If I were to list all the credits that accompany M.J. Rose, we’d run out of space. So let’s just remind you of a few, okay? She’s written eight novels-her newest is THE VENUS FIX, has an Anthony nom, contributes to a slew of magazines, has her short fiction published, and is in the new THRILLER anthology. She’s been called one of the reigning queens of psychological suspense and erotica – was profiled in Forbes, The New York Times, Newsweek and more – as the poster gal for e-publishing – which, by the way, was the first self-published novel chosen by the Literary Guild/Doubleday Book Club-and subsequently found a home with a top-rate New York publisher! AND – she has the wildly popular blog – BUZZ, BALLS & HYPE and BACKSTORY. Somehow, she manages to be on the board of International Thriller Writers and is the marketing chair. I don’t know when she has time to sleep, let alone write! You’ll need a good half hour to read all of her accomplishments on her website! And you can do that by clicking on: http://www.mjrose.com and don’t miss checking out her other great sites: http://www.mjroseblog.typepad.com/backstory/ and http://www.mjroseblog.typepad.com/buzz_balls_hype/ !
By the way-I’ve been remiss in posting the website addresses of my brave guests. My apologies to you all. But hell, you’re all famous anyway – I just figured everyone knew where to look.
Okay, are you ready for M.J. Rose?
EE: So, M.J. – that was a pretty nifty idea your panel – "Sex in Thrillers, with Booze" (at ThrillerFest) came up with by offering free booze. Uh, think you all might have started a precedent? I hear some of the writers are going to bartender school now to come up with some wild drinks for next year.
MJ: The real idea behind the booze was to get my fellow panelists tipsy so the women in the audience could take advantage of them. But then, who knew how well Barry Eisler, John Lescroat and Steve Berry could hold their liquor? What’s a conference like without some good gossip? Apparently wonderful, because the only hot stuff that happened at ThrillerFest was the weather, the energy-and the couple I saw having sex in the pool one morning at 4:30 AM when the time difference got me up too early. And that scene was before Sex in Thriller panel. And no, don’t ask. I don’t tell.
Not even a little hint? Okay-we’ll pretend it was one of those sorority gals and her boyfriend. I mean, what writers do we know that would indulge in public, huh? By the way, I’ve got a drink you can use next time that will do the trick. We’ll talk, okay?
EE: How hard, M.J., was it to change your protag, Morgan Snow’s profession from a children’s TV program host to a sex therapist? I mean, Morgan really rocks, but readers would love to know what really goes on behind the scenes at those kid’s TV programs.
MJ: You’ve got it wrong. Morgan never had that gig. Before she was a sex therapist, she was a madame at NYC’s only male escort service. And what went on behind those scenes would burn up the pages of a book. Unfortunately, Morgan won’t eve write a non-fiction tome. It would land her in jail and not even Det. Jordain would be able to make the evidence disappear.
You know, I’m gonna fire a few spies! But, oh la la! A madame, huh? Maybe I should get Charlie Sheen on the phone and get the lowdown from him.
EE: Okay, M.J. – time to fess up here – just how much research did you feel was necessary to conjure up the Scarlet Society in The Delilah Complex?
MJ: About five years visiting every sex club in America. You want to hear about it? My lips are totally sealed. They say our country is repressed – the only thing repressed is the reality about what goes on between mild-mannered middle-aged men and women.
Five years? And you want to know if I want to hear about it?? Surely you jest! Egads, woman! I’m all ears! Come on, spill!
EE: Rumors are rampant that Sally Fields wants to option The Halo Effect and play Morgan Snow. You’re not going to do this are you? I mean, I know she offered big bucks…but please, not Sally!
MJ: It all fits into my nun obsession. How did you put this together? Sally has promised to do a screen test for us after which we’ll make the final decision. Personally, it’s much harder to cast Detective Jordain. Finding an actor who can successfully pull off being a tough cop, a Cordon Bleu Chef, a man who listens and a jazz pianist – where is one when you need him?
