Under My Skin, the sizzling conclusion to J. Kenner’s Stark International erotic trilogy is out today! Amid her busy release schedule, she’s stopped by EverAfter to reflect back on her Stark World as well as give readers a taste of what’s to come! We’ll let her take it from here!
I’ve always wanted to build a dream house. Picking out the perfect lot in the perfect city in the perfect state. Probably something beach front. Definitely something with a kitchen like that awesome one in the movie Home Alone.
I’ve never managed that—the closest I’ve come is our current home, built from a model. But I got to choose the flooring and the carpet and the countertops. I got to pick the paint colors (in case you care, all the walls are different bright colors—it’s very Mondrian). I got to plan out the landscaping.
But the thing is, even though we’re fully moved in, I’m still fiddling with the space. We built a pool. We redid the game room. We had Elfa installed in the closets. We added beadboard around the kitchen island and painted it a fabulous red.
It never really ends, and I like that. It’s fun to rethink your space. To breathe new life into an area and mix creativity with functionality.
It’s that creative building that’s one of the things I love so much about writing—the moment you start to think about the book, you’re building something from nothing. But sometimes you build such a “dream house” world in a book that you don’t want to leave it once you’ve built it. That’s happened to me a couple of times in the fifteen years I’ve been published, and most recently (and strongly!) with the world of Damien and Nikki Stark.
Maybe I have a secret desire to be a billionaire with all the billionaire trappings (ahem—who wouldn’t?). But, seriously, the Stark world is one that is filled not only with cool things (mansions, fabulous cars, jets, vacation homes in exotic locations) but also with characters I love and want to spend time with. So much, in fact, that after the initial trilogy set in the world of Damien Stark finished (Release Me, Claim Me, Complete Me), I’ve continued to write Nikki and Damien “Stark Ever After” novellas. (There are two more already in the pipe! Look for them around Christmas and in March!) Not only that, but we visited Stark World in Ignited, a Most Wanted novel.
But I wanted more … and from that desire to spend more time in Stark World came the idea of doing Sylvia Brooks and Jackson Steele’s story. Sylvia is Damien’s assistant, and Jackson is a “starchitect” – an architect who’s reached celebrity status. And because Syl is trying to grow in the company and move into the real estate division, I got to add all sorts of fun stuff to the world, like a private island being developed as a resort. (I got the idea after poking around on exclusive real estate sites and finding private islands for sale. Wouldn’t that be cool?).
It was incredibly fun writing Jackson and Syl’s story not only because I love these characters so much, but because it gave me a chance to continue to play in Stark World … a world that is even more connected than you might think at first glance (but I’m not going to say more in case I reveal spoilers to those of you who haven’t yet read Say My Name, the first book in Jackson & Syl’s story!).
You can visit Jackson and Sylvia in the Stark International trilogy: Say My Name, On My Knees, and Under My Skin (which is out today! Happy dance!).
Wondering what’s next? Dirtiest Secret is coming in 2016, and is the first of a trilogy featuring Dallas Sykes, who you can meet in the Stark International trilogy. The Dirtiest books will stand entirely on their own … but Dallas was born in the world of Stark, too, so I’m still playing on that canvas.
Hey, it’s my dream house, remember? And that means I can keep adding wings and redecorating a few rooms! Hope you enjoy visiting the world!
J. Kenner is the New York Times bestselling author of Release Me, Claim Me, Complete Me, Wanted, Heated, Ignited, Say My Name, Under My Skin and the novellas “Take Me,” “Have Me,” and “Play My Game.” She spent more than ten years as a litigator in Southern California and central Texas, using her rare free time to indulge in her passion of writing. She lives in Texas with her husband and daughters.
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