Recently a friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer. I sent out an email to the Kensington loop asking authors to send her signed books to cheer her up. Usually authors don’t do this, as there are just too many sick people and too few books. We’d make no money! But as a fellow author, I was hoping to pull in some favors. P.J. Mellor emailed, asking if my friend like fun and sexy erotica. I told her sure, send a book! P.J. sent a box of books! Obviously my friend was thrilled.

If you’ve ever talked to P.J., you’re probably not surprised by her kindness. She’s incredibly sweet and fun, and this absolutely comes through in her writing. P.J. calls her books Beach Reads and there is honestly nothing I’d rather do than to relax on a beach with P.J.’s books!

Join me in welcoming P.J. to the blog!

Tell us how you got started as a writer. Did you always want to be an author?

I was always a big story-teller, even before I could write, so in a round about way, I guess I always wanted to be a writer. But it wasn’t until junior high when my English teacher embarrassed me by reading everything I wrote to the class—and telling me I could make a living by writing—that I realized maybe I had some ability.

Describe that first sale. How long did it take for you to get published?

I made my first sale, after ten long years, through my agent. I was scanning the vitamin aisle in WalMart when she called and told me. A few weeks later, I was again in the vitamin aisle when she called to tell me I’d made another sale and was invited to participate in my first anthology. Despite haunting WalMart’s vitamin aisle, future sales calls came through here at home.

What’s your writing schedule like?

I wish I could say something awesome and inspiring like I get up at dawn and write until dark, taking breaks only when necessary, everyday. But I write like I talk—it rapid-fire bursts. The consistent thing is I write almost every day. Not that it’s necessary for all writers, but I find it works for me—I don’t lose track of where I’m going or get bored and ready to move on before the book is completed.

I read on your website that your book was featured in a USA Today Article and on Geraldo. How did you find out and how excited were you when you did?

Funny story—I had a phone call from an old neighbor who is a flight attendant. While waiting for the plane to be de-iced, she picked up a USA Today and recognized the picture of my book cover in an article about the rising erotica market and thought she’d call and tell me how thrilled she was for me. Since it was the first I’d heard, I was pretty thrilled myself! A little while later, my agent called, then I had an e-mail from my editor. Through one of my author loops I discovered Geraldo was doing a piece on erotica two days later. What a thrill to see my cover flash by! Then, at the end, the reporter was talking to Geraldo and as she spoke, she stacked several books in a pile as she read the titles and mine(PLEASURE BEACH) was last! It had a very distinctive color, so it was easy to spot, but it was doubly thrilling to hear the title read.

On the other end of the spectrum, how do you deal with negative reviews or negativity toward Romance or Erotica?

You know, as long as I’ve been writing I’ve defended Romance and now it extends to erotica. As for negative reviews, I rarely read reviews and if I knew it was bad, I simply would not read it. Writers deal with enough angst, we don’t need to have it added by external things over which we have no control.

Do you have a favorite book or character that you’ve written?

Each book/character is my favorite! I do, however, have a special fondness for the quirky secondary characters of Francyne and Shirl (the crossdresser) from MAKE ME SCREAM—they were such fun to write!

You write fun and sexy erotica. Why that subgenre and have you ever thought about writing any other subgenre?

I’ve always written “sexy”—just not as explicit as my erotica—and can’t help but write humor. I can’t help myself—the few times I tried to write dark/serious, people laughed. I think a genuine humor writer doesn’t really have a choice—it’s wired into us. I did, actually, write a “reverse” time travel with a Confederate soldier traveling to the 21st century as well as a book with a genie as the hero—so I have written paranormal…I just haven’t sold any other genre–yet!

Do you have any hobbies?

I love to sew, but haven’t done it very often since selling that first book—deadlines tend to limit spare time. Since I pretty much am always on deadline, I don’t do a whole lot. I am an HGTV addict and recently discovered What Not To Wear on TLC, which I have my DVR set up to record and I watch the programs at night when my husband is watching sports. I also try to read various books, although I am not nearly as voracious a reader as I used to be due to the aforementioned deadlines.

What advice can you give aspiring authors?

Keep writing! Nothing worthwhile comes easily.

What are you working on now? Can you give us a blurb or favorite line?

Currently, I’m writing another firefighter novella, HEAT WAVE, for the third anthology from Kensington Aphrodisia, as well as another single title, ISLAND NIGHTS (think Devil Wears Prada meets Six Days Seven Nights), an erotic, action-adventure/romantic comedy. My recently completed novel, BETWEEN THE SHEETS, an erotic/humorous take-off on fairy tales, releases February 2010.

Where can we find you on the web?

Right now, I only have a web site—

and it’s in need of updating. I admit to being technologically challenged, but intend to hurl myself into the 21st century by setting up at least a Facebook account/site soon.

Thanks P.J.!

Remember to leave a comment and email addy! One lucky person will win a signed copy of DRIVE ME WILD, P.J.’s newest release.