So true. That old saying – ‘a good man is hard to find’ – ain’t baloney. But I happen to know a few – my secret loves – so maybe we should talk? As for Sally, well…
EE: My favorite spy told me that you dress primarily in black because you’re really shy and don’t want to stand out in a crowd. Come on – with those glamorous eyes of yours? You think you won’t be noticed?
MJ: You’ve got it backwards. I dress in black primarily because I want to be noticed as the one one always dressed in black. No really – the reason is because when I was a kid I planned on becoming a nun – the first Jewish nun – and started the black thing to see if I could deal with the garb. Ever see the DEVILS OF LOUDON? To know that was a seminal film for me – at eight – explains it all. Then I found out today’s nuns weren’t having as much fun, so I dropped the idea but kept the concept of the clothes.
Whew! I’m glad you changed your mind. I mean, that scene when Vanessa Redgrave watches Oliver Reed burn at the stake was demonic! And you saw that when you were eight?
EE: Okay, M.J. – after reading all of your books – I’m dying to know your Walter Mitty dream.
MJ: I want to go back in time to Paris. Be the muse first for Rodin, then for Monet, Matisse, Picasso, Modigliani and Bransuci. ( You do know what the lives of those muses was like don’t you?) Once my looks were shot and my libido exhausted, I’d emerge as a woman of a certain age with the skills I learned from them all and have my own atelier.
Sigh. A bon commencement bonne fin!
EE: Talk around Thrillerville is that your next book will be about a certain best seller who really isn’t a writer, but it’s the only cover he wanted when he went into the witness protection program. Tell me this isn’t true! Leave it alone, okay? We want you around for a long time, M.J.. What would be do without Morgan Snow to guide us?
MJ: I thought about it for five minutes, that’s true, because Morgan is in the midst of an existential crisis and she needs some time off to figure out how to have a sex life herself. Instead, I’ve gone into the witness protection program. It has something to do with that sex scene I saw acted out before my eyes at the Arizona Biltmore.
Holy Moley. So that’s why you’re dressed in lavender? I didn’t want to ask. I mean, I know I’m Evil E, but I’m not rude. But I must say, that curly red wig you have on is most fetching. And I love your snakeskin boots! Feramgamo, right? Just keep the dark glasses on, okay?
EE: Speaking of designers, what’s this I hear about you and Donatella Versace? She’s wining and dining you to come up with an exotic perfume called ‘Morgan’, but you turned her down? What? The condo in Miami Beach for two months every year, the private jet at your disposal and the semi-annual trips to Paris and Rome – besides some heavy duty dough – wasn’t enough?
MJ: I turned her down because I got a much better offer considering my personal preferences. I’m working on it with Karl Lagerfeld instead. I much prefer what he offered. And apartment in Paris, a villa in St. Tropez and a lifetime supply of Chanel bags.
Hey, I always knew you were a smart cookie! Good for you! Uh, I love Chanel bags. I mean, I thought I’d let you know in case you come across one you don’t care for.
EE: Your books have been touted as having characters so real they step off the page. Uh, M.J.? do you really know people like this?
MJ: Don’t you? Oh, you poor dear, you haven’t lived! Come to New York for a few weeks and let me introduce you to some of my friends.
I’ll be there next July for ThrillerFest, chickie! Set up the schedule.
EE: Time to get serious. What writer would you love to have all to yourself in a cozy corner of the bar at the next ThrillerFest? You can have more than one, but then I get to sit in too, okay?
MJ: I had them. Two of them, at once, in fact. And I didn’t invite you because I don’t share. There were no pictures and since I was all in black no one did notice. (See, sometimes it does work that way.)
Two? All at once? Oh, my.
EE: Between us gals, (I still adore you even if you don’t want to share) who’s that guy with the hat and dark glasses one of my spies saw you with at the Arizona Biltmore pool (in the afternoon, by the way) at ThrillerFest? You know, the one who had orchids sent to your cottage every day? I’ve been told it was Dan Brown – and he wants you to co-write the love life of Michelangelo with him because he needs some legitimacy. Care to comment?
