An Interview with Jana Downs

Black and White Silhouette of Woman

Jana Downs is a prolific, bestselling, Siren-exclusive author. Jana lives in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina with three cats, one dog, several dozen fish, and a very understanding partner-in-crime who hates to read but makes exceptions for her stories.

You can usually find her either watching bad reality TV, buying way too many books on Amazon, or dreaming up another man or two to occupy her time because life is good but several drop-dead gorgeous nonexistent men is just better.

Q: In the Marked series, there’s a lot of emphasis on tattoos and piercings, especially as a way for the heroes to show their love for each other. What sparked this concept for the series?

A: I’ve always had a love and appreciation for body art and I’ve been trying to find a way to incorporate it into a series for some time. When Mustang and Grayson showed up in my head with a story to tell, I found a way to include all the art forms that I could think of in the confines of their world.

Q: Many of your heroes are involved in the BDSM lifestyle, though perhaps to varying degrees. What draws you to write BDSM relationships?

A: I like the intensity of BDSM relationships. It forces the characters to take an in-depth, honest look at their feelings and desires for one another, and it makes for some very involved writing. I’m drawn to the level of commitment and passion it takes to maintain that sort of entanglement. It’s a lot of fun.

Q: Do you have a character in recent series that you wish you had more time to explore or is there someone you are most looking forward to giving a voice in future books?

A: That’s a really tough question. The characters that I really wish I had been able to spend more time with would be Kane, Abel, Cian, and Jeremiah from Acquired in Time. The book really was only able to span the very cusp of their relationship. It would be fun to do a follow up on them and really explore how their dynamic will work out after things have settled.

I think that I’m most looking forward to writing Flavius’s book from the Beast Games series just because of the forbidden nature of his relationship with his mate. He’s a really good guy whose hands are effectively tied by the rules of the world he lives in. It’ll be interesting to see how he works around them.

Q: What is the hardest part about the writing process for you, and what is the most enjoyable?

A: The hardest part of the writing process for me is always the ending of the book because I know the story continues beyond The End. It can be difficult to know when to type the last sentence or even what that sentence is when I’m deeply involved with the characters.

I think the most enjoyable part of the writing process would have to be just getting to know the characters and really making sure their voices are heard. Building a world for those characters to live and interact in is also especially enjoyable for me. I love taking an old idea and twisting it into something of my own creation or simply starting from scratch and incorporating something I haven’t read before. If I give a character a new world, we get to explore it together, and that is very satisfying.

Q: When you start a series, do you plan all the books and heroes out beforehand or do you make them up as you go along?

A: It really depends on the series. I always have a general idea how many books will be in a series and if any story elements will stretch throughout. However, more often than not, I end up with more characters and books than I originally plan for and the characters sometimes come in an order I don’t expect them to or someone who I didn’t plan on writing a story for at all will come to the forefront and demand a happily ever after. They’re pushy little buggers at times but I’ve found it’s best if I just go with it. The writing is just better when I do.

Q: Do you only work on one book at a time or do you move between WIPs?

A: I usually have several stories open at one time with a general idea when I’m going to work on which. Depending on the mood I’m in, my Muse may be more inclined to play in one world than another on a particular day.

Q: Do you prefer writing romances with three or more partners or just two?

A: It really depends on the characters. Like most people, some of my boys just can’t do multiple partner relationships. The dynamic is much more complicated and it can be a great challenge to incorporate more than two people in a relationship but there is also something to be said for the dynamic of two people in a relationship. I don’t think I have a true preference either way so long as it fits the story.

Q: What’s the most memorable sex scene from one of your books? Why?

A: The most memorable sex scene I’ve written is probably from Angel Wed. One reviewer jokingly said I ruined the conga line for her with it, and I found it an incredibly hot scene to write. When I work with six guys, it’s very difficult to get them all involved at the same time. That scene worked really well to connect them all, pardon the pun.

Q: What are some qualities of a relationship that will make for a solid romance between characters?

A: There must be that initial spark and attraction of course, but I think what makes the romance solidify is the respect that grows between them and their willingness to put themselves second to their partners in whatever conflict they come against, be it external or internal. Everything else is just details after they connect on that level.

Q: One of your books is going to be adapted into a film. Which one? And who plays the main characters?

A: I’m going to have to say Working Stiffs would be the one I would love to see as a movie. I have a soft spot for zombies and I just think the world would translate really well into film. Ager would be played by Joseph Morgan, Patrick Dempsey would play as Jim, and Daniel Gillies would play Jason.

Q: Are there changes or characters you’ve made in your books that might surprise us? Tell us about one of them.

A: I can’t give away too many details but there are some characters in Ravyn’s Temptation, which is the next Ravyn Warriors book, who are not what they seem. Prince Salvatore’s former harem has a big secret and when everyone finds out what it is, the warriors are never going to be the same.

Q: Even in today’s world, men who are romantically involved with each other can face discrimination, violence, and bullying. What are some conflicts your heroes have faced, and how did they overcome these obstacles?

A: One of the most common problems is finding acceptance. Whether it’s from society, family, or their own set perceptions of themselves, it’s hard for some of the guys to come to grips with their lots in life. The solution to their acceptance is always a loving relationship with a partner who loves, respects, and cherishes them so that they can become more comfortable in their own skin. I believe love conquerors all obstacles, and it accomplishes that with the men in my stories.