Gabfest & Gossip with Jill Elaine Hughes
Jill Elaine Hughes stepped up to be one of my Making Love 101 authors but after reading Domino Effect I felt that she would be better suited to have a review that wasn’t restricted to speaking about a romance angle that was a small and not truly developed part of the story she was telling in her book series. Having become a Jill Fanatic and Domino Convert I wanted to put out an interview that unfolded this tale and all it’s intriguing and complex layers. Thanks Jill for being so accommodating!
Jill Elaine Hughes Bio:
Jill Elaine Hughes is a professional journalist, playwright, memoirist, and fiction author. She has written for the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, Washington Post, Cat Fancy magazine, New Art Examiner, and numerous other media outlets. Her plays have been widely published and produced by theaters in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, Atlanta, San Francisco, the United Kingdom, and Australia. She is also the author of several New Adult fiction books. Ms. Hughes also writes erotic fiction under two pen names: Jamaica Layne and Jay E. Hughes.
After reading Domino Effect I admit to going immediately to Goodreads and looking at your other books because you have made me a convert. How different is Domino Effect from Templand Series, Katie Allred Zombie Series, Market for Love, Beauty Secrets, and Vampire in the Tropics? And how do each of the relationship dynamics in the series/books vary?
Thank you so much for liking my work and for your kind words! I write across a variety of genres and styles, though one thing all my books have in common is a dynamic heroine who undergoes a radical personal transformation throughout each book and series.
The TEMPLAND series is a New Adult romantic comedy, with more focus on how a young woman struggles to establish herself in the adult working world, with far less emphasis on sex (though there is some). Lots of humor and social satire, too.
BEAUTY SECRETS has a similar tone to the TEMPLAND series (young working woman and her challenges), but it is also sexually explicit. Kind of a “grown up” version of the TEMPLAND series. MARKET FOR LOVE would fit into that same genre and tone as well. (working heroine, sexy hero, and showing how sex and career intersect).
VAMPIRE IN THE TROPICS is a paranormal erotic short story. It’s similar in vein to some paranormal erotic romances I wrote under a pen name, which are now out of print. I’m trying to get those books back into print, so stay tuned!
Domino Effect is addictive and frustrating at the same time. The suspense is enough to KILL you as you read it and the prevarication ultimately leaves you with the feeling that you are in one huge mindscrew; you actually begin to wonder if anyone Nancy knows or has known is involved in the layers of betrayal, deceit and misdirection that has lead her to this seedy dark world. This book didn’t feel so much like a love story to me as it did feel like a coming of age story or a self discovery book, do you see it as a “love story”?
It’s definitely a coming of age title; the heroine Nancy is on a voyage of self-discovery. While she definitely has strong feelings for Rostovich, one of the key points of the whole series is that she is constantly puzzled by her feelings AND by him. One moment she loves him, then she hates him, then she doesn’t know what to think. It’s an erotic thriller, and nothing is what it seems—-so much deceit and manipulation at every level. I’m writing Book Two of the series right now, and it will definitely get even crazier as the series goes along!
Nancy begins the book fascinated by Rostovich’s bondage artwork. She enjoys the act of submission with him and then later she finds that she can switch and step into the spot of a Domme very easily. Was this a journey for her or is she someone who can go back and forth?
I think it’s a little of both. Like most young women, Nancy is still exploring her sexuality and experimenting a bit. But just as those of us with “vanilla” sexual tastes are often surprised by what our sexual awakening does to our characters and inner selves (i.e., like how most college freshmen are shocked by just how sexually active they often become in a short timeframe), Nancy is also surprised by what arouses her. The same is true for a lot of people who dabble in BDSM for the first time, regardless of how old they are when they start. It’s like a pushing-the-envelope sort of thing.
But this isn’t really just about her “sexual” awakening is it? Nancy is more or less having an factual awakening, and to somewhat an almost spiritual transformation. Wouldn’t you say that many ways she is being reborn?
Nancy is very easily seduced by Rostovich’s charm and then undone by his introduction to BDSM. Rostovich on the other hand seems both perversely obsessed while grossly hesitant to be involved with her. Are readers supposed to see anything in their interaction that is supposed to clue readers into something more meaningful than an intensely erotic sexual relationship?