MJ: No-I already turned Dan down. Michelangelo was gay. (Not that there’s anything wrong with it.) But Dan apparently, had missed that in his research. Or maybe Blythe cut Art History 101 one too many times. I explained that to him and he’s moved on. Besides, I’m all into collaborations but not when it comes to writing. Not to mention that while Dan is a nice guy, he doesn’t have the savoir faire to pull off that kind of wooing – too into albino’s to think of orchids.
Someone else suggested the mystery man was Janet Maslin in drag begging me to give her the news mss of my next novel so she could review it early. Maybe, maybe not. I don’t like to give away too much. I do write suspense, you know.
What? Janet Maslin? How the hell didn’t my spy know that? That’s it! I’m done with that guy. Sayonara. Adios. Au revoir. Ciao. I’m gonna fire that puppy. Glad to know you nixed the idea with Brown, though. No sense in working with a guy who doesn’t bother with research.
EE: I understand you’ve been swamped with requests to help organize sexual therapy institutes ala The Butterfield Institute. Has this impacted your writing time much?
MJ: I’m teaching a class in how to set one up – it’s online of course – six weeks in email and at the end everyone can set up their own institute. Writing time? Come on – I don’t write those books – Morgan does – I’m just fronting for her because she can’t publish under her own name. She’s afraid of all the lawsuits from her patients who would claim she didn’t disguise them well enough in the books.
Note to readers: You can reach M.J. from her website for information on taking the course. The first fifty responders will receive a substantial discount.
Note to readers: I know the real identity of Morgan Snow. I cannot be bought, swayed or influenced in any way to divulge that information. Unless, of course, you’re a high-flying editor dying to see my new character driven suspense standalone.
EE: Back to writing questions: You’re moderating a panel – you get to select the panel members. Give me the name of six of your ‘most wanted.’
MJ: I’m sorry – trying to be creative here, but I can’t imagine a panel that would ever be better than those ‘Sex in Thrillers with Booze’ guys.
Oh. Well. Okay. But if you ever want to add one – I mean, I could be available. Remember, I’ve got a drink to tell you about.
EE: You’re having a dinner party for six. Who would you invite, and what will you serve?
MJ: Pauline Reage, the author of ‘The Story of O." Georges Sand and her lover, Chopin, Alfred Hitchcock, Ayn Rand and Carl Jung to make sense of them all. I’d serve lobster paella because I know you can make it before hand and not fuss once your guests are there – and with these guests – the last thing I want to do is be in the kitchen.
Ayn Rand with that group? Oh, please invite me. Please, please, please. I’d be your best friend forever and ever. Honest I would. Cross my heart and all that stuff.
EE: Damn, M.J.! You’re so much fun – I can’t wait to find out which historical figure you would have loved to be. Oh, yeah – and why.
MJ: Anastasia. I’d have a fascinating childhood, get to wear all those great Russian jewels, find out who really helped her escape and what happened to her after Yekaterinburg – and settle down in my old age and write the definitive story including divulging the real scoop on Rasputin.
Oh, now that would be a read! And what a movie that would be. Yeah, yeah-I know it’s already been done. But not from Anastasia’s point of view. Think of it, M.J. You can still do it. I mean, Rasputin and Morgan Snow together? Zowie. It’s got legs.
EE: Okay, last probing, take-no-prisoner question: What is your greatest extravagance? And don’t tell me designer sunglasses!
MJ: A single one? C’mon Elaine. I don’t believe in moderation when it comes to living well being the best revenge.
Spoken like a true woman!
Many, many thanks to you, M.J. – for being a great guest and for taking the time to chat. As I always say – I only invite the best and the brightest – and you’re certainly one of them.
Note to readers: Get thee a copy of THE VENUS FIX! Just be sure you keep the lights on.
Another note to readers: I’ll be off next Saturday. The Husband is getting ready for surgery. Gotta be there, you know? Do drop by though – you won’t be disappointed. But miss me, okay? I’ll be back the following Saturday with a sassy new writer who is taking Horrorville by storm. I’d tell you who it is, but you know me – I love surprises. Don’t you?