Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ten Questions from Tara: Interview With Jassy De Jong

Tara: Welcome. You’re here to promote Drowning, an erotic romance. Tell me, please, what was the inspiration behind this story? How did it come to you?

Readers, here's the blurb real quick:

Sensuous but stifled New York City photographer Erin Mitchell thinks going to South Africa on assignment will be the perfect getaway.

But when a flash flood washes away Erin’s vehicle and she is stranded at a luxury safari lodge, Erin’s romantic working vacation takes an interesting turn. She awakens from her near-drowning and meets her rescuer, Nicholas―hot and brilliant, successful and caring―not at all like her abusive husband. At Leopard Rock in the steamy South African heat, Erin faces the toughest choices of her life.

Nicholas is ripped, he's smart and he's "no strings attached." To give in, or not to give in drowns Erin’s senses as she struggles with two impossible goals: ignore the exquisite physical charms of her host, and conceal every last detail whenever her controlling husband calls. On the other side, Nicholas faces impossible choices of his own, as the bon-vivant playboy may just possibly collide with feelings more powerful than lust.

Erotic. Exotic. Wild. Drowning sizzles in the African heat as one woman is stretched to the breaking point by the strength of her vows and the intensity of her seething primal desires.

Jassy: The inspiration was really thinking what would happen, in fictional terms, if an immovable object met an irresistible force. My heroine, Erin, is put into an impossible situation. Newly married and determined to make the relationship with her difficult husband work, she is beginning to realize the extent of his jealous and abusive tendencies. When a flooded river leaves her stranded on a gorgeous estate in the South African bushveld, she meets the estate owner, handsome rogue Nicholas de Lanoy, who is determined to seduce her. Until the bridge can be repaired, Erin sets herself two goals – to resist Nicholas’s charms, and to conceal her situation from her husband. Naturally, she fails at both…

Tara: We focus a lot on heroines here on Book Babe. Tell me what makes your heroine strong.

Jassy: My heroine discovers her inner strength when she becomes aware of the abusive situation she finds herself in, and summons up the courage to follow her heart and leave her husband.

Tara: Do you see any of yourself in her?

Jassy: Writing romances is an emotional journey for me, and I shared a lot of Erin’s emotions, from falling head-over-heels in lust and in love with a handsome stranger, to being afraid of the man I married, to striving to make the best decision about my future while in a very difficult place.

Tara: Was there any particular part of this story that was the hardest for you to write? Tell me why.

Jassy: The beginning of Drowning was the hardest. I knew exactly what happened in the story but I actually started a chapter ahead, and left the very first chapter until last.

Tara: What kind of research did you do when you penned this novel? Did anything surprising come up in your search?

Jassy: Luckily, living in South Africa, I had the opportunity to visit the Kruger Park and the beautiful Lowveld – an amazing trip, and all in the name of research. The wildness of the area, the incredible climate, the wealth of wildlife, the beauty of the surroundings all helped me to paint a picture for international readers who might never have a chance to visit the area.

Tara: What would you like readers to gain from reading your book? Is there a strong moral? Do you hope they will laugh, learn something about a particular subject/person, ponder a point?

Jassy: The book presents the heroine, and the reader, with a moral dilemma. Do you remain faithful to marriage vows when they are leading you into a dark place of abuse? Or do you acknowledge you have made a mistake and turn your back on them? These difficult decisions are pivotal to the plot of Drowning.

Tara: That's a pretty unique and brave subject to tackle. I like it. 

Your book takes place in the South African bushveld. If I were a tourist, what would you recommend I see in this country?

Jassy: If you had a week to spend in South Africa, I would advise a couple of days in scenic Cape Town and the Cape Winelands, before abandoning the city for a game viewing safari in one of our wildlife reserves.
Tara: Moving on to personal things...if you could time travel to absolute any time and place in history, where and when would you go and what is it that draws you to this time period? What would you do whilst there?

Jassy: I’d love to go back to a time long past, and visit an early civilization such as the ancient Mayans, to see what their day to day life was really like, what their beliefs were, and how advanced they were.

Tara: That's the first time anyone has answered with that. That's actually an interesting I never contemplated.

What’s the one thing you hope to accomplish before you die? Your main goal?

Jassy: I don’t have one main goal, but lots of goals in many different directions – career, writing, sporting, personal... I think half the fun in life lies in the thrill of working towards, and achieving goals, so it is important to have many goals, some big, some smaller.

Tara: I’m a dog mom, so I always ask this. Do you have pets? If so, tell me about them and do provide pictures.

Jassy: I have two cats, both adopted rescues, one of whom is permanently stationed on my desk during working hours.

Tara: He looks as though he's blogging for you!

Thanks, Jassy, for joining us today. Good luck with your book.


Jassy de Jong lives in the countryside outside Johannesburg, South Africa, and shares her life with her wonderful partner Dion, two horses and two cats, one of whom is permanently stationed on her writing desk during office hours. She enjoys traveling, cooking, cycling, and competes in dressage on her Thoroughbred, Msasa Magic. Jassy was thirty-five years old before she met her soul-mate, and while kissing a few frogs along the way (who stayed frogs), she learned a lot about life, love and relationships. She adores writing about the incredible experience of falling in love, and believes that everybody deserves a happy ending... especially her heroines.

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