know each other works for me.
Hairy chest or smooth? I can work with both. Stubble is annoying, though
Chocolate or Vanilla? Yes but no pistachios, butterscotch or maraschino cherries. EVER
Kinky or Sweet? Yes but that whole pain in bed thing…nope so keep it pleasurable
Fast or slow? Yes. Not too much of either and depending on the mood. Short answer Yes
Public or private? I’m with Ms. Jackson on this one. “Close the door if you want me to respond” I don’t want what we’re doing on a camera or for public consumption. I don’t get the whole sex tape thing and don’t want a thing to do with it. It’s private at all times. Sure the affection can be public, not excessive but when it’s time to get down, I want a private space. No compromises or there will be blood.
Top or bottom? Yes
Kyle Avery, CEO of Mama Avery Foods, has been summoned to a special meeting by a note from her late mother, Virgilia Avery. When she arrives, she meets the elusive mogul Newton “Cass” Baxter, CEO of Baxter Chemicals and learns of the nearly forty year history her mother shared with Cass, as well as the obstacles they’d been forced to endure. As Kyle struggles to understand their history, she’s forced to confront the man who loved and left her, Brandon Hall, VP of Baxter Chemicals and the adopted son of Cass Baxter. Kyle and Brandon unite in love, but separate in tragedy. They are forced to deal with the sad legacy of their parent’s lives as well as their own heartbreak. It’s up to them to finally break the chains which bind their hearts and find their own path to happiness.
*Content Warning: Adult Content, may have some explicit scenes.
This teaser is attached to a buy link: http://amzn.to/1atKn6y
Palessa started reading her first romance novel, at the age of 11. Then she got introduced to V.C. Andrews, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Anne Rice and many more notable contemporary authors as well as some of the classics, A Tale of Two Cities, Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Great Gatsby and others. It was during her teenage years that she dabbled in writing. First, it was in her diaries, then she started creating characters, stories about romance, the supernatural and much more. Being an International Baccalaureate student as well as entering college, left little time for writing and so she put it and the ideas aside to pursue a career. It would take almost 20 years, a radical move from the city she grew up in, Miami, FL back to her Caribbean birthplace, and a chance Facebook meeting with Sable Hunter to start the juices flowing again. After some fits and starts, the Baxter Family Saga was born. Unchained Hearts is Palessa’s first published fiction book with Beau Coup Publishing. She considers herself just a storyteller that sees no reason to shy away from the juicier romantic elements. She currently lives in the mountains of Jamaica with her crazy, cracker-munching-mutt Ivy and a farm, primarily managed by agribusiness partner, also known as Dad.
To read an excerpt of Unchained Hearts: Baxter Saga Book 1, check it out now.