Jill Elaine Hughes, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, Domino: An Erotic Thriller.
Publisher: Hackberry Books, the author's self-publishing imprint.
Cover artist: Author
Length: 110,000 words
Heat rating: "Hot! Super-Duper Hot!"
Tagline: "Fifty Shades Meets John Le Carré"
An erotic BDSM thriller. Set in
Ohio and the Ukraine, Domino is the story of a young,
shy college girl's sexual awakening through art and bondage. An American version
of The Story of O, with elements of classic international thrillers, Domino can
appeal to the classic erotica reader.
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
The heroine Nancy is 21 years old and just finishing up her third year of college, where she's a literature and journalism major. Her roommate Hannah is 22, out of college and working as a magazine editor. Hannah asks
Nancy to take over one of her
article assignments--an art review--at the last minute as a freelancer. Nancy is reluctant, but agrees
to do it for the experience. While on assignment she meets her review subject, artist
and international playboy Peter Rostovich. He's of indeterminate age--could be anywhere
between 25 and 40, we don't exactly know--but when he meets Nancy, the sparks fly!
The exhibit wasn't at all what I expected given the glossy sample photos in the press kit. While I recognized larger versions of the two advance photo copies in a far corner, they were hardly the focus of the exhibit. Instead the gallery was dominated by nudes rendered in all sorts of different media--photography, painting, pencil and charcoal sketches, even two video installations that appeared to depict out-of-focus video recordings of the photography sessions. In addition to the nudity theme--the images depicted men and women of all ages, shapes, colors, and body types--there was another theme.
Most of the nudes were tied up in some way. Some of them were innocent-seeming, perhaps using only thin thread or yarn to bind a model's wrists. Others were bolder, using things like neckties, scarves, or thick strips of heavy fabric like velvet or satin. There were accompanying items installed on pedestals beside the photographs--a piece of yarn, a spool of thread, a single rubber band. It was all very minimalist and odd. I'd never been impressed by so-called conceptual artists that placed ordinary objects in a gallery and called it art, but I had to admit that the arrangement held a certain sensual appeal. It made me think hard about how the models in the photographs must have felt when their wrists were tied, the sensation of thread against skin, the process of tying a slipknot, the restricted movement of bound wrists and ankles. I felt something beginning to stir deep in my groin, and the strange, unfamiliar sensation made me uncomfortable. And yet, I didn't want it to stop.
In between the photographs were paintings of various types--oils, acrylics, watercolors, a few pastels--that offered differing interpretations of the photographs. Where the photos were stark, black-and-white, and simple, the painted versions were bright, colorful, even impressionistic. Some of them had exaggerated proportions that emphasized the simple bondage elements, drawing them out into thick, wide lines that dwarfed the wearers into
I wouldn't have called it porn, exactly. But I wasn't sure I wanted to call it art, either. It was certainly unusual, even strange. And more bondage than I'd ever seen in one place at one time.
I understood the concept of sexual bondage. We'd covered it briefly in my Human Sexuality class my sophomore year, and I'd read a couple literary works about it, including The Story of O. But I'd never experienced it first-hand. Truth be told, I hadn't really experienced anything sexually first-hand, ever. Because unless you counted me giving my high school prom date a very brief blowjob (I didn't), I was a virgin.
I considered myself almost asexual. I'd never wanted a boyfriend--it always seemed like too much of a bother. I was too busy studying, or building my journalism clips portfolio, or working. And I'd developed a pretty thick skin as a weekend cocktail waitress. The money was good, but the work came with its fair share of sleazy drunken fratboys and balding businessmen hitting me up and trying to grab my ass all the time. It had turned me off men in general. And I wasn't interested in dating women, so I'd pretty much just chucked the whole sex thing altogether. Hannah teased me about it and tried to fix me up with blind dates almost every other week. I always refused.
Tell us about your story's world. What is it like in this period or place?