I think that Nancy and Rostovich each push the other to explore parts of themselves that they aren’t comfortable with, and/or weren’t aware existed until they met each other. In that way, they’re both helping one another grow, but not always in a positive way. Both Nancy and Peter Rostovich have dark sides, just like everybody does. Most of us have done or said things in our pasts we don’t want others to know about, and sometimes we meet someone who dredges those feelings up, for good or ill. That’s what Nancy and Rostovich do for each other, and in this case, it sets a cataclysmic chain of events into motion that neither one of them can control. (That’s where the title, DOMINO EFFECT, comes from).
At first I thought that Rostovich was leading Nancy on by never giving her any answers to anything and then alluding to things in a way that would only make her ask more questions. Quickly though you find that EVERYONE, including those who answer her questions about Rostovich only complicate the picture of who he is. Is Rostovich supposed to be a romantic character or is he supposed to be a mysterious villain?
He’s actually a little of both. Though whether he’s actually a villain in the world of these books is a mystery for the reader to unravel. He definitely has a checkered past, but Nancy spends the course of the three books discovering whether he really is evil, whether he just got mixed up with the wrong crowd as a youngster, or whether there is something much bigger going on. I can’t give much more detail than that without spoilers!
At one point near the end I was completely convinced that everyone: Hannah, Bluschenko, Elzbeta, the twins, Richard, Benny–all of them were in Peter’s pocket and he was just playing Nancy like a pawn. I couldn’t make out in my mind WHY he would do it but I was reading the book and just thinking to myself, “What in Hell is happening here?” You actually make it through the entire book without giving away anything at all. When it ends you still don’t know. How hard was it to maintain the tension, to keep the constant surface level of information? Were there Easter eggs in there that give big hints that if I read it again gave away things that I could be stashing away for later?
Hee hee. You’re trying to get me to give away too many secrets here. Nice try, but not gonna happen! 🙂
When you’re writing a thriller, the trick is to keep the reader guessing all the way to the last page. And in a trilogy, you have to do that for three books! As far as Easter eggs go, I don’t plant them on purpose, but smart readers can certainly make some educated guesses.
I mentioned earlier that there is a great deal of betrayal, deceit, and misdirection going on in the book. Some of it is simply mistrust and other times it is out right. For some reason in novels, when written well, deceit, secrets and treachery can feel very seductive; the danger of it is extremely tempting. What do you think it is that makes this element so exciting to readers?
Thrillers are very sexual in nature even when sex isn’t part of the plot. Just as we are titillated by a striptease, we get excited by the little snippets that clue us into a bigger, sinister picture. We want to find out what’s really happening, plus there’s always an element of danger. Is someone going to get killed? What’s going to happen next? It’s one reason why thrillers take a long time to write well, the author has to constantly be coming up with ways to keep the reader engaged, and wondering what is coming round the bend.
You have written in a couple different genres, of the ones you have written which is it that you have found to like the most? Which is most challenging for you?
Thrillers are definitely the hardest, for the reasons I’ve described above.
If you had to review yourself what would you have to say positively or negatively about Domino Effect? What would you change, leave out or improve upon anything in the story in hindsight?
I would not change or leave out anything in hindsight. The book really, really works the way it is. I have lots of reader feedback to prove it. You don’t mess with success.
Have you begun writing Butterfly Effect yet and when do you expect to publish it?
I’m currently writing it, but I don’t have a release date at this time. My best guess is late 2014 or early 2015.
If someone who had never read any of your stories was to ask you to recommend them a book from each genre you have written what would be the list you would give them and why would you choose those books?
I’d actually just tell them to start working their way through my whole backlist. I write in a lot of different genres, and some of those genres only have one book in them so far.
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Domino Effect Synopsis:
Start of Domino series
Peter Rostovich is an enigmatic international artist with ties to the Russian mafia. He manipulates everyone he comes in contract with and nobody can figure him out—not even himself. More than that, he has a taste for bondage, which he infuses into his art.
Virginal Nancy Delaney is an aspiring reporter who tries to crack Peter’s shell. His work is like nothing she’s ever seen—complete with a live sculpture that gets the exhibit shut down by the police.
Peter hates reporters, but Nancy captivates him to the point where he makes her part of his exhibit within seconds of meeting her. He introduces her to the world of BDSM, but his involvement in the criminal underworld puts Nancy in the sights of his fiercest enemy.
Inside Scoop: This is the first part of a trilogy that blends sex, bondage and international thrills into one exciting read, but watch out for the cliffhanger ending. You’ll be hanging on the edge, waiting for book two.
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