Message From The Author

J. Kenner

Book Title: RELEASE ME
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance, Erotic Romance

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Author's Message

Ambition, Celebrity, and the Deep Blue Sea

I love a lot of things about the Stark Trilogy (Release Me, Claim Me, and Complete Me … and soon the novella, Take Me). I love Damien Stark’s way with words, not to mention his passion for Nikki and his ability to see her so wholly and completely. I love how Nikki lets down her guard with him. I love their chemistry and their interaction. I love their friends. And I love the setting, which in so many ways serves the themes that are woven through the book

The books are set in the Los Angeles area, and that wasn’t an idle choice. When these characters first came to me, I knew that Damien was a former tennis star turned billionaire entrepreneur, who held his secrets. Nikki was a former Southern beauty queen with a head for science and one hell of a lot of ambition. She was also someone who had (mostly) overcome a history of cutting. In other words, this was a woman who had strength — but didn’t necessarily know it.

But where to put these people?

I’m from Texas, and so I considered setting the book there. Certainly a man like Damien would be at home in a city like Dallas or Houston, and Nikki was already a native. But that was the problem — Nikki was a native, and part of her arc in the story is overcoming her past. And to do that, she needs to leave her past behind. 

The possibilities truly are endless, but I ended up considering New York, Chicago, San Francisco, or Los Angeles.

Los Angeles won out, for a lot of reasons. For one thing, it truly is a city for following your dreams. I’d done that myself when I was practicing law, leaving behind the familiarity of Texas for the excitement of that vibrant town. And, in a lot of ways, I identified with Nikki. She was ambitious, and she was starting a new life.

More than that, though, I knew that at some point, the paparazzi would play a part, and that meant that LA or NYC were the better choices. So my options narrowed.

So what was the deciding factor? It was the ocean, which supported themes that are woven through the trilogy, albeit subtly. The ocean is deep and constant and yet ever changing. Dark and full of secrets, and yet the source of everything. In so many ways, the water and the waves and the nature of the ocean parallel Nikki and Damien’s relationship.

More than that, though, one of my favorite memories is watching the sun dip below the horizon, casting the world in purples and oranges. There is something wholly romantic and beautiful about a sunset over the ocean, and in the end — despite all the grief that life has thrown at Nikki and Damien — what they have together is as stunning and vibrant as a sunset over the Pacific.


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