The book takes place in the present day in both
Cleveland, Ohio and in the former Soviet Union-- , to be exact. The heroine Nancy
is in college at Ukraine Case Western Reserve University
in . Originally
from Cleveland , she
chose that school over some more prestigious ones because they offered her a good
scholarship--and she does not come from wealth. Boston Cleveland
is gritty and rough around the edges, and
has always felt a bit out of place there. But its working-class culture still suits
her well, since she's hardworking and putting herself through school. She works
as a cocktail waitress three nights a week and picks up whatever odd jobs she can,
which is how she ends up taking the freelance journalism gig and bumping into Peter
Rostovich--a wealthy, worldly man who comes from a completely different world from
Nancy . Nancy
Thanks to her encounter with Rostovich, Nancy gets spirited away to exotic places like the Presidential Suite of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Cleveland, and a private, top-secret S&M sex club tucked away somewhere in rural Ukraine. To find out why, you'll have to read the book!
What inspired you to write this book?
It was really a mix of things. I've been writing erotica for over ten years. I'm also a big fan of the international crime thriller genre, especially books by European writers like Steig Larssen, Jo Nesbo, and John Le Carré. I also think the main reason the Fifty Shades trilogy was so successful was because it blended erotica with a thriller plot across all three books. There seemed to be a lack of good erotic thrillers, so I thought I'd write one! I always try to write a book that I would like to read myself.
Which character in your current book do you think readers will like the most? Why?
I think people will like Nancy (the heroine) the most, because she's naïve-yet-brave, smart, and willing to take risks. She has a strong work ethic and finds herself in an impossible, yet thrilling situation because she wants to support herself by following her dream of becoming a journalist. She really awakens and grows as a woman throughout the story, and the confidence she has in certain areas of her life--like work and writing--start to spread to other parts of her personality that are just emerging, like her sexual self. A virgin at the beginning of the story,
soon finds herself in dangerous, even life-threatening
situations, and she must use her wits--and sometimes, her sexual power--in order
to survive. She manages to do both on her own terms, which surprises her, and she
even manages to use the situation to advance her journalism career. Nancy has a lot of spunk and
gumption, and you will root for her. Nancy
Why do you write?
Honestly, because I have to. If I don't, I'll go nuts!
Who has helped you the most in your career as an author?
I have to say it was my high school English teacher, Mrs. Stevens. She was the toughest writing teacher I ever had, and I credit her with giving me the tools I needed to be a professional writer--both a journalist and an author. She was so tough on her students that most of them hated her (I did too, at the time), but I learned to appreciate what she instilled in me later on, especially when I got to college and then out on my first professional writing jobs.
When you write, what things do you want close at hand? (Coffee, water, chocolate... pictures of gorgeous hunks for inspiration...?)
Diet Coke, tea, and granola bars.
What other jobs have you held besides writing?
I've actually been a professional writer for my entire career, either as a journalist, corporate-communications writer, or as a novelist. Though I have also worked odd jobs as a waitress, as a temp worker in offices, and as a custom art framer back when I was in high school.
Which of your books was the hardest to write and why?
I think it was probably my other current release, Zombie, Incorporated. The heroine of that book is 18 years old and it's told in the first person, plus she is a very different kind of person than I am. Stepping into her shoes every day to write her story was tough.
If you could time travel what era would be your first stop?
Do you believe in luck?
I think you can make your own luck.
Do you play any musical instruments?
No, but I'm a classically trained singer.
Please complete the sentence
I love pizza with black olives and sausage.
I'm always ready for a new episode of Breaking Bad.
When I'm alone, I read.
You'd never be able to tell, but I have a tattoo in a secret spot.
If I had a halo it would be orange.
If I could speak Swahili I'd move to
I can never be a beekeeper because I'm allergic to bee stings.
I actually had two other books come out around the same time I released Domino. One is Zombie, Incorporated, a comic spin on the zombie genre, and Templand, which follows a young woman as she tries to support herself and find her way in the adult world working as an office temp.
Books Coming Soon
I'll be releasing Books Two and Three of both the Domino Trilogy and the Zombie, Inc. Trilogy over the next year or so. Also look for Permland, which is the sequel to my current release, Templand.
I will give away a free ecopy of all three of my current titles to one lucky commenter on today's post! Give your name and email in the comments to enter.
Find Me Here
Twitter: http://twitter.com/jillehughesGoodreads: http://goodreads.com/author/show/6878146.Jill_Elaine_Hughes