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Tired of books featuring FBI agents, lawyers and cops as lead characters, author M.J. Rose set out to make the heroine of her Butterfield Institute series as original as possible. So she created sex therapist protagonist Dr. Morgan Snow, who first appeared in 2004's The Halo Effect and now returns in this month's The Delilah Complex, both from Mira. "Readers are fascinated by Morgan's unusual profession," says the scribe. "She is bound by patient/doctor confidentiality and is conflicted by what her patients tell her vs. what she can reveal."
In The Delilah Complex, Rose's sixth novel, Dr. Snow counsels women from Manhattan's Scarlet Society sex club after some of their male "toys" show up dead. "Morgan realizes it's possible that some of these women could be at the heart of the murders," explains the author. "The title refers to the [biblical] Samson and Delilah story. The women who belong to the club are all modern day Delilahs who have a psychological need to dominate men."
Rose keeps up on psychology trends by constantly reading and consulting with licensed professionals. "[My] books are complex and complicated to work out since they are a combination of strong character development and twisting plotlines," says Rose, who took about nine months to pen this latest novel. "The books are edgy and a bit dark ... best described as psychological suspense. The novels aren't mysteries, but rather thrillers about a strong female who has her own issues." And, Dr. Snow does manage to maintain a relationship, with New York police detective Noah Jordain, in addition to everything else she has going on.
"Noah is a draw," gushes Rose. "He's just so damn sexy! He's a great cop, an accomplished chef, a jazz musician and a composer." The third title in the series, The Venus Fix, hits stores in July. The book "takes Morgan into the world of online pornography and has her working with a group of high school students," says the writer.
In between Butterfield Institute books, Rose will release the erotic Lying in Bed (Jun.) through Harlequin's new Spice line. "I can't write a novel without exploring the whole character -- including sexuality," says Rose. "It's part of our psychology, part of our soul. To leave that out is to hide too much of what makes us each unique and interesting."
Even though writing takes up most of the Connecticut resident's life, Rose helps other authors achieve their goals via an online marketing class and the marketing service website AuthorBuzz.com. She knows a great deal about the business side of the industry since self-publishing -- in print and as an e-book -- her first novel, Lip Service, in 1998 (before Pocket picked it up). "I'm glad I went ahead and self-published," she says. But Rose quickly adds, "Self-publishing is not a solution and not my first recommendation for a novelist. But it is an alternative that offers some real opportunity if done right."
Why does Rose do it all? For the book lovers, of course! "It's always funny to me -- it takes so long to write a book and then readers tell me they gulped it down in two days," she says with a laugh. "Writers write out of the love of writing, but we only get to enjoy our books when readers respond." -- Cheryl A. Hoahing
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